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Jack Rudd reports on Division 2, Round 2

4NCL 08-09 Round 2

Pool A

Barbican 4NCL Youth vs. Oxford 1

"Our second round match proved much closer than the scoreline and rating difference might suggest" was Kieran Smallbone's comment on this 7-1 victory over a Barbican Youth team who were somewhat weaker than they had been the previous day. Many of the games might have gone either way; the following two among them.

Rose,Matthew (2249) - Ynojosa,Felix (2145) [B22]
4NCL/Div2/BARY-OXF1 (2.211), 05.10.2008
[Smallbone, Kieran]
1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 Nb6 7.Bb3 Nc6 8.cxd4 d5 9.Nh4 Nc4 10.Nc3 a6 11.0-0 e6 12.g3 Be7 13.Nf3 b5 14.Bc2 b4 15.Na4 a5 16.b3 Nb6


17.Nc5 Thus far, both players have been found shuffling knights around randomly, presumably to edge closer to the time control. I find this particular shuffle fascinating long-term it involves the sac of a pawn or two (e5 and/or c5 must drop eventually). In return White can fill the squares where the pawns used to be with pieces, particularly in the absence of Black's dark-squared bishop 17...Bxc5 18.dxc5 Nd7 19.Be3 Qc7 20.Re1 Bb7 21.Rc1 Ndxe5 22.Nd4 Nxd4 23.Bxd4 Nd7


24.c6!? Bxc6 25.Bxg7 Rg8 26.Qd4 Nf8 27.Bd3 Qd7 28.Rc5 f5 29.Bxf8 Rxf8 30.Rec1


The cumlination of White's strategy: total domination of the dark-squares.30...Qa7 31.Qe5 Bd7 32.Rc7 Qb8 33.Qd6 Rf7 34.Rxd7 Rxd7 35.Qxe6+ Re7


36.Qg8+ Kd7 37.Qxd5+ Ke8 38.Qg8+ Kd7 39.Bxf5+?! The ?! is harsh, but Matt was very low on time here, and it was worth throwing in another Qd5-g8 combo to make it to move 40. Tim {Dickinson, presumably - JR} would no doubt be keen to point out this this wouldn't be a threefold repitition, due to that pawn on d5 first time round. 39...Kd6 40.Qg5 Rf7 41.Qh6+ Ke7 42.Re1+ Kd8 43.Qd2+ Kc7 44.Rc1+ Kb6 45.Qd4+ Kb5 46.Bd3# 1-0

White,Michael JR (2242) - Wells,Daniel (2012) [B33]
4NCL/Div2/BARY-OXF1 Sunningdale (2.214), 05.10.2008
[Rudd, Jack]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Nde2 Bb4 7.a3 [7.Ng3 0-0 8.Be2 d5 9.0-0 Bxc3 10.bxc3 Nxe4 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.Bd2 Be6 13.Qc1 Qc7 14.Re1 Rfe8 15.Qb2 a6 16.a4 Rad8 17.Be3 Rc8 18.Rab1 Rb8 19.h3 Rec8 20.Red1 Qe7 21.Qb6 Qa3 Zochowski,W (1911)-Siergiej,I (1800)/Chojnice 2006/1-0 (51)] 7...Ba5 8.f3


8...d5!? An enterprising pawn sacrifice, hoping to demonstrate that white's opening play is somewhat artificial. [8...h6 9.b4 Bb6 10.Na4 d5 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.Bb2 0-0 13.Ng3 dxe4 14.fxe4 Qxd1+ 15.Rxd1 Be6 16.Bd3 Rfd8 17.0-0 Nd4 18.h3 Rac8 19.c3 Nb3 20.Kf2 g6 21.Rfe1 Ne8 22.Nf1 Nd6 23.Ne3 Morozevich,A (2678)-Gelfand,B (2700)/Monte Carlo 2003/1/2-1/2 (40)] 9.b4 Bb6 [9...d4 avoids giving up a pawn, with maybe a slight edge for white.] 10.Nxd5 Nxd5 11.exd5 Nd4 12.c4?! [12.Ng3 may be a more accurate way to play this: the justification is 12...Qh4 13.c3 Nf5 14.Qe2 0-0 15.Qe4] 12...Qh4+ 13.Ng3 Nf5 14.Qe2 Bd4 15.Bb2 Nxg3 16.hxg3 Qxg3+ Material equality has been restored. White has a slightly exposed king, but a dangerous central passed pawn. Who is better is an open question, but I think I prefer white. 17.Kd1 Bxb2 18.Qxb2 Bf5?! [18...Bd7 may be a better way to develop the bishop, allowing a possible ...f5 advance.] 19.Ra2 0-0 20.Qf2 Qg5 21.Qd2 Qf6 22.Bd3


