Weekend 3

[games, pgn]

Tim writes:

All, we are celebrating tonight.

  • Oxford 1 won both matches, defeating Grantham Sharks 5-3 and Hackney 1 4½ -3½;
  • Oxford 2 lost 1½-4½ to Broadland Bitterns and defeated Iceni 1 3½-2½;
  • Oxford 3 beat Iceni 2 3½-2½ and lost 1-4½ to Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg 2.

The reason we are celebrating is that Oxford 1 have qualified for the Championship pool and will be in Division One next season. Yippee! The Grantham match was not on skip's "must-win" list: I give David Martins much of the credit for that one. He was responsible for introducing Jason Altschuler to the team [Jason scored 2/2 in fine style] and his stuffing of IM Ghasi – which was apparent from c. move 14 – gave us all impetus. The expected Sunday win over Hackney leaves us in clear third and we take 2 match points into the Championship pool.

Ox2 were unfortunately victims of the M40 transport chaos on Saturday, defaulting three boards, and that enabled Ox3 to catch them momentarily on 6 match points with their Iceni win before Ox2 re-established bragging rights today.

We had three 100% 2/2 performers, who include Jason & Sean. Honourable mentions for Justin, David M, Paul & Szymon who logged 1½, and I was pleased to see Parag & Ben score wins in their only games of the weekend.

Jason scoops the Dickenson Award for Weekend

Batchelor – Altschuler (B)
Black to play …

Oxford 1


Oxford 1 2242 Grantham Sharks 1 2373
w Tan, Justin f 2383 ½ – ½ Grund, Holger 2404
b Zakarian, David f 2385 1 – 0 Czakon, Jakub i 2479
w Martins, David Pires Tavares f 2284 1 – 0 Ghasi, Ameet K i 2466
b Rose, Matthew 2298 0 – 1 Roberson, Peter T i 2406
w Harvey, Marcus R f 2311 ½ – ½ Rendle, Thomas E i 2378
b Altschuler, Jason 2253 1 – 0 Batchelor, Peter J f 2317
w Dickinson, Tim R 2102 1 – 0 Williams, Samuel G 2273
b Matta, Francesca w 1920 0 – 1 Foisor, Veronica wi 2264
5 – 3

Top board saw Justin play out a 20-move draw from a Caro-Kann Panov, and we join proceedings on move 12 with Black to play:

Tan – Grund (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 14.02.2015

Black played 12… b6 turning down the opportunity to win a pawn on c3 with 12…Nb6, which might have appealed to a more grasping soul, but this rightly was rejected at the upper end of the chess player spectrum as after this sample 13.Bd3 Qxc3 14.Ba3 Re8 15.Rfc1 Qb3 16.a5 Nbd7 it looks a little ominous for Black: Fritz points to 17. Rc4 which rounds up the Black queen. Play continued, and the game concluded 13.Ba3 Re8 14.Ne5 Bb7 15.Rfc1 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Ne4 17.Bb5 Red8 18.Qe3 Rac8 19.f3 Nc5 20.Rd1 ½–½

On board 2, David Z was once again provoking calamity from early on:

Czakon – Zakarian (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 14.02.2015

White has just taken on c5 and while 16…Nxc5 17.Rhe1 Bb7 18.Nd5 is an option Black continued 16…Bb7 17.Ne4 Bxe4 18.Qxe4 Nxc5 19.Qc4 Ne6 at which case the computer suggests 20. Qxa6 is possible but the human more realistically played 20.Rhe1 Qc8 21.Rd3 Rb5 22.Rde3 Qb7 23.b3 d5 24.Qe2 c5 25.Ng5 Nxg5 and White is struggling to contain the initiative in the centre and on the queenside 26.Bxg5 c4 27.Qf3 Qc7 28.e6 f6 29.Bf4 Qc5 30.Be5

hopes to combine attack with defence (with cheapo) but this loses by force to: 30…d4 31.Re4 cxb3 32.axb3 Rc8 33.R1e2 d3 This wins a piece safely enough; the PC suggests a more direct way with this a sample line 33…Qa3+ 34.Kd1 Qa1+ 35.Kd2 Rxc2+ 36.Kxc2 Rc5+ 37.Kd2 Qc1+ 38.Kd3 Qc3# 34.Qxd3 fxe5 35.g5 Qd5 36.Rd2 Qxd3 37.Rxd3 Rb6 38.Rc4 Rf8 39.Rc7 Rxe6 40.Rdd7 Kf7 41.f3 e4 42.f4 Rb8 43.Kd2 e3+ 44.Ke2 Rb4 45.Rd8 Bb2 46.Rcc8 Bg7 47.Rc4 Rxc4 48.bxc4 Rc6 0–1

On board 3, an early oversight gave David M the whip hand:

