Andover Chess Club eased past Southampton B to win the Robertson Plate. Two early wins allayed the fear of any upset against the Division Two runners-up. Paul Hackman on board one was understandably cock-a-hoop after demolishing a strong county player in 15 moves; Paul’s quickest win since junior days. Soon afterwards Terry Gray, playing black against the present joint British women’s senior champion, refuted her favourite Tromposky opening with a discovered check, leading to mate in two. Kevin Steele on bottom board then spoilt the scenario by losing after a severe miscalculation against his opponent’s Scandinavian Defence.
Acting captain, David Thompson, then offered a draw to his opponent in the secure knowledge that if he accepted Andover had won the final; under the cup rules if a match is drawn the bottom board is excluded so Hackman’s win, if the score ended drawn at 2.5 - 2.5, would be decisive. Thompson’s opponent, with eight minutes left on the clock to make ten moves as opposed to Thompson’s 22 minutes for nine to the time control accepted the draw. Stuart Knox on board two then completed the evening play by agreeing a draw so that “he could take an early bath at the pub.”
Andover Chess Club has now won trophies in four consecutive seasons; Division Two, Robertson Plate, Robertson Cup and this season the Robertson Plate again. The main achievement this season though has undoubtedly been for the small playing squad, led by captain Stephen Cartridge, to retain its place in the top division of the Southampton League.
Big well attended clubs such as Salisbury, relegated this season to Division Two, Winchester, relegated to Division Three, and Fareham, with teams in Division Four and Five, have not enjoyed such success. Next season Andover will be battling it out with five other teams in the top division. Southampton University, this season’s champions, hardly surprising with 24,000 students, Southampton, Ringwood, Eastleigh BR, this season’s Robertson Cup winners, and Hamble, Division Two champions.
The season now closes until early September but any interested player should contact Stephen Cartridge on 01264394695.