2022 Team Handicap Knockout Cup – Soutbourne win exciting semi-final

Match Report

Poole took on Southbourne at the Poole Centenary Club in a friendly yet tense and exciting semi-final cup match which was held last Monday 22nd August. As a result of the significant difference in average ratings between the two teams, Poole had to win by 5 – 1 on the team handicap score whilst Southbourne needed to score 1½ points.

Poole looked good early on as they were better on all boards except board 6. However, Southbourne secured its handicap win with 2 hard fought draws from John Harris and Florence Spirling on boards 3 and 6 respectively and by Finn Schell turning a game completely around in fine attacking style on board 4. Although not quite achieving the required score, Poole nevertheless notched up good wins for Mike Duggan, John Weatherlake and Zander Booth on boards 1, 2 and 4 respectively.

The full result and captains’ comments on LMS can be found here

Southbourne now have the advantage of the home tie in the final versus Wimborne which is hoped will be played in late September prior to the new league season starting.


A key game for Southbourne was on board 5 between Finn Schell (White) and Martin O’Neill (Black).

Finn in deep concentration

Here it is Black to move.

Martin is a pawn up with the better position.  He has castled into White’s attack but this looks as though it should be repelled with careful defence. However, Finn has another prize target in mind which Black appears to overlook.

18…Ng4? This looks like a sensible attacking move but is Black missing White’s hidden threat?

19.a6! Nxh2+ 20.Kf2! (not 20.Kg1? which allows 20…Nf3+ forking king and queen).

20…Ng4+ 21.Ke1 b5 (Black now realises 21…b6 allows the same tactic as in the game).

22.Rxb5+ Ka8 23.Ra4! and the Black queen is trapped in the middle of the board!

The game is now winning for White but Finn has one final nice tactic to quickly decide the game.

23… Ne5 24.Rxc4 Nxc4 25.Qc1 Rxg2 26.Rb7 Rdg8

Black is now threatening to win White’s queen but Finn ignores it!

27.Rxe7! Rg1+ 28.Nxg1 Rxg1+ 29.Kf2 Rxc1 30.Re8 mate 1-0

Previous Post
Local Players at BIG Tournaments (updated)
Next Post
Monday puzzle / game
Dorset Chess GDPR 2018