Weekend 3

[photos, games, pgn]

A tremendous weekend for the teams, with everyone scoring something – 50% for the Oxfords 1 and 3, and 75% for Oxford 2.

Oxford 1. A tremendous win against Barbican 2 leaves us poised to join the top group in Division 1‘s play-off phase:

Team P W D L GP pts
Wood Green Hilsmark 1 6 6 0 0 38½ 12
e2e4.org.uk 1 6 5 0 1 28 10
White Rose 1 6 3 1 2 22 7
Guildford A&DC 1 6 3 0 3 25 6
Oxford 1 6 3 0 3 22 6
Cambridge University 1 6 2 1 3 21½ 5
Barbican 4NCL 2 6 1 0 5 18 2
Sambuca Sharks 6 0 0 6 16½ 0

Oxford 2. A win against Brown Jack and a draw against the Celtic Tigers put us in joint top position – but there‘s a long way to go in this particular contest!

Team P W D L GP Pts
Wessex 2 6 5 0 1 25 10
Celtic Tigers 1 6 4 2 0 23 10
Oxford 2 6 4 2 0 22 10
Brown Jack 6 4 1 1 24½ 9
The Rookies 6 2 4 0 22½ 8
Braille Chess Assoc 6 4 0 2 22½ 8
The Full Ponty 6 3 2 1 22 8
Warwickshire Select 2 6 4 0 2 22 8
FCA Solutions 1 6 3 2 1 21½ 8
KJCA Kings 6 4 0 2 20½ 8
e2e4.org.uk 2 6 3 2 1 20 8
Anglian Avengers 2 6 3 1 2 21 7
Hackney 6 2 3 1 19 7
Bristol 2 6 3 1 2 18½ 7
Gloucestershire Gambits 6 3 1 2 18 7
Sussex Smart Controls 6 3 1 2 16 7

Oxford 3 are now off the bottom and a few wins away from mid-table obscurity

The Inspector Poirot Mysteries

Dickinson – Dorrington (0-1)

… with Tim keeping quiet on Twitter (“we won‘t speak of the stupid defeat”), and the website saying 0-1 in this position, is this the sweet, sweet sound of a Tweet-tweet defeat here…?!

Blunderama du weekend – unusually, this bouquet is awarded to a member of the opposition.

Tissir - Tsanas
35. … Re5 36.Qg3 Rxe6 0–1

Top mates

There was a spate of mates (8) all weekend, with Oxford emerging victorious 7-1. This seems the best of the lot, although Thanasis‘s win, reported here by Matt Rose, is another top contender, while no self-respecting journalist would ignore a mate by Maria Mate, in 57, and we‘ll let the readership think up the headline.

Duggan - Rabbitt
White to play and mate in about 5 or so

Top Draw

Robin Haldane – Mike Healey (W)

Was the last game to end in Oxford 2 – Celtic Tigers, and with scores tied, Black‘s … a5 seemed likely to tip the scales in favour of an Oxford win… but there was a little way to go twixt cup and lip, as Arsenal found out to their cost at the weekend.

Hot as Mustard Opening Theory award goes to the Colemans for this theoretical effort in the Centre Game:

D ColemanJ Coleman

Oxford 1

Round 5

On the Saturday Oxford 1 trailed by 230 Fide points / board, and the result reflects this superiority accurately enough. The winners were made to work a little for their points – and although Thanasis‘s win resulted from a blunder - in a worse position, admittedly – the team were slightly unfortunate not to have picked up another point or so from the games played.

Oxford 1 2227 Wood Green Hilsmark 1 2464
w Zakarian, David 2362 ½ - ½ Pert, Nicholas g 2570
b Savage, Ben DM f 2289 0 - 1 Gordon, Stephen J g 2528
w Rose, Matthew 2276 0 - 1 Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan E g 2458
b Tsanas, Thanasis 2264 1 - 0 Tissir, Mohamed m 2464
w White, Michael JR f 2237 0 - 1 Greet, Andrew N m 2451
b Rawlinson, Aidan M 2183 0 - 1 Trent, Lawrence m 2442
w Tidman, Sophie E 2109 0 - 1 Martin, Andrew D m 2406
b Harvey, Marcus R 2098 0 - 1 Tiller, Bjorn m 2393
1½ - 6½

