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2001/02 season - Weekend 3
The third weekend of the 2001/02 4NCL season took place in Birmingham on 19th and 20th January.
The highlight of the weekend was always going to be the top of the table Division 1 clash between Beeson Gregory I and Wood Green I, scheduled for Sunday. After both teams completed comfortable victories against Midland Monarchs and Bristol I respectively on Saturday, there was great anticipation as team lists were posted on Sunday morning. Whilst Wood Green fielded a new top board in Moldovan GM, Viktor Bologan, Beeson Gregory introduced all-time great Viktor Korchnoi into their line up! Despite Korchnoi’s appearance, Wood Green took a narrow rating advantage into the match.
The match was always going to be a close affair. After 5 draws, Wood Green managed to take the lead when Matthew Turner overcame Mark Hebden. With only two games remaining, Beeson Gregory found themselves trailing by 2½-3½ in a match they really needed to win.
All eyes were on the top board clash between Korchnoi and Bologan. The critical position came with Bologan to move:
Here Bologan played the losing move 42...Rc4. Immediately after the game, Viktor Korchnoi pointed out that Black could have drawn by 42...e2 43.h5 Rd2 44.h6 Rd8+! (the move that Bologan missed) 45.Kc7 Rd1 46.h7 Rxg1 47.h8=Q+ Rg7+ (check!) 48.Qxg7+ Kxg7 49.b7.
[In this variation, 45.Ka7 looks better - then 45...Rd1 46.h7 Rxg1 47.h8=Q+ Rg7+ 48.b7! e1=Q 49.Qh6+! followed by 50.b8=Q or 50.Qf8+ appears to win. Perhaps some kind soul will point out what the webmaster has overlooked!]
The game concluded 43 b7 Rxf4 44 h5 e2 45 Kc7 Rc4+ 46 Kd6 Rb4 47 Kc6 Rb3 48 h6 Rc3+ 49 Kb6 Rb3+ 50 Kc7 Rc3+ 51 Kd8 Rd3+ (Bologan has 32 seconds remaining to reach move 60, Korchnoi over an hour) 52 Ke8 Rb3 53 h7 e1=Q+ 54 Rxe1 Kg7 55 Re7+ Kh8 56 Kd8 f4 57 Kc8 f3 58 b8=Q and Black resigned.
Shortly after Korchnoi's win, Ruth Sheldon clinched the match with a victory against Harriet Hunt. After just under 5½ hours play, the match was over.
So Beeson Gregory took a narrow 4½-3½ win to move to the top of the table. They have now played all their main rivals, so this win makes them odds-on favourites to retain their title. Their main pursuers, Guildford-ADC I, Barbican I and Wood Green I will be hoping for a miracle!
The weekend also saw a number of very close matches at the wrong end of the Division 1 table. After the dust had settled, Midland Monarchs, Beeson Gregory II and Wessex find themselves occupying the relegation spots.
Division 2 saw almost all the matches going down to the wire. Perceptron Youth maintained their lead at the top of the table but conceded their first draw to a revitalised King's Head side. It's beginning to look like 5 teams will be fighting for the coveted 3 promotion spots. At the other end of the table, luckless Witney can't get going. After narrowly failing to gain promotion to Division 1 last year, they are now favourites to drop into Division 3.
It couldn't be tighter at the top of Division 3. South Wales Dragons II are half a game point in front of Warwickshire Select, with Mind Sports Ltd. in hot pursuit.
Rounds 7 and 8 will take place on the weekend of March 23rd and 24th.
Viktor Korchnoi vs. Viktor Bologan
Beeson Gregory I vs. Wood Green I, board 1
Division 1, round 6
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Bg5 h6 7.Be3 Nbd7 8.Qd2 c5 9.Rd1 cxd4 10.Bxd4 a6 11.Nf3 b6 12.Be3 Bb7 13.Bxh6 Nc5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Ng5 Ncxe4 16.Ncxe4 Bxe4 17.Nxe4 Nxe4 18.Qd4+ Nf6 19.g4 e5 20.Qxd6 Qxd6 21.Rxd6 b5 22.h3 Rfd8 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.cxb5 axb5 25.Bxb5 Nd5 26.a4 Rb8 27.Kd2 Nc7 28.Kc3 Nxb5+ 29.axb5 Rxb5 30.b4 f5 31.Rg1 Kf6 32.Kc4 Rb8 33.b5 e4 34.gxf5 gxf5 35.f4 Rc8+ 36.Kd5 Rc2 37.b6 Rd2+ 38.Kc6 Rc2+ 39.Kd7 Rd2+ 40.Kc7 Rc2+ 41.Kb8 e3 42.h4 Rc4 43.b7 Rxf4 44.h5 e2 45.Kc7 Rc4+ 46.Kd6 Rb4 47.Kc6 Rb3 48.h6 Rc3+ 49.Kb6 Rb3+ 50.Kc7 Rc3+ 51.Kd8 Rd3+ 52.Ke8 Rb3 53.h7 e1Q+ 54.Rxe1 Kg7 55.Re7+ Kh8 56.Kd8 f4 57.Kc8 f3 58.b8Q and Black resigns.
Danny Gormally vs. Robert Willmoth
Guildford-ADC I vs. Wessex, board 4
Division 1, round 5
1.d4 d6 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 Nbd7 4.e4 e5 5.Ne2 Be7 6.Nbc3 c6 7.0-0 0-0 8.a4 Re8 9.h3 b6 10.Be3 Bb7 11.g4 h6 12.Ng3 Qc7 13.f4 exf4 14.Bxf4 Bf8 15.g5 hxg5 16.Bxg5 Nh7 17.Bf4 a6 18.Nf5 b5 19.Qg4 g6
20.Bxd6 Bxd6 21.Nh6+ Kh8 22.Rxf7 Nhf8 23.e5 Bxe5 24.dxe5 Qb6+ 25.Kh1 Nxe5 26.Qh4 Nh7 27.a5 Qa7 28.Raf1 Nxf7 29.Nxf7+ Kg8 30.Ne4 Rxe4 31.Qxe4 Rf8 and Black resigns.
Nigel Short vs. Andrew Ledger
Wood Green I vs. Midland Monarchs, board 1
Division 1, round 5
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.0-0 Nc6 7.c3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Nge7 9.Be3 Nc8 10.Nc3 Be7 11.Na4 Nb6 12.Nc5 Bxc5 13.dxc5 Nd7 14.Nd4 Ndxe5 15.g4 Nxd4 16.Qxd4 Bd3 17.Qxe5 Bxe2
18.c6 Qh4 19.f3 bxc6 20.Bg5 Qh3 21.Qd6 f6 22.Qxe6+ Kf8 23.Bf4 and Black resigns.
Charles Cobb vs. Neil McDonald
Bristol I vs. Beeson Gregory II, board 4
Division 1, round 6
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ndf3 cxd4 8.cxd4 f5 9.Bd3 Be7 10.Ne2 0-0 11.Rg1 Nb6 12.g4 Bd7 13.a3 Be8 14.Ng5 Bxg5 15.fxg5 Bg6 16.h4 fxg4 17.Bxg6 hxg6 18.Nf4 Qe8 19.Rxg4 Rc8 20.Qd3
20...Nxd4 21.Qxd4 Rc4 22.Qd3 Re4+ 23.Kd1 Nc4 24.Rg2 Nxe5 25.Qb3 Qc6 26.Bd2 Nc4 27.Nd3 Rf1+ 28.Ne1 Rfxe1+ and White resigns.
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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