Kent

Essex

1

C. Charles

0.5

0.5

John White

2

G. Steele

0

1

S. Williams

3

A. Heard

0.5

0.5

D. Smith

4

M. Wiltshire

0.5

0.5

J. Roberts

5

T. Lloyd

0.5

0.5

A. Drake

6

A. Sherriff

0.5

0.5

L. Burtt

7

M. Jordan

0.5

0.5

P. Zammit

8

D. Davis

0

1

D. Rawlings

9

S. Moate

0

1

P. Walker

10

C. Davis

1

0

D. Bird

11

I. Hames

0.5

0.5

R. Sharman

12

D. Gleed

1

0

D. Payne

13

R. Turrell

0

1

I. McLachlan

14

P. Childs

0.5

0.5

B. Sheppard

15

S. Chick

1

0

D. Cannan

16

M. Jones

1

0

I. Gunn

8

8

In another hard-fought match between the two counties, Essex and Kent were left tied at 8 - 8 in the Southern Counties' under-150 competition. This was in spite of Kent's small grading advantage and Essex players' apparent positional advantages in key games as the match drew to a conclusion.

For once, all players from both sides were in attendance, which enabled the captains to relax and get on with their own games. However, it was not long before results came in. David Rawlings was first to finish, mating his opponent after a fine piece sacrifice. Within minutes the Essex lead became 2 - 0 as my own game reached a very satisfying conclusion. It is rare that one is able to give up a queen for three pieces and rarer still that the moves flow so freely thereafter. The true nature of white's advantage was that it was all of black's developed pieces that were exchanged, so his remaining forces were unable to cope with the onslaught, marooned as they were on their starting squares. My opponent was very gracious in defeat, and played on to checkmate when the final rook sacrifice was obvious. The Essex lead was almost immediately reduced as David Payne, who had reached a rook and pawn ending, was obliged to turn his king over.

Kent took the lead as some of the defeats for the Essex players on the lower boards were chalked up. Iain Gunn was undone by a "Greek Gift" sacrifice and David Cannan struggled. The one big disappointment for Essex was when David Bird lost control of a game in which he had seemed set for victory. Ian McLachlan won well. Ian plays a very solid and safe game but this tends to lead to a high percentageof draws. The other Essex victory was by Steve Williams. Steve has been much higher graded in recent seasons than his current 147, and this showed in the manner in which his opponent was slowly ground down by Steve's superior technique.

In the last few games, the Kent players conducted excellent rearguard actions to resist their opponents. John White had been a pawn up for most of the game, and in his effort to win during the rapidplay finish he almost overstretched but offered a draw which the Kent player accepted. Similarly, Jason Roberts had a two-pawn advantage, but opposite coloured bishops meant that he could not safely advance them. He repeatedly chased the queen away from the long diagonal only to find her return to set up mating threats. After several attempts to achieve some sort of progress Jason finally bowed to the inevitable and accepted his opponent's draw offer.

This result leaves the competition nicely poised at the half-way stage of the season. Essex and Kent have each played 3, won 2 and drawn 1 match. Both sides beat Middlesex by a score of 10 - 6. Essex beat Sussex 9 - 7, whereas Kent beat Herts 8.5 - 7.5, which technically leaves Essex ahead by the slimmest of possible margins. The next Essex match is away to Hertfordshire on 17th January and this could well be a tough test. Hertfordshire are far from weak, and Surrey could also prove difficult, although in this Essex have the home advantage. Kent have yet to play either Surrey or Sussex, but apart Middlesex, it would appear that all the teams are very well matched.

Walker,P - Moates,S [B98]

SCCU U150 (Charlton House 1997)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qa5 9.Nb3 Qd8 10.0-0-0 e5 11.fxe5 Bg4 12.exf6 Bxf3 13.fxe7 Qd7 14.gxf3 f6 15.Bf4 Qxe7 16.Bxd6 Qe6 17.Nc5 Qc8 18.Nd5 Ra7 19.Nc7+ Kf7 20.Bc4+ Kg6 21.h4 h6 22.Be6 Qd8 23.Rdg1+ Kh7 24.Rxg7+ Kxg7 25.Rg1+ Kh7 26.Bf5# 1-0