Zakarian - N Pert (W, 45)

Earlier on Black seemed to have secured a plus, and an extra pawn, in the complications resulting from a closed Sicilian, but once again David managed to keep his head, and regained an opposition pawn in the moves leading up to the time control. By the time of the diagram position, he‘s a pawn ahead, and with the black minor pieces being hassled for space, and the Black king being targeted by the orientation of the white bits, it‘s looking good for White, notwithstanding the opposite bishops. The computer suggests here 45. Rd4 (maintaining pins, attacking the bishop and targeting d7) but David‘s choice is also mooted: 45.Re8 [45.Rd4 Ra2+ 46.Kf3 Ra3+ 47.Ke4 Bc5 48.Rd7+ Kb8 49.Nxg5 Rxg3 50.Kf4 Re3 51.Ne6] 45… Ra2+ 46.Kd1 Bxg3 47.Rc8+ Kb7 48.Nd8+ Ka7 49.Be4 Bb8 which brings us to here:

Now 50.Nc6+ Nxc6 51.Bxc6 seems to tie Black completely in knots: the bishop is tied to b8, while the threat now is Rg8-g7+ winning a piece, so black now needs to defend his second rank: Ra1+ 52.Ke2 Ra2+ 53.Kf3 Ra3+ 54.Kg4 Re3 55.Rh8 Re7. White opted for 50. Rc4 but after … Bf4 (if 51. Rxb4 Rd2+) Black began to wriggle free and hands were shaken on move 69.

On board 2, Ben tried out the Benko against Stephen Gordon, and though the game remained materially equal into the endgame, White‘s passed b-pawn proved more of a long-term threat than his counterpart c-pawn, and the game ended in a flurry of pins, and a geometric rush of minor pieces to fatal squares:

Gordon - Savage
33… Nd6 34.Nd4 Ke7 35.Bb4 Nc5 36.Ra7+ Bd7 37.Bc6 1–0

On board 3, the news on twitter would have been good if only Tim was in Wokefield to provide the update: Matt was an exchange to the good against Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, a name almost too long to fit in 146 characters.

Rose – Arakhamia-Grant K (W, 26)

Here, as the nice diagram with the arrow shows, Black hasn‘t much compensation, except two bishops and a latent threat with that e4 pawn – and a simple Ne2 retreat would keep the enemy pieces on a restrained leash. Unfortunately, 26.Rc7 was an attempted tempo gain too far, giving the Black queen time away from the defence of d8: … Qa4 27.b3 Qxa2 28.Rxb7 Rf8 and now the Nf4 has no home to go to. After 29.Rf1 Qd2 30.Rb8 Bxf4 the game was effectively up. Or over. (0-1, 40)

On board 4, Mike White suffered as one bad move dissolved any of the slight spatial advantage he had gained in the opening:

White - Greet (W, 15)

In a position that looks part-Pirc and part-Lopez, White‘s (Mike‘s) choice 15.c3 seems reasonable, but after … Ra8 16.b4 Bxd5 17.exd5 Qc7 suddenly all the holes are visible on the White queenside: 18.Bb2 Nb6 19.Qd2 Nc4 20.Bxc4 Qxc4 21.Red1 Rxa1 22.Bxa1 Ra8 23.Bb2 Ra2 24.Nh2 Qb3 0–1

Trent - A Rawlinson

Aidan seems to have been getting into endgames earlier than most the last few rounds, and at first sight this one looks more defensible than most. Aren‘t bishops usually stronger than knights, blah blah…!?

Here, White‘s knight seems the more active participant and has a range of enticing squares to visit … : e8, e3-c4-a5, and this keeps Black the more vigilant as White manoeuvres to create more accessible weaknesses in the black defences:

31.Nd6 Be7 32.Nf5 Bf6 33.c4 Kc7 34.Kf3 Kd7 35.c5 Ke6 36.Ke4 Kd7 37.Ne3 Ke6 38.Nf5 Kd7 39.f3 Ke6 40.a3 Kd7 41.Ne3 Ke6 42.Nc4 …

and Black either concedes the e- or the b-pawn. Aidan opted for the latter: 42 … Bg5 43.Nxe5 Bc1 44.f4 … when now it‘s clear that if … Bxa3 then Nd3 will trap the bishop in its lair. A role-reversed variation of the more normal domination of a knight on a3 by a bishop on d3. The struggle ended on move 67. (1-0)

Tidman – A Martin (B, 21)

Sophie has sacrificed the h-pawn in the hope of disrupting the king-side and perhaps even winning the wandering knight on h4. Unfortunately, as the following sequence shows, it‘s not required to move: 21 … Rb8 22.Ba4 bxc3 23.Nxc3 [23.Qxh4] 23… cxd4 24.Rxd4 Rb4 25.Qf4: a mistake, but the position has already been checked into a nursing home for the bewildered: … Ng2 26.Rxb4 Nxf4 27.Rxf4 Bh6 28.Kb1 Bxg5 29.Rd4 hxg4 30.f4 Qb6 31.Ne2 Rh2 32.Rd3 Ba6 33.Rb3 Qf2 34.Rb8+ Kg7 35.Rc1 Qxe2 0–1

Tiller - Harvey

Marcus seemed to have panicked a bit in a tricksy position: his queen is pinned but White‘s pieces aren‘t all that secure, and this enables him to extricate himself from the bind at the minimal cost suggested by this variation: 16… a6 17.a4 Qc6 which spears the Bc3 and releases the pin. Instead after 16 … Bxd3 17.Rxb6 axb6 Black never threatened to hold the position – the dangers of playing against someone +300 BCF points higher than yourself!

Round 6

With Barbican 2 weighing in at about 90 BCF points better, a tough match was in prospect – and the crowd wasn‘t disappointed – at least, that is, until the internet connection went a bit wonky. By this time, Tim had lost in mysterious fashion, only to be resolved by the publication of the pgn files by the powers that be at 4NCL Central, so we had a little catching up to do.

Barbican 4NCL 2 2290 Oxford 1 2206
w Rogers, Jonathan W f 2338 ½ - ½ Rose, Matthew 2276
b Morrison, Graham f 2340 ½ - ½ Savage, Ben DM f 2289
w Berry, Neil f 2331 0 - 1 Tsanas, Thanasis 2264
b Poobalasingam, Peter S f 2321 0 - 1 White, Michael JR f 2237
w Piper, Matthew S 2341 ½ - ½ Rawlinson, Aidan M 2183
b Dorrington, Chris J 2263 1 - 0 Dickinson, Tim R 2155
w Coleman, David J c 2258 1 - 0 Coleman, James 2136
b Regan, Natasha K 2134 0 - 1 Tidman, Sophie E 2109
3½ - 4½

Mike White, playing White, led the way on board 4:

White – Poobalasingam

In another French advance, Black has solved some of the problems associated with the position – he‘s no longer cramped on the queen side, and the exchanges suggested by the position will allow some more room for his pieces to develop. Mike changes the nature of the struggle with 15.c4! Nxd4 16.Nxd4 cxd4 17.Qxd4 Qc8 18.Be3 dxc4 19. bxc4 b3, a sacrifice that Mike refuses with Be4, perhaps calculating that the passed b-pawn won‘t pose a threat as long as Black‘s pieces remain undeveloped.

20.Be4 Nf5 21.Bxf5 exf5 22.Nc3 Bb4

and after the thematic 23.e6! fxe6 24.Qxg7 Bxc3 25.Qxc3 Rg8 26.Qxb3 White was a pawn ahead and strategically won: Kf7 27.Bd4 Qc6 28.f3 Qd6 29.Bf2 Bc6 30.Qe3 Rg6 31.Ra1 e5 32.Ra7+ Ke6 33.Bh4 Qd4 34.Qxd4 exd4 35.Kf1 h6 36.Bf2 Ke5 37.Ra5+ Kf4 38.Bxd4 Kg3 39.Rxf5 Kh2 40.Rf6 Rxg2 41.Rxc6 1–0

Two quiet enough draws followed:

Piper – Rawlinson (W, 19)

Here the thematic pseudo-sacrifice of the knight isn‘t quite good enough for a clear advantage: 19.Nd5 Qb7 20.Nxf6+ Nxf6 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Qe2 Kf8 23.Rd2 Ke7 24.Rcd1 b5 25.Kh2 bxc4 26.Qxc4 Qb5 27.Qd4 Qc5 28.Qxc5 dxc5 29.Kg1 Rxd2 30.Rxd2 a5 31.Rc2 Bd7 32.Kf2 ½–½

While Ben holds a comfortable draw in the Nimzo against Graham Morrison:

Savage – Morrison (B, 20)

20… e4 21.Nxd5 Rxd5 ½–½ If 21. Nxe4 Nf4 and subsequent exchanges on e4 will hold the balance.

On board 7, the Colemans were hotting up in the battle for condiment supremacy, although it was White that had brought the stronger mix to the board this particular morning:

David Coleman - James Coleman

26… d4 27.Qg3 d3 28.cxd3 Rd6 29.h6 Rxd3 30.hxg7+ Kxg7 31.Qh4 Qg8 32.Qe4 Rd6 33.Qe5+ f6 34.gxf6+ Rxf6 35.Ne2 Qc4+ 36.Nc3 Nxc3 37.Reg1+ Kf7 38.Rxh7+ Kf8 39.Qxf6+ 1-0

Tidman – Regan (B)

Resulting from an Alekhine, Black has the choice of kicking a knight (and maybe picking it up) or nabbing a pawn – and opts for the former: 17. … c6 [instead, 17… Bxg2 18.exd6 cxd6 19.Rhe1 Kd8 20.Rxe7 seems pretty wild] 18.exd6 cxb5 19.dxe7 Qxe7 20.Rhe1 Be4 after which White will regain the piece with advantage 21.f3 b4 22.Qb2 f5 23.fxe4 fxe4 24.Rd5 Kf7 25.Rf5+ Kg6 26.Rd5 Kh7

27.Qe5 pragmatically liquidates to an ending where Black‘s pawn weaknesses will not avoid the eyes of well-placed, hungry rooks. … Qxe5 28.Bxe5 Be7 29.Rxe4 Rhf8 30.Kd1 Rf1+ 31.Ke2 Raf8 32.Bg3 Bg5 33.h4 Rg1 34.hxg5 Rxg2+ 35.Ke1 Rxg3 36.gxh6 Rg1+ 37.Kd2 Kxh6 38.Re6+ g6 39.Rxc5 Rff1 40.Re2 Rd1+ 41.Ke3 g5 42.Rd5 Rdf1 43.Kd4 Rf7 44.Kc5 Kh5 45.Kxb4 Kg4 46.Rd3 Rgf1 47.Rg2+ Kf4 48.Rd4+ Kf5 49.Rd5+ 1-0

All square, two to go – and by the time things were being wrapped up at Sunningdale, we had achieved 4 points, with this elegant mating attack from Thanasis:

Berry – Tsanas (B)
29. … Bd4 30.g4 Qg1+ 31.Kg3 Qe1+ 32.Kf4 Qe3# 0–1

Rogers - Rose

Matt had lost the thread early on, and was hanging on by a thread and allowed the combination starting with 36.Nc4 dxc4 37.Bxc4 Kf7 38.Rxf8+ Kxf8 39.Bxe6, which netted a pawn, and leading to what seemed a near-hopeless ending.

28 moves later, and this position appeared on the board, with Black to move:

and, in an ending similar to Zakharian – Pert from the previous day, White‘s king can‘t escape from the captivity on the h-file in order to promote the pawn. 67. … Kf7 68.Bc2 Kf6 69.Bd3 Kf7 70.Bb5 Kf6 71.Be8 Nf5 72.Bg6 Ne7 73.Bh5 Nf5 74.Bg4 Ne7 75.Bd1 Kf7 76.Bb3+ Kf6 77.Bc2 Kf7 78.Bb1 … and a draw was agreed, and the match win confirmed, with Matt in the thrall of his third time trouble control bash.

Oxford 2

The price for a good start of season is that none of the subsequent games are particularly easy – not bad being top of the table, though. Our Saturday opponents were the reasonably Oxford-local Brown Jack, who were themselves also a little weaker than planned – and although rumours that the F.A. Cup might result in a few defections to the Shed area of Stamford Bridge proved unfounded, the teams seemed evenly enough matched, with a mere 50 points / board separating them.

Round 5

Oxford 2 2065 Brown Jack 2111
w Dickinson, Tim R 2155 ½ - ½ Girdlestone, Paul C 2182
b Morris, Graham P 2034 ½ - ½ Richmond, Peter A 2252
w Healey, Michael W 2069 ½ - ½ Truran, Michael C 2195
b Hadi, Justin 2051 0 - 1 Bourne, Johnathan D 2075
w Duggan, Christopher 2030 1 - 0 Rabbitt, Michael 2020
b Rawlinson, Christopher JA 2055 1 - 0 Headlong, Fenella 1946
3½ - 2½

Oxford were quick out of the blocks, with a quick draw on top board freeing Tim up to do the by-now obligatory tweeting:

Dickinson – Girdlestone (W)
16.Qxd7 Rxd7 17.g3 Bh6 18.Rc2 Nc8 DRAW

but two other games were quickly decided in our favour, as first Chris won in the style indicated at the top of the article, while Chris Rawlinson took advantage of some over-lengthy pondering by Fenella to finish with a snap mate in her time trouble:

F Headlong - C Rawlinson (B)
32… Bxe3 33.fxe3 Rg8 34.Kc2 Rg2+ 35.Kc3 Rxh2 36.Rxb6 Qc4# 0–1

which suggested we were well on the way to a match win. Justin‘s game pulled our excitement back:

Bourne - Hadi

The position shows the problems associated with the over-extended hippopotamus – weakness on d6, unprotected pieces on b7, then a8, and some tactics on a soon-to-be-re-opened e-file. 14.exf5 starts the demolition … Bxg2 15.Qxg2 d5 16.fxe6 bxc4 17.exd7+ Qxd7 18.Bxc5 Qc6 19.Ba3, and credit goes to Justin for struggling through to move 58 before conceding, and his opponent for not allowing a sniff of real counterplay during those 40 odd moves.

This made it 2.5 – 1.5, with two humdingers in progress on boards 2 and 3. On board 2, Graham had visited the gateways of hell that is time control more than once, having struggled out of an opening and through a middle game without queens to this position on move 43 where his position seems defensible in the long run. What the spectators had overlooked eas the possibility of a one-pawn counter-charge:

P Richmond - G Morris (43, W)

43. … f5 44.Kc3 Bf6+ 45.Kb3 Ra8 46.Bd2 Rb8+ 47.Bb4 Bd4 48.a3 f4 49.Kc2 f3 50.Rg3 f2 51.Rf3+ Ke7 52.Kd2 Re8 53.Kd3 …

when White‘s advantage has been largely neutralized. there is no easy way to round up that f-pawn, and always the danger that, left to its own devices, it might even sneak through …

53. … Bb6 54.Bc3 Ra8 55.Bf6+ Kd7 56.Bb2?

An error which would have lost the game had Graham not been mentally reconciled to a draw. Fritz points out that 56 … Rg8; 57. Ke2 Re8+ with Re1 to follow is decisive. (If 57. Bd4 Rg3!)

The game continued to the handshake as follows: 56. … Ke7 57.Bc1 Bc5 58.Ke2 Ra4 59.Be3 Rxc4 60.Kxf2 Rc2+ 61.Kg3 Kd7 62.Bxc5 dxc5 63.Kf4 Kd6 64.Ke4 Rc4+ 65.Kd3 Ra4 66.Kc2 ½–½ - and so secured the half-match point for the team – any result now on the last board would give us the match win.

Healey – Truran

This endgame was the mirror-image of the other draw, with Mike T having a pawn deficit but better piece placements meant his pawns were destined to run a bit quicker – though Mike H found a way of swapping the backward e-pawn for his passed a-pawn which meant that, although his extra pawn wouldn‘t count for a lot, the Black advance was permanently stalled.

