Weekend 2

[games, pgn]

Oxford 1


e2e4.org.uk 1 2262 Oxford 1 2245
w Conquest, Stuart C g 2491 1 - 0 Zakarian, David f 2394
b Fernandez, Daniel H i 2453 1 - 0 Harvey, Marcus R f 2322
w Sowray, Peter J f 2308 1 - 0 Rose, Matthew 2309
b Rudd, Jack i 2247 0 - 1 Tan, Justin f 2366
w Fernandez, Michael H f 2264 0 - 1 Eckersley-Waites, Tom 2282
b Burrows, Martin P 2136 ½ - ½ Manley, Jonathan 2180
w Byron, Alan M 2188 1 - 0 Rawlinson, Aidan 2190
b Norinkeviciute, Rasa wf 2009 ½ - ½ Matta, Francesca w 1921
5 - 3

As is becoming rapidly the tradition we start off this report with the Neil Dickenson Award of Weekend 2. Other nominees will feature later on, and no doubt some people will quibble at the criteria for the award, which (on the evidence so far) seem only to feature positions involving … Neil Dickenson. A fair enough point, but you have to admit that his games recently have been hot on interest, excitement and relevance to the match result.

So here we join proceedings at move 30, it’s Black to move and Neil is a pawn down v Cambridge. Assess his chances.

Lee – Dickenson,N
4NCL Division 1b, 11.01.2015

We start though on top board of the match against e2-e4, where the game is approaching time control after a game spent manoeuvring its way from a normal Nimzo Indian to this position, where the offside-ness of two of the three black minor pieces, in particular that hanging knight on b3, suggests that White is doing better.

Conquest – Zakarian
4NCL Division 1b, 10.01.2015

And, we’re pleased to report that Fritz agrees with this broad assessment, until that is Stuart’s last move (39. f4) which converts a +1.5 into a -0.2, as the -0.2. However, it’s all in the play, and David’s continuation 39… Kh7? allowed White to invade tactically. Instead 39...Nf5 40.Bd2 Rg7 would lead to a ganging up against e3, as well as preventing 40.Bd7! Re7 41.Ng4 Qf7 42.Ne5 Rxe5 and even this sac doesn’t prevent lethal force engulfing the g-pawn 43.fxe5 Rf8 44.Bg4 a6 45.Bd1 Ne6 46.h4 Nc1 47.h5 Kh8 48.Qxg6 Ng5 49.Rxg5 hxg5 50.Qh6+ Kg8 51.Rg1 Qg7 52.Rxg5 Rf1+ 53.Kg2 Rf7 54.e6 Qxg5+ 55.Qxg5+ Rg7 56.Qxg7+ 1–0

Marcus on board 2 conspired with his opponent to cause a smile to emerge somewhere in south Dublin with this enterprising start: 1.g3 g6 2.Bg2 Bg7 3.d4 a5 4.Na3 e5 5. dxe5 Bxe5.

Harvey- Fernandez
4NCL Division 1b, 10.01.2015

And although the balance stayed with White for a while, his decision to open up the a-file on move 21 led to a too-rapid penetration of the position – and this was the end:

Harvey- Fernandez
4NCL Division 1b, 10.01.2015
30.Qxb2 Bxb2 31.Rh5 Rbd6 32.Nh4 Bc3+ 33.Kd3 c5 0–1

Matt on 3 made it to time control to this position, which looks to me broadly equal, assuming that g-pawn isn’t going to do anything foolish (e.g. promote).

Sowray – Rose (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 10.01.2015

45.Ra2 Nxe4 This struck me as a bit odd – although it protects d6 again (perhaps insurance against the invation of the White rook, I thought the g-pawn was more of an asset than even the d-pawn. Fritz provides this variation which basically suggests that the g-pawn potentially can run if White becomes too active 45...Kg6 46.Ra8 Rb7 47.Bxd6 Rb1 48.Be2 Re1 49.Bd3 g3 50.Ra2 Ng4 46.Bxg4 Nf6 47.Be6+ and now the White pieces get active in ways I hadn’t foreseen at the diagram position: Kg6 48.Ra8 e4 49.Bc3 Rb1 50.Bxf6 e3 Alas the recapture 50...Kxf6 loses the bishop: 51.Rf8+ 51.Bc3 e2 52.Rg8+ Kh6 53.Bf5 1–0