Martins –Ghasi (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 14.02.2015

9. … c5 10.Bxb8 ouch Rxb8 11.Bb5+ Ke7 12.dxc5 dxe4 [skip: Marcus fingered this move on the day – ie before computer analysis – as the near-fatal mistake, rather than 9. … c5] 13.Qc3 Qc7 14.0–0–0 Rd8 15.Ne2 a6 16.Ba4 f6 17.c6

17. … bxc6 to the journalist in search of easy copy 17…b5 suggests itself as a way of shoring up the Black position, but in truth Black’s inability to find a safe place for his king is a long-term death sentence – e.g. 18.Bb3 exf3 19.Qxf3 Kf7 20.Nf4 Bf5 21.Rxd8 Qxd8 22.g4 18.Bxc6 exf3 more or less offers his queen as 18…Rc8 19.Bxe4 Qxc3 is a plain pawn down in a still-worse position 19.Qc5+ Kf7 20.Be8+ Rxe8 21.Qxc7+ Re7 22.Qc6 fxe2 23.Rd8 Bh5 24.h3 f5 that annoying pawn on e2 doesn't quite counterbalance the log jam of black pieces in their starting places, but White needs to be patient…. 25.Qc4 g5 26.g4 Bg6 27.Qxe2 h5 28.Rf1 hxg4 29.hxg4 Rh4 30.gxf5 Bxf5 31.Qxa6 Rc7

And after calming the king-side, it’s time to reap the benefit on the queen: 32.Rxf8+ Kxf8 33.Qd6+ Re7 34.b4 Ke8 35.b5 Rc4 36.Rf2 Rd7 37.Qe5 Kd8 38.b6 Rd5 39.b7 1–0

Matt found himself on the Black side of a Sicilian c3 … and this is what emerged:

So by now it’s 2½-1½ with the last 4 boards to go … but I’m sure this game was long-decided by the time the top boards had completed: an 11-move thriller in the style of Basman but without the long middlegame and endgame squeeze: (1.b3 e6 2.Bb2 d5 3.Nf3 f5 4.e3 Nf6 5.h3 Bd6 6.g4 Qe7 7.gxf5 e5 8.d4 e4 9.Nh4 Qf7 10.c4 g5 11.Ng2 Bxf5 ½–½)

Harvey- Rendle
4NCL Division 1b, 14.02.2015

This brings us to Jason’s debut game, against Peter Batchelor, and we reach this position on move 12 of a symmetrical English:

Batchelor–Altschuler (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 14.02.2015

My online database suggests there’s a game that’s gone this far, but I’m not convinced if it’s not this game that is being referenced. White has better development (to date) but has a problem developing his queenside without losing his c-pawn, so he continued 13.Ra2 a5 14.a4 Qb7 15.Na3 Qa7 16.b3 0–0 for the next few moves Bb2 is recommended with a slight plus for White (though I kinda like the potential for the Black position). White instead has designs on the a5 booty, while Black considers its counterpart on c5… 17.Rd1 Ba6 18.e3 Rab8 19.Bd2 Qc7 20.Nc4 Bxc4 21.Qxc4 Rb7 22.Qa6 Rxb3 23.Bxa5 Qe5 24.Qc4 – and, in its own inscrutable fashion, Fritz considers this position equal:

24 … Rxe3! starting off a series of of sacs after 25.Bd2 25.Rxd7 Ra8 26.Bd2 Qf5 27.Bxe3 Qxd7 equals 25…Nxf2 26.Kxf2 Qxg3+ 27.Kg1 Rd3 ouch – pin along d-file is painful 28.Qe4 nothing much helps here: 28.Kf1 Bd4 29.Ke2 Re3+ 30.Bxe3 Qxe3+ starts a rout 28…Bd4+ 29.Kh1

Bxc5 a bit quicker here is 29…f5 30.Qxe7 Qg4 31.Qxf8+ when the best the computer can find is 31…Kxf8 32.Bh6+ Ke8 33.Rxd3 Qxh4+ when the tactics are all with Black 30.Rf1 Rd4 Black starts to stumble a bit in the heady mix of pawns and asymmetrical major pieces – instead, Bd6 keeps up the pawn-eating 31.Be1 Qd6 32.Qe2 Bb6 33.Bf3 [33.a5 Bc7] 33…Bc7 34.Qg2 "equals" but it’s essentially a free-for-all where in time trouble the mass of black pawns boss the visual perception of who’s actually doing better 34…Rb8 35.a5 Rb1 36.Be4 Rxe1 37.Rxe1 Qf4 38.Rae2 Qxh4+ 39.Kg1 Bxa5 40.Rb1 Bb6 touchdown to the second session, and another tactic:

