Weekend 1

[games, pgn]

Tim writes (17 November 2013):

The first two rounds of 4NCL 2013–14 show plus points gained by the second team, but the firsts and thirds yet to open their account:

  • Oxford 1 lost to Cheddleton 1 1-7 and Blackthorne Russia 2½-5½;
  • Oxford 2 drew 3-3 with Kings’ Head 2 and beat Bristol 2 3½-2½;
  • Oxford 3 lost to Celtic Tigers 1 1-5 and Sandhurst Scorpions 2½-3½.

I’m not too worried by the slow start made by the first team. Both oppo are likely to be in the championship pool and so we will probably drop these losses.

Thanks to all those who took part, especially those in the first team who had a difficult weekend.

We had some highlights at both venues:

  • JC scored 1½ against two 2260+ numbers on his return to action in the firsts;
  • Justin Tan impressed greatly on board 2 with solid draws against a 2516 and a 2446;
  • Howard Chiu & Dave Scott racked up 1½/2 to help Ox2 to their 3 matchpoints (oddly, both winning with Black and drawing with White);
  • Nick Burrows was given two oppo nominally rated 300 points higher and scored 1/2, playing 129 moves over the course of those games.
  • [Ed: and of course Tim, who scored 2/2 with the Black bits for Oxford 2.]

There was one lowlight: one of our number took a draw by perpetual in a position where most of us had lost count of how much extra material he had! Name withheld to protect the guilty, but this gives you an excuse to rootle through our games.

Roll on 11–12 January 2014 and weekend 2!

Oxford 1


Oxford 1 2209 1 - 7 Cheddleton 1 2396
1 w Zakarian, David 2408 0 - 1 Hawkins, Jonathan 2511
2 b Tan, Justin 2308 ½ - ½ Colovic, Aleksandar 2516
3 w Savage, Ben DM f 2269 0 - 1 Williams, Simon K 2455
4 b Smallbone, Kieran D 2218 0 - 1 Arkell, Keith CC 2437
5 w Cornford, Matthew 2178 0 - 1 Eggleston, David J 2399
6 b Coleman, James 2127 ½ - ½ Paci, Cedric 2339
7 w Rawlinson, Aidan M 2151 0 - 1 Radovanovic, Jovica 2328
8 b Foster, Chantelle L 2018 0 - 1 Steil-Antoni, Fiona 2185

A near 200 point / board difference put us in firm underdog position for the first match in our return year to Division 1. Top board saw the gap reduced to 100 points:

Zakarian - Hawkins
4NCL Division, 16.11.2013

On top board the backward d3 pawn means that Black has a slight edge, and David looked to exchange it for the c5 pawn, with 20.Rc1. After … Rd6! 21.Rxc5 Rxd3 22.Rb5 David was banking on the outside a-pawn that resulted from … Rxf3 23.Bxf3 Qxd2 24.Rxb7 Nc6 25.a6 to hold some sort of balance, but it was not going to happen: … Bf8 26.Qb2? The computer suggests the more natural looking a7, and suggests White is doing fine: 26. … Bc5! and now the a pawn is held back and Black can invade with his extra pieces 27.Rd1 Qa5 28.Kg2 Qxa6 and now Black is winning, and as plays continues he can afford to allow his queen be traded for an army of minor pieces + rook: 29.Be2 Qa8 30.Ra1 Qc8 31.h4 Bd4 32.Qb1 Bxa1 33.Ba6 Bd4 34.Rg7+ Kxg7 35.Bxc8 Rxc8 36.Qb7+ Kg8 37.f3 Bc5 38.g4 Be3 39.h5 gxh5 40.gxh5 Nd4 41.Qe7 Rc2+ 42.Kh1 Rc1+ 43.Kg2 Rg1+ 0–1

Board 2 saw new recruit Justin play through a Nimzo g3 to an ending where White sought to grind him down from what became, at move 21, this:

