An epic finish

With one match remaining, Lichfield’s chances of retaining Staffordshire’s Jackson Cup looked remote. Many lesser determined players than Mike Hoare would have resigned on the spot, particularly as time was running out.

A Knight and King endgame, a draw was needed for a Lichfield win over Meir, but Mike was down three pawns to five, a centre pawn had a clean run to the line and to make matters worse Mike’s Knight was away from the action on his H file while his King had to resort to slowing down his opponents pawn. After some manoeuvring black got his King stuck in front of his own pawn(black King on crowning square, pawn on seventh rank.

Mike’s King stopped the black King escaping on one side while his Knight blocked the escape on the other.

Somehow he  had earlier managed to win a pawn back with a checking fork, and two pawns on the otherwise sparsely populated Queen side were exchanged, but the end was nigh as Mike was forced to move from his blocking square.  At this stage Mike was a minute behind on time. However, a  rapid series of checks on the black King and threats to capture the dangerous pawn followed, at which point adjudicator Mathew Carr observed blacks flag had fallen and declared white the winner.

Earlier the two Davids, Fone and Short, had drawn on Boards 1 and 3, and Fred Biles, dubbed in recent weeks as ‘superhero’ by some of his clubmates, gained his 25th win of a season which he had started with a grade of 95. If the last match had been lost, Lichfield would have been beaten on board count.