Hayes Chess Club won the Thames Valley Cup last weekend by the closest of margins, watched by a record biggest crowd.  The final score was 3-3, with the away team nicking the trophy only via the chess version of penalty shootout: the dreaded board elimination rule!


This is the second year in a row the TV Cup has been decided that way, showing what a tight competition it is.  Staines had wins from top and bottom board and, despite the narrow loss, showed their ability to compete with a Division 1 team, which is a good signal for their 2008-09 campaign, their first ever in Div 1.


After draws on Boards 3&4 and a great win for Staines on Board 6, the home team were leading 2-1 with half the results in.  But a defensive error allowed Amit Sharma (Hayes No. 5) to score a point, levelling the match.  Staines Board 1, Tim Chesters, restored the Staines lead, so Paul Hopper only had to draw.  Unfortunately at the time, he was quite a bit down on material and had a bad position, and the Peter Ackley duly converted, making the score 3-3.


The match itself was held in the unusual and rather pleasant surroundings of Sam's Bar and Grill, Strykers' Field, Egham.  Close to the Thames and with a big garden.  We took over their outside area and had a mini-festival.  Most of Staines Chess Club were there to cheer on the home side, and a couple of others were there for an attendance total of about 20.  Surely a record for a Thames Valley match!  Thanks to Sam's Bar and Grill (http://www.samsbarandgrill.co.uk/) for hosting the event.



Stephen Welch

Staines Chess Club