Colovic - Tan
4NCL Division 1a, 16.11.2013

It doesn’t look that promising for either side, but it takes a little sitzfleisch for the side on the receiving end. This Justin achieved with some ease, as the draw was agreed after the third attempt at a threefold repetition was finally successful: 21.Bxc6 bxc6 22.Rca4 Kb6 23.Rb4+ Kc7 24.Rba4 Kb6 25.Rb4+ Kc7 (end try 1) 26.Rh4 h6 27.Rha4 Kb6 28.Rb4+ Kc7 29.Rba4 Kb6 30.Rb4+ Kc7 (end try 2) 31.Rg4 g6 32.Rf4 Rd7 33.b4 Kb6 34.Ra5 Rc8 35.Rc5 Rcc7 36.Kg2 Rd5 37.Rfc4 Rxc5 38.Rxc5 Rd7 39.e4 Ra7 40.Ra5 Rc7 41.Rc5 Ra7 42.Ra5 Rc7 43.Rc5 Ra7 ½–½

On board 3 Ben’s return saw what we imagine was the usual first 20 or so moves of book, followed by a long think around (say) 2.40pm, to reach this position:

Savage – Williams S (W)
4NCL Division 1a 16.11.2013

At which point it looks like a Strong Player – GM clash, with Black having most of the play, but as yet no clear win. A brief look at the computer confirms that White could look to reduce pressure on e3 by driving away the attackers (h4), or creating a diversion elsewhere (dxc6, or even c5). Instead of which Ben went for 26.e4? which did reduce the pressure on the pawn, but revealed instead the weakness of the e3 square: … Bxc1 27.Nxc1 Qh6 28.Nd3 (in view of what follows N1a2 is the grim alternative) Nxh2! (and now if Qxh2 Qe3+) 29.Nf2 Qd2! (cute) 30.dxc6 Qxc3 31.Kxh2 (c7 could promote a pawn but at the expense of the king) bxc6 32.Ng4 Nd7 33.Qd1 Qb2+ 34.Kh3 h5 35.Nh2 Qd4 36.Qxd4 exd4 37.Nf3 c5 38.Kg2 Ne5 39.Ne1 Kf6 40.Kf2 g5 41.Ke2 h4 42.gxh4 gxh4 43.Kf2 Kg5 0–1

On board 4, Kieran’s brush with some Slav theory had led to an interesting position, and I daresay a tabiya or two, but by the time this position was on the board, the game was as good as up:

Arkell - Smallbone
4NCL Division 1a, 16.11.2013

The b-pawn will fall and yield a 3-1 majority on the queenside, but all other factors point in the way of White, and (spoiler alert) the Black king is going to be battered in the coming storm: 27.Nd3 Kf7 28.f5 c5 29.e6+ Kf6 30.Rg6+ Kxf5 31.e4# 1–0

Matthew Cornford had reached a position of near equality after a plethora of major piece exchanges on the c-file, and he has just offered a queen exchange, a decision that was the subject of post-match meal commentary, the gist of which is that this left him open to the endgame squeeze which emerged over the board:

Cornford - Eggleston (W)
4NCL Division 1a, 16.11.2013

23. … Qxc1+ 24.Nxc1 Nd7 25.Nd3 b5 26.f3 Nb6 27.Kf2 Nc4 28.Ke2 a5 29.g4 Bd8 30.Bg3 Bb6 31.Bf2 a4 32.h3 f6 33.h4 Kf7 34.h5 Ke8 35.Ke1 Kd7 36.Ke2 Kc8 37.Ke1 Kd8 38.Ke2 Kd7 39.Ke1 Na5 40.Nb4 Nc6 41.Nc2 Ne7 42.Ke2 Nd5 43.Bg3 Kc6 44.Kd3 Bd8 45.Ke4 Be7 46.Be1 Kd7

The position is still more or less equal, but Matthew errs with 47.Nb4? f5+ 48.gxf5? (48.Kd3 preserves the integrity of the king-side pawns: … Nf6 49.Bh4 fxg4 50.Bxf6 Bxf6 51.fxg4) … Nf6+ 49.Ke3 exf5 50.Kf4 Bxb4 51.Bxb4 Ke6 52.Bf8 Nxh5+ 53.Ke3 Kf7 54.Bb4 Nf6 55.Kf4 Ke6 56.Bf8 g5+ 57.Kg3 h5 58.Bh6 f4+ 59.Kf2 Kf5 60.Bf8 Nd5 61.Bd6 g4 62.fxg4+ hxg4 63.Be5 Ke4 0–1

