Weekend 1

[games, pgn]

Tim Dickinson writes:

All, the first 4NCL weekend has just been and gone. Oxford recorded these results:

  • Oxford 1 lost to e2e4_2 2½-5½ on Saturday, and beat Poisoned Pawns (hairily!) 4½-3½ on Sunday;
  • Oxford 2 scored a splendid 4½-½* win over Hackney and drew 3-3 with Southampton Saxons;
  • Oxford 3 lost 2-4 to Gloucestershire Gambits and drew 3-3 with KJCA Knights.
    * [Hackney defaulted board 3, so lost a further game point in a 4½-1½ defeat.]

Thanks to all those who attended, I hope you all had a good time! I'm happy with the start made by the seconds and thirds, less so with the firsts – we didn't really get going on Saturday, and the main reason we only squeezed past PP1 on Sunday was your captain dropping one of his biggest-ever clangers. Sorry, gang.

Shiri Heffetz starred for us with two wins on his debut – it's worth playing through* his round 2 demolition of Barnaby Paul for sheer entertainment value. Marco Zhang returned and scored a creditable draw with 200-rated Nigel Hosken on Saturday before despatching his Sunday opp in quick time. Others scoring 1.5/2 were Mike Healey, David Zakarian and Howard Chiu.
* [PGN files can be downloaded from the 4NCL site.]

Finally, quote of the weekend as tweeted by Sean, from a (non-Oxford) player in Div 3 staring at K+5 v K+4 on Saturday evening: "I'm missing Strictly for this!".

Oxford 1


Oxford 1 2144 e2e4.org.uk 2 2033
w Zakarian, David f 2374 ½ – ½ Mansson, James C 2123
b Harvey, Marcus R 2354 ½ – ½ Coates, David H 2085
w Dickinson, Tim R 2134 ½ – ½ Bonafont, Philip R 2074
b Nitz, Tomos 2122 ½ – ½ Denton, John R 2066
w Wang, Xingliang Anna 2082 0 – 1 Garnett, John S 2030
b Rawlinson, Christopher JA 2057 0 – 1 Webster, Richard J 2004
w Wang, Maria 2026 ½ – ½ Truman, Richard G 1969
b Miranda Gonzalez, Nicole 2009 0 – 1 Dias, Theodore R 1914
2½ – 5½

On top board it did seem that for a long period that White was gradually building up micro-pluses and that the active Ra2 might be misplaced as the White queen and knight eyed pawns and the Black king:

Zakarian,D (2374) – Mansson,J (2123)
4NCL Sunningdale,(1.11), 03.11.2012

Black was able to ‘scramble out’ of this with a temporary pawn sacrifice

35 … Ra8 36.Qxf7+ Qxf7 37.Nxf7 Bd2 – after which Fritz reveals a sneaking like for the Black bits from the diagram position, and a series of exchanges were needed by White to retain equality: 38.Rd1 Bxc3 39.Rc1 Ra1 40.Rxa1 Bxa1 41.d5 Bc3 42.d6 cxd6 43.Nxd6 Bxb4 44.Nxb5 ½-½

On board 2, Marcus seemed to be on the wrong side of a queenless middle game, and both sides seemed content with the draw that emerged when White very naturally rushed to occupy the 7th rank:

Coates,D (2085) – Harvey,M (2161)
4NCL Sunningdale, (1.12), 03.11.2012
26 … Ke8 27.Rb7 Rb8 28.Rdd7 b4 29.Re7+ Kd8 30.Rbd7+ ½-½

Dickinson,T (2134) – Bonafont,P (2074) [D03]
4NCL Sunningdale, (1.13), 03.11.2012

A brief flurry of interest on board 3 when Phil has played … Kf7 , a polite request for Tim to capture on h7. The game ended instead 21.h4 h5 22.Rhe1 b5 23.R1e2 Rad8 ½-½

