Somerset Cup Final

As readers will know, the TSToCPG has recently seen a gradual departure of several Gods and might soon need to be renamed TSToCPGaDG as DemiGods step up to fill the vacated places. Of course with all the Gods leaving, this has impacted on our strength/invincibility and other teams no longer cower and tremble in our presence and instead start to harbour thoughts of rebellion, actually believing they may even have a chance of taking us on. The sad fact is, there is truth in that we are no longer what we once were. We know it and they know it.

Which makes it remarkable we made it through to the Somerset Cup Final (yay!)

This was supposed to have taken place last month against Weston-Super-Mare but they fecklessly didn’t turn up as their ringers from various other teams were too lazy to make the effort to travel to the final, thus meaning the team withdrew at the last minute.

Sounds harsh? Well the powers-that-be agreed and issued a statement saying WSM had now ‘withdrawn’ from the Somerset Cup and all their prior games were cancelled/annulled. Hmm… ‘withdrawn’? – sounds more more like ‘disqualified’.

Anyway, this meant both Yeovil and Sedgemoor who had previously lost to the ‘WSM’ team <cough>,  would now player each other, with the winner taking on Taunton. But Sedgemoor couldn’t manage it, so the new final would be Taunton v Yeovil, sometime in May.

Andrew Footner phoned Nick to arrange a date, explaining he would be away between certain dates and ideally he’d like a fixture when he returned. Quite why Nick ignored this Goose laying a Golden Egg is beyond me – he should have jumped at the chance to arrange a date when Footner was away, but he instead, very sportingly, and very un-TSToCPGly, agreed a date of May 17th.

As MikeR has now left the country for his new job, Nick took over to arrange a team – not so easy as MikeR, DaveL, TerryS and BenE are no longer available. Our top players are now MarkH, JamesB, NickW, AlexC, MartinW, JerryK, NigelC and StanW. They were all asked, and all could make it – phew.

This did mean we didn’t have our MikeW board 8 secret weapon, but we’ve survived without his unique skills before and we hoped to do again this time.

May 17th came around and Yeovil turned up with what looked like their best team. I should point out that there technically was a coin toss, presumably for the theatrics, because, as always, Nick was white and everyone else settled in around that.

The games got underway and finished roughly in this order –

First was Stan –

Board Eight – S Gray 0.5  v Stan Wojcik 0.5
No game record here but I vaguely recall Stan was either an exchange up or down, but neither side had enough for a result and was thus drawn.

I think Alex was next –

Board Four – D Freeman 0.5 v Alex Conway 0.5
Alex refused to hand over his scoresheet, saying the game is not worthy of publication it was so dull. Basically, 1. e4, then some stuff, then a draw. Yawn.

Scores still level.

Next could well have been Jerry –

Board Six – Jim Fewkes 0.5 v Jerry Kilby 0.5
Jim is a tough player to beat but Jerry can also play above his grade, so whilst this could have been a decisive game, it wasn’t. Jerry gives the first 20 moves here – he won the exchange, but Jim’s bishops and pawn mass meant he couldn’t press for a win and the draw was drawn after 43 moves…

Scores still level.

I think James was next –

Board Two – Andrew Footner 0.5 v James Byrne 0.5
Andrew played an aggressive opening. James was on the back foot, but never in any real trouble. Eventually the game petered out into a draw. Game notes supplied by James – thanks!

Next was Nick’s –

Board Three – Nick Wilson 0 v F Felice 1
Nick, clearly being influenced by the draw-fest going on around him, played the most boring game ever, and by move 28 the position was dead-drawn. A draw was offered, but rejected by Black, clearly sensing Nick’s lack of interest in the position. It was the smartest move by Black all night, as Nick soporifically drifted from even, to slightly worse, to worse, to much worse, to lost. Appalling, shameful play by Nick. All Black had to do was turn up and bore Nick into losing. Yawns and self-loathing abound.

So Yeovil take the lead, now being one point ahead, with just 3 games to play. But glancing around at the remaining games, it looked like Taunton had good chances in them all, particularly Martin, who looked like he was about to be a Queen up, only to sensationally agree a draw at that point!

WTF?? You don’t believe me – well here is that game –

Board Five – Martin Worral 0.5 v Roger Knight 0.5
These two have a long history of wildish exciting games followed by frantic time trouble and/or terrible blunders. We got the first part of the usual formula tonight and just as the second part was about to unfold, they sheepishly agreed a draw!

So Yeovil still lead by 1 point and just two games left, Nigel and Mark. Nigel looked like clearly winning and Mark less so. Of course should Nigel win and Mark draw, then scores would be level. But then the board score would come into play and we’d lose overall – why oh why didn’t we play MikeW as our secret board 8 weapon!! Would this omission come to haunt us??

Nigel was next –

Board Seven – Nigel Cottle 1 v Nigel Mills 0
Nigel played a solid game and wrapped things up nicely with a well-played end-game.

So Taunton level the scores, with just Mark’s game to play – but this is a must-win game, or we lose due to count-back!

Board One – Mark Hassall 1 v A Batson 0
I don’t have the moves, but by the end-game Mark was material up and had a strong passed pawn. While forcing Black to defend that, White made progress on the other side of the board, forcing the win.

So Taunton clinch the win with a final 4.5 v 3.5 score. Very close match and commiserations to Yeovil.

But congratulations to us – Somerset Cup Champions again!!

The winning 2016 Cup team!

The winning 2016 Cup team!

Well played to all – celebrations will be at our annual Chess BBQ to be held at Nick’s sometime in late August – date to be confirmed!!


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