41.Kf1 41.Rxb6 Rd1+ starts off another series of piece exchanges to leave a queen + many against king and two pieces 41…Bc5 42.Bf3 Rd3 43.Rc2 Qf4 44.Rxc5 Rxf3+ 45.Ke1 Qe4+ 46.Kd2 Rd3+ 0–1

That’s four points, chaps. Over to skip on board 7 … where with the benefit of a few week’s hindsight it does seem that Black is getting the upper hand in a Centre-Counter, and he’s to move in this position:

Dickinson, T – Williams, S (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 14.02.2015

But he manages to uncork a blunder 22… Bc5 [22…c5, and that e-pawn is going to sleep soon] 23.Rxd7 Bxf2+ 24.Qxf2 Rxd7 25.Nc5 Re7 26.Qd4 Bf5 27.Rd1 f6 28.exf6 gxf6 29.Qd8+ Kf7 30.Rd7 Rxd7 31.Qxd7+ Kf8 32.Nxe6+ Bxe6 33.Qxe6 Qc5+ 34.Qe3 Qa5 there is no comfort in the ending for Black, though I might have chosen that as better than the middle game … 35.Qd4 Rf5 36.Bc2 Re5 37.Qxh4 Ke7 38.Qd4 Re2 39.Bd3 Re1 40.c5 as 40…Qc7 41.Kf2 Qe5 1–0

Cue team celebrations.


Hackney 1 2246 Oxford 1 2268
w Fodor, Tamas Jr g 2486 ½ – ½ Harvey, Marcus R f 2311
b Suarez Garcia, Carlos f 2376 1 – 0 Zakarian, David f 2385
w Eames, Robert S f 2312 0 – 1 Tan, Justin f 2383
b Cenal Gutierrez, Ruben f 2290 ½ – ½ Coleman, James c 2365
w Holes, Michal 2207 ½ – ½ Martins, David Pires Tavares f 2284
b Walker, Nicholas P 2185 0 – 1 Altschuler, Jason 2253
w Tasker, Michael W 2102 0 – 1 Savage, Ben DM f 2266
b Yurenok, Maria S wf 2017 1 – 0 Varney, Zoe w 1900
3½ – 4½

Another extraordinary scrap for the team, and (if you went by the online scores on the day) the last 3 standing were David Z, Jason and Ben. So we’ll leave them to the end of the report, and also skip the top board draw, a 82 move scrap with a lot of phases and much technical sparring, ending in a draw.

Board 3 was an easier task for the journalist as Justin uncorked this combo out of a Centre Game:

Eames – Tan (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 15.02.2015

21… Rae8! 22.cxd5 Rxe4 23.Rxf4 Rexf4! (avoiding back rank losses) 24.Qxh5 R4f5 25.Qxf5 Rxf5 26.Nc3 Rxd5 0–1

A close struggle on board 5 after this position was reached on move 15:

Holes- Martins (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 15.02.2015

To my eye, that’s a clear pawn up for a bit of bother, and the only question is “how much” – and the answer is “just enough, actually”, because after 15.0–0 demonstrates that the knight is untouchable (15…exd4 16.Rc7 Ne7 17.Bb4) and Black needs to exercise caution: …Kf7 16.Rfe1 Ne7 16…exd4 still loses to variations starting with 17. Rc7+ 17.Nb3 Re8 Here Fritz suggests the tide has turned but that 17…a5 is better 18.Rc2 a4 19.Nc1 Nf5 20.Qf3 18.d4 Nc6 19.dxe5 Nxe5 20.Bc3 Nc6 21.Nc5 Rxe1+ 22.Bxe1 Nd4 23.Qd3 Ne6 24.Nxe6 Bxe6 25.Qxh7 Rc8 26.Qh5+ Kg8 27.Qd1 Rc7 28.Rxc7 Qxc7 29.Bc3 Qc4 30.a3 Qe4 31.h3 Bd7 32.Qd4 Qe6 33.Qe3 ½–½

On bottom board a single tempo was enough to turn an equal position into a long losing fight:

Varney, Z – Yurenok, M (B)
18…Ng4 19.Bf4? Bc5 20.Bg3

With a strong initiative til the end of proceedings (0-1, 45)

All of which means the score (counting a 15-move drawfest by James C) is 2½ each with 3 games to go.

