Friday, May 15, 2009

It was John Bennett Wot Won It

Last time we gave a sneak preview of the news that S&BCC President Angus French is the new club champion.

It turns out that in securing victory cunning old Angus recreated a moment from S&BCC history that has become almost legendary ... but more of that later - let's back up a moment and catch up from the half way point.

Round 4:
The top board clash was Robin (3) against Alan (2.5). Alan won to give himself a half-point lead.

Round 5:
Alan (3.5) against Angus (3) this time around - and Angus winning meant the lead changed yet again.

Round 6:
The most appropriate pairing you could imagine. Angus (4) against reigning champ Tom Chivers (4). When the dust settled it was game, set and match to Angus leaving the final standings as follows:-

Angus F

James M, Jonathan B

Tom C, Robin H, Morgan D

Alan H

Jan K, Barry B, Gary S, Dean L-M, Ash K, Hector H

Thierry H

Mohamed M (from 4 games), Vad K

David S

Mohsin N (3 games), Stan S (5 games), Robert B, Marc P (4 games)

Sam E (3 games)

Angus's victory is particularly impressive because not only was he burdened with the responsibility of organising the tournament but he also only actually played five games because he gave himself a zero point bye in the first round because an odd number of players had turned up at at that stage.

Aside from our new champ, amongst other performances worthy of note are:-

  • ten-year-old Hector Huser (more of him in the next week or two)

  • library players Dean and Gary who both faced very tough opposition

  • Barry 'the barman' Blackburn who set all the boards up at the start of the night and managed to get to play the odd game of chess in between meeting the beer demands of certain former club champions.

Tom hands the trophy over to Angus...

... who celebrates

Last Men Standing

So what was the legendary moment of which I speak and who is John Bennett?

I remember it was several years ago that I first heard the story of what happened when an old S&BCCer (way before my time) took on a young Danny Gormally. The yarn can't ever have reached Alan Hayward's ears though because in round four history repeated itself.

I'll let the new champion explain ...

S&BCC Championship 2009
Round 4
Alan Hayward v Angus French

My opening against Alan was a ‘John Bennett Gambit’:

1. f4

In a London League game against Danny Gormally, played maybe 15 years ago when Danny was about 190 strength, Danny was adjusting his pieces at the start of the game without having announced "j’adoube". John pounced when Danny centred his ‘f’ pawn – "You’ve touched that…"

1… Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. b3 Nbd7 4. Bb2 e5

Oops. John released the pawn and, as he did so, made as though he was having second thoughts about the move. But, especially given what had gone before, there was no way Danny would allow John to play anything else.

5. fxe5 dxe5 6. Nxe5 Nxe5 7. Bxe5

White has apparently capitalised on Black’s mistake and won a pawn...

7. ... Ng4

... however he is much, much worse due to his weak dark squares. I don’t remember the moves but John went on to win his game comfortably. My game against Alan continued...

8. Bg3 Bd6 9. e3 Qf6 10. Bb5+ c6 11. Qf3 Bxg3+ 12. hxg3 cxb5

... and eventually I was able to convert the material advantage although Alan put up a lot of resistance.

So well done Angus.

By the way, the version of the John Bennett saga that I heard has Danny Boy being less than pleased with the whole turn of events ... though whether or not he proceeded to challenge our man to a fight in a nightclub remains a matter of speculation.

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