So 0-3 on the top boards, but once again not without a fight and with a measure of poor fortune (choices) at critical times. On board 4, Justin was doing the Berlin waltz with Jack Rudd, and had reached this position:

Tan – Rudd (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 10.01.2015

For those readers of the Div 3 game involving Zoe playing a Berlin in weekend 1 might have been disappointed at the lack of in-depth commentary or analysis, we confess to having slightly copped out of any judgments then. (Having spent 5 hours listening to a Svidler commentary masterclass on the Berlin during the recent Carlsen – Anand match we were signed off openings analysis by some men in white coats, much the same way rugby players are rested when concussed.) Be that as it may, and though the cert. hasn’t expired yet, we confident that here the Black Bishops had run away too far from those White Horsies for them to help the defence.

And so it transpired, particularly after 18 …Ba6 which opened the kingside to the white steeds: 19.Nh5 Ng8 the pawns can’t be defended 19...Bf8 20.Ng5 Ng8 21.Nxh7 Ke8 22.Nxf8 Kxf8 23.Bc5+ Ne7 24.Bxe7+ Kxe7 25.Nxg7 20.Nxg7 Be2 21.Ng5 Bc3 22.Nf5 h5 23.Bd4 Bd2 24.Ne4 Bf4 25.Neg3 Bxg3 26.Nxg3 Bd1 27.Nxh5 Bxc2 28.b4 Ne7 29.f4 Nd5 30.a3 1–0

Tom E-W had another convincing (if less than normally spectacular) win on board 5 after his opponent played 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bb4+ 5.c3 Bc5 6.Be3 Bb6 (“all very well”) 7.c4 (“huh?”) which soon enough condemned white to play doubled e-pawns and weakness aplenty on the dark squares. By the diagram, White has been rushing to stem the tide and exchange some pieces:

Fernandez – Eckersley-Waites,T (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 10.01.2015

22…. Bc8 is a wonderful Nimzovitchian retreat, bringing the queen into play 23.Nd5 Qe5+ 24.Nf4 Nxe4 25.Rxd2 Rxd2 26.Kg1 g5 27.Nh5 Ng3 28.Nxg3 Qxg3+ 29.Kh1 Qxe3 30.Re1 Qg3 31.Rd1 Rxa2 32.Rd3 Qe5 0–1

Jon drew his game on 6 as both sides slashed and burned in a Bb5 Sicilian, and with no noticeable errors the result was a perpetual on move 33. Less luck for Aidan this time as he chose to defend his b-pawn from the wrong side:

Byron – Rawlinson,A
4NCL Division 1b, 10.01.2015
19. … c5? 20.Be2 Qd7 21.Bxg4 hxg4 22.Nxd6+ 1–0

Another win eluded us on board 8 in a “so-near, so close” tragedy. Francesca is a pawn up, and her opponent has just played … f4 with a view to mixing it up on the king side.

Matta,F- Norinkeviciute,R (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 10.01.2015

47. Qb8+ Kg7 48. Qb7+ Qd7 taking the view that the loss of the f-pawn without inflicting damage on White’s pawns will be fatal, and so offering the b-pawn instead 49.Qxb6 fxg3 50.fxg3 Qxh3 51.Qc7+ and now it looks as good as over, as the Queen and Knight both protect the white king …Kf8 52.b6 Ne8 53.Qe5 Qd7

54.Qh8+ If you want to be swank, then adopt the Fritz suggestion 54.b7 Qxb7 with the point that 55.Qh8+ Kf7 56.Qh7+ Ng7 57.Ne5+ will cost Black her remaining pieces: … Kf6 58.Qxh6+ Ke7 59.Qxg7+ but the check on h8 is fine: 54...Ke7 55.Qxh6 Qf5 and now it’s White to play and win, or draw:

56.Ne5? aargh – either the prosaic 56.Qxg5+ Qxg5 57.Nxg5 Nd6; or the exciting 56.Nxg5 will win, but this concedes a perpetual 56...Qb1+ 57.Kh2 Qc2+ 58.Kh3 Qf5+ 59.Ng4 Qf1+ 60.Kh2 Qe2+ 61.Kh3 Qf1+ 62.Kh2 Qe2+ 63.Kh3 Qf1+ 64.Kh2 Qe2+ 65.Kh3 Qf1+ ½–½