White has improved the positions of his pieces quite noticeably while black has stood still somewhat, and now has a clear advantage.22...Rfe8 23.Be4 Qg6 24.Rh4 Rac8 25.c5 Bxe4 Black doesn't want to help bolster the white d-pawn, but there's not really a lot he can do to avoid it. 26.fxe4 Qg3 27.Rh3 Qg4+ 28.Qe2 Qd7 29.Qh5 h6 30.g4 [30.Rg3 may be better: 30...Kh7 31.Rf2 Rc7 32.Ke1 and black has to deal with threats to his king to go with all the positional problems.] 30...f6 31.Qg6 Qf7 32.Qxf7+ Kxf7


This ending is one in which white is effectively almost two pawns up: his central majority is mobile and will advance, whereas black's kingside pawns are going nowhere.33.Rc2 Red8 34.Kd2 Kg6 35.Ke3 Kg5 36.Rh5+ Kg6 [36...Kxg4 37.Rhh2 and mate next move.] 37.Rhh2 Kg5 38.Rh5+ Repeating moves to reach the time-control. 38...Kg6 39.Rhh2 Kg5 40.b5 g6 41.a4 Rc7 42.a5 Rh7 43.c6 bxc6 44.dxc6 f5 [Fritz reckons black is best off playing 44...Rb8 , but white can just keep the pressure up with 45.Rc5 and the rooks will force the passed pawns home.] 45.gxf5 gxf5 46.exf5 Kxf5 47.c7 Rc8 48.b6 1-0

Poisoned Pawns 1 vs. Jutes Of Kent

This was a match where the crucial factor was the Jutes' extra strength on the top and bottom boards. Simon Williams beat Paul Dargan with a variation on the Hippo, playing ...a6 and ...b5 and later ...h6 and ...g5; Aly Wilson favoured a more direct approach and crushed Emma Bentley in just fifteen moves. These results proved decisive in a 4-3 victory.

Brown Jack vs. Anglian Avengers

Brown Jack bounced back from their defeat on the Sunday with this win against a team who slighly outrated them overall; wins on boards 2-5 sealed the result. Peter Richmond's game was once again one to look at; the speed with which his pieces swarmed over the enemy king was something to behold.

Pandora's Box Grantham vs. Wessex 2 It's going to be a long season for Wessex 2, and this match followed much the same pattern as their first one, with wins from Tunks and Thilaganathan on the bottom two boards but not a lot of joy elsewhere. There were a number of interesting opening points here, with Walton-Gregory acting as a warning to Hippo players that the middlegame can be very unpleasant for black if he fails to get a pawn-break in, and Clark-Ashton showing that while, as Nigel Short says, "the Two Knights Defence just loses a pawn", it's not necessarily that easy for white to show an advantage as a result.

Pool B

Cheddleton-Pointon vs. Wessex 1

Sometimes lightning does strike twice. Wessex 1 managed to win a game by default in this match as well, after Cheddleton-Pointon lost a player to illness and could only find six registered players for this match; their second wildcard on board 8 did actually win, but did not contribute any points to his team's score by doing so. Even with this free point, Wessex would not have seemed to be favourites, being heavily outgraded overall, but they ground out a 4-3 victory, including this win by their captain.

Yeo,Michael J (2103) - Wallace,Paul A (2259) [C63]
4NCL/Div2/CHE-WES1 Sunningdale (2.254), 05.10.2008
[Rudd, Jack]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 4.d3 Widely seen as one of the tamer answers to the Schliemann, it is still not all that easy to counter. 4...fxe4 5.dxe4 Nf6 6.0-0 Bc5 7.Qd3 d6 8.Qc4 The point of white's play: it is not all that easy to get the black king to safety. 8...Bd7 9.Nc3 Bb6 10.Ng5 Qe7 11.Nd5 Nxd5 12.exd5 Nd4 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 [13...Qxd7 14.c3 Nf5 15.a4 a5 16.Ne6 g6 17.Be3 Nxe3 18.fxe3 c6 19.Kh1 cxd5 20.Qxd5 Qc6 21.Qb3 d5 22.Rf6 Ke7 23.Raf1 1-0 Fluvia Poyatos,J (2443)-Lyell,M (2194)/Banyoles 2005] 14.c3 Nf5 15.a4 a5 16.Qg4 g6