The second of two half-points went to James, who looked comfortable all the way through this game, which saw White try to hack his way through to the Black king without opening a file, only to find himself overstretched and needing some balancing manoeuvres after the standard break in the centre:

Paci - Coleman (B)
4NCL Division 1a, 16.11.2013

17… d5 18.cxd5 Bxd5 19.Ng3 Rxc1 20.Rxc1 Bxf3 21.exf3 Nc7 22.Qc4 Nd5 23.Qxa6 Nxe3 24.fxe3 Qe5 25.Qe2 Qxg5 ½–½

While Aidan resigned a little early, when the win hadn’t been secured:

Rawlinson- Radovanovic, J
4NCL Division 1a, 16.11.2013

29. … Nec4 seemed good enough for the handshake, as Rd4 is more or less forced, leading to a large plus on the computer. However, the absence of the Bg7 would give some scope for breathing for the white army, and in the 10 moves to time control there was just the chance that counterplay might emerge.

All of which left just one game on the Live view site, around 8.25pm as we sped towards Hinckley Island, and both women were by now having to hack out moves at pace, given the slicker time controls introduced at the start of the season. No doubt this helps controllers to get some nosh before midnight, so we confine ourselves to the footnote that both sides might have felt at one stage or another that they were being asked to blitz out moves in an unseemly fashion from as early as move 60. Be that as it may, play looked pretty exciting on my phone, where it seemed for long periods as if Black was going to have difficulties defending her pawns even if the g-pawn were captured.

Steil-Antoni, F – Foster, C
4NCL Division 1a, 16.11.2013

60.Ne6 Bh4 61.Nd4 Rc7 62.Nf5 Bg5 63.Be5 Rc8 64.Kd4 Rf8 65.Ke4 Re8 66.Nd6 Rf8 67.Nc4 Bc1 68.Nb6 Rd8 69.Bc3 Re8+ 70.Kd3 Bg5 71.Kc2 Bf4 72.Nd7 Bg5 73.Kb3 Rd8 74.Ne5 Rc8 75.Nf7 Bf4 76.Kc4 Re8 77.Nd6 Re6 78.Nf5 Bg5 79.g7 Bf6 80.Bxf6 Rxf6 81.Nd6 Rf4+ 82.Kb3

Chantelle has managed to manage the position downwards towards a drawn position, and kept the White king at bay: 82. … Kxg7 83.Ne8+ Kf7 84.Nc7 Rh4?[A mistake which loses the result – Black can rush the king to defend the queenside with 84...Ke7 85.Nxa6 Kd7 86.Nb8+ Kc7 87.Na6+ Kb7 88.b5 cxb5 89.Nb4] 85.Nxa6 Ke7 86.Nb8 Rh8 87.Nxc6+ Kd7 88.Nd4 Kc7 89.Kc4 Rb8 90.b5 Kb7 91.a6+ Ka8 92.b6 Re8 93.b7+ Kb8 94.Nc6+ Kc7 95.b8Q+ Rxb8 96.Nxb8 Kxb8 97.Kd5 Ka7 98.c6 Kxa6 99.Kd6 1–0


Blackthorne Russia 2339 5½ - 2½ Oxford 1 2202
1 w Gormally, Daniel W g 2504 ½ - ½ Zakarian, David f 2408
2 b Hunt, Harriet V i 2449 ½ - ½ Tan, Justin f 2308
3 w Hunt, Adam C i 2429 1 - 0 Smallbone, Kieran D 2218
4 b Ansell, Simon T i 2382 ½ - ½ Harvey, Marcus R 2267
5 w Bates, Richard A i 2336 1 - 0 Rawlinson, Aidan M 2151
6 b Ledger, Dave J f 2262 0 - 1 Coleman, James 2127
7 w Webb, Laurence E f 2276 1 - 0 Cornford, Matthew 2178
8 b Ledger, Stephen C 2080 1 - 0 Miranda, Nicole M 1966