Oxford 1 2268 Cambridge University 1 2271
w Zakarian, David f 2394 0 - 1 Wallace, John-Paul i 2388
b Tan, Justin f 2366 1 - 0 Camus, Guillaume f 2361
w Harvey, Marcus R f 2322 ½ - ½ Haria, Ravi 2312
b Savage, Ben DM f 2265 ½ - ½ Bisby, Daniel L f 2318
w Rose, Matthew 2309 ½ - ½ Eckersley-Waites, Adam 2268
b Dickenson, Neil F f 2289 1 - 0 Lee, Richard WY 2147
w Eckersley-Waites, Tom 2282 1 - 0 McClement, Andrew 2202
b Matta, Francesca w 1921 0 - 1 Chevannes, Sabrina L wi 2173
4½ - 3½

Another so-close fight to the death over eight boards; the top board clash reached its moment of truth in this position, with White to move:

Zakarian – Wallace (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 11.01.2015

It’s a starting-off Najdorf with 6. Qf3, with some Dragon variants thrown in just after. It’s white to move and David opts for 13.f4 the computer suggests 13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 as good because if … Nb4 15.f4 Nxa2+ 16.Kb1 Nb4 17.c3 will trap it. But the more serious weakness here is that 13...Bxc3 is possible, and even if that’s a good bishop in the used pieces section, those are bad pawns in the active play area. 14.bxc3 f6 15.f5 Bf7 16.g5 0–0–0 and now that Black has castled long, the holes caused by the absent Bg7 are of redundant importance. Black manoeuvred his way around the desperate defence to secure a win at the time control (0-1, 40).

On board 2 the game was pleasingly short (for the team in dark blue) and sweet. To begin with White has already lost his way in a semi-slav and the extra pawn on the queen-side looks like a long-to-medium winner, and with this in mind Justin has played his Qd5 move to exchange off queens. His opponent takes a pragmatic (dare we suggest philosophic) view and sidesteps the invitations:

Camus – Tan (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 11.01.2015

16.e4 Qh5 17.Qf4 Nbd7 looks natural enough though Fritz suggests 17...e5 18.dxe5 Nfd7 19.e6 fxe6 20.Nf3 e5 as safer 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.Qd6 Qg5 20.f4 a touch of the va banque! here but 20.Qc6+ Ke7 21.e5 Nd7 22.Qd6+ Kd8 23.g3 is better and a lot more stable than 20...Qxg2 21.Rf1 Qxd2+ 0–1

Marcus had to work a lot for the draw on board 3, where he emerged from a non-standard opening to find himself without a conventional place for the king to rest his hat.

Harvey – Haria (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 11.01.2015

19.Ke2! Nce5 20.Nxe5 Nxe5 21.Be4 f5 22.Bh1 Be8 23.f4 Bh5+ 24.Kf1 Nf3 25.Bxf3 Bxf3 26.Kf2 Bc6 27.Rab1 Qc7 28.b4 Qe7 29.Kg3 b6 30.Kh2 Rd7 31.b5 Bb7 32.Rbd1 Rxd1 33.Nxd1 Rd8 34.Nf2 Qf6 35.a4 Kb8 36.Rd1 Rg8 37.Rg1 Rd8 38.Rd1 Rg8 39.Rg1 Rxg1 40.Kxg1 Qg7+ 41.Kf1 Bf3 42.Nd3 Qg3 43.Ne1 Qxh3+ 44.Kf2 Be4 45.Qc3 Qh4+ 46.Ke2 Qe7 47.Nf3 Bxf3+ 48.Kxf3 Kb7 49.Qh8 Qd7 50.Kg3 Qf7 51.Kf2 ½–½

This long combative draw constrasted with the draw on board 4, with a handshake accepted on move 22 of a Scandinavian, a time when Ben normally comes out from the ether of his preparations:

Bisby – Savage (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 11.01.2015
Draw Agreed

While another draw emerged on board 5, with Matt bailing out at just the right time to allow the parachute to, if not open fully, at least prevent fatal injuries on contact with terra firma:

Rose – Eckersley-Waites,A
4NCL Division 1b, 11.01.2015

22.Bxd4 Rxd4 23.Nf3 f4 24.Bf5 Bxf5 25.Qxf5 Rxd1+ 26.Rxd1 e4 27.Ne5 Re8 28.Nd7 Qc6 29.Qg6 Rd8 30.Nxf6+ Qxf6 31.Rxd8+ Qxd8 32.Qe6+ Kh8 33.h3 Qd1+ 34.Kh2 Qd4 35.Qc8+ Kh7 36.Qf5+ Kg8 37.Qxf4 Qxb2 38.Qb8+ ½–½

