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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.

Last year's Four Nations Chess League winners Wood Green look like the team to beat again this season. Alongside England's top two Michael Adams and Nigel Short, they can also call on Russian Alexander Morozevich, winner of the recent tournament at Biel in Switzerland, and Moldovan Viorel Bologan, who won in Dortmund. Just in case that line up is not formidable enough, they have also recruited England's most improved player, Grandmaster Luke McShane. Perhaps it is no surprise that the bookies make Wood Green odds-on favourites to retain their title.

Wood Green started off their program at the West Bromwich Moat House with a comfortable 6-2 win over The ADs. Although weakened by having a number of players away on international duty, they wrapped up the match with four wins and four draws, and looked in ominous form for the tougher battles ahead. I expect their closest challengers will be Guildford-ADC and Barbican 4NCL, with Betsson.com as a good outside bet.

Perhaps the most instructive game from Wood Green's opener was Norwegian Bjorn Tiller's victory against Jana Bellin on bottom board. When we first start out in chess, we learn some to develop all our pieces and to keep our king safe behind a solid phalanx of pawns. But Tiller showed excellent strategic understanding and broke these rules by launching a quick-fire pawn storm against Bellin's king. Although Tiller broke the rules by keeping his queenside pieces at home, his kingside pawn storm drove the White knights into passive positions. Black's pawn on f3 set up a variety of checkmate attacks. In the final position Bellin could find no sensible defence to the threat of 30...Ne2+ followed by 31...Qh1 mate.

J.Bellin - B.Tiller
4NCL West Bromwich

1 d4 g6 2 Nf3 Bg7 3 c3 d6 4 Bg5 h6 5 Bh4 f5 6 e3 Nf6 7 Bxf6 Bxf6 8 Nbd2 e5 9 dxe5 dxe5 10 e4 0-0 11 Qb3+ Kg7 12 Bc4 Qe7 13 0-0 f4 14 Rfd1 g5 15 Qb4 c5 16 Qb3 g4 17 Ne1 f3 18 gxf3 Bh4 19 Nf1 gxf3 20 Ng3 Bg4 21 Bd5 Nc6 22 Rd2 h5 23 Rad1 Bxg3 24 hxg3 h4 25 gxh4 Qxh4 26 Qxb7+ Ne7 27 Qxa8 Rxa8 28 Bxa8 Ng6 29 Rd3 Nf4 0-1

Position after 16...g4


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