Horsham triumphant in McArthur Cup final

On the final Tuesday of the season Horsham's top 6 players travelled to Lewes for the McArthur Cup final, seeking to redress the loss of the MSL KO final to the same opponents recently! Captain Mark Broom reports...

After the Covid season was interrupted, where we never got to play the final that we reached on that occasion, a second chance at the McArthur Cup presented itself as following our win against Chichester we played the final of this year’s competition against Lewes. We travelled to Lewes to play a team that we outgraded a bit, but was a side with young improving players.

Phil as Black on board 6 had an early and safe draw with Alex von der Becke in a Slav structure. Playing a strong and improving young player in Jonathan Britnell, I was content to keep it tight as Black in a Reti opening. When my opponent offered a draw I had a look round the other games. At that time James’ position was much worse and Anthony’s also worse but less clear, after his opponent had sacrificed for an attack that netted queen for rook, bishop and knight. On the plus side both Gavin and Mike were doing well, however the bad positions seemed more bad than the good ones were good!

I then wished I had some chances to keep my game going, but there were no prospects, so I agreed a draw and trusted in my teammates. Within half an hour the situation had changed, as Peter Farr’s position (a reverse Reti where Gavin’s structure was identical to mine, but where Peter had misplaced his knight) cracked under the pressure and Gavin had a relatively early win. At the same time Mike’s advantage was now a pawn plus a good position, and Anthony’s position had become more unclear.

Despite offering continued resistance James’ position from a Jobava London got worse rather than better, and his opponent Matthew Masani converted the point safely. This left the match at 2-2 with two games to go. Two draws or a win for Mike against Richard Welford and loss for Anthony against Louis Buckland would both yield a win on board count.

Mike was two pawns up in a double rook endgame, but where his opponent was threatening enough things that it would be easy to drop a pawn without care. Anthony had two rooks, bishop and knight against queen and rook and three extra pawns; his king was open, but he sacrificed his knight for threats against his opponent’s king. Both games came to a head almost together; Mike managed to shepherd the point home with a mating attack just as Anthony’s opponent’s careful defence yielded the full point.

3-3 and a win on board count for Horsham! Well played to the team.

Lewes v Horsham

1. Peter Farr (B) 0 Gavin Lock 1
2. Jonathan Britnell ½ Mark Broom ½
3. Richard Welford 0 Mike Forster 1
4. Matthew Masani 1 James Mansson 0
5. Louis Buckland 1 Anthony Higgs 0
6. Alex von der Becke ½ Phil Stimpson ½

Mark Broom