Horsham 2 finish season with victory

Horsham 2 are poised for a win following our final match of the season against Hastings & SL 2. A tight match went down to the wire with the last few minutes proving crucial...

Hastings won the toss and I received the usual amount of stick. On board 4 Ian's English seemed to run into trouble with several pawn weaknesses in his queenside, but he managed to get an active rook down the a-file which must have caused enough problems for Jim Wheeler to decide on a draw. On board 5 Chris was in huge trouble early on as his Leningrad Dutch was chock-full of holes and the White pieces flooded in. But Gary Willson couldn't find the knockout punch and Chris fought back, expelling the invaders and winning a pawn. All this took time however, and Chris had to halve out with only a few minutes left to reach a distant time control.

Boards 1-3 all went the distance. On board 1 Mike's Kings Indian led to wholesale exchanges with Alan Barton, and only a niggling weakness on h6 kept the position from being a straightforward half point each. Mike managed to exchange pawns and reached a KRP vs KRP ending which the tablebases confirmed was a draw. On board 2 I played my 'fire and forget' Manhattan Gambit against Howard Tebbs, but he responded well and I only had a slight edge from the opening. I turned down a draw offer with the match uncertainly poised, and then unwisely opened the centre and found myself under a strong attack and in big trouble. I sacrificed a pawn to regroup, and then managed to invade on the dark squares and drove his king into the centre of the board, where Fritz confirmed White was winning.

Finally on board 3 Peter turned down a draw with the words "this is a win one way or the other" in a position where Ollie Willson's passed a&b pawns were pitted against Peter's strong centre and extra pawn (a sort of reversed Noteboom ending for those who play the Slav). Peter managed to trade the b-pawn for his d-pawn which ended White's winning chances, and he has an adjourned position which is at least a draw - analysis will decide whether we win the match 3-2 or 3.5-1.5.

A nice end to the season which sees us up into 9th place out of 12 in the division, but this could change as Hastings still have one match left.

Results confirmed so far:

M.C. Forster 1/2-1/2 R.A. Barton
A.R.J. Higgs 1-0 H. Tebbs
P. Harbott A-A O. Willson
I.S. Comley 1/2-1/2 J. Wheeler
C.W. Heath 1/2-1/2 G. Willson

Update: Peter's game was adjudicated as a win so the overall result was 3.5-1.5 to us.