Denton,J (2066) – Nitz,T (2122) [A37]
4NCL Sunningdale, (1.14), 03.11.2012

Tomos has just picked up a pawn with a liquidating combination in the centre, and his rooks are set fair to mop up the remaining weak, and backward, pawns; the White king is vulnerable to the doubled rooks, so Tomos continues 25 … Rd8! 26.fxg6 Rd2+ 27.Kh1 Rxg3 28.Rxe7 Rxg6 here Black misses a simpler and better route 28 … fxg6 29.Rxa7 Rh3+ 30.Kg1 Rxh4: now White can reduce to a single-rook endgame (time trouble?) scramble: 29.Rxa7 Rg4 30.Rg1 Rxg1+ 31.Kxg1 Rd4 32.a5 bxa5 33.b6 Rb4 34.Rxa5 Rxb6 ½-½

Wang,X A (1827) – Garnett,J (2030) [B12]
4NCL Sunningdale, (1.15), 03.11.2012

This started as a Caro-Kann but looks more like a French, and Anna allowed a weakening in the queenside pawns by voluntarily playing b3 a few moves back. Black now elegantly takes advantage of the various structural weakness (b3, f3) to win the exchange: 27 … Ne4 28.b4 axb4 29.cxb4 Nd2 (ah) 30.Rbd1 Nf3+ 31.Kg2 Nxe1+ (completing a knight tour: b8-a6-c5-b3-a5-c4-b6-d7-c5-e4-d2-f3-e1) and the remaining grind was enjoyable only for one side (0-1, 59)

On the adjoining board the French Defence was having – unfortunately – a bad time.

Webster,R (2004) -Rawlinson,C (2057)
4NCL Sunningdale, (1.16), 03.11.2012

In a position that much resembles Kevin Henbest’s Sunday’s game, Black’s offside queen and misplaced rook are ideally placed for a post-mortem discussion, but aren’t that effective when White decides to go for the jugular: 26.Rg1 Bd7 27.g4 fxg4 28.Rxg4 Be8 29.f5 exf5 30.Nxf5 g6 31.Qh6 1-0

Wang,M (1809) – Truman,R (1969)
4NCL Sunningdale, (1.17), 03.11.2012

White (to move) has a clear win, but some careful moves are needed, as the kingside pawns and the trapped Nd1 may become unruly. The computer prefers Kc4 in the diagram position but 47.a6 is fine … Kb6 48.b5 g4 49.fxg4 fxg4 50.Kc4 g3 51.hxg3 hxg3 52.Kd5?? (very natural but too hasty – instead the more patient Kd3 allows Black to run out of moves for the knight and for the black pawns to drop) Nc3+ [aargh] 53.Kxe5 Nxb5 54.Kf4 Kxa6 leaving Black able to draw the N+P v N ending (½-½,78)

Dias,T (1790) – Miranda Gonzalez,N (2009)
4NCL Sunningdale, (1.18), 03.11.2012

Nicole wrongly decided against taking the knight offered in the diagram position and looked for compensation elsewhere. 13 … Bxd5 14.exd5 Ne7 15.Na3 Qa5 16.Nc4 Qxd5 17.Nxd6+ (ah, an X-ray protected capture) Kf8 18.Bxf5 and 1-0, 36


Poisoned Pawns 2069 Oxford 1 2225
w Swanson, Stephen 2253 0 – 1 Zakarian, David f 2374
b Harley, Andrew D f 2234 ½ – ½ Harvey, Marcus R 2354
w Byway, Paul V f 2157 ½ – ½ Rose, Matthew 2303
b Goodger, Martyn 2086 0 – 1 Schmidt, Jan-Peter f 2269
w McEwan, Ken B 2100 0 – 1 White, Michael JR f 2242
b Rosen, Daniel B c 2085 1 – 0 Nitz, Tomos 2122
w McCorry, Robert T 2053 1 – 0 Dickinson, Tim R 2134
b Mountford, Corinne 1586 ½ – ½ Miranda Gonzalez, Nicole 2009
3½ – 4½

Top board featured a slow-motion blunder of an exchange, reproduced if only to provide some comfort for the lower-rated team members who think only they make ‘simple’ oversights. Black has a better position already here:

Swanson,S (2253) -Zakarian,D (2374) [B21]
4NCL Sunningdale, (2.11), 04.11.2012

18.Qd3 Bxf3 19.Qxf3 Nd4 20.Qg4 Nc2 … after which it was a long way via some stout defence to the inevitable 0-1, 69.

