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Jack Rudd reports on Round 1

4NCL 08-09 Round 1

Click here to download games in PGN format.

The 4NCL is interesting to report on this year: the new format means that some matches will have double significance: any match whose participating teams end up in the same half of their pool will count twice (once in the pool's table, and once in the final end-of-season table). Or, to put it another way, three of your team's first seven matches are going to count twice, but you don't know which three...

Pool A

Guildford-A&DC 2 vs. White Rose 1

"I couldn't see how we were going to get any points on the bottom four boards," said Gawain Jones, the evening after the match. His team's boards 6-8 obviously felt differently, scoring 2 points, and setting up one of the biggest shock results of the last few seasons; just-promoted White Rose scored a handsome victory over a team who were unbeaten in the last two seasons against any team except their own first team.

Sambuca Sharks vs. Richmond

The Sharks suffered from player availability issues last season, and this season took the drastic step of reducing their number of teams from three to one. They also had to cope with the blow of losing top board Gawain Jones to White Rose. Still, they will have been disappointed to lose to a Richmond team they slightly outrated overall. The following game, on which Slough had their biggest rating advantage of the fixture, was critical to this result:

Varnam,Liam (2118) - Mitchem,Nicholas (1971) [B86]
4NCL Sambuca Sharks v Richmond (1.127), 04.10.2008
[Mitchem, Nicholas]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7?! Maybe an error because of f4 with e5 the threat. I think this is the one bad move I played in the game. [7...b5 is better] 8.Be3 0-0 9.f3 Maybe a bit passive; black seems to get a fairly easy game. 9...Nbd7 10.Qd2 Nc5 11.0-0-0 Nxb3+ 12.cxb3?! I can see why this move was played but I think Nxb3 or axb3 may be better especially in view of later events. 12...Bd7 13.g4 Bc6 14.g5 Nd7

board

15.g6?! Interesting, but I don't think white has enough for the pawn sac if black defends accurately. [I just expected him to play 15.h4 and build up slowly.] 15...hxg6 16.h4 Nf6! I don't think black can take the 2nd pawn offered here (white would have too much of an attack) so Nf6 is good ,I think, because I would definitely take the pawn if it advanced to h5. Black has quite a harmonious position here; it looks quite threatening for white but it's hard to see how to continue. 17.Bg5 Nh5 No light-squared Bishop so I was happy with this move. 18.Rdg1 e5 Obviously I know I am weakening d5 by playing this move, but I think it's worth it as my pieces all come alive shortly. 19.Nde2 b5 Now I think Black should be better and I have options whether to attack on the queenside or through the centre. 20.Ng3 Nxg3 21.Rxg3 b4 22.Ne2 f6 This just seemed natural as all of white's pieces are being driven back and white doesn't have enough time to get an attack going at all. 23.Be3

board

23...d5! A multi-purpose move, breaking open the centre and activating the 2 Bishops at the same time. I think white is lost now. 24.Rhg1 dxe4 25.Rxg6 Simply not quick enough; black has a lovely position now. 25...Qxd2+ 26.Bxd2 Rf7 And now it is completely lost. 27.f4 Bc5! The final blow. There are so many good moves for black in this position. 28.R1g3 Bf2 ...e3 is coming and cannot be prevented. 29.Rh3 Rc7 30.Kd1 Rd8 0-1

Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher 1 vs. Cambridge University 1

Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher, formed from the merger of two former title challengers, look like the best chance of challenging Guildford's dominance this year. They mostly seem to be putting their stock in ambitious IMs searching for GM norms. This tactic paid off handsomely against the somewhat weaker Cambridge University team, as they won 6-1 without losing a game.

South Wales Dragons 1 vs. Barbican 4NCL 1

One of Barbican's traits over the past few years has been an ability to mix it with the big teams, coupled with a habit of dropping points against weaker opposition. This time round, South Wales Dragons were the lucky recipients of these points, managing a creditable 4-4 draw. Their boards 5-7 were instrumental in this, all winning against opponents more than 100 rating points above them.