This brings us to the board of the round, a Pirc where Black finds himself slightly cramped for space, and Neil possibly feels obliged to take an executive decision on move 21:

Lee – Dickenson (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 11.01.2015

21 .. Nfxe4 22.fxe4 Nxe4 23.Qe1 e6 with the idea that this knight has no safe squares, but White immediately finds a continuation that makes this consideration irrelevant 24.Nxe6! fxe6 25.Bxb6 Nf2+ the tactics are all on White’s side after … Qg5 and this deflects some heat (and pieces) away from the arena 26.Bxf2 exd5 27.Rxd5 Be5 28.Bd4 Bxd4 29.Qe6+ Kh8 30.Rxd4 which brings us to the position at the start and Neil choose … Qg5

At first sight Black may as well be 3 pawns adrift, as those creatures on d6 and a5 aren’t here for the long haul. But Black’s move here has identified a difficulty in coordinating the rooks (while defending the c-pawn). Careful thought is required in the last mini-session before time control. The computer sees White to have a plus 1.2 advantage. 31.Rcd1? this halves the plus and allows an incursion on White’s second rank, threating mate (Fritz suggests Rdd1 or Qe1) … Rxc2 32.Rg4 Qc5 33.Qxd6?? in a hugely complex ending, a straight blunder … Rf1+ 34.Kh2 if Rxf1 Qxd6 so the king has to take a walk on the wild side … Qg1+ 35.Kg3 Rxg2+ 36.Kh4 Qf2+ 37.Rg3 g5+ 38.Kh5 Qf7+

39.Kxg5 Rf5+ 40.Kg4 Qh5# 0–1

“And that, my dear grandchildren, is what I did in the match against Cambridge in the winter of 2014-15”

On Board 7, Tom EW continued his excellent form, this time defeating a variation of the Sicilian in which 7. … g5 is considered book**. (Anyone wishing to see my attempts to make 10. .. g5 part of a book can log in to Tim Dickinson’s FB page, or wait the publication of the next Disinformator).

** 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.0–0 Nf6 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.Rd1 g5

We join proceedings on move 17 and it does seem as if Black is getting a foothold on the kingside, at least until Tom’s next move:

Eckersley-Waites, T – McClement (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 11.01.2015

17.d5! Rxd5 18.Qc4 a pin that results in the loss of the linchpin f-pawn while rendering the black pieces simultaneously huddled and un-coordinated: … Re5 19.Qxe6+ Rxe6 20.Nxf5 Bg5 21.N1e3 Rf8 22.Rd5 Ne5, which sets the scene for an artistic diagram and the precise denouement:

23.Nd4 Rff6 24.Nxe6 Rxe6 25.Nxg4 1–0

On bottom board Francesca castled too early and too late found the odds stacked up against her:

Chevannes,S – Matta,F (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 11.01.2015

11. … 0–0 a brave decision, given the open h-file and the pieces already looking that way on d3 and h4. On general principle I would look to avoid this commitment, though frankly it’s not easy to see a natural continuation. (Fritz suggests ekeing out of the discomfort on the queenside with some grovelling (… c6, … Qc7) after which castling long is an option. 12.Qc2 immediately putting the question to the h7 pawn c5 13.Nf3 Ng6 14.Ne5 c4 15.Be2 b5 16.Bf3 a5 17.Rh3 b4 18.Ke2 … and the initiative is clear and enduring, and despite stubborn attempts to break the shackles, the win was secured shortly after time control (1-0, 46).

Oxford 2


Anglian Avengers 3 1724 Oxford 2 1965
w Fogg, Martin 1906 1 - 0 Dickinson, Tim R 2107
b Lamont, Richard 1893 0 - 1 Rawlinson, Christopher JA 2051
w Woodcock, Keith 1668 0 - 1 Brackmann, Hendrik 1952
b Cocks, Elliot 1622 0 - 1 Hayward, Philip T 1901
w Sheerin, Alex 1645 0 - 1 Nandi, Robin 1955
b Paez, Alonso 1615 1 - 0 Idle, Oscar 1825
2 - 4

On top board, Tim had managed to get the standard French mojo going (… g5, etc) but faced some stick on c6:

Fogg – Dickinson,T (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 10.01.2015

… Nce7 This seems a bit radical, but the computer shows that moving the other knight opens other bags of tricks and ticks: 20...Nge7 21.Nc3 Be6 22.Nxe4 dxe4 23.d5 Bxd5 24.Rxc6. 21.Bxd7+ Kxd7 22.Nc3 Qd6 23.Nd2 Qe6 if 23...h5 a nice tactic emerges: 24.Nxd5 Nxd5 25.Nxe4 Qe6 26.Rxd5+ 24.Na4 a sneaky one Rac8? 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Nc5+ ah Rxc5 27.Qxc5 Qc6 28.Nb3 b6 29.Qxc6+ Kxc6 30.f3 1–0

Chris marked his return with a trademark thump against the Sicilian:

Rawlinson,C – Lamont (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 10.01.2015

… e5 15.f5 Bd7 whoops. … f6 is so necessary here as otherwise 16.f6+ Kxf6 17.Qh6 Ke6 18.g5 f5 19.gxf6 Rxf6 20.Bg4+ 1–0

And on board 3 Hendrik showed some neat technique against an opponent who must have been demoralised by the time this diagram appeared in front of him; earlier on he had unwisely exchanged B for N on b6 and reduced to an ending where quickly the advantage of the bishops was clear:

Woodcock – Brackmann (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 10.01.2015

25.Ra1, well it’s a move but there’s not many other choices in a near zugzwang position. The only other option seems sensible but allows an invasion of the rooks: 25.Bb1 Bxb1 26.Rxb1 Rd2+ 27.Kf1 Bg3 28.Nh3 Re3 25...Bc2 26.Rf1 Rd2+ 27.Rf2 Rxf2+ 28.Kxf2 Bd3 29.hxg6 hxg6 30.Rh4 Be3+ 31.Kg2 Bxg1 32.Kxg1 Re1+ 33.Kf2 Ra1 thus rounding up the Ba2 and securing a routine win (0-1, 53).

On board 4, Phil won a R+5 v R+4 ending determinedly (rough trans: no diagrams this time), and there was another Play Til Mate on bottom board, this time for Robin:

Sheerin – Nandi (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 10.01.2015

50.Ba6 Nd3 51.Ke2 e4 52.Ke3 f5 53.Ke2 Kf6 54.Bb5 Ke5 55.Ke3 Nc1 56.Bd7 f4# 0–1


Oxford 2 2013 Leeds University Old Boys 2099
w Rawlinson, Aidan 2190 ½ - ½ Hall, John f 2249
b Rawlinson, Christopher JA 2051 ½ - ½ McGann, Gary 2200
w Dickinson, Tim R 2107 1 - 0 Mossong, Hubert f 2110
b Brackmann, Hendrik 1952 0 - 1 Birkin, Mark 2132
w Nandi, Robin 1955 1 - 0 Taylor, Mark 2072
b Idle, Oscar 1825 ½ - ½ Harvey, John 1832
3½ - 2½

A great win against Leeds Old Boys, in which the Rawlinsons (Aidan & Chris, not Mel) took the lead off his other and indulged in a race to the handshake on top board:

Rawlinson,A – Hall (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 11.01.2015
Draw agreed (after 14. Qxd5)

McGann- Rawlinson,C
4NCL Division 3s, 11.01.2015
Draw agreed (after 10. Nf4)

Clearly difficult to judge the strategic depths of these decisions, without seeing the bar and dinner tab for the previous night.

On board 3, Tim got to this position from a R v 4 each position where the c-pawn was the only queen-side resident, and won this in excellent style:

Dickinson, T - Mossong
4NCL Division 3s, 11.01.2015

58.Rxf6+ Kc5 59.Ke3 Rxc4 60.Kf4 Rc1 61.Ke5 Rg1 62.Rf7 Rg5+ 63.Kf6 Rg6+ 64.Kf5 Rh6 65.Rd7 Rh1 66.e5 h5 67.e6 h4 68.e7 Re1 69.Kf6 h3 70.Rd2 Kc6 71.Kf7 Rf1+ 72.Ke8 Ra1 73.Re2 h2 74.Rxh2 Re1 75.Rd2 Kc7 76.Rd4 Re2 77.Rd3 Re1 78.Rc3+ Kb7 79.Rc4 Re2 80.Kd7 Rd2+ 81.Ke6 Re2+ 82.Kd6 Re1 83.Rc5 1–0

