Oxford 1 – Weekend 4

Round 7 (av. 2149)

04 Mar 06 Rd 7 South Wales Dragons (2203) LOSS 2½ - 5½

Notwithstanding the arrival of Lateefah Sparks as bottom board girlie - she provided a useful half-point against Julie Wilson - we found ourselves in early difficulties on too many boards to be able to avoid defeat - notwithstanding some fighting comeback efforts such as Graham's, below. Early difficulties on the top and bottom boards didn't resolve themselves and a largely stagnant middle order performance resulted in defeat that finally put paid to chances of promotion for the year. One bright spot was Kieran's performance on board 4. A disappointing performance which dents the promotion prospects.

Blackburn (2208) - Smallbone
Saturday 4 March

It continues to amaze how easy (and interesting) Kieran makes some positions with the Black bits - structurally solid, AND here comes a hack.

White, faced with a difficult recapture on f3, sees some tactics (Nd7-e5 wins a piece?!) and decides on a pawn recapture. [This turns out to be the lesser of two grovels, as Fritz suggests 17.Qxf3 Bxc3 18.Nxc3 Ne5 19.Qg3 Qxd3 20.Qxe5 Rfe8 21.Qc5 b6 22.Qe3 Qxe3 23.fxe3 Nxe4 as a possible escape route to a lost ending, albeit only a pawn down.]

The pawn recapture doesn't directly lose a piece, but the route to the White king is now marked. Kieran takes the safety scenic route, but still emerges with a +8 position by move 27.

17.gxf3 Nh5 18.Rfd1 Qh4 19.Bxe5 Nxe5 20.Qe3 Rae8 21.Nc3 Nf4 22.Bf1 Re6 23.Ne2 Nxe2+ after the zwischenzug 23…Rh6 24.h3 Nxe2+ will soon force White to sacrifice with Qxh6 24.Bxe2 Ng6 25.Bc4 Re5 26.f4 Nxf4 27.Kf1 Qxh2 28.Qf3 Rh5 29.Ke1 Rh3 30.Qg4 h5 31.Bxf7+ Rxf7 32.Rd8+ Kh7 0-1

Ian gets un-done by the legendary Sven Zeidler after an innocuous move allows a spectacular refutation

Zeidler (2203) - Webster (2119)
Saturday 4 March 06

14…Nf5 15.Nxd5 cxd5 15…Nxh4 16.Nxc7+ Kd7 17.Nxa8 16.Bb5+ Nd7 17.Nxe6 fxe6 18.Qf6 1-0

An interesting end in Chapman - Morris C sees Graham's opponent over-press just before time control with the natural looking 39 …c2, which allows for a possible escape on move 43 which Graham overlooks - otherwise we'd be publishing the Immortal Grovelling game instead of a mere diagram.

Chapman (2100) - Morris (Charles) (2203)
Saturday 4 March 06

39…c2 40.Bb2 c1Q 41.Bxc1 Nxc1 42.Rh8+ Kd7 43.Rb8 43.g6 b2 44.gxf7 Ne2+ 45.Kh4 b1Q 46.f8Q 43…Be4 44.Kf4 Bg6 45.Ke3 Kc7 46.Rb4 a5 47.Rb5 Kc6 48.Rb8 a4 49.Kd2 Nd3 50.f3 b2 0-1

Round 8 (av. 2171)

05 Mar 06 Rd 8 Perceptron Youth (2070) WIN 4½ - 3½

We don't have an official team song, but the "Great Escape" might be adopted temporarily after this closest of close shaves against fellow relegation travellers, Perceptron Youth. An inexplicable win by Ben Savage was followed equally quickly by a reverse on board 3 (Tim Dickinson) and a GM draw on board 1 (Kemal). All seemed to be going to plan, until Ian W and Jon Levicki got turned over by the Peceptron girls on boards 7 & 8: all this after 3 hours' play.

This left Kieran, Alex and James Coleman needing to win their games to get the result - and though it took time… the win was eventually assured when Alex completed the opposite bishop ending and James closed out a Benoni / Benko style mess.

Black resigns
Savage (2310) - Bigg (2272)
Sunday 5 Mar 06

Post-match analysis:

"Fritz says I'm plus 1"

Hillman (1999) - Milavanovic
Sunday 5 Mar 06

These games are a lot easier when viewed in retrospect, and perhaps a bit easier when you're playing them. But they are hell to spectate, particularly when a win is required, and when Ben is part of the assessment panel.

As it happens, White has too many weaknesses (g2, d3, b3) to be able to guard them all, and in the event allows the h-pawn to slip through to promotion. (Even with best play it's not feasible to hold the game: 51.hxg4 hxg4 52.Be2 Kg3 53.Bd1 f3 54.gxf3 gxf3 55.Bc2 Kf4 56.Ke1 Ke3)

45…Kg5 46.Ke2 f5 47.Ke1 f4 48.Kf1 Kh4 49.Ke1 g5 50.Kf1 g4 51.Bd1 Kg3 52.Be2 f3 0-1

A fine grind…

Tim Dickinson gets the lash from Tom Eckersley-Waites.

12.Bd4 Be8 13.Bxf6+ Kd7 14.Qg4 gxf6 15.Nxd5 f5 16.Qa4+ 1-0
Eckersley-Waites (T) (2116) - Dickinson (2176)
Sunday 5 Mar 06

Meanwhile, Jeffrey loses his way and rather unfairly finds himself busted after his 13th move. (13.Bf4 and all seems well with the White position)

13.Re1 Qd4 14.Re2 b5 15.Nxb5 cxb5 16.Bd5 etc and 0-1
Levicki (1880) - Thilaganathan J (1900)
Sunday 5 Mar 06