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Malcolm Pein writes a daily chess column in the Daily Telegraph. This article is used on the 4NCL web site with permission.
The 4NCL 2008-9 season went to the wire as the favourites Guildford A&DC I and Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher I met in the eleventh and final round staged near Daventry. A tense contest ended in a 4-4 draw which meant that WGHK I won the title with 13/14 match points and ended a two year winning run of their opponentís.
Guildford A&DC Iís slip up earlier in the season, when they lost to their own second team proved decisive as it effectively gave WGHK I draw odds going into the last round as they had a 100% record.
Despire being significantly out-rated WGHK managed to draw the match with wins on the bottom three boards.
|GM Igor Kurnosov, 2658||1 - 0||GM Lalic, Bogdan 2508|
|GM Nick Pert, 2537||draw||GM Alexander Baburin, 2541|
|GM Luke McShane, 2596||1 - 0||IM Stephen Gordon, 2540|
|GM David Howell, 2613||Ĺ - Ĺ||GM Pia Cramling, 2528|
|GM James Plaskett, 2491||1 - 0||GM David Berczes, 2513|
|GM Stuart Conquest, 2549||0 - 1||GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, 2492|
|GM Mark Hebden, 2510||0 - 1||IM Krisztian Szabo, 2518|
|IM Susan Lalic, 2342||0 - 1||IM Andrew Greet, 2431|
|Average rating 2537|| ||Average rating 2509|
4NCL Division 1 Championship Pool
|WOOD GREEN HILSMARK KINGFISHER 1||6||1||0||13|
|WHITE ROSE 1||3||1||3||7|
|BARBICAN 4NCL 1||2||1||4||5|
|PRIDE AND PREJUDICE||1||2||4||4|
|WOOD GREEN HILSMARK KINGFISHER 2||0||4||3||4|
|THE GAMBIT ADS||1||1||5||3|
Guildford A&DC Iís Jim Plaskett played the game of the match.
J Plaskett - D Berczes
French Defence Tarrasch
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nd7 6.Bd3 f6 7.Ng5! Ndxe5 (7...fxg5 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Bxg6+ hxg6 10.Qxg6+ Ke7 11.Ne4! Ndxe5 12.Bxg5+ Kd7 13.Nf6+) 8.dxe5 fxg5 9.Qh5+ g6 10.Bxg6+ Kd7 11.Bd3 Nxe5 12.Nf3 Bb4+ 13.Ke2 Nxd3 (13...Nxf3 14.Qxf3 Bc5) 14.Bxg5! Qe8 15.Qh4 Bd6 16.cxd3 Qg6 17.Bf4 Qg7 18.Bxd6 cxd6 (18...Qxb2+!?) 19.Rhc1 Rf8 20.Rc2 (Now White simply has the much safer king) 20...Qf6 21.Qb4 Qf4 22.Qb5+ Kd8 23.Rac1 Bd7 24.Qxb7 Ke7 25.Rc7 Rad8 26.Qxa7 Qg4 27.Qe3 e5 (27...Qxg2 28.Rg1 Qh3 29.Rg7+ Ke8 30.Ng5 Qxe3+ 31.fxe3 h6 32.Nxe6 Bxe6 33.Rce7#) 28.Kf1 Rg8 29.g3 d4 30.Qe2 Kf6 31.Nd2 Qh3+ 32.Kg1 Kg7 33.Ne4 Qh6 34.Rxd7+ Rxd7 35.Qg4+ Kh8 36.Qxd7 Qxc1+ 37.Kg2 Qf4 38.Nxd6 1-0
Final position after 38.Nxd6
N Pert - I Gourlay
4NCL 2008-9 (10)
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 Nbd7 7.Nc3 e5 8.e4 a6 9.h3 b5 (A standard counter, if White takes on b5 he loses e4) 10.Qc2 c6 11.c5 exd4 (11...Ne8 12.Bg5 f6 13.Be3 dxc5 14.dxc5 a5 was Pert-Trent 2008. Black won but his position was unenviable at this stage) 12.Nxd4 Nxc5 13.Nxc6 Qc7 14.e5! Bf5
Position after 14...Bf5
(14...dxe5 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.Qxc5 wins material as when the knight moves Ne7+ and Bxa8) 15.Qxf5! gxf5 16.exf6 Rae8 (16...Bxf6 17.Nd5 wins out of hand) 17.fxg7 Kxg7 18.Nd4 (Three pieces outweigh a queen when they have secure posts and here Black has terrible pawn weaknesses as well) 18...Qc8 19.Bf4 Rd8 20.Nd5 Qd7 21.Rad1 Kg6 22.h4 Ne6 23.h5+ Kg7 (23...Kxh5 24.Nf6+) 24.Nxf5+ Kh8 1-0 as 24...Kh8 25.Bh6 Rg8 26.Nf6 Qc7 27.Nxg8 Rxg8 28.Bd2 followed by Bc3+ soon wins more material.
Pride and Prejudice
Barbican 4NCL 1
White Rose 1
Cambridge Univ. 1
Barbican 4NCL 2
Pandora's Box Grantham
S. Wales Dragons
Poisoned Pawns 1
Jutes of Kent
Warwickshire Select 1
Barbican 4NCL Youth
Poisoned Pawns 2
Celtic Tigers 1
White Rose 2
FCA Solutions 1
Sambuca Black Sheep
Cambridge Univ. 2
Warwickshire Select 2
FCA Solutions 2
The Full Ponty
Sussex Smart Ctls.
Braille Chess Assoc.
Beauty and the Beasts
Celtic Tigers 2