Pool B

Betsson.com vs. Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice, for what I believe is the first time in their history, fielded a team with more men than women for this match. Their new side included three promising young players in the shape of Yang-Fan Zhou, Callum Kilpatrick and Elliott Auckland. They emerged victorious in a tight match over a very similar strength Betsson.com squad, in a match where all six decisive games were won by white.

Barbican 4NCL 2 vs. The GAMBIT ADs

Barbican 2 were slightly strengthened for what they presumably saw, even at this early stage of the season, as a match that could affect both the pool and the latter stages. This policy paid off handsomely as they defeated a slightly stronger GAMBIT ADs team. One of their winners was Mike Twyble, who two seasons ago achieved the notable feat of an IM norm in Division 2.

(2) Anderton,David W (2239) - Twyble,Michael (2261) [D10]
4NCL Barbican 2 v GAMBIT ADs (1.166), 04.10.2008
[Rudd, Jack

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Qc2 g6 6.Bd3 Bg7 7.Nf3 0-0 8.0-0 b5 [8...Nbd7 9.b3 b5 (9...Re8 10.Bb2 b5 11.Rad1 Bb7 12.e4 b4 13.Na4 dxe4 14.Bxe4 Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Qc7 16.Rfe1 c5 17.d5 e6 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.d6 Qc8 20.Qf4 f6 21.h4 a5 22.Qg3 h5 23.Nd2 e5 24.f4 Sideif Sade,F (2413)-Bryzgalin,K (2473)/Moscow 2006/- (35)) 10.Bb2 Bb7 11.e4 dxc4 12.bxc4 e5 13.c5 exd4 14.Ne2 Qe7 15.Bxd4 Rfe8 16.Ng3 Ng4 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Rac1 Rad8 19.Rfd1 Nde5 20.Be2 Nxf3+ 21.Bxf3 Ne5 22.Be2 Qf6 0-1 Karpov,A (2692)-Zhang Pengxiang (2530)/Moscow 2001] 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.Ne5 [10.a4 b4 11.Ne2 a5 12.Bd2 Ba6 13.Nf4 Qb6 14.Rfc1 Nbd7 15.Ne5 Rfc8 16.Qd1 Qb7 17.Nxd7 Nxd7 18.Qe2 Bxd3 19.Qxd3 Rc6 20.Rxc6 Qxc6 21.b3 Rc8 22.h3 Nc5 23.Qc2 Ne4 24.Qxc6 Rxc6 Mendez Ataria,E (2400)-Iglesias,J (2275)/Buenos Aires 1998/1-0 (40); 10.Bd2 Bb7 11.a4 (11.Rfc1 Nc6 12.Ne2 Rc8 13.Qb3 Ne4 14.Be1 e5 15.dxe5 Nxe5 16.Nxe5 Bxe5 17.Rxc8 Qxc8 18.Rc1 Qb8 19.f4 Bg7 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.Bc3 Bxc3 22.Qxc3 Rc8 23.Qf6 Rxc1+ 24.Nxc1 Qc7 25.Ne2 Qa5 Ivanov,M (2485)-Naumann,A (2505)/Dresden 2002/0-1 (67)) 11...b4 12.Na2 a5 13.Nc1 Ba6 14.Bxa6 Rxa6 15.Ne5 Ne4 16.f3 Nxd2 17.Qxd2 Bxe5 18.dxe5 e6 19.Nb3 Nd7 20.f4 Nb6 21.Qe2 Ra8 22.Nd4 Qd7 23.b3 Rfc8 24.Rf3 Rc5 Zhukova,N (2462)-Stefanova,A (2478)/Dresden 2004/0-1 (41)] 10...Bb7 11.Bd2 Nfd7 12.f4 Nxe5 [12...f6 would also be an idea here, if it weren't for 13.Nxd7 Qxd7 14.f5 , which cuts across the ...e5 plan somewhat.] 13.fxe5 Nc6 14.a3 Rc8 15.b4 Qd7 [15...Nxe5!? 16.dxe5 d4 17.exd4 Qxd4+ 18.Rf2 Bxe5 is another option for black; material will be roughly equal after a capture on either h2 or c3, and his pieces will be well-placed afterwards.] 16.Qb3 Rfd8 17.a4?

