Weekend 3

[photos, games, pgn]

A strange weekend with a black Saturday (0%) followed by redemption on a snowy Sunday (100%). A special mention to the 2nd team for managing to win their Sunday game about three times between Wednesday and Friday, before running out convincing 6 - -1½ winners.

  • The firsts recovered from a Saturday drubbing at the hand of The ADS to wake up mid-round against the Jutes of Kent and record some late wins and two crucial draws to win 5-3. With one round to go in the first group stages, the team still has chances to qualify for the championship section, as they are scheduled to play fellow strugglers Guildford at the end of March, with the ADS and Barbican needing to find a result from their tougher matches against Cambridge and Pride & Prejudice respectively.
    Team Won Drawn Lost Points
    BARBICAN 4NCL 2 2 1 3 5
    THE ADS 2 1 3 5
    OXFORD 1 2 0 4 4
    GUILDFORD-A&DC 2 1 1 4 3
    JUTES OF KENT 0 1 5 1
  • Oxford 2 fell agonisingly short of 100% as the Saturday match result hinged on a half-move that took our board 1 from +8 to minus mate.
  • Oxford 3 still can’t score Saturday, but this time we came a lot closer with the help of the Wang sisters: a win by Anna brought us to all square with two tough games to go, but though Georgs Vikanis managed to hold out a pawn down in a major-piece ending, older sister Maria was unable to prise out a result after some spirited middle-game play.

A special mention to Ben Savage for a crucial draw against GM Simon Williams (FIDE 2548).

A fuller report to follow, possibly including some chess highlights. While we’re waiting for the Pony Express to waddle its way off the M69 and closer to the wordprocessors of wintry Oxford, readers may wonder about …

  1. What prize will this continuation win…?

    8. … Ne4? 9.Nxd5 …
    The blunder of the weekend, perhaps?! Possibly…
    or maybe we simply wake up and remember the negative joy that was Bromilow – Dickinson …
  2. Where on earth is Gary Lane these days, just when all the interesting questions are about to be asked… ???

    Q. During a recent 4NCL weekend I found myself concentrating on this highly theoretical position in some opening or other:

    and while wondering whether to (a) consolidate with 0-0, or (b) commit myself to further inaction with … h6 or … a6, proceedings were interrupted by the sound of a scoresheet being torn into many pieces, slowly. As you can imagine, the sound was hugely affecting, and my equanimity was wrecked. As a result, I went in for something a lot more speculative than I had intended, viz (c) … Bc7. Although I managed to win after my opponent failed to take either my c- or b- pawn after Qb5+ Qd7 – perhaps he too is a sensitive soul and his concentration was a-quiver – I am anxious to know what tournament controllers will do about the rise in noise pollution at respectable venues.
    “Gary” writes: Players should consider recording their games on toilet paper. Good quality quilted two-ply Andrex is resilient enough to capture even the toughest of opening repertoires, while in the event of a disaster losers can quickly put things behind them without attracting adverse attention. An ideal solution for arbiters, world super GMs, and the sensitive tournament player.
  3. Object of the weekend …

    Found at the end of the first day’s play … (the pencil, not the set):
    Sounds like they were thinking of my new repertoire …

Round 5

1 w Savage, Ben DM 2290 0 - 1 Cernousek, Lukas 2417
2 b Rose, Matthew 2282 0 - 1 Jirka, Jiri 2398
3 w Shaw, David A 2241 ½ - ½ Richardson, John R 2298
4 b Rawlinson, Aidan M 2207 0 - 1 Wheeler, Darren P 2240
5 w White, Michael JR 2239 1 - 0 Snape, Ian L 2176
6 b Smallbone, Kieran D 2218 ½ - ½ Swindells, Jonathan E 2170
7 w Tidman, Sophie E 2110 0 - 1 Bellin, Jana 2151
8 b Nitz, Tomos 2090 0 - 1 Daley, Eugene 1782

A bright sunny morning saw a troupe of hopefuls (Will, Dave Scott, Rod and myself) head off from Oxford station in the direction of Hinckley, once again the mid-winter Mecca to chessplayers hibernating in the UK winter. Smooth driving by Rod saw us arrive with enough time to ensure everyone got to settle down with Fritz to work out what refinements to spring on our opponents. Except Will, who probably had a quick read of this:

and Dave – probably chilling out with some Deep House music (not to be confused with drums in the basement, I’m told) and in fact myself: usually a shower and a relaxing cup of tea is the route to mental quietness – a restful combination which blocks out the areas of strength in my openings repertoire – and creating the temporary illusion that I’m equally at home in all positions. Probably true, after a fashion.

With all rooms booked out in the name of Aidan Rawlinson, it was somewhat ironic that our skipper seemed to be the only one not to have been properly housed come the 2.00pm kick off, but such is the life of the modern skipper. And so, arriving about 40 minutes into the first session, the first thing to notice was that Matt Rose seemed horribly lost … and it turned out that he was indeed lost, somewhere between junctions 1 and 2 of the M69, his trusty Tonton proving a bit of an unreliable friend (“… turn right, after 50 yards if you see the lights of lovely Leicester, you’re ****ing lost, mate”), but thanks to some skilful remote direction from the more reliable Tracey he arrive in good enough time to start blitzing out some moves alongside Ben Savage against some suspiciously strong players on The ADs top boards.

And quickly enough we were facing a deficit of two, as the top boards had crumbled around the same move, as follows:

Savage – Cernousek (B)

Jirka – Rose (W)

Black has just played … b5, asking the question of the Bc4, and overall Ben’s long-term prospects seem as sunny as those of the current Labour government.
So Ben bit the bullet and called a snap election:
27. Rfa1? Bxa1 0-1
Black’s extra pawn and the prospect of getting two bishops working in tandem, may seem to provide some compensation for the exchange, but this was short-lived:
26.Ne4, Kf8 looks to avoid the tactical sweetshop that will ensue when a knight reaches f6. (Bxd5 seems another option.) 27.Ng5 Black has no other practical option than to exchange on d5, and 27 … h6 loses immediately to 28.Nh7+ 1-0

While Dave Shaw seemed to be doing comfortably enough on board 3 to indulge in a cooler moment, Aidan was struggling on board 4, finding himself saddled with a weak set of pawns, and a position which became steadily less defensible as his opponent took over the e-file and sent his major pieces traffic to explore the far-distant ranks:

Wheeler – Rawlinson (B)

Not a pleasant site for the black tribe, and hazarding a guess with the benefit of hindsight, the ideal get-out here seems to consist of a rook and pawn ending where black has his rook firmly planted on c7 – a mirage in the desert, perhaps?! White has just played 21.Bf4, and Aidan sought to exchange on the e-file, when perhaps a preliminary minor-piece swap would have eased things. 21. … Rbe8 22.Bd6 Rxe6 23.Rxe6 Re8 24.Qe4 Rxe6 25.Qxe6+ Qxe6 26.fxe6 … is the worst of all worlds, after which White has enough in hand to stop sitting on his hands (1-0, 36).

And, after Kieran drew quietly enough on move 23 on his return to the scene in 2010, the scores were ½ - 3½ as we approached the first time control. On board 8, Tomos Nitz was looking OK for a draw, although a pawn down all the pawns were on the same side of the board. The ADS though were in inspired form – and this win was rattled off on board 8 not long after move 40, as their junior rattled off the match-clinching score:

Daley – Nitz (B)
49… Rc6+ 50.Ke7 Rc8 51.Rd7 Ra8 52.Rd8+ Rxd8 53.Kxd8 f6 54.Ke7 1-0

leaving a scrabble for pride with the last three games – and even here, there were still plenty of scope for scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Tidman – Bellin (W)

The game has resolved post-adjournment to one where all the chances are with White. The Kelly stratagem (“push the pawn!!”) seems appropriate, but after 58. a5 Ra6 (sidelining the rook) blockades the pawn on a dark square: would it be rounded up?

Meanwhile, those black king-side pawns look a touch menacing – that absent h- pawn means White can’t be too generous with the remaining material. Play continues: 58.Kf3 Kf6 59.Ke4?! Ke6 60.a5?? Rc3 and White has marched her king into a mating trap: 1.Rxf7 Kxf7 62.a6 Rc7 63.f4 Ke6 64.fxe5 Ba7 65.Ra5 g5 66.Rb5 Rc3 0-1

Ho hum – sort of summed up things. There was still time to watch Dave Shaw drift from a position of dominance to one where he didn’t fancy playing for a win, before Mike, who had been about +2 for about 10 time-trouble moves before the first control, found himself wondering whether this ending was winning.

