4NCL: 29 April - 1 May 2006

Saturday 29 April

    WOOD GREEN 3   v WESSEX 1  
1 w Sowray, Peter J 2352 0 - 1 Corkett, Anthony R 2354
2 b Woodward, Timothy 2345 1 - 0 Webb, Richard M 2302
3 w Tiller, Bjorn 2346 - Allicock, Rawle A 2302
4 b Tan, Desmond 2323 - Simons, Martin J 2293
5 w Lee, Graham D 2283 1 - 0 Yeo, Michael J 2208
6 b Grant, Jonathan 2254 1 - 0 Neil, David R 2181
7 w Gilbert, Jessie (F) 2144 - Tunks, Dominic 2155
8 b Maduekwe, Chiedu 2142 - Khoo, Selina (F) 1958
        5 - 3    

A fairly predictable result. Tony had a dubious position out of the opening, but had nearly equalised when his opponent went for a winning combination that had a hole in it. Richard had to be persuaded not to retire until the end of the weekend after his rapid demise. My opponent's innovation in the Two Knights left me with a very comfortable position that I then made a mess of. Dave lasted beyond the first time control, but was always under pressure. