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Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph

Malcolm Pein's daily chess column is available at the Telegraph's web site. You need to register, which is free. The daily chess column can be found by clicking the "Chess Club" link in the Arts section.

This article is used on the 4NCL web site with permission.

Rounds three and four of the 4 Nations Chess League took place the weekend before last at the Britannia Hotel in Coventry and Nigel Povah’s Guildford ADC first team remained at the head of the table with the second team in third place. After the decline of Wood Green, Guildford 's main challenge has come from a surprising source as North West Eagles are just a point behind.

Guildford ADC’s second team’s match against Betsson was something of a family affair as the three Ledger brothers appeared for Betsson while husband and wife Graeme Buckley and Susan Lalic played for Guildford ADC. Mr and Mrs both triumphed and turned the match in Guildford’s favour.

Barbican 4NCL 1 are the third unbeaten team but they were run close by Wood Green in the third round as Bjorn Tiller, the North London team’s Norwegian regular missed a win against Mark Ferguson and Barbican won 4.5-3.5. 3Cs Oldham were hugely out-rated by Guildford ADC 1 but won two games with one result standing out; the victory of Stephen Gordon over Stuart Conquest. On top board the British champion Jonathan Rowson was nearly punished for his risky attempts to complicate a dry position against Nigel Davies but with active play he managed to hold the endgame a pawn down.

Guildford-ADC 14008
North West Eagles 13107
Guildford-ADC 23016
Hilsmark Kingfisher 13016
Barbican 4NCL 12206
Slough Sharks 13016
Wood Green1032
Bristol 11032
The ADs0131
3cs Oldham0040
South Wales Dragons 10040
S Conquest – S Gordon
4NCL Div1 Coventry (3.2)
3Cs1–Guildford ADC 1
Sicilian Najdorf

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0–0 0–0 9.Qd3 Bd7 (This reasonable looking move is a novelty but Black ends up with a contorted albeit solid position after Conquest's straightforward approach, 9...Be6 is standard) 10.Qg3 Bc6 11.Bh6 Ne8 12.Be3 Nd7 13.Rad1 Ndf6 14.Nd2 b5 15.a3 Qb8 16.f4 a5 (Black has serious counterplay but his position is still a move or two away from being harmonious) 17.fxe5 (17.Bf3 b4 18.Nd5 Nxd5 19.exd5 Bb5 20.Rfe1 f5 21.fxe5 dxe5 22.d6 Bxd6 23.Bxa8 Qxa8 gives good play for the exchange; 17.Bd3 prepares for the opening of the d3-h7 diagonal after Nd5 but Black can play 17...Nh5 18.Qh3 Nxf4 19.Bxf4 exf4 20.Rxf4 g6 when White is a bit better but not 20...Nf6 21.Rxf6 Bxf6 22.e5) 17...dxe5 18.Nf3 Bd6 19.Nh4!? (Typical of Conquest, choosing the most aggressive continuation but 19.Qh4 was still better for White as the Ne8 is poorly placed) 19...Nxe4 20.Nxe4 Bxe4 21.Nf5 Bxf5 22.Rxf5 Qc8! 23.Rf2 (This turns out to be an unfortunate square for the rook but after` 23.Qf3 g6 24.Rg5 Qxc2 Black is better) 23...f5! 24.Bc1 Qxc2 25.Bf3 (25.Bg4!? Qc8!) 25...Bc5! Bxa8 is no threat because the Rd1 hangs so 0–1




Position after 25...Bc5!

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