17.Ne4 [17.Ne6 is the obvious move here, but it may not be better than the text - the knight is imposing, but where it follows up to is unclear.] 17...Kc8 18.Qh3 Kb8 19.g4 The aeration of the kingside is necessary; there is no other way to achieve the exchange of bishops. 19...Ng7 20.Be3 h5 [20...Bxe3 21.fxe3 is something that Fritz evaluates as only slightly better for white. I don't think I believe it.] 21.Bxb6 cxb6 22.g5 Nf5 23.Qd3 h4 24.h3 Rc8 25.f4 exf4 26.Rae1 Ng3? While the idea of getting counterplay with ...Ng3 is good, the execution is not. [26...Qd7 is the way to play this.] 27.Nf6 Now black's queen cannot join in the attack. 27...Qc7 28.Rxf4 Nf5 29.Kg2 Ka7 30.Re6 Qf7 31.Ne4


31...Qd7 [31...Rd8 is the computer's "best" move, but this is not much of a recommendation: 32.Nxd6 Rxd6 33.Rxd6 Qc7 34.Rxf5 gxf5 35.Rf6] 32.Rxg6 Qh7 33.Rf6 Ng3 34.g6 Qh5 35.Nxg3 [35.Nxd6 may be more accurate, but when approaching the time-control, it's hard to argue with the impulse to remove the threatening knight.] 35...hxg3 36.Rxd6 Re8 37.Rg4 Re1 38.Qb5 Rc8 [38...Rae8 39.Qxb6+ Kb8 40.Rd8+ Rxd8 41.Qxd8+ Ka7 42.Qxa5+ Kb8 43.Qd8+ Ka7 44.g7 Re2+ 45.Kxg3 Re3+ (45...Qe5+ 46.Kh4) 46.Kf2 and black has run out of meaningful checks.] 39.g7 Rh1 40.Rxg3 Qd1 [40...Rc1 41.g8Q Rc2+ 42.Kh1 Qd1+ 43.Rg1 Qf3+ might be worth a try, but the trap is easy to avoid. 44.Qg2! (44.Rg2?? Qxh3+ 45.Kg1 Qe3+ 46.Kh1 (46.Kh2 Rxg2+ 47.Qxg2 Rh8+) 46...Rc1+ 47.Kh2 Qf4+ 48.Rg3 Qf2+ 49.Kh3 Rh1+) 44...Rxg2 45.Qxb6+ Kb8 46.Rxg2 Qxh3+ 47.Kg1 wins.] 41.Qxb6+ Ka8 42.Qf2 Rg8


43.Rd8+ [43.Ra6+! is slightly faster: 43...bxa6 44.Qf8+ Kb7 45.Qf7+ Kb6 46.Rg6+ Kc5 47.Rc6#] 43...Rxd8 44.g8Q 1-0

Guildford-A&DC 3 vs. Kings Head

A minor surprise, this one: Kings Head managed to win this one 5-3 despite being outgraded by 35 points per board on average. A notable feature was the length of the games: only two of the eight games finished before move 40, and four went on to move 50. The best game of this match was probably Thompson-Thomas, in which black made a long-term sacrifice of a piece that eventually paid off in an endgame.

South Wales Dragons 2 vs. Warwickshire Select 1

A massacre, this one. South Wales Dragons 2 look as out of their depth in this pool as Wessex 2 do in the other, and in this match they were facing a promotion-chasing Warwickshire Select side who had a rating advantage of over 100 points on every board. Only draws from Graham Roberts and Alan Brown prevented this from being the weekend's second whitewash.

FCA Solutions 1 vs. Celtic Tigers 1

Two current ECF directors turned out for FCA solutions in this match, with varying results. International Director Stewart Reuben lost a pawn in a rook-and-bishop ending, an advantage that Robin Haldane went on to convert; Chief Executive Chris Majer also reached a rook-and-bishop ending, in which his opponent made life easy for him by blundering a rook.

This turned out to be FCA Solutions' only win of the match, although some of the games could have gone their way. Indeed, the Mueller-Freeman game on board six was one in which black had a winning position on move 39, but by move 42 was getting 'mated. Such are the ways of tactical positions in time-scrambles.

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