The B&DCL 2022 Team Handicap Knockout final was played in a good spirit last Friday, 30th September, on a wet and windy evening at Tuckton Social Club, Southbourne.
It was always expected that Southbourne would field a similar team to previous rounds and it was interesting to see how Wimborne would react to this knowing that Southbourne would be hoping to have a big handicap advantage and try to achieve its required points on the lower boards.
In the end Wimborne turned up with a strong team in the hope that it could win on all boards. Due to an average rating difference of over 300 points per board Wimborne had what seemed to be the very tall order of needing to win 5½ – ½.
Wimborne secured 2 early victories on boards 2 and 3 from well played games by Eddie Barker and Bill Adaway. John Harris (Southbourne) on board 3 had the misfortune of touching his king rather than his queen and thereby had to make a move he hadn’t intended. At this stage the Wimborne tactic of fielding a strong team looked well founded but the other 4 games were all close and the Southbourne players were digging in.
Michael Litchfield (Southbourne) appeared to be defending well on board 1 versus Ian Clark (Wimborne), rated over 350 rating points higher than him, and steering the game into a drawn minor piece endgame but then dropped a knight and so, unfortunately, it was a goodknight from him! The score was now 3 – 0 to Wimborne.
However, the overall match result was always likely to be decided on the bottom 3 boards.
The game between Ken Dixon (Southbourne) versus Alan Tyler (Wimborne), pictured above on board 6, always seemed close and both players agreed to a draw when it looked like a level bishop ending was about to be reached.
The score was now 3½ – ½.
The game on board 5 (players pictured above) had attracted a great deal of attention from players and supporters throughout the evening as it was wild. Nathaniel Cleland (Wimborne) was sacrificing pieces galore to try and open up Finn Schell’s (Southbourne) king’s defences but Finn held firm and eventually sacrificed his queen to reach a winning 2 rooks v bishop and knight endgame. This gave Southbourne the extra point to win the match on rating handicap. This exciting game is annotated below.
Board 4 was last to finish in a tight game with Peter Wilcock (Wimborne) just edging it against Chris Lane (Southbourne), both pictured above, after swapping down to a winning king and pawn endgame.
So Wimborne won the match 4½ – 1½ but Southbourne won the cup final on the rating handicap system which, as always, proved a great leveller and created an enthralling, tense match.
Wimborne duly played their part in this friendly final and were very sporting in defeat.
Congratulations to the Southbourne team pictured above with non-playing team captain, Nikki Forster
Nathaniel Cleland v Finn Schell annotated game
Well done to both teams for providing a competitive, friendly and fun evening of chess.
The handicap system, a great leveller, has proved very successful for Southbourne in this year’s competition as it has won 3 of its 4 matches by losing them!
Southbourne have now won the trophy 4 times having being the first winners in 1993, retaining the trophy the following year and winning it again in 2008.
Wimborne have won the trophy the most times having won it 9 times but only last won it in 2014.
The new format (which came about due to Covid restrictions at the time) seems to work well with first 2 rounds in the Spring and Summer and the semi-final and final being played at the start of the following season.
Clubs will be contacted again in January 2023 for next year’s competition.
Martin Simons, October 2022