County Correspondence Chess 1996/97

The Ward-Higgs Trophy

Essex

Combined Counties

1

T. Thomas

1 0

S. Orton

Suffolk

2

M.W. Wills

0.5 0.5

G. Allcock

Notts

3

Dr. K.D. Sales

0.5 0.5

P. Acton

Middlesex

4

K.J. Bowyer

0.5 0.5

R. Haydon

Wilts

5

A.P. Lewis

0.5 0.5

A. Keeling

Kent

6

J. Rogers

0 1

S. Cunliffe

Sussex

7

A.J. Stebbings

1 0

C. Woodford

Warks

8

J.R. Cooke

0.5 0.5

A. Morley

Leics

9

G. Kenworthy

1 0

T. Milnes

Berks

10

P.C. Doye

0.5 0.5

J.P. Knee

Worcs

11

J. Manley

1 0

K.R. Charlton

Surrey

12

K. Bowden

1 0

R. Burton

Dorset

13

T. Tredinnick

1 0

S. Foulkes

Lancs

14

N. Carr

0.5 0.5

J. Carr

Gloucs

15

I.B.N. Smith

0.5 0.5

T. Lane

Notts

16

W. Stirling

1 0

T. Lunn

Suffolk

17

I. Myall

1 0

J. Sturgess

Wilts

18

A. Dunn

0.5 0.5

J.W. Fisher

Middlesex

19

T. Hart

1 0

M.K. Beglin

Sussex

20

M. Fleury

0.5 0.5

P. Price

Kent

21

S. Harwood

0.5 0.5

D. Whymark

Leics

22

S. Ruthen

1 0

M.B. Fox

Warks

23

G. Green

1 0

F.L. Tatler

Worcs

24

J.R. Sargent

0.5 0.5

R. Riley

Berks

25

R. Latter

0 1

P.C. Dearlove

Dorset

26

L.E. Marden

0 1

Dr. A. Goodliffe

Surrey

27

P. Townsend

1 0

R.N. Francis

Gloucs

28

S. Kalinsky

0 1

C. Waite

Lancs

18 10

The Essex Corrsepondence Chess Teams have completed the quite remarkable treble this season in that the First team has won the Ward-Higgs (Division 1) trophy, the Second Team has won the Sinclair Trophy (Minor Counties) and the third team has won the Brown-Pond (division 3) trophy. This feat is unprecedented and would have been astonishing other than the fact that the County has come very close to achieving this on two or three of the last 10 seasons.

In the Ward-Higgs, the format allocated two team members from every County to compete against each other County. It is therefore possible to identify key boards where Essex players met our nearest rival's players. The Essex margin of victory over Warwickshire was only half a point, so the games on boards 7 and 22 were of particular significance. Tony Stebbings and Steve Ruthen both secured the full point, and clearly any other result on either board would have placed Essex second.

Steve Abbott, the County Correspondence Match Captain, displaying characteristic modesty, begins his brief report "In the Ward-Higgs our score would not normally be enough to win, but the scoring was very even with only three points separating Leicestershire in 3rd place from Suffolk in 13th."

It was perhaps in the Sinclair Trophy that the Essex achievement was at its best. In this event, the Essex second team was competing against other Counties' first teams with the exceptions of Warwickshire II and Kent II. This is the part which I find the most remarkable. Essex players numbered in order of strength from 29th to 56th in the County are good enough to beat the first teams from Somerset, Hampshire, Manchester etc. Indeed, in this competition Somerset were in second place, a point behind. Both Essex games against them were drawn.

If the victory in the Sinclair was the most remarkable, it was in the Brown-Pond that it was the most emphatic. Essex III scored 17 / 20, ahead of second-placed Warks III on 12.5. There were 16 wins and only two draws in the 20 games played by Essex, once again emphasising the tremendous strength in depth which Essex can call upon.

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Speelman Jon - Plaskett James [E01]

British Championship Hove (2.3), 1997

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 cxd4 5.0-0 d5 6.Nxd4 Be7 7.c4 0-0 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Qb3 Na6 10.Rd1 Nc5 11.Qc2 Nb4 12.Qc4 e5 13.Qxb4 Ne6 14.Qe1 exd4 15.Nc3 Bd7 16.Nd5 Bc6 17.e4 Re8 18.Bd2 Bf8 19.Qf1 Nc5 20.Bf4 Nxe4 21.Nc7 g5 22.Nxe8 gxf4 23.Qc4 Qxe8 24.Rxd4 Nd6 25.Bxc6 bxc6 26.Qd3 Qe5 27.Rxf4 Qxb2 28.Re1 Kh8 29.Rd4 Rd8 30.Rd1 c5 31.Qf3 Be7 32.R4d2 Qe5 33.Re2 Qf6 34.Qe3 Bf8 35.Qxc5 Ne4 36.Qc2 Rxd1+ 37.Qxd1 Nc3 38.Qd2 Nxe2+ 39.Qxe2 Bc5 40.Kg2 Bd4 41.f3 h6 42.h4 Qe6 43.Qc2 h5 0-1

White to play and win.

Forsyth: 3q1r1k/4n1b1/2n1p1Bp/prBpPp2/2pP1P1N/6QP/1PP3RK/R7.

Last week's solution: 1...Nb3+ 2 axb3 axb3+ 3 Na3 Rxa3 4 bxa3 Qc2 white resigns