First to Jason on board 6, where an unusual Ruy Lopez, in which Black has accepted a pawn and a king-march in exchange for better developed white pieces, has brought us to this position:

Altschuler– Walker (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 15.02.2015

It looks like Black has stabilised the position but there’s a bit more heat in the position that first sight suggests: 23… Ne6 24.h3 Nxd4 forced to get the queen out of jail: 24…Qf4 25.Be3 25.Rxd4 Qf4? A bit unlucky, the gaining-a-tempo move which just isn’t sound (… Qe6) 26.Rcd1 Nf7 going downhill, as 26…c5 27.Rxd6 Bxd6 28.g3 loses the queen 27.e5 Qh6 28.exd6 Bd8 29.Qb3 too many pieces are threatened 1–0

Back on board 2 there’s another heavy-piece middle-game taking shape, when David alters its course:

Zakarian – Suarez Garcia (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 15.02.2015

23.e6!? enterprising stuff, planning an exchange sac after…fxe6 24.Rxc6 Rb1! A nice zwischenzug as the immediate 24…Qxc6 25.Qxe6+ Kh8 26.Ne5! is harder to calculate 25.Qe2 Rxf1+ 26.Kxf1 Qxc6 27.Qxe6+ Kh8 28.Ng5 Bf6 29.Qxf5 Bxg5 30.fxg5 Qc4+ and the White initiative has been cut down to size and although the game continued til move 49 the result was inevitable and predictable by now (0-1)

This brings us to the titantic encounter on board 7, where regular readers might want to check through the pgn file to see where’s Ben’s book ended. Certainly the opening was over by the diagram position, on move 22:

Tasker – Savage (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 15.02.2015

People have been known to agree such a position drawn, especially on a Sunday, but not here, as White can (and does) easily pile up his pieces on the e-file and wait to see if any pips will squeak of their own volition: 22.Re1 Rfc8 23.a4 Rb7 24.h3 Qd8 25.Re3 Rcc7 26.Rce1 a6 27.Qh4 Rd7 28.f4 f6 29.R1e2 and it’s beginning to look like progress can be recorded on the white-piece e-file ledger.

So Black starts a diversion: 29. … b5 30.cxb5 axb5 31.Qe1 Hmmm… continuing the thematic build-up at the risk of not punting 31.f5 – and on this point Fritz is for once in agreement with the journalist, offering …bxa4 (31…g5 32.Qe4 bxa4 33.Qxa4 Ra7 34. Qd4 with a plus) 32.fxg6 hxg6 33.Rg3 Qe8 34.Qh5 Kg7 35.Re4 Rxb3 36.Rxg6+ Qxg6 37.Rg4] 31…bxa4 32.bxa4

… Kf8 33.f5 g5 34.h4 g4 35.h5 Qb6 36.Rc3 loses the advantage (Re4!) … Qb1 37.Qxb1 Rxb1+ 38.Kh2 Ra1

All on a knife-edge now, and white’s pawns are a little advanced by now 39.Re4 Rf1 40.Kg3? on the last move before time control a losing move – just taking the pawn allows chances: 40.Rxg4 Rxf5 41.Rc8+ Kf7 42.h6 which give real chances of a draw 40…Rxf5 41.Rd4 Ra7 42.Kxg4 Rg5+ 43.Kf3 Rxh5 44.Ra3 probably Rb3 is better here Ra5 45.Ke4 Rg5 and here Black crawls out from the bankrank cupboard he’s been settled in to pick up the vital match-win point: 46.Ra2 Ke8 47.Rad2 Rxa4! 48.Kf3 Rxd4 49.Rxd4 Re5 50.Kf4 Kf7 51.g4 Kg6 52.Rd1 h6 53.Rd2 Re1 54.Rd4 Rf1+ 55.Kg3 f5 56.Kg2 Re1 57.Kf3 Kf6 58.Kf4 Rf1+ 59.Kg3 Rg1+ 0–1

Oxford 2


Oxford 2 1999 Broadland Bitterns [1] 2132
w 2111 0 – 1 Polaczek, Richard i 2430
b Brackmann, Hendrik 1995 0 – 1 Hughes, Roy 2147
w 2058 0 – 1 Moore, Gerald 2057
b Foster, Chantelle L 1907 ½ – ½ Dilleigh, Stephen P 2118
w Colburn, Paul J 1938 1 – 0 McEwan, Ken B 2088
b 1986 0 – 1 Bin-Suhayl, Ieysaa 1952
1½ – 4½

With 3 of the team stuck on the M40 for about 6 hours the reporting is necessarily slighter here.

Hendrik had a rare off-day on the combinational front, his next move in the diagram being a regular enough theme, but one which doesn’t work in the position, as the d-pawn isn’t cemented on d5 yet:

Hughes – Brackmann (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 14.02.2015

12. … b5 13.cxb5 a6 14.dxc5 Nxb5 15.Nxb5 e5 16.Bg3 Ne4 17.cxd6 Nxd6 18.Qc3 Rxb5 19.Bxb5 Qxb5 20.Bxe5 Ne4 21.Qc6 1–0

Chantelle fought to a standstill draw and from this position managed to hold the draw while the others (by now arrived and sipping a beer over a chessboard) tried to find ways of squeezing a win for White [skip: I contributed by walking into one of the drawing lines on White’s behalf]:

Dilleigh – Foster, C (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 14.02.2015

47.Bc6 g5 48.fxg5+ Kxg5 49.Bf3 f4 50.h4+ Kf6 51.g4 Ng7 52.Kd5 Nf5 53.h5 Nh6 54.Ke4 Kg5 55.Be2 Nxg4 56.Bxg4 Kh6 ½–½

Paul equalised the game scores from those games completed over the board. It didn’t look that good for long periods, but …

Colburn – McEwan (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 14.02.2015

26. … Rd7 27.a4 bxa4 28.Bxa4 Rc8? 29.Nb6! Rdc7? All wasn’t lost, at least until now. 29. … Bxa4 was more sensible, leaving White to try to win against a compact pawn mass and two bishops 30.Nxc8 Rxc8 31.Nd5! Kf7 32.b5 Bb7 33.Rxc8 Bxc8 34.Kf1 Bh6 35.b6 Ba6+ 36.Kg1 Bb7 and although White is winning there are lots of visual and material traps to negotiate before the handshake 37.Nc7 Bd2 38.Be8+ Kf8 39.Ra1 Ne2+ 40.Kf1 Nf4 41.Ra7 Bxg2+ 42.Kg1 Be4 43.b7 Nh3+ 44.Kf1 Bd3+ 45.Kg2 Nf4+ 46.Kg3 Ne2+ 47.Kh4 h6 48.Ne6+ 1–0


Iceni 1 2005 Oxford 2 2020
w Savage, Nicholas W 2072 1 – 0 Healey, Michael W 2111
b Davison, Chris 2020 0 – 1 Dickinson, Tim R 2102
w Peters, John A 1963 1 – 0 Rawlinson, Christopher JA 2058
b Botham, C Paul 2015 0 – 1 Brackmann, Hendrik 1995
w Downham, Alan F 1998 ½ – ½ Colburn, Paul J 1938
b Ukken, Somton 1967 0 – 1 Terry, Sean 1920
2½ – 3½

Amazing swings and roundabouts in this match before the match finally swung from the possible defeat to the probable draw to the unlikely win. Sean started off the good news on bottom board, after an opening that doesn’t bear repeating he reached this position where things almost look all right for White, but which don’t impress Fritz that much.

Terry – Ukken, S
4NCL Division 3s, 15.02.2015

I’ve played bxc5 to get here, and hoping for some tactics along the fourth rank to net some time, or preferably some material. And so it transpired after 20… fxe5 21.fxe5 Bxg3 22.hxg3 Qxe5?? missing 23.Bf4 (22…Nf5 was much better, as the White king is quite draughty) Qe2 24.Bxb8 Rxb8 25.Rae1 Qxd3 26.Qxc6 Qd4+ 27.Kh1 Nf5 28.Re8+ Kf7 29.Qe6# 1–0

At the other end of the board, Mike was preparing or reacting to complications:

Savage, N – Healey
4NCL Division 3s, 15.02.2015

His knight has just been pushed, and after long thought he plays 17. … d4 [17…Bxc3 18.Qxc3 d4 19.exd4 cxd4 20.Qb4 Nxe5 21.Qxb7 is another, sounder, bones-of-continuation] 18.Bxb4 Nxf2 19.Bxc5 Qxc5 20.exd4 Qa7 The problem with 20…Qxd4 21.Nf3 Nxh3+ 22.Kh2 Qf2 is that after the exchange of queens the d7 bishop is en prise 21.Kxf2 Qxd4+ 22.Kf1 Qxe5 23.Nf3 Qc7 24.Qd2 Bc6 25.Qd6 Qf7 26.Rd2 Rfe8 27.Rad1 Qg6 28.Nh4 Qh6 29.Bxc6 bxc6 30.Kg2 f5 31.Nf3 g5 32.Ne5 g4 33.hxg4 Rad8 34.Qxd8 Rxd8 35.Rxd8+ Kg7 36.gxf5 Qe3 37.R1d7+ Kf6 38.Ng4+ 1–0

More or less simultaneously Hendrik was manoeuvring his way into the Black position, and Paul doesn’t find the right resources in a difficult position to evaluate for the defence:

Brackmann – Botham (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 15.02.2015

31.Qe2 Kh8 32.Qh5 Qf7 33.g4 Rad8 34.Nh4 Kh7 35.Nxg6 Nxg6 36.Qf5 1–0 as h4-h5 will eventually win that knight.

