The long-postponed Club Championship was held this year as an end-of-season finale, over the weekend of 6th-7th June. Disappointingly, only five players turned up, and we held a five-round all-play-all, with each player getting a bye.

Round 1

I had my most interesting game of the tournament against Rudy van Kemenade. Forced after a disastrous opening to give up my queen for two pieces, I got a surprising amount of compensation and missed a couple of winning chances in the complications before succumbing. Against Sally Rowles, a former member of the club making a return this weekend, Julie van Kemenade won a pawn and brought the king-and-pawn ending to a successful conclusion, though analysis showed some inaccuracies by both players.

Matthew Francis – Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Julie van Kemenade – Sally Rowles 1-0

Round 2

Rudy’s King’s-Indian-style play against Sally paid off as he opened the g-file for a winning kingside attack. James Cook, also returning to the Club after an absence, played an enterprising piece sacrifice to get linked passed pawns against Julie, and had some chances thereafter, but the material deficit decided the game in the end.

Saly Rowles – Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

James Cook – Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Round 3

This round produced the first draws of the tournament. The battle of the Van Kemenades was a ferociously complicated King’s-Indian, reaching an unbalanced position with Rudy’s two rooks against Julie’s queen. Julie had the best of it but was short of time and allowed the draw by repetition. I won a pawn against James in an exchange Ruy Lopez, but followed up wrongly and had no advantage in the end.

Rudy van Kemenade – Julie van Kemenade ½-½

James Cook – Matthew Francis ½-½

Round 4

With tiredness perhaps setting in, both games in this round were decided by blunders. James dropped a piece against Rudy. I was disappointed by the failure of my attempted attack against Sally’s Caro-Kann, and walked into a winning check when a simple alternative would have kept me in the game.

Rudy van Kemenade – James Cook 1-0

Matthew Francis – Sally Rowles 0-1

Round 5

In the final round, I had a disaster against Julie, winning a pawn with what should have been a comfortable position but overlooking a later knight fork, while Sally and James played out a quiet draw in the Colle System. The Championship this year was tied between Rudy and Julie, on 3½/4, with Sally third (2), James fourth (1) and me fifth (½).

Julie van Kemenade – Matthew Francis 1-0

Sally Rowles – James Cook ½-½

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