board

[17.Ne2 avoids the tactics that arise from the knight's position on c3. ] 17...Nxe5! 18.dxe5 d4 19.Bxg6 [19.Qxf7+ Kh8 20.e6 Qd6 leaves white in trouble thanks to the precarious positions of all his pieces: 21.Ne4 (21.Nxb5 axb5 22.e4 Rf8) 21...Bxe4 22.Bxe4 dxe3 23.Bxe3 Bxa1 24.Bxg6 Bg7] 19...dxc3 20.Qxf7+ [20.Bxf7+ Kh8 21.Bc1 Qg4 22.Ra2 Rd2 23.Rf2 Bxg2 and black wins.] 20...Kh8 21.Bxh7 Qg4 0-1

Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher 2 vs. North West Eagles

This match was pretty much dead before it started; Ben Hague's car broke down on the motorway, and the Eagles started off three players short. Just to rub it in, all three of them would have had white. The only game in the 5-2 defeat to go their way was the following effort by Mark Lyell:

(3) Fowler,Simon (2214) - Lyell,Mark (2248) [D07]
4NCL WGHK 2 v NW Eagles (1.173), 04.10.2008
[Rudd, Jack]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Nf6 8.f3 0-0 9.Ne2

board

[9.e4 Qd6 10.d5 Ne7 11.c4 (11.Bd3 Nd7 12.Ne2 Nc5 13.Be3 f5 14.0-0 Bd7 15.c4 f4 16.Bf2 g5 17.Nc1 b6 18.Bc2 Rf6 19.Nb3 Rg6 20.Nxc5 bxc5 21.Ba4 Bxa4 22.Qxa4 g4 23.fxg4 Rxg4 24.Qa3 Kf7 25.Bxc5 Qg6 Gagarin,V (2422)-Brynell,S (2496)/Stockholm 2006/- (41)) 11...Nh5 12.Qb3 c5 13.Ne2 f5 14.Nc3 b6 15.Bd3 Ng6 16.g3 Qe7 17.exf5 Bxf5 18.Bxf5 Rxf5 19.Ne4 Nf6 20.Bg5 Qf8 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.0-0-0 Rh5 23.h4 Rh6 Piket,J (2632)-Morozevich,A (2745)/Wijk aan Zee 2001/0-1 (40)] 9...h5!? An interesting idea, and typical of Lyell's direct attacking style. The aim is quite simple; to prevent white's natural development with Ng3. [9...Qd6 10.Qc2 Re8 11.Rd1 exd4 12.cxd4 Nb4 13.Qb1 a5 14.e4 Bd7 15.Bf4 Qe7 16.a3 Nc6 17.Nc3 Qxa3 18.Nb5 Qb4+ 19.Kf2 Nh5 20.Bxc7 Qe7 21.Bg3 f5 22.Bc4+ Kh8 23.exf5 Qe3+ 24.Kf1 Dydyshko,V (2549)-Klima,L (2489)/Ostrava 2005/1-0 (32); 9...Re8 10.Kf2 Bf5 11.Ng3 exd4 12.cxd4 Rad8 13.Qb3 Qd7 14.Qb2 h5 15.h4 Bg6 16.Bb5 a6 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.Rac1 Rb8 19.Qa3 Qd6 20.Qxd6 cxd6 21.Rxc6 Rb2 22.Rd1 Rxa2 23.e4 d5 24.e5 Dydyshko,V (2574)-Kolesnik,E (2406)/Minsk 2004/1-0 (45); 9...e4 10.Ng3 Bf5 11.Be2 exf3 12.gxf3 Bh3 13.e4 Qd7 14.Bg5 Bg2 15.Rg1 Bh3 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Qd2 Kh8 18.Qh6 1-0 Krensing,J (1987)-Scholvin,B (1957)/Rotenburg 2000] 10.Qb3 Qd6 11.Ng3 [11.e4!? is a surprisingly unmaterialistic idea from Fritz. 11...exd4 12.Bf4 Qc5 13.cxd4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Qxd4 15.Rd1 gives white the two bishops and some open lines for his pawn.] 11...h4 12.Ne4 Nxe4 13.fxe4 b6 The structure in the centre now resembles a mirror-image Nimzo-Indian, and black adopts the typical plan of attacking the front doubled pawn. 14.Bd3 Na5 15.Qd1 Qg6 16.Qf3?! [16.0-0 is safer, and probably better.] 16...Bg4 17.Qf2 f5 18.exf5 It's already getting ugly for white. [18.Qxh4 fxe4 19.Bc2 Nc4 also looks quite nice for black - the likely opposite-coloured bishops will favour him.] 18...Bxf5 19.Bxf5 Rxf5 20.Qe2 [20.Qxh4 Qxg2 21.0-0-0 was another possibility; at least this way, the queen gets active and has some hope of creating some sort of attack.] 20...Raf8 21.0-0-0 Rf2 22.Qb5 c6

