On 26th February, our Notts u1450 juniors hosted Leicestershire u1450 for a winner takes all clash at Bramcote. A good natured and well fought match, prefaced with Leicestershire’s captain and a couple of their players kindly helping us with setting up some of the tables and boards.
As the match started, it quickly looked like a lot of the games were going to be close. A win from Benji on debut and a quick victory for Eldars matched two wins from Leics: 2-2. Forty minutes or so later and fine wins from Maxim and Dean enabled us to keep pace with our opponents: 4-4.
Most of the games that we were being defeated in looked tight, so we were a bit disappointed not to be able to keep our noses in front. Maybe the away team had the same feeling. Quickly, 4 all became 4.5 all, as Frank Richmond secured a creditable and interesting draw with Leicestershire’s captain Neil.
Entering the third hour of play, and with the players enjoying tea, coffee and biscuits, we traded wins again – in two bishop endgames this time – so the match would go down to the wire. Score: 5.5 – 5.5.
Thus after about three hours of play, it was all, fairly or unfairly, down to board nine. Poppy Dawson Best, who had been playing excellently throughout, was a pawn to the good in a rook and opposite coloured bishop endgame. Both players were also down to their last fifteen minutes, leaving the game enticingly poised. After much manoeuvring, her experienced opponent found a clever way to get a pawn through to promote and managed to finish the game with only about 2 minutes left on his clock.
We wish Leicestershire u1450, and of course Nottinghamshire U1450 who won the qualifying group, well in the next stages.
The full results are available here Results