Hendrik’s adventurous run continues, but his winning came to an end in this match:

Birkin – Brackmann (W)

17.e6 Nf2+ 18.Kg1 fxe6 19.Qe2 all forced from the diagram. Fritz says it's slightly in Black's favour, and recommends ... Nd3. Hendrik has other plans! 19...Nd4 20.cxd4 Bxd4 21.Nf3 should now lead to a draw by the obvious perpetual. h3 was better still 21...Nh3+ 22.Kf1 but this is bad...

22...e5 and this, though geometic, not so good as the very pleasing ... Ng1! 23.Qe4 Nxf3 24.Bxf3 (24.Qxg6+ Bg7 25.Bxf3 Rxf3+ 26.Kg2 Raf8) 24...Rxf3+ 25.Qxf3 Rf8 26.Bf4 gxf4] 23.Qe4 Kg7 24.Be3 g4 25.Bxd4 gxf3 26.Bxe5+ Kh7 27.Qh4+ Kg8 28.Qh8+ Kf7 29.Qg7+ Ke8 30.Qxg6+ Kd8 31.Rad1 fxg2+ 32.Kxg2 Rf2+ 33.Kh1 Rf1+ 34.Rxf1 Nf2+ 35.Kg2 1–0

Robin got his 100% weekend with this neat win after his opponent went astray in a promising position:

Nandi – Taylor (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 11.01.2015

The opening has gone wrong for White, who despite, or perhaps because, of his two bishops has an annoying knight coming to wreak havoc on those light squares. The pin on the Bd3 makes life difficult for the defender. However, 19 … Nxd3 19...e5 is much better, threatens e4 and you’d need to be on your mettle to see 20.Rb1 e4 21.Bxf4 Qxf4 22.Rb4 f5 as a defence. But here, not only does this lose an advantage it quickly lets retribution in the door: 20.cxd3 Qd7? (Kb8) 21.Qa4 Qd5 22.Rxc6+ bxc6 23.Qxa7 Qd6 24.Rb1 Rd7 25.Qa8+ 1–0

The match win was secured by Oscar on board 6, where he’s already got a slight plus (that h-pawn) but he then overpresses (that h-pawn):

Harvey – Idle (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 11.01.2015

25. … h3? Takes the pawn out of the defensive reach of the Be7 and therefore ties up the rooks to its defence. Probably sensible and best here is b4 and a5, and to await developments from White. 26.Rh2 Rah8 27.Rgh1 Rh4 28.Ke3 Bc5 29.c3 a5 30.Bf1 Bxd4+ 31.cxd4 Be8 the h-pawn drops but Black has an easy enough blockade. 32.Rxh3 Rxh3 33.Rxh3 Rxh3 34.Bxh3 Kg6 35.Bf1 Kh5 36.Be2 ½–½

Oxford 3


Oxford 3 1657 Check Us Out 1682
w Burrows, Nick 1817 1 - 0 Gallagher, Daniel GH 1990
b Neatherway, A Philip 1866 1 - 0 Golding, James 1870
w Henbest, Kevin B 1677 0 - 1 Remus-Elliott, Luke 1735
b Rawlinson, Melanie 1754 0 - 1 Purvis, Anna 1652
w Hu Sanxing 1450 ½ - ½ Remus-Elliott, Tai 1465
b Bentham, Sam 1382 1 - 0 Golding, William 1382
3½ - 2½

Nick Burrows won with a few tempi, and a second queen, to spare after Black miscalculated a sacrificial continuation:

Burrows – Gallagher (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 10.01.2015

… Rxd5 19.cxd5 Qxc2 20.dxc6 Qxb2 21.c7 ouch! Ra8 22.Qxe7 Qd4+ 23.Kg2 Be6 24.Rad1 Qe4+ 25.Kg1 Qe3+ 26.Rf2 h6 27.Qd8+ Kh7 28.Qxa8 Bg4 29.c8Q Bxd1 30.Qf5+ 1–0

Next door, Phil was also accumulating advantages in a Dutch defence and was on the verge of reaping the reward.

