4NCL: 22 - 23 May 2004

Saturday 22 May

    KINGS HEAD   v WESSEX 1  
1 w McMichael, Richard 2298 - Poulton, James 2366
2 b Thomas, Richard H 2235 - Webb, Richard M 2348
3 w O'Shaughnessy, Conor 2202 0 - 1 Simons, Martin J 2285
4 b Guthrie, David 2171 - Allicock, Rawle A 2279
5 w Lewis, Alex 2159 0 - 1 Corkett, Anthony R 2314
6 b Okike, David C 2172 0 - 1 Upton, Ian J 2224
7 w Mackenzie, Colin 2147 - Yeo, Michael J 2244
8 b Connolly, Suzanne (F) 2072 - Norman, Dinah (F) 2022
        2-5    

I bumped into Conor O'Shaughnessy at the start of the match (no injuries sustained!):

"Not a bad looking team you have there" he said. "I don't know about that - I think they look rather ugly!" I replied. "I meant ratingwise, stupid!"

I guess ratingwise, the result was no surprise, but it could have been very different as on boards 1, 4, 7 and 8 we were given draws in positions that varied from losing to lost. Martin won quite quickly having grabbed a pawn and defused the ensuing tactics. Richard had been a lot better but allowed his opponent to equalize. James sneaked a knight in round the side of his opponent's position but it was spotted and its elimination left him rather worse. Rawle's classical Queen's Gambit started to unravel but his opponent offered a draw just as he was about to win a pawn.

The match turned decisively in our favour thanks to Dinah, substituting for Teresa due to the latter's exams. Having lost the exchange early on, she parked her knight on e5 and was able to generate sufficient threats to panic her experienced opponent into agreeing a draw in time-trouble. Ian built up a king-side attack and reached the time control having mysteriously won a piece somewhere in the previous 10 moves. Tony won a pawn, but was forced to work hard to win another eventually.

My game had turned sour after the opening when my move 15 "improvement" on a Kasparov game produced the opposite effect. Fortuitously surviving to the time control, we reached the following ending:

MacKenzie,C - Yeo,M

Here my opponent played 57.Bf3?! and offered a draw (???). I believe his hand is still attached to his arm despite my attempts to remove it.

Simplest would have been 57.Kxc7 d5 58.Kb7 d4 59.Bf1! (the move he had overlooked) Ke5 60.Kxa7 Ke4 61.a5! d3 62.axb6 d2 63.Be2 Ke3 64.Bd1 h3 65.b7 h2 66.b8Q h1Q 67.Qe5+ picking up the pawn.

Even after the move played 57.Bf3 Ke5 58.Kxc7 d5 59.Kb7 d4 60.Kxa7 Kf4 61.Bd5 pushing the d pawn is too slow, but if 61....Ke5 White can ignore it as after 62.a5 Kxd5 63.axb6 queens first and wins Black's queen with either Qa8+ or Qd8+ depending on which pawn got promoted.

 

This result was enough to get us promoted since South Wales Dragons lost an extraordinary match 4 - 3 with 7 draws and a game which Fritz gives as +20 on move 41 where the opponent was allowed a mate in 2.

For the first time in memory, the whole team (+Michelle!) attended the curry. Discussions ranged over how to arrange for East European chess playing brides for the single men in the squad (coincidentally the next day, a number of candidates including one I had mentioned appeared here !) to (somewhat prematurely I felt) what to do with any prize money we won.

Sunday 23 May

    WESSEX 1  

v

BRISTOL 1  
1 w Poulton, James 2366 0 - 1 Beaumont, Chris 2336
2 b Webb, Richard M 2348 0 - 1 Cobb, Charles 2406
3 w Yeo, Michael J 2244 0 - 1 Rudd, Jack 2253
4 b Simons, Martin J 2285 - Sherwin, James T 2309
5 w Corkett, Anthony R 2314 - Buckley, David E 2203
6 b Upton, Ian J 2224 1 - 0 Helbig, Paul D 2195
7 w Allicock, Rawle A 2279 1 - 0 Collier, David O 2225
8 b Norman, Dinah (F) 2022 0 - 1 Ashby, Ann-Marie (F) 2082
        3 - 5    

On the not unreasonable assumption that Guildford 2 would win, we had to win this match to finish first while any other result would leave us third. The latter was always the more likely, especially after my opponent blew a large hole in one of my pet openings. It has now gone off to the menders along with my sore-footed king's knight which made 12 moves out of 29. Rawle this time went for a classic Najdorf and won convincingly. Martin had offered a draw on move 12 which he was eventually granted several moves later. James didn't like the look of most of the rest of our positions so gambled in time trouble and lost. Ian however performed a Houdini act escaping from a very cramped position and charging a pawn to queen. He thus became the only Wessex player to win 2 games in a weekend this season. Dinah lost a pawn early and her season's unbeaten record after a long struggle. Tony had some compensation for a pawn, but was only level once he won it back. Richard was eventually ground down in a R+P ending. The last time our top three boards all lost was over 5 years ago in the last round against Home House (whatever became of them?!).

(You can read what the opposition thought of this match here . Amazingly, this report was available on the web before most of the Wessex team had even reached home, but this speed does not excuse labelling us as "Kings Head" in the photograph, an insult that will be remembered when we meet next season!)

I will try and produce the usual performance table in the next day or so, but I might forget to put myself on it!


Last modified: May 26, 2004

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