With safety guaranteed we fielded our weakest team of the season for our final match away to perennial rivals Surbiton. With most of our leading players unavailable I had to sacrifice myself on board 2. Surbiton were also without several of their stronger players but still outgraded us fairly heavily on all except the top board.
A final score of 3-5 was respectable, but it might have been better. The first results were solid draws on boards 3 and 4. A Richmond win on board 8 was balanced by a Surbiton win on board 7. My game was uncharacteristically exciting. I blundered on move 9 and soon lost the exchange as well as castling rights. More importantly, perhaps, I fell well behind on the clock. Instead of keeping the queens on the board, which would have given him a winning attack, Jasper traded off into a complex ending where I had some strong central pawns. We both missed chances, and, with little time left on the clock, at one point I overlooked a clear win, making an automatic but losing recapture instead of sacrificing to promote a pawn. Meanwhile, Mike outplayed Chris in an ending on top board, the battle of the Ians went in Surbiton’s favour, and Russell went down in an ending which he might have drawn.
Many thanks to Maks for agreeing to play at short notice and congratulations to him on a win against a higher rated opponent. Congratulations also to Mike, Bertie and Raghu for their contributions to our total and thanks to all who played, both in this match and throughout the season.
|Surbiton A||Richmond A|
|1||Chris Briscoe 199||0:1||Mike Healey 212|
|2||Jasper Tambini 199||1:0||Richard James 167|
|3||Tony Stewart 185||½:½||Bertie Barlow 162|
|4||Angus James 180||½:½||Raghu Kamath 169|
|5||Ian Henderson 177||1:0||Ian McLeod 159|
|6||Paul Shepherd 183||1:0||Russell Manning –|
|7||Nick Faulks 172||1:0||Richard Thursby 152|
|8||Graham Alcock 152||0:1||Maks Gajowniczek 135|
This result means that we finish on 6½/12, sharing third place with Wimbledon A, equal on both game and match points. A creditable performance by all concerned, considering our lack of resources below the top two boards, in spite of the captain making a negligible contribution to our points tally.
Congratulations to Hammersmith A on a fine victory in the league, and to Surbiton A on an excellent second place.
We still have a chance to win some silverware with the cup final to come, probably on 17 June away to (probably) Hammersmith or (possibly) Kingston. Over 6 boards anything could happen: if Gavin and Mike can win we just need one point lower down.