Essex Rapid Knockout Final
Played at Wanstead, 20 September 2022
|WANSTEAD A||R1||R2||BARKING A|
|Hodgson, John H 2191 (W, B)||½-½||0-1||Goldberg, Jeff A 2118 (B, W)|
|Mulay, Partha 2022||½-½||0-1||Jaszkiwskyj, Peter 1963|
|Cawdery, John 2030||0-1||1-0||Ismailov, Roman 2076|
|Rix, Steven JL 2045||1-0||1-0||Robinson, James M 1909|
|Freeman, Ashley 1939||1-0||1-0||Ramage, Colin R 1874|
|WANSTEAD A||6-4||BARKING A|
Wanstead assembled their strongest line-up for this Final showdown, while Barking were lacking David Sands.
Matters started peacefully with the draw on Board 1. Soon afterwards, some 45 minutes into the round, this observer noticed that the two games on Boards 3 and 5 had almost identical clock times: in each case, the Barking player had about 11 minutes left on the clock, while the Wanstead players were each inside their last minute, plus increments; theses two games finished in diametrically opposite ways. John Cawdery, facing a dangerous passed pawn, overstepped the time limit in trying to find a safe continuation. A few minutes later, in the pairing between the Captains’, Ashley Freeman got the better of Colin Ramage, having faced down Colin’s Latvian Gambit.
So 1½-1½, two to play. On Board 2, moves were repeated for a draw when neither player could safely make progress, both being short of time; 2-2. In the last game to finish, Steve Rix made sure the Wanstead players would enjoy their half-time cuppa by taking the full point to give Wanstead a 3-2 lead.
With the first result of the second round, Wanstead extended their lead when Ashley completed a double against Colin’s habitual gambit; 4-2. Then, on Board 4, Steve Rix gained a piece and Jim Robinsons’s resignation to add to the home side’s lead. But at 5-2 down, Barking weren’t out of it as with wins in all three remaining games they would complete a famous Board Count victory. Barking hopes rose when Peter mated Partha; 5-3 – shades of the Essex U2050’s come-from-behind win against Surrey in the County Finals (also played at Wanstead House). But John Cawdery dashed those hopes when reversing the R1 result on Board 3 to give Wanstead a 6-3 winning margin. In the last game to finish, Jeff Goldberg brought home his R and P ending to win. Wanstead had repeated the R1 score, 3-2, for an overall victory by 6-4.
Commiserations to Barking and congratulations to Wanstead on retaining the Sims cup (though it was Wanstead B that won it in 2019) and the winners’ prize of a digital chess timer.