David Zakarian started off with an early solid draw v Gormally, but on board 2 there was some proper excitement as Justin went his merry way against Harriet Hunt:

Tan Hunt, H (W)
4NCL Division 1a, 17.11.2013

33.Rxh5!?! clearly some Qh7+ hacking themes in the air, but Harriet prefers the more solid … Nb4 (33...gxh5 34.Qh7+ Kf8 35.Bh6 Bxh6 36.Qxh6+ Ke7 37.Re1+ Kd8 38.Qxh5 is what the computer seems to be suggesting, which doesn’t seem to be much – so we welcome further comments!) 34.Bxb4 Rxb4 35.Rhc5 Qxd4 36.Qf3 Qg4 37.Qxg4 Rxg4 38.R1c4 Bd4 39.h5 Rxg3+ 40.Kf1 Rg4 41.hxg6 fxg6 42.Rxc6 Rxc6 43.Rxc6 Kg7 44.Ke2 g5 45.Rc4 Rf4 46.Kd3 Bxf2 47.Rxf4 gxf4 48.Ke4 Be3 ½–½

Next door on three, brother Adam wasn’t in a charitable Oxford mood as his knights led Black a merry dance:

Hunt,A - Smallbone
4NCL Division 1a, 17.11.2013

20.Ne5 Rb7 21.Nc6 Rxb3 22.Nxa5 Rb4 23.Nc6 Rb7 24.Na4 Nh5 25.Bg5 Bf6 26.Bxf6 Nxf6 27.Nc5 Rbc7 28.Nxa6 Rd7 29.Nc5 Rdc7 30.b4 e6 31.Na6 Rd7 32.Nab8 Rb7 33.dxe6 1–0

Aidan’s weekend adventures ended with him losing a pawn and being instructively ground down by Richard Bates – a very calm conversion of an extra pawn – while on the adjoining board James Coleman was able to wrap up a very tidy endgame conversion against Dave Ledger from the Scotch:

Coleman - Ledger, D
4NCL Division 1a, 17.11.2013

26…. g6 27.Re7 Be6 28.Rxc6 Rd8 29.Rc5 Rd5 30.Rxa5 Rxa5 31.Rc7 h5 32.h4 Kg7 33.Nc5 Kf6 34.a4 Ke5 35.b4 Kd6 36.Rb7 and the rook is speared 1–0

Webb - Cornford
4NCL Division 1a, 17.11.2013

Matthew has just played … Nd5 to try reduce the pressure on his position: 22.Qh3 g6 [22...Bxg5 23.Rxd5] 23.Bh6 Bf6 24.Rxf6 Nxf6 25.Bg5 Qd5 26.Bxf6 Qh5 27.Qxh5 gxh5 28.Rf5 1–0

Next door on board 8 Nicole has dropped a pawn early to a cheapo and in trying to rescue things had seriously randomised things – but with no better result (albeit a cute enough king walk to b5):

Miranda,N - Ledger,S (W)
4NCL Division 1a, 17.11.2013

17. Qh6 Nf3+ 18.Kd1 Qf5 19.Rh1 Nxh4 20.gxh4 Qf3+ 21.Kd2 Qe2+ 22.Kc3 Qc2+ 23.Kb4 Qxb2+ 24.Ka5 Qa3+ 25.Kb5 a6# 0–1

Oxford 2


Oxford 2 2041 3 - 3 Kings Head 2 2105
1 w Chiu, Howard 2065 ½ - ½ Thomas, Rik H 2185
2 b Dickinson, Tim R 2122 1 - 0 Wittmann, Jochen 2134
3 w Nandi, Robin J 1989 0 - 1 Mackenzie, Colin 2122
4 b Scott, David A 2042 1 - 0 Davey, Mark 2066
5 w Wang, Maria 2026 ½ - ½ Gilfillan, Andrew 2090
6 b Wang, X Anna 2002 0 - 1 Whitehead, David J 2034

And while Oxford 1 was enduring an extreme trial by FIDE ratings, Oxford 2 started off their campaign against a marginally stronger Kings Head 2 featuring Jochen Wittmann (on loan from Oxford for the 11th consecutive season) – and a tough and occasionally wild match ended up with a draw which on balance was more satisfactory to the Oxford team who clung on well.

