Highcliffe Are B&DCL Team Handicap Knockout Cup Winners!

Highcliffe Are B&DCL Team Handicap Knockout Cup Winners!

Highcliffe are to be congratulated for their fine win on Wednesday evening in the B&DCL Team Handicap Knockout Cup Final beating Weymouth 4 – 2 in an exciting encounter.

Due to the handicap system, Weymouth needed to win 4 – 2 and half way through the evening (before the drinks break!) it looked as though the win was well within its reach.

The evening got off to great start for Weymouth. The following position was reached on board 2 between Bruce Jenks (Highcliffe) and Allan Pleasants (Weymouth).

Instead of capturing the pawn on b5 with 13.cxb5, Bruce chose 13.Qe2 allowing 13…bxc4. Perhaps realising 14.dxc4 now loses to 14…Ba6 (if now 15.b3 Nxc4!), Bruce played 14.fxg6 hxg6 15.Nd1 but after 15…cxd3 White is 2 pawns down and Bruce resigned a couple of moves later. 1-0 to Weymouth.

Highcliffe soon equalised on board 6 when Dan Ursell played a very good game culminating in the winning of a piece on move 26 against John Balem.

The match was still evenly poised as Weymouth stood well on boards 4 and 5. However, these games both turned in the last hour.

On board 5 Malcolm Steevens (Weymouth) had played the opening exceptionally well and had an irresistible kingside attack but his opponent, Rob Halse (Highcliffe) found good defence, managed to swap off pieces to reach a rook and minor piece endgame which was better for him. Then disaster struck for Weymouth as Malcolm, perhaps unaware of the time control, overstepped his 30 second increment and lost on time.

On board 4, Richard Ursell (Highcliffe) had played his favourite Sokolsky Opening versus Steve Blake (Weymouth). Both players were playing exciting, combative chess when the following position was reached on move 36 with Black to move. 36…Rc2 looks strong putting pressure on the bishop and the pawn on f2. However, Steve played more cautiously to control any a-pawn advance.

He chose 36…Bb4 which allowed Richard to muddy the waters and turn the game around with 37.Kf1 Rc5 38.f4! exf4 39.Bxd4 Rxg5 40.Bxf6 Ra5 41.Rd1 Ra8 42.Rd8+ Rxd8 43.Bxd8 Bc5 44.a5 when there is no defence to 45.Bb6. Black resigned.

With the score now 3 – 1 to Highcliffe and the match already won, the other two games, Kevin Goater (Weymouth) versus Christian Westrap (Highcliffe) on board 1, and Geoff Searing (Weymouth) versus Adam Ursell (Highcliffe) on board 3, were soon agreed a draw.

The final score and captains’ reports can also be found on LMS

Pictured below is the Weymouth team (with the trophy before the match!). All the players had put up a good commendable fight. They plan to seek revenge next year!

Both teams much appreciated the hospitality provided by the Wimborne Chess Club, particularly in supplying a large comfortable well ventilated playing area and plenty of tea and coffee.

Well done to both teams for providing an enjoyable, competitive and friendly evening of chess.

Martin Simons – B&DCL Team Handicap Knockout Cup Controller – 22nd October 2021