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Barbican at the
European Club Cup

(28th September -
4th October 2003)

This year’s European Club Cup was held in Crete, close to Rethymnon, and was at least as strong as last year’s event. Barbican 4NCL, having again qualified through the 4NCL, were delighted to be supported again by the Friends of Chess and this year were able to field a considerably stronger team than last year. Thus GM Jonathan Parker was this year supported by three IMs, Brian Kelly, Richard Palliser, and Mark Ferguson as well as by Steve Dishman, FM John Cox, Peter Taylor and captain Andy Mack. Club members Natasha Regan and Alex Tucker also traveled with the squad, and judging by the fact that the team responded to each defeat by producing an excellent win on the very next day, they must have done their job in keeping their spirits up – for in a competition where over a dozen sides can field six grandmasters, and where Kasparov's team can finish only fifth, the odd reverse is inevitable!

In fact, Barbican 4NCL yo-yoed throughout the event: win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win. In each of the three lost matches we were substantially outrated, often on almost every board. The first team to beat us, Beer Sheva, almost had the event of their lives, and played for the title in the last round, though a defeat by the overall winners Paris NAO, sent them down to a rather mean eighth place. Notably, the Israeli board one Huzman went on to beat Kasparov, though our own Jonathan Parker had held Huzman to a draw with the Black pieces.

We were delighted to win four matches. It does not seem possible to win more than four matches unless one has a heavily sponsored teams with five or six grandmasters – and even that sort of line up only suffices to give such a team a chance – no more than that. (So Clichy, a sponsored French team which has participated in this event for many years and who have Stuart Conquest on board five, finished with just four wins themselves, and finished just one place above us on gamepoints). Further, each of our wins was thoroughly convincing, and indeed each was achieved without any individual loss. The best win was made in the last round against the German team Neukoln 03, who slightly outrated us overall, but who were lucky to escape with a narrow 2.5-3.5 defeat. After Richard Palliser's attack landed first (see below) the rest of the team halved out to secure the precious matchpoints, but we were clearly better on these remaining boards. We were delighted to be able to establish such dominance against another middle ranking team, and our overall position, 20th, left us as the fourth highest West European Club and very possibly (though it is hard to know for sure) the top amateur Club throughout all of Europe (an amateur Club being one where none of the players receive any fees for playing). The aim of the team had been to finish in the top half, if possible – we were not sure before the event whether this would in fact be (realistically) possible, but we did it!

The team's success was secured by the facts that no one blundered at critical moments (that is, no matches were lost through any slips) and that everyone played close to their normal strength throughout. Jonathan Parker remained undefeated on board one and Mark Ferguson also avoided defeat, and came close to beating GMs Greenfeld and Knaak. Brian Kelly and John Cox also finished on +1, whilst Richard Palliser tended to hold the key to our match victories, scoring no less than three wins all with Black (!) in these matches.

Thanks once again to the Friends of Chess for contributing towards our expenses, and to the BCF for liaising with the organizers where necessary. Now we will try to qualify again from this year’s 4NCL, and in the meantime, we include two games from our wins against the Danish side Aarhus and Neukoln 03, both attractive displays achieved against IMs rated well over 2400.

Jonathan Rogers
President of Barbican 4NCL Chess Club

Barbican 4NCL's participation in this competition is supported by the Friends of Chess.


Parker vs. Rasmusen

Borriss vs. Palliser

Division 1

Pride and Prejudice
Barbican 4NCL 1
White Rose 1
Guildford-A&DC 1
Cambridge Univ. 1
The ADs
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
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
Cambridge Univ. 2
Wessex 2
Warwickshire Select 2
KJCA Kings
FCA Solutions 2
The Full Ponty
Sussex Smart Ctls.
e2e4.org.uk 2
Nottinghamshire 1
Nottinghamshire 2
Oxford 2
AMCA Rhinos
Braille Chess Assoc.
AMCA Hippos
Glos. Gambits
Bristol 2
KJCA Knights
Guernsey Mates
Bristol 3
e2e4.org.uk 3
Beauty and the Beasts
Celtic Tigers 2
Oxford 3
Guildford-A&DC 4
AMCA Cheetahs