Horsham Club Championship 2023-24: Kington – Mansson

Last Tuesday was the final round of the club championship. I was in the joint lead, but my rival for first, Mark Broom, had the superior tiebreak, so I had to win even to have a serious chance.

I was up against Paul Kington with Black. As Paul is a notoriously difficult player to beat, this was certainly a challenging pairing! I managed to win, but not without incident.

The game started with a complicated Dutch Defence, where both players were on their own from an early stage, as play soon went into little-known territory. As both players started to run short of time, Black made a double-edged break in the centre; White did not react in the best way, so Black was able to gain the upper hand. However, he subsequently went for the exchange of queens when he should have kept them on, which led to a double rook endgame; this appeared perhaps slightly better for Black, but should have been drawn. Play progressed for a while with Black pressing, but White responding soundly. Then Black had a stroke of luck, as White forgot to press his clock after playing a move; this resulted in him losing on time. Subsequent analysis suggested that the endgame was level at that point.

As I had won my game and Mark was yet to finish, the outcome of the competition was in the balance. Mark eventually managed to prevail in a tricky endgame. As a result both he and I finished on the same score, but due to his superior tie break, he once more became club champion.

The new format for this year’s championship, encompassing the Rook, Bishop and Knight in a single giant Swiss of nine rounds has proved, I think to be a great success. Congratulations to Mark on his fine achievement in winning what turned out to be a tough competition!

I give the game below with some notes.

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