board

23.Qa6? The queen now has no way back to the queenside to defend the crucial light squares. 23...Qe6 24.Kb1 Nc4 25.Bc1 [25.Be1 Rxg2 26.dxe5 b5 saves white a tempo, but not an awful lot else.] 25...b5 26.Ka1 Qg6 The threat of ...Qc2 and ...Qxc3 is now impossible to counter. 0-1

Bristol 1 vs. Guildford-A&DC 1

There are some pool matches this year such that nobody knows whether they'll count in the second stage or not. And there are some such that everybody knows it. Bristol v Guildford was in the latter category; it would be a major shock if either Guildford finished in the bottom half of the group, or we finished in the top half. Still, after two games of the match, we were level, thanks to the biggest victory so far of my career:

(4) Rudd,Jack (2344) - Rowson,Jonathan (2596) [C97]
4NCL Bristol 1 v Guildford 1 (1.181), 04.10.2008
[Rudd, Jack]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3! This may have surprised my opponent somewhat. In recent years I've mostly been playing the Centre Game, but that took a bit of a kicking at the EU Championship recently. So back to the Ruy Lopez it is. 2...Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 Bd7 13.d5 c4 14.Nf1 Nb7

board

15.N3h2!? Readers of Rowson's Chess For Zebras will be aware this was considered in a similar position to be a somewhat vegetarian way to place this piece, but I justified it to myself by reasoning that I had two ideas with it - f2-f4 and Nh2-g4. [15.g4 Ne8 16.Ng3 g6 17.Nh2 Ng7 18.f4 exf4 19.Bxf4 f6 20.Nf3 Nd8 21.Nd4 Nf7 22.Kh1 Kh8 23.Qd2 Ne5 24.Rf1 Qb7 25.Rf2 Rg8 26.Nf1 Raf8 27.Ne3 Qc8 28.Raf1 Qc7 29.Ng2 g5 Harikrishna,P (2673)-Fressinet,L (2624)/Pamplona 2005/1-0 (41)] 15...g6The first new move according to my database; it seems reasonable enough, preparing to redeploy the knight via g7, but maybe he doesn't have time for that. [15...h6 16.f4 Nh7 (16...exf4 17.Bxf4 Nh7 18.Nf3 Rae8 19.Ng3 Qd8 20.Nd4 Bg5 21.Rf1 Bxf4 22.Rxf4 Qg5 23.Qf3 Qe5 24.Ngf5 Nc5 25.h4 Kh8 26.Rf1 Rg8 27.Qg3 Bxf5 28.Nc6 Qf6 29.Rxf5 Qg6 30.Qf3 f6 31.Nd4 Ibrahim,M-Shalaby,A (2215)/Cairo 2000/0-1 (75)) 17.Nf3 Rfe8 18.Ng3 exf4 19.Bxf4 Bf6 20.Nh5 Be5 21.Qd2 Nf6 22.Bxe5 Nxh5 23.Bd4 Qd8 24.g4 Nf6 25.g5 Nh7 26.gxh6 g6 27.Kh2 Nc5 28.e5 Nd3 29.Bxd3 dxe5 30.Bxg6 Libersan,T (2174)-Lacroix,S (2030)/Montreal 2006/1-0 (46); 15...Nc5 16.g4 Rfb8 17.Ng3 a5 18.Be3 b4 19.Bxc5 Qxc5 20.Qe2 a4 21.Qe3 Qxe3 22.Rxe3 Bd8 23.Bd1 bxc3 24.Rxc3 Rxb2 25.Rxc4 Bb6 26.Rc2 a3 27.g5 Ba4 28.Rxb2 axb2 29.Rb1 Bxd1 30.Rxb2 Pavelek,K (2178)-Malinovsky,K (2231)/Czechia 2005/0-1 (31)] 16.Ng3 Ne8 17.Ng4 Ng7 18.f4 [18.Nh6+ Kh8 19.f4 Bh4 did not look all that appealing.] 18...exf4?! [18...h5 is probably best here, avoiding the zwischenzug that occurred in the game. 19.Nh6+ Kh7 20.f5 looks like it could be fun, but its actual quality is another matter.] 19.Nh6+ Kh8 20.Bxf4 I was now feeling rather happy with my position; it's going to be difficult for my opponent to organize a queenside break, whereas I can either work towards e5 or put pressure on the black f-pawn. 20...Nc5 21.Qd2 f6 [21...Bh4 is Fritz's recommendation until it looks a little deeper: 22.e5 g5 23.Bxg5! Bxg3 24.Bf6 Bxe5 25.Rxe5 dxe5 26.Bxg7+ Kxg7 27.Qg5+ Kh8 28.Qf6#] 22.Be3 Be8 23.Bd4 Nd7 24.Rf1 Ne5 25.Rf2 Bd7 26.Raf1 Rae8