White – Snape (B)

Play has been stagnant for about 20 moves, with no progress, and the last move (64. c4) represents his next, and probably last, try to win. Black, who has been doing well enough manoeuvring his bishop along its current (g6-b1) diagonal, switches to active mode with 64. … g5? which allows White to round up a pawn, after which the result isn’t in doubt.

66.Rf6+ Kc7 67.Rh6 h4 68.Rh5 g4 69.Rxh4 Bd1 70.Rh6 Bf3 71.Rg6 Kd7 72.Ke5 Be2 73.c5 Bf3 74.Rd6+ Kc7 75.Rd3 Kc6 76.Kd4 Kc7 77.Ra3 Be2 78.Re3 Bf1 79.Re1 Bg2 80.Kc4 Kc6 81.Re6+ Kc7 82.Rg6 Bf1+ 83.Kb4 Be2 84.Re6 Bf3 85.Kb5 Bd1 86.Re7+ Kd8 87.Rg7 Bf3 88.c6 Kc8 89.Kb6 1-0

“There must be 50 ways to win this middle game … “

Time for the Blues…

1 w Bromilow, Edward T 1922 1 - 0 Dickinson, Tim R 2151
2 b White, Martin 1914 1 - 0 Burt, William 2162
3 w Dunlop, Neil J 1802 0 - 1 Duggan, Christopher 2031
4 b Thompson, Robert 1863 ½ - ½ Scott, David A 2058
5 w Woolgar, Steven G 1698 1 - 0 Jackson, Gary 2034
6 b Woodruff, David G 1666 0 - 1 Ludbrook, Matthew 2011

For Oxford 2, the outlook was looking close, but two defeats on the top boards meant some care was needed, which were rescued by wins by Chris Duggan and Matt Ludbrook. The final result was fixed when Gary Jackson lost a double-rook ending (2R + 3 Vs 2R + 3) where both sides were threatening to double on the 7th rank – but the real drama was on board 1 as revealed later in the bar, the tough tale of Bromilow – Dickinson:

Bromilow – Dickinson (W)

White can play the simple 19.Rxf4 although after (say) Qd3 20.Bxf6+ gxf6 21.Qh5+ Kg3 22.Rf2 Qe3 the computer say “no” to White’s chances. But this is a bit better than 19.Kg2 Qd2+ 20.Rf2 Qd3 21.Bxf6+ g5 (forced) 22.Rh1 Qg3+ 23.Kf1 Rad8 24.Bd4 b6

when White, who has little to gain by resigning, throws another piece into the en-prise fray: 25.Rxf4 when everything almost except Qxf4+?? wins 26.Bf2+ ouch 1-0

1 w Vikanis, Georgs 1930 ½ - ½ Hosken, Nigel K 2109
2 b Neatherway, A Philip 1922 0 - 1 Lambourne, Daniel M 2001
3 w Terry, Sean 1867 1 - 0 Martin, Peter 2066
4 b Langham, Rod E 1786 0 - 1 Taylor, Geoffrey P 1962
5 w Wang, Maria 1677 0 - 1 Meade, Philip J 1960
6 b Wang, Anna 1698 1 - 0 Baker, Patrick 1794

Terry – Martin

White has just played 10 e4, and after 10. … dxe4 there follows a passage of play where it turns out all the interesting moves are in the notes: 11.Be3 [11.Bxf6! is pretty devastating, e.g. exf3 12.Ne4 Qd5 (12...Qa5 13.Nxd6+ Kf8 14.Bxf3 gxf6 is just as bad) 13.Bxg7 threatens Nf6 + ] 11...Qa5 [Black could consider 11...Nb4 12.Qb3 Qd5 13.Bc4 Nd3+ 14.Kf1] 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Qxe4 Be7 14.b4 Qc7 15.0-0 after which White has more space, which was duly converted just after time control. Fritz is a bit of a bore when you think you’ve played well, but still, a win’s a win – particularly if you’ve given up losing chess games for Lent.