So, by the first time control we were 2-1 with games on the go. Chris didn’t have much to go on, being a pawn adrift in an opposite (and wretched) bishop ending, but he made his opponent demonstrate the win:

Peters – Rawlinson, C (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 15.02.2015

41.Ke2 Kf6 42.Bc8 a5 43.Kd3 Ke7 44.Ke4 Bf6 45.f4 Kd6 46.g4 g6 47.g5 Bg7 48.h4 Bh8 49.Ba6 Ke6 50.Bc4+ Ke7 51.Kd5 Bg7 52.Kc5 Ke8 53.Kd6 d3 54.Bxd3 Kf7 55.Bc4+ Kf8 56.Ke6 Bc3 57.Be2 Be1 58.h5 gxh5 59.Bxh5 Bd2 60.Ke5 Ke7 61.g6 Bc3+ 62.Kd5 Kf6 63.Kc5 Kf5 64.Kb5 Kxf4 65.Bd1 Ke4 66.Kxa5 Kd5 67.Ka4 Kc5 68.a3 bxa3 69.Kxa3 Kb5 70.Be2+ Ka5 71.Bc4 Bg7 72.b4+ Kb6 73.b5 Kc5 74.Ka4 Bc3 75.Bd3 Kd5 76.Be4+ Kc5 77.Kb3 Bg7 78.Bc6 Bf6 79.Kc2 Kd6 80.Kd3 Ke6 81.b6 Kd6 82.Be8 Ke7 83.b7 Be5 84.g7 1–0

On Board 2, Tim had cleverly nabbed an exchange before move 40 [skip: no, his opp had found an excellent exchange sac to wipe out a dangerous passer] … but would it be enough to convert?

Dickinson,T- Davison (W, 41)
4NCL Division 3s, 15.02.2015

It did seem so, but the “how” question kept appearing in thought bubbles above the heads of the interested Oxford spectators [skip: and me!]. But even if this were drawn, there was always our plus on board 5 to keep hopes for a team win alive:

Downham – Colburn (W, 41)
4NCL Division 3s, 15.02.2015

Here, the position is probably about even, but as play develops a more constant plus appears in the computer analysis: 41.Nc2 Ne6 42.Bf2 Rh8 43.Bg1 Bh5 44.Rdd2 Bf3+ 45.Bg2 g4 46.Bxf3 gxf3 47.Rxh8+ Qxh8+ 48.Rh2 Qg7 49.Bf2 Rd8 50.Qa3 Kg8 51.Qa7 Bf6 52.Qb6 Qe7 53.Rh5 Kg7 54.Ne3

By now it’s move slightly back to White, but … Kg6 (… Nxd4) tilts it decisively back to the opposition 55.Nxf5 (Rh6+ probably stronger still) 55. … Qf7 56.g4 Nxf4 57.Rh6+ Kg5 58.Bh4+ Kxg4

Whoops. 59.Rxf6 (In fact there’s a mate in 5 here: 59.Ne3+ Kh3 60.Bf2+ Nh5 61.Qe6+ Qxe6 62.Rxh5+ Bh4 63.Rxh4# - but this shouldn’t matter as White has many ways to win) 59. Qh5 60.Ne3+ Kxh4 61.Rh6 Ra8 62.Rxh5+ Nxh5

And now it’s nearly time to shake hands – although there’s one final set of hurdles to nuance before the victor can be announced … 63.Nf5+?? Kh3 and now it’s impossible to give a check, or avoid the draw (Nf1 would have done the trick):64.Kg1 Ra1+ 65.Kf2 Ra2+ 66.Kg1?? This could lose if Black wasn’t so relieved that he wasn’t losing to play 66. … e3! … Ra1+ 67.Kf2 Ra2+ 68.Kf1 ½–½

A hugely exciting game, which secured the win as Tim’s game continued (from the above diagram) as follows:

41.g5 Bc5 42.a6 Bd4 43.Ke4 f5+ 44.gxf6 Kxf6 45.Rc7 Ke6 46.Rg7 Kf6 47.Rc7 Ke6 48.Rc6+ Kf7 49.Kf3 Kg7 50.Kg4 Kf7 51.Rc1 Ke6 52.Rf1 Be3 53.Rf8 Bc5 54.Rf3 e4 55.Rb3 Kd5 56.Rb7 Bd4 57.Kf4 Be5+ 58.Ke3 Bd4+ 59.Ke2 Ke5 60.Rb5+ Ke6 61.Rg5 Kf6 62.Rd5 Bg1 63.Kf1 Be3 64.Ke1 Ke6 65.Rb5 Bd4 66.Ke2 Kf6 67.Rg5 Bb6 68.Kf1 Be3 69.Rd5 Ke6 70.Rb5 Kf6 71.Kg2 Ke6 72.Kg3 Kd6 73.Kg4 Ke6 74.Rb3 Bc5 75.Kf4 Kd5 76.Rb5 e3

77.Kf3 Kc4 78.Rb1 Kd3 79.Rd1+ Kc3 80.Ke2 Kc4 81.Rg1 Kb5 82.Rxg6 Bb6 83.Rxb6+ 1–0


Oxford 3


Oxford 3 1735 Iceni 2 1863
w Pozimski, Szymon 1846 ½ – ½ Daugman, John G 1967
b Terry, Sean 1920 1 – 0 Szymanski, Mark 1900
w Neatherway, A Philip 1879 ½ – ½ Donaghay, Richard H 1941
b Idle, Oscar 1795 ½ – ½ Lightfoot, Malcolm J 1867
w Hu Sanxing 1450 u 0 – 1 Jones, Robert L 1844
b Parag, Jain 1525 u 1 – 0 Carter, Dominic A 1660
3½ – 2½

A win built on the back of three top-board draws, and two wins, and two wins of varying quality – messy on board 2, neater on board 6 … and a loss.