On board 2, Marcus had much the same sort of advantage with White that his opponent had against him the previous day, with much the same result:

Harvey,M (2161) – Harley,A (2234)
4NCL Sunningdale,(2.12), 04.11.2012

22.Bf7 Rec8 23.c4 Rc7 24.Bd5+ Bxd5 25.R7xd5 Re8 26.Rd8 Rxd8 27.Rxd8 Re7 28.Rd3 f5 29.b3 g6 30.Kd2 Rd7 31.Rxd7 Kxd7 32.Kd3 Kc6 33.Bh6 Kd634.Ke3 Ke6 35.Kf3 Kf6 36.a4 Bd6 37.Bg5+ Ke6 38.a5 bxa5 39.Bd8 Ke5 40.Ke3 a4 41.bxa4 f4+ 42.gxf4+ Kf5 43.Kf3 h5 ½-½

Byway,P (2157) – Rose,M (2303) [A41]
4NCL Sunningdale,(2.13), 04.11.2012

42 … Nxd3 43.Rxd3 Rc8 44.Rf3 Kg6 45.Rg3 Rh8 46.Kd3 Rh4 47.Re3 g4 48.hxg4 Rh2 49.Kc4 Rxa2 50.Kb5 Rc2 ½-½

On Twitter the reports were that Jan was doing well – we missed the excitement of this position which is strong on geometry and – if you believe the PGN file on the website – missed opportunities on both sides.

Schmidt,J (2269) – Goodger,M (2086) [A04]
4NCL Sunningdale,(2.14), 04.11.2012

38.Qh1? is a blunder mentioned in the PGN file (and reported in an earlier version of this report) and Black replied in kind with 38 … Qe6 [when 38 … g4 would have refuted White's inaccuracy and downgrade a +2 advantage to a -2]. However, Jan has since confirmed that the game continuation was 38.Qh2! Qe6 which meant that there were no last-minute panics and White sailed towards the first time control with barely a skipped heartbeat. 39.Nxe5 Nxe5 40.Bc3 Kg7 41.Bxe5+ Qxe5 42.Qxh3 Qxb2 43.Qf5 and the reader is directed to the pgn file to see the way the B+Q+P v Q+Ps ends (1-0, 62).

McEwan,K (2100) – White,M (2242)
4NCL Sunningdale,(2.15), 04.11.2012

Mike demonstrates quickly that the impression of some future White advantage on the queenside using a past pawn supported by rooks &c is a little far-fetched:

32 … h5! 33.Qb2 hxg4 34.hxg4 Bxg4 35.b6 Qd7 36.b7 Rab8 and Black’s competent execution of his plan to 1-0, 48 – which includes allows White to promote that pawn before allowing a mate in 3, is worth a play through.

Tomos got to a position where any move of the attacked Be4 would uncover an attack on e7. His choice won the queen, but lost control of the dynamic:

Nitz,T (2122) – Rosen,D (2085) [A80]
4NCL Sunningdale,(2.16), 04.11.2012

15.Bf5 [instead Bc2 with Ba4+ to follow was better] gxf5 16.Rxe7+ Qxe7 17.Bxe7 Kxe7 18.Qc2 Rac8 19.Qxf5 Be6 20.Re1 Ne4 21.Qh5 Rcf8 22.Nh4 Bd4 23.Rc1 Rxf2 24.Kh1 Rc8 25.Re1 Rf7 26.g4 Rg8 27.Nf5+ Rxf5 0-1

McCorry,R (2053) – Dickinson,T (2134)
4NCL Sunningdale,(2.17), 04.11.2012

30 … d4 31.Rg3 d3 32.Rxe6 Rxe6 [32 … d2 33.Rxe8+ Bxe8 34.Qe7 d1Q+ 35.Kh2 Rg7] 33.Rxg6+ 1-0

Nicole’s extra pawn, even on Twitter, didn’t sound that promising: two bishops on an open board are a dangerous weapon …

Miranda Gonzalez,N (2009) – Mountford,C
4NCL Sunningdale,(2.18), 04.11.2012
50.Ng1 Kf6 51.Bc4 Be4 52.Ke2 Bc3 53.Bd3 Bd5 54.Bc2 Ke5 55.Nf3+ ½-½

Oxford 2


Hackney 2079 Oxford 2 1991
w Lyell, Mark f 2219 ½ – ½ Healey, Michael W 2088
b Walker, Nicholas P 2165 ½ – ½ Stembridge, Ed 2050
w Adelaja, Abimbola f 2167 d – 1 Duggan, Christopher 2025
b Reid, John 2033 ½ – ½ Chiu, Howard c 2042
w Rogers, Tim L 1985 0 – 1 Heffetz, Shiri 1884
b Peschiera, Jaime 1906 0 – 1 Neatherway, A Philip 1859
½ – 4½

On top board, Mike quickly got caught up in a position he’s comfortable with, against an opponent who may have prepared for him. A zany game ensued, ending in a draw when Black’s R+B more or less held back the White king. This position early on featured an odd double-oversight:

Lyell,M (2219) – Healey,M (2088)
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (1.85), 03.11.2012

13.b4 Nxb4? 14.Bc4+? [14.Qf3+ Bf5 15.g4 Rab8 16.Bc4+ wins a piece] and eventually ½-½

Board 2 at first time control was pretty chaotic, with Ed looking completely in control up to the point where his opponent had to sac pieces for inadequate compensation, all of which was the prelude to him looking pretty uncomfortable in this position, as his rook seemed poorly placed to defend against the Black square threats and the pawn majority:

Stembridge,E (2050) – Walker,N (2165)
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (1.86), 03.11.2012

For once, spectator fears are confirmed by Fritz who suggests that that although a rook adrift Black is winning for much of the following continuation but fails to find the killer blows while the h-pawn remains on the board:

42.Qg4 Qh1+ 43.Ke2 h3 44.Rg3 h2 45.Bxg6 fxg6 46.Qxg6 Qc1 47.Qh7+Be7 48.Rh3 Qxf4 49.Rxh2 Qg4+ 50.Kf1 Qxa4 51.Qd3 Qc4 52.Qxc4 dxc4 53.Rc2 Kd654.Rxc4 Kd5 55.Rc6 Bc5 56.Ke2 e5 57.Kd3 e4+ 58.Kc3 e3 59.Kd3 e2 60.Kxe2 Kc4 61.Rg6 a4 62.Kd1 Kxb5 63.Rg4 a3 64.Kc2 Kc6 65.Kb3 Kd5 66.Rg5+ Ke4 67.Rg6 Kd5 ½-½

By then, however, the match was won as Chris Duggan’s opponent didn’t turn up (1 – -1) so Howard Chiu’s draw – agreed just after adjournment – joined Ed’s game as happening after the match result was decided. The wins came from Shiri and Phil – and Shiri’s game featured a hyperactive h-pawn coming to life after a small oversight by White :

Rogers,T (1985) – Heffetz,S (1884)
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (1.89), 03.11.2012

24 … Re8 25.Rxc6? Rxh2! 26.Rd1 a5 27.a4 h5 28.Rc7 h4 29.Ra7 Rhe2 30.Rad7 Re1 0-1

A slightly premature resignation, it does seem here, but not below as Phil’s opponent has just played … Rb8:

Neatherway,A (1859) – Peschiera,J
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (1.90), 03.11.2012

25.Qa7 f4 26.c5 Rd8 27.Bf3 Rxd1+ 28.Rxd1 h6 29.c6 Kh7 30.Be4+ Kh8 31.Qxb8 1-0



Oxford 2 2020 Southampton Saxons 1873
w Healey, Michael W 2088 1 – 0 Tambini, Jasper 1969
b Stembridge, Ed 2050 0 – 1 Jones, Steven A 1987
w Rawlinson, Christopher JA 2057 ½ – ½ Fowler, David W 1860
b Chiu, Howard c 2042 1 – 0 Chapman, Matt 1922
w Duggan, Christopher 2025 0 – 1 Wade, Ben 1826
b Neatherway, A Philip 1859 ½ – ½ Slater, Tom 1674
3 – 3

Southampton Saxons gave as good as they got on Sunday and a 3-3 draw was ensured when Chris on 3 drew a rook and pawn ending that had both sides’ supporters rushing to the analysis room:

Top board for Oxford 2 was another underworld smash & grab attempt where in the diagram position Black’s threat of Qd2 seems miserable compensation for the initiative Mike has generated, having played h4 as early as move 4, g4 on move 9 and a4 on move 11.

