The B&DCL Summer Chess League was run for the first time this summer to provide an opportunity to play friendly, relaxing, social chess in an outdoor setting (i.e. pub!) after what has been to some, a long, hard, yet rewarding league season.
To maintain maximum flexibility and deliver a chess festival type experience the formalities were kept to a minimum – There were no rules, no restriction on the number of players in each team, no set time controls and due to the possibility of outside interference (from the weather and other non-chess players), it was agreed that the games would not rated.
4 clubs competed. These were Highcliffe, Poole, Ringwood and Southbourne, and it is pleasing to report that they all played in the spirit of the competition, often declaring their teams well before the match so that the other team can be of approximately equal strength and lending players to the other team or borrowing a player or two from other clubs when their team was short.
Inside or Outside?
Although one of the matches had to be played indoors at a different venue, as the pub that was intended to be used was being refurbished, the other 5 matches were all played outdoors and despite some variable weather, all matches were completed without (too much) incident although we understand, as in football matches, the wind did play its part and there was a floodlight failure so one individual game had to be finished in quite dark conditions!
The Unpredictable British Weather!
Luckily, there was no rain and we were pleased that the weather, on the whole, over the 5 outdoor matches, was very favourable – Indeed, on the middle of the 3 scheduled evenings, the weather was glorious, much warmer than some of the cold winter’s evenings we all have to experience at some club venues, especially last season when windows had to be opened to maintain air flow to meet Covid guidelines and recommendations!
It could not have been closer!
After 2 rounds of matches, all 4 teams had 2 match points each which made for an exciting finale last Monday. In the end, Poole deservedly prevailed by being the only team to win at home (so much for home advantage) in its final match versus Southbourne. Highcliffe recovered from losing its first match to win its last 2 matches to come second.
The detailed match captains’ reports can be found by clicking on each individual result here on LMS
Final League Table
Individual Best Performances
Looking at the stats (we all like stats!), 3 players scored 3 out of 3. These were Tony Sanderson (Poole), Dan Ursell (Highcliffe) and Tim Jones (Highcliffe) all pictured below from left to right, top to bottom. Well done to them – they clearly showed they can play well in outdoor environments when there is a friendly informal atmosphere, some sunshine (and some wind), lots of spectators and inconsistent light!
In total, 56 players took part in the B&DCL Summer League which was almost half the number of players who took part in the B&DCL Leagues during the Winter.
We think the Poole v Southbourne match, which had 12 boards and 24 players, is the largest individual club match for 30 years. Bournemouth used to play Southbourne on New Years Day in a friendly match but this annual fixture finished in the 1990s.
Shortest Decisive Game
The following game was played on board 1 in the final match between Poole and Southbourne. Blink and you might miss it!
James Forster (Southbourne) v Mike Duggan (Poole) – 25th July 2022
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Qc2
This is often regarded as a safe way of declining the gambit but the game only lasts 7 more moves so maybe not quite so safe!
A very interesting move, clearly prepared by Mike before the match.
White is eyeing up the c5 pawn but Black simply gets too much play. 5.a3 is much safer.
5…Nb4 6.Qxc5 Nbxd5 7.e4 e5 8.Qc4?
This exposes White’s queen to further attacks.
8.Qc2 was safer although after 8…Nb4 Black is still doing well.
This is the excellent move White had probably missed. Black is already winning due to his far superior development.
9.exd5? Rc8! is a skewer – If the queen moves then the bishop on c1 is lost.
10.Qa4 had to be played but Black is still winning after h6! e.g.11.Bxf6 Rc1+ 12.Kd2 Qc8 13.exd5 Rxf1 14.Bxe5 Qc1+ 15.Kd3 Rd1+ 16.Ke2 Re1+ 17.Kd3 Rxe5 is winning for Black.
10…Qa5+ 11.Bd2 White thinks he has everything covered.
11…Rc1+! Oops! White resigned. Well played Mike.
Last Game to Finish in the Summer League – An Instructive Endgame
After about 55 moves at around 9.20pm last Monday, the following position was reached in fading light in an exciting match between Joe Wood (Poole) and Finn Schell (Southbourne). There were a lot of spectators who had gathered around the board adding to the atmosphere!
It’s Black to move and he played 1…Rb1 and White could now have won with 2.Kg6 Rb6+ (If 2…Rg1 then 3.Ra8+ Ke7 4.Kh6 Kf7 5.Ra7 and White’s g-pawn promotes) 3.Kh7 Rb1 4.Ra8+ Kf7 5.g6+ and the pawn promotes. However, a draw was agreed as both players were short of time.
The drawing technique is to keep the Black rook on Black’s 3rd rank and as soon as White plays g6 then Rb1 followed by checks across the bank rank.
Thanks to all Match Captains
All match captains are to be congratulated for all their hard work in making this a very successful friendly competition as we think everyone enjoyed it. There is even talk that this can become a regular feature in the B&DCL calendar and perhaps a trophy/shield for the winning team!
Martin Simons – July 2022