Spens Final 17th April 2010

This years Spens Cup final was contested in Grangemouth between EK and Troon. Allow me to introduce the team

Alan Jelfs
Phil Thomas
Tony Dunlop
Tom Brisbane
Daniel Thomas

and of course me.

This morning I was sitting in the living room waiting to be picked up by Phil and I can honestly say I have never been so nervous in my life. I have been looking forward to today ever since we unexpectedly beat Civil Service in the Semis. We left and had a good discussion on the merits of the Sicilian Defence. 11:20 and we get a call from Tony wondering where we were. Just around the corner thankfully.

We arrived for the 12:30 start and I filled in the teamsheet. Problem number 1. We were there but Troon weren't. Donald wanted to start so after a chat, we agreed to wait for our opponents and start the other tournies. Donald reckoned we would have to start by 12:45 - 12:50. Thankfully Troon arrived about 10 mins later and we exchanged lists. Problem number 2 (well I don't know if it really is a problem!). Troon only had 5 players which meant that I was not getting a game. On the other hand it means we were 1-0 before we started.

Off we went and for the first 90 minutes all the games seemed to be equal. I settled down for a, as I put it to Donald, relaxing afternoon. HA!

There is a downside to having a default win. Normally you don't win the tie break. I worked out we were ok as long as Alan and either Phil and Tony won. Anything else was a bonus. Looking at the grades, for the first time that I can remember, we outgraded our opponents. That gave me concern as we are best as underdogs.

After 90 mins, Tony started to get ahead. His opponent had made a blunder and lost the exchange. Tony in his true cavalier style, used this and promptly punished his opponent who resigned shortly after. 2-0 up and things are looking good. Daniel was 2 pawns up and we looked level on the other three boards.

[Click here to replay the game]
Tony Dunlop 1-0 Len Weir

1.f4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.b3 g6 4.Bb2 Bg7 5.e3 O-O 6.Be2 c5 7.O-O Nc6 8.d3 Ng4 9.Bxg7 Kxg7 10.Qd2 d4 11.e4 Ne3 12.Rf2 Nb4 13.Ne1 f5 14.c3 Nc6 15. Nc2 fxe4 16.Nxe3 dxe3 17.Qxe3 exd3 18.Bxd3 Bf5 19.Bxf5 Rxf5 20.Nd2 Qd7 21. Ne4 Rd8 22.Nxc5 Rxc5 23.Qxc5 Qg4 24.Raf1 Rd6 25.b4 b6 26.Qe3 Re6 27.Qd2 Rd6 28.Qb2 h5 29.c4+ Kh7 30.f5 Nd4 31.fxg6+ Rxg6 32.Rf7+ Kh6 33.Qd2+ Rg5 34.R1f2 Qe4 35.R7f4 Qb1+ 36.Rf1 Qg6 37.Rxd4 Kh7 38.Rd7 Qg7 39.Rxa7 h4 40. Qe3 Re5 41.Qf3 Kg6 42.Qg4+ Rg5 43.Qxh4 Qe5 44.Qf4 Qe2 45.g3 b5 46.Qf7+ Kh6 47.Rxe7


Daniel approached me, he was wanting to know if he could take a draw. Quick check of the boards. They would have to score 2.5/3 on the remaining boards and from the positions that just was not going to happen. I told Daniel that if he felt a draw was the best result on his board to take it. Result, we were 2.5-0.5 up.

[Click here to replay the game]
Daniel Thomas 0.5-0.5 Mike Chapman

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e6 4.e4 d6 5.d3 g6 6.g3 Bg7 7.Bd2 Nf6 8.Qb3 O-O 9.Bg2 a6 10.O-O Qc7 11.Rfe1 Nd7 12.Bf4 Nd4 13.Nxd4 cxd4 14.Ne2 e5 15.Bd2 Nc5 16.Qc2 Bd7 17.f4 f5 18.exf5 Bxf5 19.Bd5+ Kh8 20.Nc1 Rae8 21.b4 Nd7 22.Nb3 Nf6 23.Bf3 b6 24.Re2 Bg4 25.Bxg4 Nxg4 26.Rae1 Ne3 27.Bxe3 dxe3 28.Rxe3 d5 29.fxe5 Rxe5 30.Rxe5 Bxe5 31.Rf1 Rc8 32.d4 Bxg3 33.hxg3


A little later and I take a wee walk around to see what was happening. To my horror I realised that Alan was about to lose a piece, Phil was looking to be in a bit of a pickle and Tom was holding on and defending really well. Tom had a really solid position and it was hard to see how his opponent could make any headway. Quick calculation told me that it was heading for 3-3 and we were going to lose on board count.

Alan and Phil were in totally lost positions, both were a piece and pawns down. Tom was in a drawn game. Alan threw his pawns forward to assault the Kingside. Success, Alan managed to capitalise on an uncharacteristic mistake and forced a draw with a Bishop sac. 3-1.

