Penrith I met with Barrow at our new half way venue, Burneside Cricket Club, for the Whitaker Trophy Final.

The match got under way just after 2 pm with 90 minutes on the clock plus a 30 second per move increment. After all the calculations were made, Penrith I had a half point handicap which meant that they had to win the match, a draw would not be enough. Barrow were designated the ‘home’ team so we had white on odd boards.

It was, as expected, a long tough match and some hours passed before the first result came in. Jon Duffield had built up an attack against Steve but Steve had it under control provided that he kept his back rank defended. Unfortunately, Steve eventually moved his rook to attack Jon’s queen, forgetting that his rook was needed to cover his back rank and Jon forced a checkmate with Bh7+ Kh8 and Rf8 mate.

Board 3 finished shortly after when Michael, with 5 pawns to Alan Llewellyn’s 2 plus a knight, played an excellent endgame to pull one back for Penrith.

Eggert, with black against Russ Haley on board 2, was beginning to make headway after a close positional game, when he pushed his b pawn to open up the c file. Some time later, Russ resigned.

A draw was now good enough for Jacob, on board 1 against Cumbria’s highest rated player, Matthew Mackenzie . After castling on opposite sides, Matthew on the queen’s side, Matthew mounted an attack and posted two menacing knights in front of Jacob’s king. Despite Matthew’s aggressive play, Jacob found a way to win the exchange and then a piece. A whole rook ahead, it was now just a matter of technique and Jacob won the game.

Penrith won by 3 games to 1 which, after the handicap was deducted, resulted in a 2½ – ½ win. Penrith have now won the trophy 4 times since 1994 when the competition began

See below for the Whitaker table: