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Guildford on the march

FM Steve Giddins reports on round 2 of the new 4NCL season

Round 2 of the new season saw Hilsmark Kingfisher underline the message of how tough the new-look Wood Green are likely to find things this year. Hilsmark pounded them 6.5-1.5, without loss of a game. Things could hardly have started worse for the defending champions, as their normally reliable veteran Graham Lee lost to Colin Crouch in 17 moves, the game lasting barely over 35 minutes. Meanwhile, favourites Guildford ADC 1 were even more severe on South Wales Dragons, conceding just two draws in a 7-1 hammering.

The ADs faced Barbican 1, in a match which will have pleased statisticians everywhere. The two sides each averaged precisely 2350 Elo, so it was only to be expected that a 4-4 draw would ensue. The most notable game was on top board, where Murray Chandler completed a 2/2 weekend, by crushing John Cox with the Black pieces. Murray must have enjoyed the weekend more than almost anyone, since he also had one of the easiest journeys to and from the venue – just 10 minutes by car from Chertsey, where he recently moved. Coincidentally, his near-neighbour in Chertsey is his fellow Gambit Publications director, John Nunn, who could be seen visiting the 4NCL on Saturday, accompanied by wife Petra and young son Michael.

Murray Chandler
Photo - Steve Giddins

A great weekend for Murray Chandler.

Bristol somewhat surprisingly beat the fancied Betsson.com team, despite an average rating gap of 100 points. Bristol’s victory was engineered by wins as Black on boards 1 and 3, by Berzinsh and Rudd, who beat Andrew Ledger and Simon Ansell respectively. Any thought that Slough Sharks might be serious contenders for the league title this year were put into harsh perspective by a 7-1 hammering at the hands of Guildford ADC 2. Slough were missing last year’s 6/6 superhero David Navara, and has no answer to the strength of Guildford.

Finally, NW Eagles completed an excellent start to the season, with a comfortable 5.5-2.5 win over another possible relegation candidate, Oldham 3Cs. The latter’s only winner was Stephen Gordon, fresh from his first GM norm at the EU Championship in Liverpool the previous week.

Cox,John J (2418) - Chandler,Murray G (2540) [E32]
4NCL/Div1/BAR1–ADS1 Sunningdale ENG (2.131), 17.09.2006

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0–0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b6 7 Bg5 Bb7 8 e3 d6 9 Ne2 Nbd7 10 Qd3

This cumbersome move is flavour of the month in this line at the moment, and has been played by many top players, including Kasparov. White’s plan is Nc3, f3 and develop the KB. Black needs to strike rapidly to exploit his development advantage, since if White completes his plan, he will stand well, with his two bishops.

10...Re8 11 Nc3 h6 12 Bh4 Nf8

Seemingly quite a rare plan, but possible a good one.

13 f3 Ng6 14 Bf2 e5 15 dxe5

The first new move. The game Khasmatullin-Jenni, Istanbul 2005, continued 15...e4, but here Black has several good options, including 15...Nf4.

15...Nxe5 16 Qc2 Ba6 17 Qa4?

Presumably an oversight, losing more precious time. White should prefer 17 b3.


The point. The White Queen is lost after 18 Qxa6? Nc5.

18 Nb5?!

18 e4 looks better.

18...Nc5 19 Qc2 c6 20 Nd4 Qf6

Cox vs. Chandler

21 Be2?

After this, the position crumbles. 21 0-0-0 was necessary.

21...d5! 22 cxd5 Ncd3+ 23 Kf1 Nxf2 24 Bxa6

24 Kxf2 Ng4+ wins.

24...Nxh1 25 dxc6 Ng4 26 Kg1 Nxe3 27 Qc3 Nd5 28 Qd2 Nc7 29 Bc4 Rad8 30 Rd1 b5 31 Bb3 Rxd4

My Fritz 9 assessment now reads –22.86 for White, so it is probably time to resign!


Martin and Sowray
Photo - Steve Giddins

Andrew Martin and Peter Sowray.

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