National Club Championships

Over the past weekend Horsham took part in the National Club Championships. The Championships was split into a Major, Intermediate, and Minor with Horsham being placed in the Intermediate with 11 other teams.
In round 1 on Friday evening we were up against Lewisham. We were pretty evenly matched on the top four boards, but heavily outgraded on the bottom two. However, both Guy and Richard played amazingly to demolish their opponents (Guy's opponent even went so far as to call him a GM in disguise), which gave us a healthy 2-0 lead. The next two games to finish were the top two with Matt turning a messy tactical affair to his advantage and Dix's opponent doing the same. This left us 3-1 with Lucy and I still playing in time scrambles. Having castled on opposite wings to go for a win I realised the score and played defensively to get a draw. In the meantime, Lucy had wrapped up a win with some neat tactics in huge time pressure.
Final score Horsham 4.5-1.5 Lewisham:

In round 2 on Saturday morning we faced Hackney. Outgraded on boards 1, 2, 5, 6 we thought we were up against it. First to finish was Alex on board 6, being fairly new to the game Alex's experienced opponent proved a bridge too far. Next to finish was Matt and Dix on board 1 and 2 who outplayed their higher graded opponent to earn nice wins. Shortly after this I finished my game where I had converted a comfortable endgame. With the score now 3-1 things looked good. On board 5 Monika was a piece up but in the ensuing endgame her opponent won the piece back and clung on to hold a draw. Last to finish was Lucy who in a time scramble again out calculated her opponent to earn a nice win.
Final score Horsham 4.5-1.5 Hackney:

On Saturday afternoon, after winning the first two rounds we were one of three teams on a perfect score (it would later transpire that the arbiters had made a slight error as it should have been four teams with Leeds having a win courtesy of a default penalty instead of a draw). We were drawn against Wimbledon who would go on to win the section and who outgraded us on every board. Richard, Monika, and Alex all fought hard but went down against their much higher graded opponents. Lucy then wrapped up another win with some excellent play. This left us with a 3-1 deficit to overcome. Unfortunately, next to finish was Dix whose opponent played accurately to win. After going for an unsound sac in my game my opponent then declined going for a sac which lead to an endgame where he fell for a trap letting me steal a win.
Final score Horsham 2-4 Wimbledon

On Sunday morning we were up against The Six Horses of the Apocalypse who were a strong team and outgraded us on every board. First to finish were Monika and Alex whose much higher graded players played accurately to win their games. Short of time and in a worse position Lucy was offered a draw she couldn't refuse. This left us 2.5-0.5 down and in a desperate situation. On all of the three remaining boards our opponents simplified things into draws leading to Nick and Dix to draw and for me to go gung-ho and lose.
Final score Horsham 1.5-4.5 The Six Horses of the Apocalypse

On Sunday afternoon we were drawn against Farnham and we were evenly matched across the boards, except bottom board. Lucy and Nick wrapped up their weekends with nice wins to give us a 2-0 lead. Anthony and Dix then both offered draws to take the score to 3-1. My game was a bit hairy but in the time scramble I managed to turn it around into a draw. Last to finish was Monika who played a great game against her higher rated opponent and was winning until they managed to sneak a perpetual to get a draw.
Final score Horsham 4-2 Farnham

A massive shout out to Lucy whose incredible performance of 4.5/5 gave the team the most game points.
Overall, Horsham performed magnificently as we were outgraded in every single round and still won 3/5 to finish joint 5th. The final table is here


Anthony Higgs's picture

Agreed, a great showing from Lucy - her round 2 win was real fingernail chewing stuff as an observer!

I watched the last hour or so of the top four boards on Sunday afternoon (I couldn't find the other two) and was hugely impressed by the standard of play, particularly under the pressures of time; well done to all for a great result over the whole weekend. And, Alex, to say that your game was a bit hairy is I think, a massive understatement, I kept thinking it was over and then you kept finding sneaky resources!