Baker – Wang A (W)

Black is perfectly solid, and as she looks to expand on the queenside while eyeing the weak e-pawn, White decides to set a trap: 25.Rd4 Kh7 before forgetting that traps can rebound on their own 26.Rgd1? Qxc5 and the win was settled in comfort on move 35: 0-1.

Saturday night was reserved for quite a bit of 7th hour hassling in the endgame, with GMs, IMs and others all deferring food until the fight for the last point was extinguished. (more photos at end)

Ketevan Arakhamia Grant

Alexandra Wilson (L) – Sophie Sahl (R)

Chris Duggan spectates on … ?!

Daniel King (L) – James Cobb (R)

Round 6

1 w Williams, Simon K 2548 ½ - ½ Savage, Ben DM 2290
2 b Cooley, Chris M 2265 1 - 0 White, Michael JR 2239
3 w Mack, Andrew L 2213 ½ - ½ Rawlinson, Aidan M 2207
4 b Harakis, Alexis M 2232 0 - 1 Shaw, David A 2241
5 w Rich, Mark C 2151 ½ - ½ Smallbone, Kieran D 2218
6 b Naylor, John 2189 0 - 1 Eckersley-Waites, Tom 2247
7 w Wilson, Alexandra 2075 ½ - ½ Tidman, Sophie E 2110
8 b Rice, Chris B 2082 0 - 1 Nitz, Tomos 2090

Sunday brought us snow cover and for the first team a chance to bounce back against the Jutes of Kent, who have struggled – even with Simon Williams on top board - to make their mark in their first division this year. Ben managed to get a great draw on top board, notwithstanding some dodgy looking black squares. (No game scores as yet.) On board 2, Mike White overpressed in a Caro Panov and resigned when his bishop was snared by major pieces on b7, and quickish, comfortable draws by Kieran and Aidan brought us to the last 4 boards trailing 1½ - 2½, and needing a few pawn pushes to go our way:

  • Dave Shaw looked to have a comfortable edge against an Alekhine, a piece up for pawns
  • Tom Eckersley-Waites, recently returned from a hangover-cum-frisbee convention, had two pieces for a rook, and seemed to be better, if for the moment disconnected.
  • On board 6 in the prettiest match-up of the weekend, saw Sophie with an outside a-pawn trying to balance against a 1-3 minority on the other side, against Alexandra Wilson
  • On bottom board Tomos Nitz was pawns down but with a pawn roller against the opposition king – it looked a bit hairy but time trouble approached…

And this is more or less how things panned out, in the order of finishing.

Nitz – Rice (B)

White has the initiative, but Black is quite solid and that a-pawn looks horribly full of what Nimzovitch’s English translator called the lust to expand. Black though was probably not as confident as the crowd generally can be, and 29… Qf7 is probably not good. 30.c6 bxc6 31.b7 Bxb7 32.Rxb7+ Kxb7? this loses on the spot, while taking with the queen does allow white to win the queen, but this allows Black’s pawn the opportunity of some dalliance with the aforementioned lust. 33.Qb5+ Kc8 34.Qxc6+ Qc7 35.Qxa8+ Kd7 36.Qxa4+ Ke7 37.Ba5 1-0

And shortly after that the position on board 4 had clarified to this:

Shaw - Harakis (B)

which even without time trouble is hard to defend: 36. … Nh4 37.Qe2 Nf5 38.Bxf5 Rxf5 39.gxf5 Qg3+ 40.Kf1 Qxh3+ 41.Kg1 1-0

at which point the crowd’s attempt to descend on Board 6 was doomed by an early resignation:

Eckersley-Waites (T) – Naylor (W)
30.Nh4 (Ng5 is possible) Rxa2 31.Bh3 1-0

all of which meant that Oxford 1 had won the match with one board to spare … and the margin increased to 5-3 after Sophie calmly enough retreated her king to deal with the advancing king-side hordes and held the draw.