Round 6

Celtic Tigers 1 2097 Oxford 2 1995
w Haldane, Robin W 2166 ½ - ½ Healey, Michael W 2069
b Kemp, Peter D 2158 0 - 1 Foster, James M 2011
w Pedersen, Carsten 2163 1 - 0 Duggan, Christopher 2030
b French, Angus J 2118 ½ - ½ Hadi, Justin 2051
w Friar, Jim A 1954 1 - 0 Foo, William J 1880
b Evans, Craig 2026 0 - 1 Neatherway, A Philip 1930
3 - 3

Paired against the Celtic Tigers, we put out a much different team from that on Saturday, and were an average 100 BCF points adrift of our opposition. The match went much like the game against Brown Jack did, except in reverse: the Tigers sprang out of the starting blocks and were soon a win to the good, with William Foo suffering in the Morra:

Friar - Foo (B, 19)

19. … Nfd3 20.Bd5 Nc4 21.Bb7 Nxb6 22.Bxc8 Nxc8 23.Rxd3 Nd6 24.Rxd6 … 1–0 as it‘s mate in about 5 (… f6 25.c8Q+ Kf7 26.Qe6+ Ke8 27.Nd5 Bf8 28.Nxf6#)

This quickly became 0-2 when Chris‘s position folded after he‘d decided against snaffling a pawn on c3:

Pedersen – Duggan (W)

19.Rc1 Rb8 [19… Nxc3 20.Qd2 Qg7] 20.Qb3 Re8 21.d4 Bg7 22.Rfe1 Nd6 23.Nxe6 Qc4 24.Qxc4 Nxc4 25.Bd5 1–0

and the Tigers picked up a draw eventually when Justin‘s bit of home prep in the Alekhine led to this, somewhat tame, position:

Hadi - French

35. … Nxd3 36.cxd3 Rxe1 37.Bxe1 Bb7 38.Bf2 c5 39.Be1 Bc6 40.a4 Kf6 41.Bd2 Kg7 42.Bc1 Kf7 43.Bd2 Kf6 44.Bc1 Kg7 45.Bd2 Kh6 46.Bc1 Kg7 ½–½

But help was at hand, as on board 2 James Foster produced a solid win in the endgame some time after his opponent had run out of safe opportunities to snaffle the d4 pawn:

Foster - Kemp (W, 34)

34.Ne3! Rb5 35.d5 Nd8 36.Rd4 c5 37.Re4+ Kd6 38.bxc5+ Rxc5 39.Ra4 Rb5 40.a6 Rb1+ 41.Kg2 h4 (threatening h3#) 42.gxh4 bxa6 43.Rxa6+ Kc7 44.h5 Nb7 45.Nxg4 Nd6 46.Ne5 Rb4 47.Rc6+ 1–0

and on board 6, Phil Neatherway produced a fine game to equalize the match score with just the top board to follow:

Neatherway – Evans (B, 28) (W, 36)

28… e5 29.dxe6 Qxc6 30.e7 f3 31.Ree1 Rfe8 32.Qc5 Qg6 33.Ne4 Rac8 34.Qd6 Rc6 35.Qd7 f5 36.Qd5+ Qe6 37.Nf6+ Nxf6 38.Rxe6 1–0

So, all down to Haldane – Healey after all, and by this time a steady stream of visitors to the top floor were having a look in at proceedings, which after a knight sacrifice, some checks, and a promotion, left Black looking rosy for a win in this position, as how was White to prevent the b-pawn from promoting?

Haldane – Healey (B, 50)

50… b3 This seems to win straight away – how else to stop b2-b1Q? But the crowd hadn’t (for the most part) reckoned on the ingenuity of Robin’s plan here: 51. Rd6! [threat Bf5, covering b1, with Rg6+ to follow] Kg5 52. Bb7 Kf4 53. Rd4+ Ke3 54. Rb4 b2 55. Be4 and a draw was agreed, and the match win confirmed, on move 62.

Fritz does however suggest that Black can maintain his advantage from the diagram position with 50. … Ra8! when White’s pieces are unable to get out of each other’s way in time to mount a serious defence.

