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Jack Rudd reports on Round 1

4NCL 08-09 Round 2

Click here to download games in PGN format.

This was the match of the weekend that was expected to produce the crucial four-pointers, as the top seeds were paired against each other.

Pool A

Richmond vs. Guildford-A&DC 2

Another match that, on ratings, Guildford 2 should have walked proved unexpectedly troublesome, with their top four players all being held to draws against significantly lower-rated opponents. In the end they managed to scrape home 4-3 thanks to wins by Mohammed Tissir and Mihaela Sandu.

Barbican 4NCL 1 vs. Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher 1

A match between two strong teams provided a worthy contest in which Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher just edged home. There were a number of good games in this match (Parker v Gordon and Arakhamia-Grant v Ferguson are also worth looking up); the one I have chosen features a player who wrapped his IM title up earlier this year and is now chasing the GM title. His 2/2 this weekend is an excellent start in this direction.

Devereaux,Maxim (2415) - Rechel,Bernd (2422) [E97]
4NCL Barbican 1 v WGHK 1 (2.127), 05.10.2008
[Rudd, Jack]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.a4 Nd7 [9...Nh5 10.a5 f5 11.exf5 Nxf5 12.Bg5 Bf6 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.Bd3 Bd7 15.b4 Qe7 16.Re1 Rae8 17.Rc1 Nh5 18.g3 Nh6 19.Nd2 Bg4 20.Be2 Bxe2 21.Qxe2 Nf5 22.Nb3 Qd7 23.Qe4 Nf6 24.Qd3 Popov,V (2534)-Alekseev,E (2475)/St Petersburg 2000/- (44)] 10.a5 f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 [11...Nc5 12.b4 Nxe4 13.Ngxe4 fxe4 14.Nxe4 Nf5 15.Bg5 Qe8 16.c5 h6 17.Bd2 Qe7 18.cxd6 cxd6 19.b5 Nd4 20.Bb4 Rd8 21.Bd3 Bf5 22.Re1 Rac8 23.h3 Bf6 24.a6 b6 25.Rc1 Bxe4 26.Bxe4 Popov,V (2580)-Abashev,D (2398)/Sochi 2004/EXT 2005/1-0 (43)] 12.Qb3 A logical follow-up to white's a4-a5; this development of the queen would normally be blunted by ...b6, but here that would open the a-file for white's rook. [12.f3 Kh8 13.c5 h6 14.cxd6 Qxd6 15.Nb5 Qc5+ 16.Kh1 Nexd5 17.exd5 a6 18.Be3 Qxe3 19.Nxc7 Rb8 20.Nge6 Rf7 21.d6 Bxe6 22.Nxe6 Rd7 23.Ra3 Qa7 24.Rb3 b6 25.f4 Ne4 26.fxe5 Bxe5 Averkin,O (2455)-Prokhorov,A/Krasnodar 1996/0-1 (64); 12.Bf3 f4 13.b4 h6 14.Ne6 Bxe6 15.dxe6 Nc6 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 Nxb4 18.Rb1 Na6 19.Qc2 g5 20.Rxb7 Nc5 21.Rb1 Qe8 22.Ba3 h5 23.Bxc5 dxc5 24.d6 cxd6 25.Bxa8 Qxa8 26.Qg6 Rf6 Hobuss,U (2394)-Kerker,A (2151)/Bad Zwischenahn 2003/1-0 (36); 12.exf5 Nxf5 13.Ra3 Qe7 14.Re1 h6 15.Nge4 Nd4 16.Bd3 Nh5 17.Ne2 Bg4 18.Be3 Bxe2 19.Bxe2 Nxe2+ 20.Rxe2 Qh4 21.f3 b6 22.b4 Qe7 23.Rea2 Rac8 24.axb6 axb6 25.Ra7 Qd8 26.h3 Nf4 Hobuss,U (2385)-Degiacomi,F (2007)/Zuerich 1998/1-0 (40)] 12...h6 [12...fxe4 is also worthy of consideration here, aiming for ...Nf5-d4.] 13.Ne6 Bxe6 14.dxe6 Nc6