On top board a draw resulted after an enterprising pawn sacrifice from Howard was enough to cloud the position and he emerged with a position which was drawn here:

Chiu – Thomas (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 16.11.2013
Draw agreed

at Black’s suggestion after … Kc6-d7. White has the balance of the play, and on the same afternoon when Carlsen was going to 2-0 on move 69 in Chennai one suspects a longer game might have ensued had the game been an online money affair. As it was, a good result for Howard to kick off his season.

Wittmann – Dickinson (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 16.11.2013

Next door a similar world championship theme was being explored after Jochen decided to ignore the recently attacked a-pawn and played 21.Nfe1? Bxa2 22.Bf1 Nc6 23.Na3 Na5 24.Nd3 Nc4 and the bishop is going to waltz away with the pawn (Anand – Carlsen, 2013 g4) instead of perishing on the vine (Spassky – Fischer, 1972 g1). However, not for long will Black remain materially up, as after the fairly forced and forcing sequence 25.Nxc4 Bxc4 26.Nxc5 Bxf1 27.Nd7+ Ke7 28.Nxf6 Kxf6 29.Kxf1 it’s all square :

But Black is clearly better here as his king is invading without too much bother, and the win materialises without the need for extreme calculation or finesse: … Kf5 30.c4 Ne7 31.Ke2 Ke4 32.Bc3 Nf5 33.b4 Nd6 34.c5 Nb5 35.Be1 bxc5 36.bxc5 Nd4+ 37.Kd2 Nb3+ 38.Kc3 Nxc5 39.Kc4 Nd3 40.Bc3 e5 41.fxe5 Nxe5+ 42.Kb5 Nf3 0–1

All in all, a half-point that materialised from the ether of a murky middle game, and much needed as earlier on the pyrotechnics on the next board resulted from a bit of sui-arson, after Robin lost the first piece of the Oxford season (take a bow) with a well constructed immolation:

Nandi – Mackenzie (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 16.11.2013

8.Bb5+ Kf8 9.Ne2?? a6 10.Bd3 c4 ah… and eventually this become 44. 0-1

Much excitement from the Wang sisters, with Maria losing control of the position and finding herself two pawns adrift, but she retained enough sense and tactical awareness to strike when the time trouble allowed:

Wang,M - Gilfillan,A (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 16.11.2013

Actually this diagram is just after the time control, but it’s a noticeable feature of games in this report that mistakes start just after moves 40 and 60, a form of (Irish?!) time?! Maria is two pawns down but a small chink of light in having the move and the chance to occupy the long diagonal: 43.Qd4+ Qf6? 44.Qxf6+ Kxf6 45.fxe4 fxe4 46.Bg4 (ouch) Be6 47.Rxd7 Bxg4 48.Rd4 Be6 49.Rxe4 from which a draw resulted in 57.

On board 6, Anna (B) had gotten to this position on move 34:

Whitehead - Wang,X (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 16.11.2013

and Anna’s last move (… Rf7) allows a mate in 4 which the reader is invited to find. Be that as it may, in real time it’s a long way to the Tipperary of time-control, so play continued: 34.Rc8+ Kg7 35.Rxh7+ Kxh7 36.Qxf7+ Kh6 – so far White has nervously rushed by the promised mate, and has been seduced by the plethora of easy checks that seem to be driving the king ever closer to its doom (Qf6 protects b2 and threatens a more deadly check on h8): 37.Rh8+ Kg5 38.f4+ Kxf4 39.Qxf6+ Ke3 40.Qf3+ Kd2 41.Qf4+ Ke2 42.Qc1

And now that there’s time to burn, and it’s normal to relax, 42. … Qd4 proves fatal 43.Qc2+ 1–0 The machine suggests 42. … Qc5 which will dissolve into a rook and pawn ending where black still has chances.