[Click here to replay the game]
Alan Jelfs 0.5-0.5 John Calder

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 Nbd7 4.Nc3 e5 5.e4 Be7 6.d5 O-O 7.Be2 a5 8.O-O Nc5 9.Nd2 c6 10.a3 Ne8 11.Nb3 Nxb3 12.Qxb3 Qc7 13.Be3 f5 14.Bb6 Qd7 15.c5 Kh8 16.Rad1 dxc5 17.dxc6 Qxc6 18.Nd5 Be6 19.exf5 Bxd5 20.Rxd5 a4 21.Qf3 Qxb6 22.Rxe5 Bf6 23.Re6 Qxb2 24.Qh5 Bd4 25.Bf3 Nf6 26.Qh4 Rad8 27.g4 c4 28.g5 Ng8 29.f6 gxf6 30.g6 Rd7 31.Rd6 Rg7 32.Rxd4 Rxg6+ 33.Kh1 Qxa3 34.Bxb7 Qe7 35.Be4 f5 36.Bd5 Qxh4 37.Rxh4 Nf6 38.Bxc4 Rg4 39.Rxg4 fxg4 40.Ra1 Ne4 41.Rxa4 Nxf2+ 42.Kg2 Kg7 43.Be2 h5 44.Kg3 Nh1+ 45.Kh4 Rf2 46.Bxg4 Rxh2+ 47.Kg5 hxg4 48.Ra7+ Kf8

Tom was playing very solidly and looked like he was going to secure the win. I'm not sure what happened but next thing I knew he had lost. I never saw it coming and was heading to the board to congratulate him. The score was 3-2

[Click here to replay the game]
Frank Park 1-0 Tom Brisbane

1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 g6 3.Bd3 Bg7 4.f4 c5 5.c3 b6 6.Nf3 Bb7 7.O-O e6 8.Qe1 cxd4 9.cxd4 O-O 10.Nbd2 d5 11.b3 Nbd7 12.Bb2 Ne4 13.Ba3 Re8 14.Ne5 a6 15. Ndf3 f6 16.Ng4 h5 17.Nf2 f5 18.Be2 Ndf6 19.Ne5 Ng4 20.Bxg4 Bxe5 21.Nxe4 dxe4 22.Bxh5 Bxd4 23.Rd1 gxh5 24.Rxd4 Bd5 25.Qg3+ Kh7 26.Qh3 Kh6 27.Rfd1 Rc8 28.Bb2 Rc2 29.R4d2 Rxd2 30.Rxd2 Rg8 31.g3 b5 32.Qf1 Qa5 33.Qc1 Qb6 34.Bd4 Qd8 35.Qc3 Qc8 36.Qb2 Qd7 37.Bf6 Qa7 38.Kf2 Qf7 39.Rc2 Rg6 40. Bg5+ Kh7 41.Qc1 Rg7 42.Rc5 Kg6 43.Qc3 Qf8 44.Rc8 Qf7 45.Qe5 Bb7 46.Rc5 Bd5 47.Qd6 Bb7 48.Re5 Bd5 49.Rxd5

3-3 was no good as we would lose on board count.

Phil was so far behind we were praying for a miracle. Every time he set a trap to get back into the game, he was thwarted. The game had been going for 80 moves, Phil is facing 2 passed connected pawns in the centre and is the exchange down. No one gave him a chance. There were gloomy EK faces all watching the board. Phil just went for it and advanced a pawn to the 7th. Incredibly his opponent focussed totally on this pawn and missed a win, blundered and gave Phil  a B v 2xP endgame which gave us the draw we needed. Final score EK 3.5 - 2.5 Troon.

When the blunder had been played we all looked at each other stunned.

[Click here to replay the game]
Robin Templeton 0.5-0.5 Phil Thomas

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 e5 4.Bg2 d6 5.d3 Be7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nge2 Be6 8.Nd5 Qd7 9.O-O Bh3 10.Nc7+ Qxc7 11.Bxh3 Nd7 12.c3 h5 13.d4 Rd8 14.d5 Ncb8 15. f4 Nf6 16.fxe5 dxe5 17.Bg2 Nbd7 18.c4 h4 19.Bg5 h3 20.Bh1 Qd6 21.Qd2 Rh5 22.Bh4 Nf8 23.Bf3 Rh8 24.Nc3 a6 25.Qe2 Ng6 26.Bxf6 Bxf6 27.Bg4 Rh6 28. Rfb1 Ke7 29.Nd1 Rdh8 30.Ne3 Kf8 31.Nf5 Qd8 32.Nxh6 Rxh6 33.Qf1 Nf4 34. gxf4 Rg6 35.Qf3 exf4 36.Kh1 Bd4 37.Qxh3 Qf6 38.Qg2 Qh4 39.h3 f3 40.Qxf3 Rf6 41.Bf5 g6 42.Rf1 gxf5 43.exf5 Rh6 44.Rab1 Qxh3+ 45.Qxh3 Rxh3+ 46.Kg2 Rh5 47.b4 Rg5+ 48.Kh3 cxb4 49.Rxb4 b6 50.Rbb1 f6 51.Rbd1 Be5 52.Rf3 Rh5+ 53.Kg4 Rg5+ 54.Kh4 Ke7 55.Rb3 Rxf5 56.Rxb6 Rf4+ 57.Kh5 Rf5+ 58.Kg6 Rg5+ 59.Kh6 Bf4 60.Rb7+ Kd6 61.Kh7 Kc5 62.Rf1 Be5 63.Rc1 f5 64.Ra7 f4 65.Rxa6 f3 66.Rc6+ Kd4 67.d6 Rg7+ 68.Kh6 Rd7 69.Re1 f2 70.Rd1+ Ke3 71.Rb6 Ke2 72. Rbb1 Rxd6+ 73.Rxd6 Bxd6 74.Rb2+ Ke3 75.Rxf2 Kxf2


Move 63 is the start of the sequence

We have won the Spens for the first time in our history with all the fame and glory that it brings :-)