board

15.Be3 [15.Qxb7 also leads to some interesting play: 15...Nd4 16.exf5 gxf5 17.Be3 Rb8 18.Qxa7 Rxb2 (18...Ra8 19.Bxd4 Rxa7 20.Bxa7 seems to give white too much for the queen.) 19.Rfe1 and the computer likes white, but it's a position from which all three results are possible.] 15...f4 16.c5 Qe8 17.e7+ Rf7 18.Bc4 fxe3 19.fxe3 Nxe7 20.Bxf7+ Qxf7 21.Qxb7

board

The dust has settled and white will have a rook and two pawns for his two minor pieces. This is usually pretty even, but the open lines for the white rooks and cramped positions of the black minor pieces swing it in the rook's favour. 21...Qe8 22.Qxc7 Qd8? [22...dxc5 23.Qxe5 Nc6 24.Qxc5 also loses a pawn, but it loses it in somewhat better circumstances than the game, in that the bishop actually gets to emerge.] 23.Qxd6 Qxd6 24.cxd6 Nc6 25.Ra4 Rd8 [25...Rb8 26.Nd5 Nxd5 27.exd5 Nd8 28.Rc4 Bf8 29.Rc7 Bxd6 30.Rxa7 and the passed queenside pawns will be the decisive factor.] 26.b4 Rxd6 27.b5 Nd8 [27...Ne7 28.b6 axb6 29.a6 Rd8 30.Rd1 Ra8 31.Rd6 and white's plan of Rxb6, a7 and Rb8 is hard to stop.] 28.Rc4 h5 29.Rd1 Rxd1+ 30.Nxd1 Nb7 31.Rc8+ Bf8 32.a6 Nd6

board

33.b6 axb6 [33...Nb5 34.b7 Nd7 35.Rd8 Nc7 36.Rxd7 Nxa6 37.Rd8] 34.Rxf8+ 1-0

White Rose 1 vs. Sambuca Sharks

White Rose consolidated their shock victory on the Saturday with a win against a Sharks team who, after two matches, already look to be in serious danger of relegation. Gawain Jones's return to face his old team was a typically murky tactical affair.

Krensing,Jan (2287) - Jones,Gawain C (2548) [E68]
4NCL White Rose v Sambuca Sharks (2.132), 05.10.2008
[Rudd, Jack]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.0-0 d6 6.d4 This move-order was presumably chosen deliberately to avoid Jones's favourite Benko Gambit. 6...Nbd7 7.Nc3 e5 8.e4 exd4 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.h3 a6 11.Re1 Rb8 12.f4

board

12...c5!? A weakness, it is said, is only a weakness if you can attack it. Black banks here on white's not being able to attack d6 with any force. [Fritz's suggestion is 12...Nc5 with the idea of 13.b4 Nfxe4 14.Nxe4 Nxe4 15.Rxe4 Rxe4 16.Bxe4 c5; 12...Nb6 13.Qd3 d5 14.cxd5 Nfxd5 15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Rd1 Nb6 17.Rb1 - Schlosser,P (2485)-Groszpeter,A (2495)/Kecskemet 1992] 13.Nc2 Nf8 [13...b5 14.Qxd6 (14.cxb5 axb5 15.Qxd6 Rb6 16.Qd1 b4 17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.exd5 Rxe1+ 19.Qxe1 Bb7 20.Rb1 Qa8 21.Qd1 Nf6 22.Be3 Bf8 23.a3 bxa3 24.Nxa3 Nxd5 25.Kf2 Nb4 - Toth,C (2380)-Braga,C (2365)/Guarapuava 1992) 14...Bb7 (14...b4 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.Qxd5 Qa5 17.e5 Nb6 18.Qd3 Bf5 19.Be4 Bxh3 20.b3 Na8 21.Bb2 Qd8 22.Qf3 Qc8 23.Ne3 Bd7 24.Rad1 Nc7 25.Rd2 Rf8 26.Red1 Be6 27.f5 gxf5 28.Nxf5 Bxf5 29.Bxf5 Weiss,C (2429)-Goossens,E (2229)/Saint Vincent 2005/1-0 (33)) 15.e5 b4 16.Na4 Bxg2 17.Kxg2 Bf8 18.Qd3 Nh5 19.Be3 Qc7 20.Qe4 Rbd8 21.Bf2 f6 22.g4 Ng7 23.Bg3 fxe5 24.fxe5 Ne6 25.Ne3 Bg7 26.Nd5 Qa5 27.b3 Nd4 28.e6 Becking,S (2315)-Duschek,V (2321)/Germany 2003/1-0 (37)] 14.a4 b6 15.Be3 Bb7 16.Bf2 Ne6 17.Qd2 Qd7 18.Rad1 Rbd8 19.e5!? [19.g4 is the safer option, but the text seems also to be good.] 19...Bxg2 20.exf6