board

27.Ne2 Trying to find something for my least usefully-placed piece to do. I reckoned the best thing it could do was get out of the way of my g-pawn, so I had a potential g4-g5 break on the cards. 27...Bc8 28.g4 Qd8 29.Rg2 Qa5 [29...f5 30.gxf5 was the point of my previous move.] 30.a3 Bd8 31.Rgf2 With the bishop on d8 rather than e7, ...f5 and ...Bg5 isn't a serious threat, so the rook goes back to the f-file to menace its opposite number. 31...Qc7 32.Kg2 Qe7 33.Ng3 Bb7?! [33...Qd7 , making the g5 break impossible for now, is probably better, although there's still a lot more for me to try.] 34.g5 f5 [34...fxg5 35.Bxe5 Rxf2+ 36.Qxf2 dxe5 37.d6 wins.] 35.h4 Qd7 36.h5 Nxh5 Otherwise a rook transfer to the h-file will be deadly. 37.Nxh5 gxh5 38.Rxf5 Rxf5

board

39.Rxf5 [39.Nxf5? Bxg5!] 39...Bc8 40.Qf4 Qg7 [40...Qe7 41.Rxe5 dxe5 42.Bxe5+ Qxe5 43.Nf7+] 41.Nf7+ Kg8 42.Nxd6 Bxf5 43.Nxe8 1-0

After this game, I went off to put games into the database. When I came back, 1-1 had become 1-6, and that was that. We made it 1-6 when our new signing Olivia Smith managed to hold the draw against Susan Lalic.

Division 1

WGHK 1
Pride and Prejudice
Barbican 4NCL 1
White Rose 1
WGHK 2
Guildford-A&DC 1
Cambridge Univ. 1
The ADs
Betsson.com
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
Cheddleton
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
3Cs
Cambridge Univ. 2
Wessex 2
Warwickshire Select 2
KJCA Kings
FCA Solutions 2
The Full Ponty
Sussex Smart Ctls.
e2e4.org.uk 2
Iceni
Nottinghamshire 1
Nottinghamshire 2
Oxford 2
AMCA Rhinos
Braille Chess Assoc.
AMCA Hippos
Glos. Gambits
Bristol 2
KJCA Knights
Guernsey Mates
Bristol 3
SCS
Hackney
e2e4.org.uk 3
Beauty and the Beasts
Celtic Tigers 2
Oxford 3
Halesowen
Guildford-A&DC 4
AMCA Cheetahs