The draw was secured by a long defensive grind by Dave Scott, who emerged at least a bit better from the opening only to find himself having to defend stolidly against persistent White positional pressure. Here’s a pre-time control taster as Dave tries to reconcile his having no play and little pawn structure with the need to hang on in there:

Davey – Scott (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 16.11.2013

32…. Qd7 33.h3 Kf7 34.Nc5 Bxc5 35.bxc5 Rc8 36.Qb1 Re8 37.Rxe8 Kxe8 and so far the exchange of pieces to a queen ending has allowed some breathing space to Black – but what prospect of a result!? 38.Qe1+ Kd8 39.Kh2 Qf7 40.Qa5+ Kc8 41.Qb6 Kb8

Time control has been reached – normally a time for stock to be taken, but usually at the 4NCL it’s time for a breather, a gasper and a bit of z-z-z, and here is no exception. Black’s last move has been to provoke an untimely (if for all that natural looking) c6, but it now looks that White can increase the pressure with the simpler Qd8+-c8. Instead the lesser check 42.Qd6+ allows the queen to join in the fun: … Qc7 43.Qf8+ Ka7 44.Kg3 looks like an error as Qa5 threatens a3 with check. In fact, the pressure is still with White and Black’s play is not as strong as it did after the game (or: before the Fritz analysis) – while at the board it must have looked a lot worse to White: 45.c6? Qc3+ 46.Kh4 Qxc6 47.Kh5 Qb6 48.Kh6 Qxd4 and by now the tide has turned and Dave finished off a well played defence with 49.Kxh7 Qb6 50.Qc8 Qd6 51.Qxf5 d4 52.Qd3 Qxf4 53.a4 Qe3 54.Qc4 d3 55.Qc3 f5 56.h4 f4 57.h5 d2 58.Qc2 Qe7+ 59.Kg8 Qd8+ 60.Kg7 Qd4+ 61.Kg8 d1Q 0–1


Bristol 2 1999 2½ - 3½ Oxford 2 2026
1 w White, Martin J 1994 0 - 1 Dickinson, Tim R 2122
2 b Taylor, John Paul J 2018 ½ - ½ Foster, Chantelle L 2018
3 w Hearne, Rob 2034 0 - 1 Chiu, Howard 2065
4 b Morris, Barry 2074 ½ - ½ Scott, David A 2042
5 w Gregory, Andrew M 1978 1 - 0 Nandi, Robin J 1989
6 b Hardy, Roger 1898 ½ - ½ Terry, Sean 1924

On the Sunday a win against a balanced Bristol 2 side in a match that had 3 exciting wins and 3 draws one or other side of turgid. Let’s do away with the shared points then, all of them with our guys playing the white pieces: Dave shook hands after 11 moves of a somewhat classical Dutch, Sean’s 20 moves were quite constipated, while Chantelle did try hard to win her game before falling into an unwinnable Rook & Pawn ending after time control.

The wins were shared 2-1. Tim, in much the same way as on Saturday, didn’t seem to be going anywhere until a blunder paved the way to the simplest won endings:

White- Dickinson (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 17.11.2013

28.Re1 Rxe5 29.Qxe5+ Kf7 30.cxb6 axb6 all so good so far, but now 31.g3?? and after … Re8 32.Qxe8+ Qxe8 33.Rxe8 Kxe8 and the writing is on the wall. The a- or d- pawn will fall fairly soon. 34.Kf1 Kd7 35.Ke2 Kc6 36.Kd3 Kb5 37.Kc3 Ka4 38.Kb2 b5 39.Ka2 b4 40.axb4 Kxb4 41.Kb2 Kc4 42.Kc2 Kxd4 43.Kd2 Ke4 44.Ke2 d4 45.f3+ Kd5 46.Kd3 Kc5 47.Kd2 Kc4 48.Kc2 d3+ 49.Kd1 Kc3 50.Kc1 d2+ 51.Kd1 Kd3 52.f4 h5 0–1

Gregory - Nandi (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 17.11.2013

Robin found himself materially equal but facing an un-opposed fianchettoed bishop and an open f-file it was hard to see how to delay the result: 25.Nf5 Qe6 26.Rf1 Ned7 27.Qg3 Nh5 28.Qg5 1–0

All of which left us with Howard on board 3, gradually exerting spatial control against an opponent forced to play the last 10 moves with no more than 30 seconds (with increment) to move 40.