board

20...Ng5! 21.fxg5 [21.Kxg2?? Qxh3+ 22.Kg1 Nf3#] 21...Qxh3 22.Be3? [22.Rxe8+! Rxe8 23.Be3 Qh1+ 24.Kf2 Qh2 25.Qe2! would justify white's decision at move 19. 25...Be4+ (25...Bf8 26.Ke1 Qxg3+ 27.Qf2) 26.Ke1 Qxe2+ 27.Kxe2 Bxc2 28.Rd2 and white emerges with an extra piece.] 22...Qh1+ 23.Kf2 Qh2 24.Re2? [24.Rg1! is one of those Fritz moves that is easy to miss in a real game; 24...Bd5+ 25.Kf1 Bxc4+ 26.Ne2 is unclear.] 24...Bd5+ 25.Ke1 Qh1+ 26.Kf2 Qf3+ 27.Ke1 [27.Kg1 Qxg3+ 28.Rg2 Bxg2 29.Qxg2 Rxe3 30.fxg7 Qxg2+ 31.Kxg2 Re5 is an ending that will favour black - the kingside pawns will quickly become a powerful force.] 27...Bxc4 28.b3 Qxg3+ 29.Kf1 Bxb3 30.fxg7 Qh3+

board

31.Kf2? [31.Kg1 Bxc2 32.Rde1 Be4 33.Nxe4 Rxe4 also leaves black with a very strong position, but white still has defensive chances.] 31...Bxc2 32.Qxc2 Rxe3 33.Nd5 [33.Ne4 d5 34.Nf6+ Kxg7 35.Kg1 Rg3+ 36.Rg2 Rxg5 37.Rxg5 Qe3+ and white has just lost too many pawns.] 33...Qf3+ 34.Ke1 Qh1+ 0-1

Cambridge University 1 vs. South Wales Dragons 1

A match between two evenly-matched teams resulted in a 4-4 draw; Cambridge mostly getting their points at the top and the Dragons at the bottom. You'd expect both teams to be in the relegation battles at the end of the season; this result may have helped both or neither.

Pool B

The GAMBIT ADs vs. Betsson.com

A convincing win for the ADs; their extra strength on the top boards showed through as they won 3- there, while keeping parity on the lower boards where things were more evenly matched.

Guildford-A&DC 1 vs. Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher 2

A match the Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher players will want to forget; they went down 8-0, a scoreline that does not happen very often unless defaults are playing a large part. (Although funnily enough, a Hilsmark Kingfisher team also lost 8-0 in this round last season.)

Sowray,Peter J (2316) - Pert,Nicholas (2532) [C11]
4NCL Guildford 1 v WGHK 2 (2.162), 05.10.2008
[Rudd, Jack]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Nc6 7.Bf4 Bxc5 8.Bd3 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Qe2 0-0 11.0-0-0!? I hadn't seen this way of handling the Two Knights French before, but it seems to make some sense; it gets a rook straight to the open central files, and hopes to exploit the slightly weakened black kingside with an attack. 11...Bd7 12.Kb1 Qe7 [12...Rc8 13.Ne5 a6 14.Nxc6 Rxc6 15.Be5 Be8 16.f3 Nd7 17.Bg3 Be7 18.Qd2 Bg5 19.Qe1 Bf6 20.Bf2 Bf7 21.Ne2 Nc5 22.Bxc5 Rxc5 23.Nc1 Qb6 24.Nb3 Rfc8 25.g4 g6 26.f4 a5 27.a4 Lastin,A (2627)-Volkov,S (2558)/Tomsk 2001/1-0 (41)] 13.Rhe1 [13.Ne5 Rae8 14.g4 Nxe5 15.Bxe5 Bc6 16.g5 Ne4 17.f4 Nxc3+ 18.bxc3 Rf5 19.Bxf5 exf5 20.Rhe1 Ba3 21.Qd3 Qc5 22.Bd4 Qa5 23.Rxe8+ Bxe8 24.c4 dxc4 25.Qxc4+ Bf7 26.Qc8+ Bf8 27.Bb2 Bxa2+ Rodrigues,E (2141)-Foisor,O (2409)/Grenoble 2006/- (32)] 13...Bb4 14.Bd2 a6 15.Ng5 Rae8