A great end to a great weekend.

Oxford 3

Oxford 3 started off like a train, getting to 2.5 – 0.5 fairly quickly, and then having a long wait to see if any more points were forthcoming; unfortunately our opponents were not in charitable mode, and we ended up with another close defeat.

Round 5

3Cs 2 1869 Oxford 3 1812
w Horton, Jamie A 1882 0 - 1 Neatherway, A Philip 1930
b Burke, Mitchell R 1898 1 - 0 Mate, Maria 1818
w Clements, Thomas A 1886 0 - 1 Terry, Sean 1861
b Hazlehurst, Cory S 1946 1 - 0 Wang, Maria 1728
w Gittens, Nathan L 1850 1 - 0 Wang, Anna 1736
b Manton, Jacob 1754 ½ - ½ Langham, Rod E 1802
3½ - 2½

Rod Langham got us off to a drawing start with this 3 times repetition on board 6 :

Langham - J Manton

20. … g5 21.Nd7 gxf4 22.Nxf8 [22.Nxf6 fxg3 23.Rd7 gxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Bc6 25.Rd6] 22… Rxf8 23.Rd7 Bc6 24.Rd6 Bb7 25.Rd7 Bc6 26.Rd6 Bb7 27.Rd7 ½–½

On board 3, I may have missed a quicker win, but when a mating attack presented itself on the board, I found it :

Clements - Terry (B) 25 … Nb3 Black to play
Fritz recommends 25… Ne2 26.Ne4 Nf4

32. … Qc4 33. Re4 Nc1+ 34.Ka1 Qa2+ 35.Nxa2 Nb3#

Horton – Neatherway (W, 36)

Meantime, Phil‘s opponent had not originally turned up – (had turned up to the wrong hotel) and his replacement was causing all sorts of hassle for the black pieces til now. Fearing death by suffocation, Phil lashed out with … f5, and play continued 36.exf5 gxf5 37.Qd2 [37.Qxh5 is what the computer, and common sense, suggests – but White has been probing the c-file for so long it‘s hard to readjust] 37… e4! 38.Rc6 Rxc6 39.Rxc6 e3 40.Qe1 Qd4 41.Qxa5+ Kb8 42.Qe1 e2 43.Rc1 Qxd5 44.h3 f4 45.Kh2 f3 46.gxf3 Qxf3 47.Qg1 Qf4+ 48.Kh1 Qxc1 49.Qxc1 e1Q+ 50.Qxe1 Rxe1+ 51.Kg2 Ra1 0–1

The Wang sisters were struggling, Maria was not making progress against her opponent‘s Caro Kann and was then surprised by an enterprising exchange sacrifice which changed the nature of the struggle. Anna was always struggling in her game, an inferior version of the Black position in Dickinson – Girdlestone, we felt – but managed to make it as tough as possible for her opponent to convert the ending. (Had he found 40. Rxf8+ the game might have ended sooner.)

Wang M – Hazelhurst (W, 26)
26.f4 Rxc5 27.dxc5 Qxc5 28.Rc1 Qb6
0-1, 46

Gittens - Wang A (W, 40)
40. Rc7 Qd6 41. Qxd6 Bxd6; 42. Rxf7
1-0, 74

So, the scores were tied – with all resting on board 2, and though the endgame looked level all the way through – at least in terms of material – by the time this diagram was reached, it was clear that the chances were with Black: those central pawns, allied to the awkward position of the white rook and the handily placed Rook on a2, made for an ominous feeling in the darkest pit of the stomach.

