Having been knocked out of the major KO competition in the first round, Tynedale were duly entered into the Plate competition. They eased their way into the quarter-finals when their opponents from Tynemouth defaulted the match. So on July 6th 2015 they faced a Gosforth IV team at Gosforth. The line-up was as follows:
1. Joe Chan (121) v Jeremy Handley (144)
2. Gary Clarke (108) v Derek Blair (135)
3. Dave Turner (107) v Alex Ashworth (124)
4. Tony Neville (106) v Steve Larkin (107)
Gosforth’s grading total of 442 made them a Minor team while our total of 510 made us an Intermediate team, meaning that we ceded 1.5 points to Gosforth. So to win the match we had to score 3 out of 4. 2.5 would mean that the teams tied on points and Gosforth would go through, given their lower grading total.
All the games were quite protracted affairs, with Jeremy first to finish. With most of the pieces off the board, a race to queen a pawn ensued. Alas, Jeremy had miscalculated, Joe queened first and the game was over. 1-0
Derek and Alex finished pretty much together. Derek got much better initial development than his opponent, went the exchange up and by the endgame was a full rook up and coasted to victory. 1-1
Alex likewise went the exchange up and converted this advantage into a win. 1-2
So the outcome of the match hinged on board 4, which went to the wire. Steve emerged from the middle game a pawn up and proceeded to push his central pawns, but they had a long way to go and Tony’s rook and bishop were very active. Eventually Steve got two linked passed pawns on Tony’s third rank, supported by a rook. A queen and victory looked inevitable but in blithely advancing a pawn Steve left his rook en prise to Tony’s king. That would have turned victory into defeat, both on this board and in the match. Mercifully, Tony didn’t spot this any more than Steve had and a couple of moves later it was mate – phew!! 1-3
So the match was won by the narrowest of margins (3-2.5) and Tynedale find themselves in the semi-finals – and it all hinged on a double oversight!
The final of this event will be between last year’s defeated finalist, Tim Wrigley, and Peter Crichton, who has won the title on three previous occasions. It should be a great game!