board

16.f4 [Fritz suggests 16.Nxh7 Nxh7 17.Bxh7+ Kxh7 18.Nxd5 exd5 19.Qh5+ Kg8 20.Rxe7 Rxe7 21.Qxd5+ ; I have to say I think I'd rather have black here, though. The rooks and minor pieces look rather more dangerous than white's rather disjointed army.] 16...Bd6 17.Qf2 [17.a3 , aiming to prevent black's next, could also be considered, although it does give black an extra target for his attack.] 17...Nb4 18.Qh4 g6 [18...Nxd3?? 19.Nxd5!] 19.Bf1 Qg7 20.Nf3 Nh5 21.Ne5 Nc6 [1.23 Fritz 10: 21...Nxf4 22.Bxf4 Rxf4 23.Qxf4 Nc6 24.Qd2 Bxe5 25.g4 Rd8 26.g5 b5 27.Bg2] 22.Nxd7 Qxd7 23.f5

board

23...Rxf5! 24.g4 Rf4 25.Bxf4 Nxf4 For the exchange, black has a pawn and firm control of the centre. It's hard to say who is better, but his game looks easier to play. 26.Ne2 Rf8 27.Nxf4 Rxf4 28.Bg2 Ne5 29.h3 Nc4 30.Qg5?? Giving up control of the f2 square proves fatal. [30.c3 immediately leaves the position unclear.] 30...Qg7 31.c3 Rf2 32.Bxd5 [White can bail out into Q v R+B with 32.Qd8+ Bf8 33.Bxd5 Rxb2+ 34.Ka1 Rd2 35.Bxe6+ Kh8 36.Qxf8+ Qxf8 37.Bxc4 , but his pawns are too weak for this to be a good attempt at survival.] 32...Rxb2+ 33.Ka1

board

33...Re2 [Fritz apparently likes 33...Qxc3 34.Qd8+ Kg7 35.Qd7+ Kh6 36.g5+ Kxg5 37.Qd8+ Kh5 38.Bf3+ Kh6 39.Qh4+ Kg7 with a win for black shortly. Do you fancy calculating this in time-trouble? Me neither.] 34.Bxe6+ [34.Rxe2 Qxc3+ 35.Kb1 Na3#] 34...Rxe6 35.Qd8+ Bf8 36.Qd3 Rc6 37.Re8 Nd6 38.Rd8 Nf7 39.Rd7? [39.Rd4 at least keeps him playing on past the time control, although it's still lost.] 39...Rxc3 40.Qd4 Qxd4 0-1

Pride and Prejudice vs. Barbican 4NCL 2

If ever there was a weekend to prove that a newly-promoted team is not necessarily a weak team, this was it. Pride and Prejudice, like White Rose in the other pool, emerged with maximum points from the weekend, here picking up an unbeaten 6-2 win. New signings Kilpatrick and Auckland both got good wins with black against strong opponents.

North West Eagles vs. Bristol 1

After the previous day's heroics, I was brought crashing back down to earth in this match, as Graham Morrison pre-empted my exchange sacrifice in the Benoni with one of his own. I couldn't find a good line, and ended up with a hopelessly passive position with no counterplay. This set the tone for the whole match, and we ended up losing 5-3. The sole win from our side came from Olivia Smith, who will be hoping to maintain her good form at this year's Olympiad.

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