Two Towns Pre-Season Challenge Match

And so, after a two year hiatus, the traditional curtain-raiser of the Bournemouth and District season finally arrived between ‘Bournemouth’ and ‘Poole’. Simple? Well, the fact that last week a different traditional (well, second year) curtain-raiser between Bournemouth and Poole clubs had been played caused some confusion, compounded by Bournemouth club being a part of ‘Poole’ for this evening only. I was confused before we started.

With a large number of players milling around the shiny new Centenary Club venue, Richard Ursell burst through the doors looking suspiciously confident AND with a printed list of names and gradings. Show off. Just my luck to have an organised opposing captain. We shook hands with that ‘half welcome, half gonna get ya’ look. It may be just an ungraded game and a beer, but no-one ever remembers who came second! Do they? Well, I suppose they do, because if ‘Poole’ win, then ‘Bournemouth’ come second, and vice versa, but you know what I mean.

Excellent planning and not a little luck took us to a twenty-two board match with no ‘leftovers’ except me – the bar looked inviting and I was keen to take the opportunity to watch some good quality chess. I should say that Joe Wood also stood aside keen to take the role of official photographer.

‘Poole’ seemed stronger in the top half, but ‘Bournemouth’ looked to have strength in depth. It looked like it should be a close contest.

Before we started, Richard took the opportunity to present Florence Spirling with the trophy for the Dorset Closed Minor section. Coming equal-first of three, this would be Florence’s four-months-worth.

And so the clocks were started and I retired to the bar. While I think of it, don’t forget, dear visitors, to buy a drink if you come down to play chess Chez Poole. We have a symbiotic relationship with the Centenary Club: they provide excellent facilities, while we must all do our bit by putting some money behind the bar. There is only so much that myself and certain others, who will remain nameless, can do. Thank you.

Mike Waddington and Bruce Jenks graced Board 1. I didn’t see much of the first of their two 30m+0s games, but the second was an interesting ending with Mike pressing, and finally converting, with the exchange for a pawn and Bruce demonstrating his trickiness as usual.

I won’t go right through the results sheet in detail – I will attach the results sheet further down – but there were many excellent games. Mike Duggan and James Forster had two interesting encounters with Mike prevailing (welcome back James!). Richard Ursell came up against Martin Machacek who was in fine form. Chip played two good games against Martin Clancy (Note: Chip is like Elvis, he is known by one name only!). Further down, where the gradings favoured ‘Bournemouth’, Florence seemed hungry for further success after the presentation winning twice against Mike Minvalla, in between a set of boards all of which were were positive for ‘Bournemouth’.

Fast forward a couple of pints/hours and Richard was starting to look a little edgy – so was I actually as I was not aware of the tie-break protocols. All results were possible with five or so games in progress. The crucial Weatherlake-Jones match up saw a sporting draw agreed in their second game (John had a few seconds left, without increment, but in a dead drawn position) to allow John to take the point. That pretty much sealed the result. The Waddington-Jenks ending mentioned above was the last to finish.

The final result was a hard fought 12-10 to ‘Poole’ (ie. Poole, Wimborne, Bournemouth). I therefore had the pleasure to accept the Trophy on behalf of those three clubs even though I did nothing to contribute (no, really, I did almost nothing except my favourite pastimes of talking loudly and drinking! Cool eh?). Bad luck Richard.

Joe had indeed spent much of the evening getting some really very good action shots (a broad use of the term, of course) and will be making the necessary web links available very soon. Thanks also to many (JohnW, Graham, Chip, and others too numerous to mention) who arrived early and organised the tables, chess sets, clocks etc etc.

Many attendees did mention how great it was to hold this event again, especially in such a nice new venue, and were looking forward to more of these more sociable events.

So now we can start the season proper! Play well everyone!


David Fuller
September 13, 2022