Healey,M (2088) – Tambini,J (1969)
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (2.175), 04.11.2012

21.Nf6+ [21.Ne7+ Kg7 22.Rxh7+ puts us in #13 territory but Mike probably wanted to play move 22 (“completing the collection”) first] 21 … Kg7 22.b4 Qd8 23.Rxh7+ Kxf6 24.Qf5+ Ke725.Qxg6 Qe8 26.Nxf4 exf4 27.Kd2 Kd8 28.Qxd6+ Qd7 29.Qxf8+ 1-0

This win was counterbalanced by Ed being slowly tipped over in a Sicilian … e6 where White never looked out of his comfort zone.

Our second win came when Howard, already better in this position as Black, finds that his development moves are ideally placed to take advantage of the artificial Be2-f3-e4-d3 manoeuvre that White uncorked:

Chapman,M – Chiu,H (2042) [B80]
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (2.178), 04.11.2012
15.Bf3 Re8 16.Qf2 Qc7 17.Be4 N7f6 18.Bd3 Ng4 0-1

But 2-1 was destined for two-all … :

Duggan,C (2025) -Wade,B
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (2.179), 04.11.2012

Chris’s game ended effectively here with an oversight: 20. Nf3 Nxb2 21.Qb1 Nxd3 … ah, ah ouch – … and 0-1 (39)

Phil seemed to have weathered an early storm and a dispassionate observer might have thought that Black was angling for some initiative. Fritz disagrees, as did White:

Slater,T (1674) – Neatherway,A (1859)
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (2.180), 04.11.2012
27.Nc5 Nxc5 28.Qc4+ Kh8 29.Qxc5 … ( ½ -½ ) in 49

Oxford 3


Oxford 3 1735 Gloucestershire Gambits 2038
w Terry, Sean 1881 0 – 1 Stewart, Joseph J 2151
b Zhang, Marco 1746 ½ – ½ Hosken, Nigel K 2156
w Varney, Andrew 1818 ½ – ½ Waterfield, John W 2009
b Henbest, Kevin B 1729 0 – 1 Lambourne, Daniel M 2007
w Irving, Alastair 1674 1 – 0 Jenkins, John 2010
b Varney, Zoe 1562 0 – 1 Taylor, Geoffrey P 1899
2 – 4

A 2-4 result against a 2000 strong Gloucester side was creditable, with Alastair’s game the pick but two draws on the middle boards were creditable. Top board was a disaster as I arrived on time for the game (well, more or less) but found I’d left my evaluation package back home on the computer. My opponent had neutralised the advantage of the first move, but I wasn’t completely convinced by the position (where c4 seems a sensible continuation of whatever strategy there was) – but I was tempted by some king-side hackery options:

Terry,S (1881) – Stewart,J (2151)
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (1.135), 03.11.2012

11.Nh2 c4! 12.cxd4 cxd3 13.f4? much too optimistic missing many diagonal tricks which my opponent brings to the board: … Qb6 14.Qxd3 Ba6 15.Qd1 Bxf1 16.Kxf1 Nxe4 17.fxe5 Bxe5 18.Nf3 Bf6 19.Nc3 Ng3+ 20.Kf2 Nf5 0-1

Marco’s draw on board 2 was short and quiet (½–½, 19), but on board 3 Andrew was going hell-for-leather for victory in a Sicilian (Nc3 / Bb5), and a draw was agreed in this curious position:

Varney,A -Waterfield,J (2009) [B23]
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (1.137), 03.11.2012
½ – ½ (W)

On bottom board Zoe noticed the threat facilitated by the Bc4 the first time around … but not the second:

Taylor,G (1899) – Varney,Z [C55]
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (1.140), 03.11.2012

9 … Re8 10.Nf5 Qf8 11.Qf3 Ne7 12.Nxh6+ gxh6 13.Qxf6 Ng6 14.Qxg6+ Qg7 15.Bxf7+ 1-0

Alastair’s attack got to decisive proportions after Black took on d5 (perhaps … Qd8 better) in the position below.

