The chess players of Essex are on the verge of a spectacular success as three out of the five County finals are being contested by the Essex representative team in the Open, under-175 and under-100 sections. These finals take place at the Clarendon Function Suite, Edgbaston, Birmngham, on Saturday 28th June.
The under-175 team reached the Finals in a most spectacular fashion, defeating Warwickshire by 10.5 points to 5.5. To be fair to the opposition, Warwickshire were somewhat depleted by several of their regulars choosing to play in the Midland Open Championships. Having said that, had Warwickshire been at full strength and defeated Essex then they would have been playing in the Final as the home side.
After two early draws, Andy King scored the first Essex win. The Warwickshire player had managed to stifle a threatening attack by exchanging queens and shedding some material, and Andy took full advantage of this in the bishop ending which followed. Paul Williamson doubled the Essex lead in only 23 moves against a former Essex player. Paul had black once again, the result of Essex captain John Philpott's singular inability to predict correctly which way a coin will fall. This was the eighth consecutive loss of the toss by John. Two more wins soon followed. Colin Ramage played the Grob (what else?) and Terry Whitton, making only his second appearance of the season, took a material advantage and won the ending.
Essex now had a 5 - 1 lead ain with some very promising positions but even so Warwickshire succeeded in clawing their way back into the match by scoring 2.5 from the next three games to finish.
There now followed a long period in which no results were declared but at around 6.00, after some 4 hours' play, Ken Clow agreed a draw against former Ilford player and British Veterans' Champion Joe Soesan and Mark Weighell played well, having secured a small advantage around move 6, nursed the position to its logical conclusion. Ray Purse scored his fourth win in 5 games to place Essex on the brink of a place in the Finals. A draw from Peter Doye, who had missed a winning move immediately before the first time control, brought the Essex total to the magic figure of 8.5 points and the under-175 team to its second final in three years. In the three remaining games, Roy Heppinstall and Larry Marden agreed draws and Neville Twitchell's pawn won the race to promote.
Escott, Keith - Williamson, Paul
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Nd7 6.0-0 f6 7.exf6 Ngxf6 8.Nh4 Bd6 9.Nxf5 exf5 10.Bd3 Ne4 11.Qh5+ g6 12.Qh6 Qb6 13.c3 0-0-0 14.f3 Nef6 15.b4 Bxb4 16.Be3 Bf8 17.Qg5 Qb2 18.Nd2 Qxc3 19.Bxf5 gxf5 20.Rfc1 Qd3 21.Nf1 Rg8 22.Qh4 Re8 23.Rd1 Qe2 0-1
[DIAGRAM FOR 26/6/97]
Black to play and win.
Forsyth check: 1b2r1k1/1b4p1/8/PNp5/2PpPpP1/R4Pq1/4RN1r/2Q2K2.
Last week's solution: 1...Ngf3+ 2 Kg1 Qxh2+ 3 Kxh2 Rh8+ 4 Bxh8 Rxh8+ 5 Kg1 Rh1 mate