Golding – Neatherway (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 10.01.2015

29.Bh2 seems a bit passive but 29.f4 Ng3+ 30.Kg1 Qh6 31.Qd2 b6 32.Nb3 is pretty grim also 29...Ng3+ 30.Bxg3 hxg3 and now there are thematic sacrifices on h3 31.fxe4 Bxh3 32.Rxf7 Rxf7 33.Bf3 and f3 Rxf3 34.gxf3 Bxd4 35.Qxd4 Qxc1+ and, a piece to the good, it’s all easy from here on in 36.Qg1 Qf4 37.Qd1 g2+ 38.Kg1 Qe3+ 39.Kh2 Qxc5 40.exd5 g1Q+ 41.Qxg1 Qxg1+ 42.Kxg1 Kf7 43.Kf2 Ke7 44.Ke3 Kd6 45.Ke4 Bf5+ 46.Kd4 Bc2 47.a5 Bb3 48.a6 b6 0–1

A similar run of promoted queens continued on board 4, and Mel wasn’t doing half-bad when her innocent enough … a6 met with swift refutation:

Purvis,A – Rawlinson,M (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 10.01.2015

17.Nd6 Qe6 18.Nxe4 Nxe4 19.Ng5 Nxg5 20.Bd5 ah … and while there could have been a sooner handshake the end was delayed (1-0, 36) until White had had the opportunity of queening one of her pawns.

A draw in an amazing 93 moves for Sanxing Hu, who managed to overcome a poor opening to poach a drawn bishop and pawn ending, arguably as early as move 36. This meant the match scores were tied, so Sam’s win on 6 was pivotal to the match win, and though he needed to grind down to move 53, he had an early advantage after his opponent gifted him some play needlessly:

Golding – Bentham (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 10.01.2015

It’s White to move and his bishop is attacked. Perhaps seeing something more than was actually there if there’s an exchange of pawns on d4, he plays 9.dxe5 which immediately gives play to Black … dxe5 10.Bg5 Nc5 11.Bc4 Bf5 12.Qd1 Bd3 13.Bxd3 this wasn’t forced and perhaps Nb3 is better … Nxd3+ 14.Ke2 e4 15.Ne1 Qd5 and Black is comfortably better off.


Midland Monarchs 1 1909 Oxford 3 1764
w Cooper, Lawrence H i 2327 1 - 0 Hayward, Philip T 1901
b McCarron, Peter DJ 1832 0 - 1 Varney, Zoe 1817
w Kalyana, Ashwin 1862 0 - 1 Burrows, Nick 1817
b Jina, Taran 1870 0 - 1 Neatherway, A Philip 1866
w Kruk, Karina wf 1816 1 - 0 Varney, Andrew 1802
b Neil, Jennifer 1750 ½ - ½ Bentham, Sam 1382
2½ - 3½

On top board Phil had an a-typical French position – some scattered pawns (and a pawn minus), but two reasonable bishops as compensation, even if one of them was going west from the diagram position, as the queen is also attacked:

Cooper – Hayward (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 11.01.2015
25.Ndf3 Qe4 26.Qxe4 dxe4 27.Nxg5 hxg5 28.Rc6 Rc8

not the best – the machine cleverly suggests 28...Be2 so that if 29.Rxe6? …e3 wins with a trick redolent of Anand – Kramnik. All of which made me wonder what happened if 28...e3 immediately, so the machine did the whirring and we got: 29.Rxa6 e2 30.Nf3 Rxf3 31.Rxe6 Rd3 32.f3 Rd2 33.Kf2 e1Q+ 34.Kxe1 Rxg2 with a possible draw 29.Rxc8+ Bxc8 30.Kf1 Kf8 31.Ke2 Ke7 32.Ke3 material equality has been restored but with two sets of doubled pawns and a bishop now reduced to hapless defence the outcome cannot be in doubt. … Bb7 33.g3 Bd5 34.a3 Kf6 35.Kd4 Kf5 36.h3 Bb3 37.Ng4 Ba2 38.Ne3+ Kf6 39.Kxe4 Bb1+ 40.Kd4 Ba2 41.Ng4+ Kf5 42.Ne5 Bb3 43.Nd3 Bd1 44.Nc5 e5+ 45.Ke3 g4 46.h4 e4 47.Kd2 1–0

Zoe though was able to make the top board clashes into an overall draw:

Varney,Z – McCarron (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 11.01.2015