Top board saw Szymon start off with a Bb5+ Sicilian and find himself staring at this position, and hearing a draw offer:

Pozimski – Daugman (W)
4NCL Division 3s, 14.02.2015

From where I was sitting this did look like a generous offer (Fritz agrees, seeing Black with a marginal plus) so when Szymon quickly indicated he wasn’t interested, the position became marginally more interesting, as the spectator in me, and there was a lot of that part in evidence this Saturday, wanted to see what happened next:

36.Qe2 Rxa3 37.Rxa3 Ra8 38.Bc2 f4 39.Qe1 Qf8 40.Bd1 Qf5 41.Bf3 Qh3+ 42.Kg1 fxg3 43.fxg3 Rf8 44.Bg2 Qg4 45.Ra1 Kg7 46.Kh2 g5 47.hxg5 Bxg5 48.Qe4 Rf2 and after a lot of manoeuvring and some piece exchanges we reach this position…

Only to hear Black offered a draw once more, in what seemed an even better position – and, it being a substantially better position, Szymon took the offer and shook the hand. ½ – ½

On board 3, White achieved a slight spatial plus and a Centre Counter, but there wasn’t a way to lead quickly to a breakthrough initiative, so the game petered out:

Neatherway- Donaghay (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 14.02.2015

27. … b6 28.Rc6 b5 29.axb5 axb5 30.Be2 Rb8 31.R6c5 Ke8 32.Ra1 Rb7 33.Ra5 Rdb8 34.Bd3 ½–½

On board 4, Oscar battled well to avoid a loss in the middle game, but then failed to press the advantage he had accrued in the endgame:

Lightfoot- Idle
4NCL Division 3s, 14.02.2015

25 … bxa4 a brave move, leaving the a-pawn to its fate and probably distracting White from possible future king-side diversions, whether in a rook lift from a4 to h4, or a Rf3-h3 manoeuvre 26.Rxa4 Nc7 27.c3 a5 28.Rfa1 Ra8 29.Rc4 Qb6 30.Be4 Ra7 31.Rc6 Qb8 32.Qf2 Rb7 here the machine recommends 33. c4, which sacs the b2 pawn but locks the Nc7 down quite a bit after … Rxb2 34. Qd4 33.Rxa5 Rxb2 34.Qa7 Re2 35.h3 Rxe4 36.Qxb8 Rxb8 37.Rxc7 Rb2 38.Raa7 Rf4 39.Rab7 Rc2 40.Rb1 Rff2 41.Rg1 Rfe2 42.Rc5 …

And now Black has a winning advantage in a rook and pawn ending, a complex enough beast … Re3 43.Kh2 Rcxc3 44.Rxc3 Rxc3 45.Re1 Kf8 46.Kg1 Rc2 47.Kh2 Rf2 48.Re4 Ke7 49.Kg3 Rf5 50.Kh4 Kd7 51.g4 Rf3 52.Ra4 Kc6 53.Ra5 Kb6 54.Ra8 h5 55.Rd8 Kc7 56.Ra8 Kc6 57.Rd8 Kc5 58.Rd7 Kc6 59.Rd8 Kc7 60.Ra8 Kd7 61.gxh5 gxh5 62.Ra7+ Ke8 63.Ra8+ Ke7 64.Rg8 Re3 65.Rg5 Kf8 66.Rxh5 Kg7 67.Rg5+ Kh6 68.Rh5+ Kg7 69.Rg5+ ½–½

That’s the 3 draws, and now for a look at the wins, starting with the horror show that started to unfold on board 2, as I reached this position (with Black) on move 8 confidently enough before realising that perhaps this wasn’t quite so good as it seemed:

Szymanski – Terry (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 14.02.2015

The f-pawn is attacked as there are tactics that prevent … g6 (Nxf5) or … Nh6 or … d6 (Qh5+) or even Nge7 (Nxe4). The sensible suggestion that emerged after the game (… Nf6) didn’t occur, nor did I calculate the Nge7 might be quite a good pawn sac. So this muddled vacuum packed thought process eventually saw … Qg5 appear on the board, and it was a surprise that White didn’t pounce in with the simple Nd5, but instead 7.d4 Bb4 8.Bd2 Bxc3 9.Bxc3 d6 10.Be2 Nf6 11.Ng2 Ne7 12.Nf4 Qh6 13.d5 0–0 14.h4 Ng6 15.Qb3 Ne5 16.0–0–0 Nfg4 17.Bxg4 Nxg4 18.Rd2 b6 19.Qb5 Ne5 20.Bxe5 dxe5 21.Nh3 Qd6 by which time Black is perfectly OK, and even managed to nab a pawn after a blunder was allowed through on the nod.

