County Championship Final Weekend
The County Championship Finals were held for a third successive year at the Trident Centre, Warwick. Three of the sides that had earlier outpointed Nottinghamshire teams, Norfolk (Minor Counties), Worcestershire (Under 140) and Essex (Under 100) were competing and all of them went on to win their finals. The main event was Yorkshire v Middlesex in the Open which was convincingly won by the former 11-5. The Yorkshire team had an average grade of 209 and had Jim Burnett, who represents Mansfield in the Notts League, playing on Board 14!
On now to Nottinghamshire versus Warwickshire in the Under 120 Final where we faced our Midland opponents who we had defeated in the very first match of the season in October almost nine months ago. In that match the very last game to finish gave Notts a 7-5 victory and since then both teams had won all their games so an entertaining match was in prospect.
Notts took an early 2-0 lead; Mike Swanwick tore apart his opponent’s king side with an unstoppable threat down the long black diagonal to h8. His opponent played on in a hopeless position and was eventually mated. Meanwhile Bernardo Pincheira had lost a rook; however his opponent managed to completely overlook a mating threat and Notts had taken an early lead. Warwicks then scored their opening win on Board 11 and this was followed by three draws in succession and when Chris Sargeant left a rook en prise the score was tied at 3½-3½ each.
This turned out to be the high point for Warwickshire. Andy Flint had been a minor piece up for some time but his opponent had grabbed some pawns whilst Boards 2, Steve Luland, & 7, Len Morrell were in endgames which looked advantageous to Notts. All three games simplified quickly into Nottinghamshire wins and we had won the match.
Meanwhile on Board Three a much more complex battle was ongoing in which Armaan Gogia had exchanged his queen for two rooks. However the Warwickshire player failed to protect his back rank sufficiently and lost a minor piece and very shortly afterwards the game.
Bob Garnett’s game was the last to finish and for a long time it looked as though we were going to suffer a defeat here. However the West Midlands player contrived to exchange into a K & RP v K ending and seemed surprised to find that it was drawn. So Notts scored 4½ points out of the last five and were National Champions for the second time in three years.
All the games are available here:-