4NCL: 17&18 March 2001
Saturday 17 March
|8||b||Howard, Emily (F)||2031||
|Hammond, Rhiannon (F)||1624|
The final score suggests this match was rather close, but in reality, despite my best endeavours (!), we always looked to be in control. Yet again we fielded the strongest ever Wessex team in rating terms, but yet again most of the team will have lost some more ELO points.
Martin won quite quickly, and Emily having looked to be a bit worse managed to swap into an opposite colours bishop ending. I slightly surprised myself by playing a theoretical Alekhine against someone who plays it himself. I seemed to be doing all the right things until I lashed out what I thought was a temporary piece sac but which unfortunately became permanent. Philip and Ian both played slightly odd Dutch defences. Philip was quite a lot worse when he agreed a draw, while Ian's initiative evaporated to a level ending. At the time control the scores were level, but we were better by varying degrees in the remaining games on Boards 1,3 and 5. In the end only one of them was decisive but it was enough.
Sunday 18 March
|WOOD GREEN 2||WESSEX|
|1||w||Martin, Andrew||2445||½-½||Poulton, James||2368|
|2||b||Levitt, Jonathan||2438||0-1||Rossiter, Philip||2361|
|3||w||Sowray, Peter||2320||1-0||Corkett, Tony||2287|
|4||b||Tiller, Bjorn||2384||½-½||Simons, Martin||2226|
|5||w||Lee, Graham||2313||½-½||Upton, Ian||2258|
|6||b||Law, Andrew||2287||½-½||Yeo, Michael||2207|
|7||w||Tan, Desmond||2211||1-0||Willmoth, Robert||2236|
|8||b||Lazhevskaya, Zhanna (F)||2042||1-0||Howard, Emily (F)||2031|
Still with our strongest ever team, we were up against what I suspect is the highest rated team to ever appear in the 2nd division. (No, I haven't checked this properly, so please let me know if you find a stronger one!) We only missed out on a draw through our honesty!
Martin drew quickly, but by the time my opponent offered me a draw we already looked to be worse in a number of other games. My opponent had been a comfortable pawn up since move 6, but apparently felt under pressure with over half an hour left for 23 moves. I couldn't find any reason to play on (Fritz makes it -1.25) and got the captain's approval to stop.
Returning from the post-mortem I was slightly surprised to discover that we had also got a draw from Board 1, and delighted to find that we had won Board 8. At least, that is what the controller's scoreboard showed.... I went off to find Emily to congratulate her, only to be met with lots of apologies about how badly she had played. We decided to tell the controller who was understandably bemused as he was able to produce two signed scoresheets (one from each player) both of which had Resigns in the Black column and both of which showed the result as 1-0 to White! I believe the new FIDE laws have a clause in them that in this instance the result should stand, unless the arbiter decides otherwise. He did.
Meanwhile Ian's position had started to improve. In a blocked French most of his pieces had disappeared off to the queenside while his opponent opened up the kingside. Ian spent most of the middle game transferring all his pieces back again just in time to catch the white king before it did a runner. In a position where he was winning by almost as much as my opponent (albeit with only 2 minutes for 3 moves) I was surprised when he too agreed a draw. Philip kept his IM chances alive with a win against a GM opponent with a greater propensity to timetrouble than himself. Rob asserts that he played a one-move blunder in a promising position, but the cramped playing conditions meant that there were no witnesses able to get near the board!
Promotion is still theoretically possible (as is relegation although considerably less likely!), but apart from winning our matches, a number of other results will have to go our way.
Last modified: March 20, 2001