Irving,A – Jenkins,J
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (1.139), 03.11.2012

20 … Nxd5 21.Qxh7+ Ke8 22.Qxg6+ Kd8 23.Ne6+ Bxe6 24.Qxe6 cxb3 25.Qxd5 [25.axb3 Qe3+ 26.Rd2 Rb6 27.Qxd5 is another option] 25 … bxa2 26.Qxa2 Qe3+ 27.Rd2 Ke7 28.Rh7+ Kf6 29.Qxa7 Qe1+ 30.Rd1 Rb1+ 31.Kxb1 Qxd1+ 32.Kb2 Rb8+ 33.Qxb8 Qd4+ 34.Kc1 Qg1+ 35.Kd2 Qf2+36.Kd3 Qd4+ 37.Ke2 Qc4+ 1-0


KJCA Knights 1633 Oxford 3 1807
w Smith, Patrick L 1795 1 – 0 Foster, Chantelle L 1930
b Paul, Barnaby J 1794 0 – 1 Heffetz, Shiri 1884
w Haridas, Girinath 1741 0 – 1 Terry, Sean 1881
b Leung, Simon CH 1567 1 – 0 Henbest, Kevin B 1729
w Anilkumar, Anantha P (jnr) 1561 1 – 0 Irving, Alastair 1674
b Anilkumar, Anantha PP (snr) 1343 0 – 1 Zhang, Marco 1746
3 – 3

Shiri got to a position where it was best to sit still and hope for complications. He’s a piece down, Fritz says -2, but the compensation is that the theory and the position type is 100+ years old:

Heffetz,S (1884) – Paul,B (1629)
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (2.136), 04.11.2012

17 … b6 [17 … Nc4 looking to exchange stuff is preferred, and this stops White’s next] 18.Ne5 Bd6?? [and now it’s mate in something: 18 … d4 19.Bxf5 Bxf5] 19.Bxf5 Bxf5 20.Qh6 1-0

Haridas,G (1741) – Terry,S (1881)
4NCL Division,Wokefield Park (2.137), 04.11.2012

As the chaos was happening on Shiri’s board, I was being offered a draw. To my left, Kevin seemed to be either clearly winning or clearly losing, and I figured this was no time to shake hands given the match position. The board position wasn't that promising, though. So play carried on, and – fortified by subsequent draw offers which suggested a confusion on the other side about the merits of the position – I duly won on move 43. For the record, Fritz says White is 0.88 in the position and my response ( … g5) improves the advantage to 2.33. Groan.

Henbest,K (1729) – Leung,S (1567)
4NCL Division, Wokefield Park (2.138), 04.11.2012

Next door, Kev had lost a pawn owing to pinned a-pawn, and long term you can feel a French grinding machine being ordered on Amazon about here. Just about now I wondered whether a g4 hack would work – there’s a lot of offside black material – and Kev obliged with 19.g4, manoeuvres of which Fritz approves: … Ng6 20.g5 hxg5 21.Nxg5 Nce7 22.Bxe7? [a positional error which reverses the evaluation: 22.Bh5 f6 23.Rb7 fxg5 24.Qxg5 is something like a continuation] 22 … Nxe7 23.Qf4 Nf5 24.Bg4 Nh6 25.Bh5 Rf8 26.Rb7 Be827.Re7 a3

And now

28.Rbb7 a2 29.Nxf7 a1Q+ 30.Kg2 Bxf7 31.Bxf7+ Nxf7 32.Rbd7 Q1a4 33.Rxf7 Qxd7 0-1

Alastair incautiously reduced an equal enough R + minor ending to a N v B affair which looked worse, before blundering, while Marco had completed his day’s chess very early when his opponent allowed one knight to sac on f7 and the other to arrive at g5 with fatal effect.

So this left us 3-2 ahead, with only top board to end, and although Chantelle’s game ended late, on move 71, the advantage was with her opponent after, in the diagram position, she didn’t appreciate the threat caused by 22. Bh3:

Smith,Patrick L (1795) -Foster,Chantelle L (1853)
4NCL Division 3s De Vere, Wokefield Park ENG (2.135), 04.11.2012
24.Bxe6! [ouch – and 1-0, 71]

18 Nov 2012