Skipping through to the end position, we get to:

49 … g5 49.Na4 49.b5 Kc7 50.bxa6 Kb8 would have been interesting but perhaps White is in draw mode already … Bd7 50.Nc5 Bb5 51.Nb7+ Ke7 52.Nc5 f4 53.Nb7? losing immediately – there is a win after 53.hxg5 d4+ 54.exd4 e3 55.Nd3 exf2 56.Nxf2 fxg3 57.Nh3 exd4+ 58.Kxd4 Bd7 59.Ng1 hxg5 but that’s a long variation for a Saturday evening. … d4+ 54.exd4 e3 0–1

On board 5, Sanxing let slip a promising opening when closing the pawn structure to the way it looks below, and had a long defensive task ahead of him, but short by overlooking a tactic:

Hu – Jones
4NCL Division 3s, 14.02.2015

28.Bf2 Nd7 29.Ba4 Nf6 30.Be1 Qh6 31.Qf2 Bh3 32.Kh1 Qh5 33.Bd1 Nxe4 ouch – and eventually 0-1, 66.

This left the winning down to Parag on board 6, and he was comfortably in control early on, and didn’t let go:

Carter – Jain (B)
4NCL Division 3, 14.02.2015

White’s defence to the … e5 Sicilian has gone into nightmare territory as his king is permanently caught in the crossfire of bishops and the knight. Parag ensures that this evaluation only gets worse after … Bxd5 19.cxd5 Bh6 20.g4 Bf4 21.Nc4 b5 22.Nd2 Qa5 23.Rd1 Rac8 24.0–0 White does get to castle but at a cost … Rc2 and although material is equal Fritz rates this as -5.1 25.Rxf4 Rxf4 26.Bf3 Rxd2 27.Qxd2 Nxf3+ 0–1


Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg 2 1924 Oxford 3 1826
w Bevan, Peter M 2025 0 – 1 Pozimski, Szymon 1846
b Van Kemenade, Rudy 1981 1 – 0 Cole, James 1855
w Freeland, Alex 1917 1 – 0 Neatherway, A Philip 1879
b Taylor, Robert G 1946 ½ – ½ Cole, Graham L 1825
w Hatchett, Paul D 1977 1 – 0 Biswas, Karl 1729
b Wang, Alyssa 1703 1 – 0
4½ – 1

Another match result affected by a default, this one a penalty default as we were short a player on Oxford 3.

Szymon headed off an in-your-face initiative which just stopped short of breaching his defensive walls in the preceding phases of the game to reach this position, just before time control:

Bevan – Pozimski
4NCL Division 3s, 15.02.2015

Longer term, white has worse pawns (f4, c4, h2) so the ending is going to be a bit of a struggle. 39.Ng3 Nh6 this allows Qc3+ which would force … f6, and leave Black with weaknesses, but on the last move before time control … 40.f5 Ng4 seem both natural as does 41.fxg6 which Fritz rates as a mistake – Qe4! causes all manner of problems for Black … fxg6 42.Qf3 Qe7 and now Black is in the control seat 43.h3 Qe3+ 44.Kg2 Qxf3+ 45.Rxf3 Ne5 46.b3 Nxf3 47.Kxf3 Rxh3 0–1

James found an abstract way of losing a rook from this position:

Cole,J- Van Kemenade (B)
4NCL Division 3s, 15.02.2015

… Qc4 34.Qf1 Qa4 35.Qd3 Re6 36.Bd2 c4 0–1

While Phil found a rush of the Grob-pawnlust that attacks all good players from time to time… :

Freeland – Neatherway
4NCL Division 3s, 15.02.2015

30. …g5 … Ba6-c4 is recommended, reserving … g5 until White has committed to playing f6 31.fxe6 fxe6 32.Rf6 Rxf6 33.exf6 Kf7 34.Re1 Re8 35.Qe5 Bc8 36.Qc7+ 1–0

While Karl marked his return to chess with an inventive idea which worsened his already-pawn-down position:

Hatchett- Biswas
4NCL Division 3s, 15.02.2015

… Nd4 18.Qg2 Nb3 19.f5 Qb6+ 20.Be3 Nd4 21.b4 Qc6 22.Nd5 1–0

20 March 2015