1 w Duggan, Christopher 2031 1 - 0 Upham, John E 1658
2 b Scott, David A 2058 1 - 0 Dixit, Kumar 1450
3 w Vikanis, Georgs 1930 1 - 0 Coates, Christine 1458
4 b Dickinson, Tim R 2151 1 - -1 default
5 w Rajangam, Karlmarx 2000 1 - -1 default
6 b Ludbrook, Matthew 2011 1 - -1 default

Pre-match emailreports from Tim Dickinson:

  • 16 Feb: You may have seen an announcement on the 4NCL website re: re-pairings. Oxford 3 now form one side of a triangle with AMCA Cheetahs and Guernsey Mates. I’m not sure how that will work (I suspect our colours change: now Black on odds Saturday, White Sunday) but I do not intend to change our board order for either day.
  • 18 Feb: I have just heard that AMCA Hippos will only have a 3-player team for the match against Oxford 2. As they have notified us of this in advance, that match starts as Ox 2 0 v -1.5 AMCA Hippos. Unloseable, basically, but it means that three of us will be without games.
  • 18 Feb: Sheesh, I can’t count. It’s Ox 2 3.0 v -1.5 AMCA actually, so we can chalk up a Sunday match win already. The oppo captain has replied and concurred to me taking board 4, as have the arbiters. Will this be the last instalment in this weekend’s saga? (and it hasn’t even started yet ...)

so essentially we had a glorious victory already achieved by late Thursday night, and the remaining players (Chris Duggan, Dave Scott and Georgs Vikanis) all won comfortably enough in the back room, with only this snippet making it to the journalist’s notebook (Dixit – Scott).

Dixit – Scott (15, B)

Black has entertainingly castled kingside after opening the h-file. Fritz isn’t too perturbed.

15. … exd5 16.Bxf5 Re8 17.Qe2 dxc4 18.g4 Ne4 19.Qxc4+ d5 20.Qd3 Qf6 21.Rc1 Qd6 22.c4 d4

23… dxe3 24.Qxd6 exf2+ 25.Kf1 cxd6 26.Nf5 Re6 27.Bh5 g6 28.Nxh6+ Kf8 29.Rh3 gxh5 0-1

1 w Rowe, Peter 2023 ½ - ½ Wedge, David C 1954
2 b Ozanne, Mark S 2028 0 - 1 Neatherway, A Philip 1922
3 w Carpenter, Paul 1826 0 - 1 Terry, Sean 1867
4 b Brookfield, Toby N 1796 0 - 1 Vikanis, Egils 1762
5 w O'Connor, Jonathan T 1675 1 - 0 Henbest, Kevin B 1722
6 b Smith, David 1532 1 - 0 Langham, Rod E 1786

A new line up today saw Dave Wedge, Egils Vikanis and Kevin Henbest replace the Wang sisters and Georgs. Early on in the play came the tortured cries of a scoresheet being ripped to bits by a pained chessplayer … :

Tomb of the as yet unknown game players

And it’s fair to say that things haven’t improved from the black side of things by move 15:

“Player A” – “Player B”

And mercifully things were ended in cavalcade style, having dropped a pawn before move 10 it was time to trap one’s own queen before getting suckered by the Bc4+ stuff: 15.Ng5 Qh4 16.g3 Qh6 17.Bc4+ Rf7 18.Bxf7+ Kh8 19.h4 g6 20.Bc4 Qf8 21.Nf7+ Kg8 1-0

All in all, a fair enough shout by the player of the black pieces – if you must blunder, get them all into the same game. (On a technical note, when we considered reporting the noise to the arbiters, we found them browsing through our openings analysis book:

Meanwhile, back at the match, David Wedge arrived late enough to be close to disqualification, but still managed a smile and buckled down to drawing a long endgame (B+ 4 apiece), and either side of me both Whites (Phil Neatherway and Egils) both won easily in the end, though both positions needed careful handling to secure the point.

In between all this, my position had improved from dodgy to dominant:

Carpenter - Terry (B)

24. … Rd1 25.Rc1 Rxe1+ 26.Rxe1 Rd2 27.Kg2 Rxa2 28.Rc1 Bd7 29.Nc2 Be6 30.f3 Bxc4 0-1

and it looked like a 4-1 win margin as Kevin went into his ending with a bishop to the good – but awkward piece placements combined with perhaps some overconfidence to allow White to get his king in at g7 to attack the base of pawns starting at f7 – and when the piece needed to be returned to prevent immediate catastrophe, the resulting rook and pawn ending was lost.



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