An excellently random spread of pieces along the first rank – were it not for the call of duty the Nd2 could manoeuver direct to b1 or to h1 via e4-g3. As it is, there’s some defending to do before the traffic jam piles upon the g-file. 20.g3 Rdg8 21.Kh2 f5 not the best, as Black misses a tactical point. Instead 21...Nd3 22.Re3 Nxc1 23.Rxc1 f5 24.f4 would keep the plus going. 22.Nxc4! Nxc4 23.Bxf4 e5 24.Bb3 exf4 25.Qxc4 fxg3+ 26.fxg3 Bc6 27.Qh4 perhaps 27.Qe6+ Kb8 28.Qe5 would have clarified the position quicker but watchful play secured the point (1-0) on move 47.

Nick got a point through gritting it out on board 3:

Kalyana – Burrows (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 11.01.2015

He’s just played … c4, and his plans are based on holding out the attack and making that pawn promote. You feel though that white has too much active firepower in the vicinity of the enemy king for this plan to become active in the near future. But Whtie has some problems trying to sort out the style from the substance when assessing his options.

27.Nd6? White misses his chances here. Ng5 (or perhaps if you believe Fritz h3 first) will put Black under the cosh for a while – say 27.h3 c3 28.Ng5 h6 29.Ne4 c2? 30.Rxd7 Rxd7 31.Nxh6+ gxh6 32.Qg4+ Kh8 33.Qxd7 27...Bxd6 28.exd6 Nf6 29.Rxa5 Qxd6 30.h3 c3 31.Qg5 c2 32.Ne1 h6 33.Qe3 Re8 34.Rxc2 Rxc2 35.Nxc2 Rxe3 36.Nxe3 Ne4 37.Rd5 Qa3 38.a5 Qa2 39.Rf5 g6 40.Rf4 Nc3 41.Rc4 Qa1+ 42.Kh2 Ne2 43.h4 h5 0–1

Phil pushed the boat out and squeezed a Scandinavian, when a bishop got caught in the centre of the board:

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Nxd5 4.c4 Nb6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.Be2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Nxe5 [9.c5 Nbd7 10.Be3] 9...Bxe5 10.Bh6 e6 11.Qd2 Qe7 12.0–0–0 Bd7 13.Rhe1 0–0–0 14.Qe3 asking the bishop a question.

Neatherway – Jina (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 11.01.2015

14...Bf6 maybe the bishop is better on d6 though White remains better 15.Ne4 Ba4 16.Rd2 and now Nxf6 and Bg5 are on the horizon 16...Rdg8 17.Nxf6 Qxf6 the bishop is gone, but now the queens gets pushed to the side 18.Bg5 Qg7 19.dxe6 Re8 20.e7 f6 21.Qe6+ Bd7 22.Qxf6 Qg8 23.Qf4 h6 24.Bf6 Rh7 25.Red1 Qe6 26.h3 h5 27.g4 Rf7 28.g5 Rexe7 29.Qd4 Re8 30.Bd3 Rg8 31.b3 Qxh3 32.c5 Qe6 33.cxb6 axb6 34.Bc4

All those major piece alignments along the file and the c4-g8 diagonal makes you wonder if this is really a horoscope in disguise… 34. … Qc6 35.Kb2 1–0

Sam had some fun and some medium-grade blunderama on his report card. Just before this position he had played Rc6-c4, when d4 was tactically sound and good for a 1.50+ advantage.

Bentham – Neil,J (B)

But things aren’t bad by any means, and those central pawns could become a menace in the future… 37…. fxg4 38.Bxg4? 38.Rxg4 keeps the advantage bubbling over 38...Bh2+ 39.Kxh2 Rxd5 and Fritz says this is –0.59, which to me says "carry on thrusting those central pawns", though that’s not as easy to implement as it was to write. Longer term that a-pawn is likely to become a menace, and in some plays there are mates along the h-file to consider. 40.f4 b5 41.axb5 Rxb5 42.Kg3 a5 43.e4 Ra7 44.Bd1 Rb4 45.Rc3 Rb1 46.Ba4 Ra1 47.Rc4 Rb7 48.Bc6 Rb4 49.Rc5 a4 50.Ra5 Ra3 51.Kg4 and a draw agreed - ½–½. From this distance perhaps because that a-pawn seems blockaded (and/or the lift was about to leave), but at the time due to the fact that it secured the match result.

10 February 2015