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Barbican 4NCL's final weekend

As you may know, we finished third for the second time in the last three years. To do that, we had to beat either Guildford 1 or Wood Green 2 in the last weekend. We already had a plus score against both teams over the last three years, but of course we were playing both teams at the worst possible time this year. We are still a purely amateur team and cannot bring in even one new player to strengthen ourselves for such encounters!

I think that our close 4.5-3.5 loss to Guildford 1 on the Saturday deserves more attention than it received. Guildford 1 only secured the match in the sixth hour, when Emil Sutovsky finally held Brian Kelly to a draw after conducting an awkward defence from the start. John Cox beat Stuart Conquest in this match, and two days later (playing for the second team) he would beat Peter Wells. This performance gave him a super IM norm (a performance around 2550). Apparently he is not so fazed by playing GMs of around his age, because he often remembers them as equals (if even that) from his junior days. Fortunately for him, of course, most English GMs are of around his age ...

To the final day: Wood Green 2 had their strongest second team ever. This team was even stronger than that which controversially beat betsson.com last year. It contained four players who had successfully played against our first team earlier in the season! But the writing was on the wall from a comparatively early stage when Mark Ferguson and Adam Collinson quickly dispatched Jon Levitt and Matthew Turner with White. Possibly Wood Green 2 lost their sense of danger on these boards, but both Barbican players, despite their reputedly conservative playing styles, have superb records with White of late. Probably Wood Green 2 could do no more than draw the match at this point (in which case we would still have finished third on game points) but a blunder in time trouble from Baburin against Brian Kelly sealed the match.

But in fact Barbican 4NCL as a whole beat five grandmasters on that same day - surely a 4NCL record? In the second division Hilsmark Kingfisher fielded four grandmasters and outrated Barbican 2 by a ridiculous amount, but (needing to draw the match in order to secure promotion without having to rely on favours elsewhere) we at least gave it a shot! As already mentioned, John Cox beat Wells, and after three sleepless nights and a terrible 4NCL season, I mated Keith Arkell in 28 moves with Black! I daresay that this speculative effort is publishable...

In total then, Barbican players faced 16 grandmasters over this last weekend. We scored nine points from these encounters!! In five of these encounters, our player did not even have the IM title, and of course we only have one grandmaster in our whole Club.

We are hoping to represent England again in the European Club Cup this year. You will recall that we finished as the top amateur Club in Europe two years ago, and I would expect us to retain this (unofficial) status again. Our entry is yet to be confirmed, but we secured the last automatic qualifying place for the ECC by finishing third this year.

Jonathan Rogers
Barbican 4NCL

Keith Arkell vs. Jonathan Rogers
Hilsmark Kingfisher 1 vs. Barbican 4NCL 2, board 1
Division 2, round 11

1 d4 f5 2 g3 Nf6 3 Bg2 e6 4 Nf3 Be7 5 c4 0-0 6 0-0 a5!? 7 d5 Bc5 8 Nc3 Qe7 9 Bf4 Na6 10 Na4 += d6 11 Nxc5 Nxc5 12 dxe6 Bxe6 13 Rc1 Nfe4 14 Be3 g5 15 Nd4 Bd7 16 Nb5 ?! Bc6 17 Bd4 f4 18 f3

Arkell vs. Rogers

18... fxg3 !?! 19 fxe4 gxh2+ 20 Kxh2 g4 21 Rc3 (?) Nxe4 22 Rd3 Qh4+ 23 Kg1 Rxf1+ 24 Qxf1 Rf8 25 Qc1 Rf2?! 26 Na7? g3 27 Bxf2 gxf2+ 28 Kf1 Qh2 0-1

Division 1

WGHK 1
Pride and Prejudice
Barbican 4NCL 1
White Rose 1
WGHK 2
Guildford-A&DC 1
Cambridge Univ. 1
The ADs
Betsson.com
Barbican 4NCL 2
Oxford 1
Pandora's Box Grantham
S. Wales Dragons
Guildford-A&DC 2
Poisoned Pawns 1
Jutes of Kent

Division 2

Sambuca Sharks
Cheddleton
Warwickshire Select 1
e2e4.org.uk 1
Barbican 4NCL Youth
AMCA Dragons
Kings Head
Poisoned Pawns 2
Anglian Avengers
Wessex 1
Celtic Tigers 1
Bristol 1
White Rose 2
Brown Jack
Guildford-A&DC 3
FCA Solutions 1

Division 3

Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg
Sambuca Black Sheep
3Cs
Cambridge Univ. 2
Wessex 2
Warwickshire Select 2
KJCA Kings
FCA Solutions 2
The Full Ponty
Sussex Smart Ctls.
e2e4.org.uk 2
Iceni
Nottinghamshire 1
Nottinghamshire 2
Oxford 2
AMCA Rhinos
Braille Chess Assoc.
AMCA Hippos
Glos. Gambits
Bristol 2
KJCA Knights
Guernsey Mates
Bristol 3
SCS
Hackney
e2e4.org.uk 3
Beauty and the Beasts
Celtic Tigers 2
Oxford 3
Halesowen
Guildford-A&DC 4
AMCA Cheetahs