Hearne – Chiu (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 17.11.2013

Howard has gradually taken over the board and begins to roll out the plan: annex the b-pawn and win by queening his own: 31…. b3 32.Red2 Qa4 33.Ng3 Qa2 34.h4 Rxb2 35.Rxb2 Qxb2 “Eureka” the crowd tweets, as the win hoves into view:

And now with Qa1+ and … b2 seeming to wind up the game, Howard finds the more strategic 36…. Rc1+ 37.Kh2 Qc3 38.Ne2 which were it not for … Qc7+ would lose the exchange. Sigh. Time control is reached via 39.Bf4 Bd6 40.Rb2 Bxf4+ 41.Qxf4 Qxf4+ 42.Nxf4 Rc2 43.Rxb3 Rxf2 when now it’s still won, but it’s an endgame which can easily be chucked. Howard though is having none of this pessimism and cheerily wraps up the full point with relish: 44.Kg3 Rd2 45.Rb4 h6 46.Kf3 g5 47.hxg5 hxg5 48.Ne2 Bf5 49.Ke3 Rd3+ 50.Kf2 Kg7 51.Rb5 Be6 52.Rb4 Kg6 53.Ng1 Kf5 54.Ke2 Ra3 55.Nf3 Kf4 56.Kf2 Ra2+ 57.Kf1 g4 58.Ne1 Ke3 59.g3 Ra1 0–1

Oxford 3


Celtic Tigers 1 2064 5 - 1 Oxford 3 1802
1 w Maciol, Ryszard 2182 1 - 0 Terry, Sean 1924
2 b Kemp, Peter D 2164 ½ - ½ Neatherway, A Philip 1865
3 w Pedersen, Carsten 2148 1 - 0 Burrows, Nick 1831
4 b Skulte, Christopher 1982 1 - 0 Henbest, Kevin B 1709
5 w Pein, Jonathan 1954 ½ - ½ Biswas, Karl 1748
6 b Herring, Sam AC 1954 1 - 0 Riley, Adrian K 1738

Oxford 3 started their own campaign against the highly rated and mostly experienced Celtic Tigers 1, and (much like Oxford 1 in Div 1) there were some good performances but not many scores. Top mystery for us was on board 5, which saw Karl quickly establish a won position only to decide in a moment of flurry to offer a draw in view of a possible exposed king:

Pein – Biswas
4NCL Division 3s, 16.11.2013

16.Qxe5 Nxa1 17.Qe6+ Kg7 18.Qe5+ Kf7 19.Qxc7+ Ke6 20.Re1 Qc2+ ½–½

On board 2 Phil offered a draw on the stroke of time control from a position of superiority, having emerged from a testing examination in the Ruy Lopez from 2100+ rated opposition.

Neatherway – Kemp (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 16.11.2013

On top board I managed to spoil a reasonable position with a move that seems more and more absurd with the passage of time:

Maciol – Terry (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 16.11.2013

White has just played 25.Rac1, leaving Black, an exchange light but with some prospects against the White king and the short-term advantage of two knights against two defensive bishops. The move that is screaming out to be played is … e4, with an enduring initiative if not necessarily a winning one. Instead, for some reason I end up playing … Qh5? after which 26.Qd3 stops the pawns in their tracks and leaves me a little short of compensation, and ideas. 26. … Nh4 27.Bf3 Qh6 28.Rg1 g5 29.Rc7 Bd8 30.Rxa7 Re8 31.Bg4 e4 32.Qd4 Qg6 33.Be6 h5 34.Bf7 1–0

Another good effort from Nick Burrows, who seems to be equal in this position

Pedersen – Burrows (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 16.11.2013

But it’s early in a Burrows (or Celtic Tigers) game, so no hope of a shaken hand just yet.