Mate – Burke (59, W)

White needs to push that h-pawn and hope it diverts the opposition sufficiently to enable a regrouping. As it happens, the pawn doesn‘t get the itch initially to hack it up the table, and isn‘t given an opportunity subsequently:

60… Kd5 61.Rb5+ Kd4 62.Rb8 Ke4 63.Rb4+ Ke3 64.Rb5 f4+ 65.Kg4 e4 66.Rb4 f3 67.Kf5 Ra5+ 68.Kg4 f2 69.Ra4 Rxa4 70.bxa4 f1Q 71.h4 Qd1+ 72.Kg5 Qxa4 73.Kg6 Kf4 74.h5 Qc6+ 75.Kg7 Kg5 0-1

Round 6

Oxford 3 1784 Bristol 3 1605
w Devane, Eoin 1786 ½ - ½ White, Martin 1798
b Langham, Rod E 1802 ½ - ½ Woolgar, Steven G 1730
w Terry, Sean 1861 1 - 0 Taylor, John-Paul 1762
b Mate, Maria 1818 1 - 0 Claypole, Matthew 1610
w Foster, Chantelle L 1701 1 - 0 Denney, Simon 1554
b Henbest, Kevin B 1740 1 - 0 Smith, Chris 1178
5 - 1

Devane - White
14.Qf4 Rfe8 15.Qxe5 Rxe5 … (draw, 33)

Woolgar - Langham
draw agreed

Sunday started well for the Oxford 3 lads, with the top 2 holding easy Sunday-morning draws, almost before their board 3 had arrived. (don‘t ask) Rumours that each was hiding its opening repertoire in advance of the Univ – Wantage match the following Tuesday cannot be discounted.

Meanwhile, on board 6, Kevin won easily after his opponent mistakenly exchanged, then grabbed a pawn:

C Smith - Henbest
19.gxf3 gxf3 20.Nxf3 Bg4 21.Be3 Bxf3 22.Qd2 Qh4 23.Rfe1 Qh3 0–1

and an attack on board 3 proved decisive after my opponent took the wrong view of an exchange sacrifice:

Terry – JP Taylor (B, 15)

White‘s initiative has reached brisk proportions, and Black would be advised to hope that after 15… Nxg5 16.Nxg5 Bxg5 17.Bxg5 hxg5 18.Qh7+ Kf8 19.Qh8+ Ke7 20.Qxg7 Rg8 21.Qe5 that he gets to an ending where he can develop some queen side pieces. Instead, he gambled on surviving after 15 … g6 and lost the bet, as after 16.Rxh6 Nxg5 17.Nxg5 Bxg5 18.Rxg6+ fxg6 19.Qxg6+ Kf8 20.Bxg5 Qxd4 21.Bf6 it‘s time to lose the queen or king Qd7 22.Qh6+ Kg8 23.Qh8+ 1–0

The lads kibbitz Rogers - Rose

This meant we needed any result to win, and both the remaining boards obliged, with wins.

Claypole – Mate

Maria found herself slightly better off as a Tromp-turned-French gave her two bishops and some long term hope of advantage, once the position has settled down. In the shorter term her first stab in this position 22. … Ba4 was driven back by 23.Bg4 Bd7 (although … Kf7 is possible) but her opponent then mis-managed rook placements in the next few moves, first opting for the central files, before being lured back to the f-file – and the loss of tempi was a precursor to a blunder on move 29 24.Kg2 Bc5 25.Rfd1 Kf7 26.Rf1 Ke7 27.Rf3 g6 28.Rfc3 d4 29.R3c2? Ba4 30.Nxd4 [30.Nxc5] and Maria duly Mate-d on move 57.

C Foster – Denney (24, B)

Chantalle was doing slightly the worse for long periods here – but her opponent mis-judged the time and tactics to snaffle the b-pawn. 24. … Nxf3+ 25.Nxf3 Nxb4 26.Qb3 an unusual position – White has the time to re-group on the b-file and challenges Black to find a way of avoiding a piece loss. Rc6 [this isn‘t quite it: 26… Qb5 27.Rb1 Rc4 28.Nd2 Qc6 29.Nxc4 dxc4 30.Qb2 Nd5; and White is an exchange up but not necessarily better – see Maria Wang‘s position from Saturday).

27.Rb1 Rfc8 [and this just gives up the piece - 27… Rc4 was still called for] 28.Bxb4 Bxb4 29.Qxb4 Qxb4 30.Rxb4 R6c7 31.h3 Kf8 32.Rdb1 Rb8 33.Rb6 Ke7 34.Kf1 Kd7 35.Ng5 f6 36.Rd6+ Ke7 37.Rxe6+ Kd7 38.exf6 1–0

26 February 2011


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