32. … Kf7 33.Bf4 Be7 34.Bc7 Ke6 35.Kg3 Kf7 36.Kf4 Ke6 37.Bb8 Bd8 38.Kf3 Be7 39.Kf4 Bd8 40.b3 Be7 41.Bc7 Bh4 42.Bb6 Be7 43.b4 cxb4 44.Bxd4 Bh4 45.Bc5 Kf6 46.Kf3 Ke5 47.Bxb4 Bg5 48.c3 Ke6 49.Bc5 Bf6 50.Bd4 Bg5 51.c4 Kd6 52.Be3 Bf6 53.Kf4 d4 54.Bd2 Ke6 55.Ba5 Bh4 56.f3 Bf2 57.Kg5 h4 58.f4 Bg3 59.Bb6 Bf2 60.Ba7 Be3 61.Bb8 1–0


Oxford 3 1788 2½ - 3½ Sandhurst Scorpions 1787
1 w Burrows, Nick 1831 1 - 0 Zhang, Anthony Y 2146
2 b Neatherway, A Philip 1865 ½ - ½ Gallagher, Daniel GH 1962
3 w Brackmann, Hendrik 1842 ½ - ½ Golding, Alex 1697
4 b Henbest, Kevin B 1709 0 - 1 Golding, James 1682
5 w Biswas, Karl 1748 ½ - ½ Samadov, Samir 1594
6 b Riley, Adrian K 1738 0 - 1 Purvis, Anna 1642

With three draws reflecting merit on the schoolboy scorpions, it was down to the other three boards to make a difference. In order they panned out as follows. Starting on board 6, Kelly has been snaking his queen around to b6 with a sneaky enough eye on the b2 square. What will white do?!

Purvis,A - Riley (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 17.11.2013

30.Bxg6? Rxd1?? [30...fxg6 31.Qe6+ Kg7 32.Rd7+ Rxd7 33.Qxd7+ Kf8] 31.Qe8+ a nasty bite 1–0

On board 4, Kevin was conjuring up a strong initiative against a cumbersome king trapped in the centre:

Golding – Henbest (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 17.11.2013

In truth this is overwhelming for Black but there's no obvious knock-out blows and the thought that White could have something going is reinforced by 33.f5? Rb1+? not bad but simply gxf5 is crushing 34.Bc1 gxf5 35.gxf5 Rh6 Still a strong initiative for Black. 36.Re1 and now White is nearly in zugzwang as a move like ... Kh8 would demonstrate. Unfortunately... 36...Rh2?? 37.Qg3+ ouch 37...Kh8 38.Qxh2 Qxa3 [even here an immediate 38...Bb2 held out the prospect of a draw as it's hard to avoid the perpetual after 39.Kd2 Bxc1+ 40.Rexc1 Qd4+] 39.Qe2 Qb3 40.Qxa6 Bb2 41.Qc8+ Kg7 42.Rg1+ Kf6 43.Qh8+ Ke7 44.Qxh7+ Kf6 45.Rg6+ Ke5 46.Qe7+ Kd4 47.Rxd6+ 1–0 bah

All of which meant that Nick’s game, just coming to tactical life (as it were) after the first time control, wouldn’t affect the match score, but it provided enough drama to keep the spectators on a late Sunday afternoon much entertained. Here’s a snippet:

Burrows - Zhang
4NCL Division 3s, 17.11.2013

42…. Ngxf5 43.Nxf5 Nxf5 44.Bh3 e4 45.Rd5 e3+ 46.Ke1 e2 47.Rc1 Nxh4 48.Bxc8 Nf3+ 49.Kf2 e1Q+ 50.Rxe1 Nxe1 51.Bf5 and now the knight is trapped – but it needs to be won, so Black perhaps errs in giving it away so quickly (51...h4 52.Rd1 Re5 53.Bb1 b5 is a possible line): …Ng2 52.Kxg2 Re2+ 53.Kg3 Rxb2 54.Rxd6 Ra2 55.Rd7+ Ke8 56.Rd3 Ke7 57.Bd7 Rc2 58.Bb5 b6 59.Kh4 Rh2+ 60.Rh3 Rxh3+ 61.Kxh3 f5 62.Bxa4 Kd6 63.Kh4 Kc5 64.Bb5 65.a4 Kb4 66.Be8 Kxc4 67.Bxh5 Kd4 68.Be2 1–0

11 January 2014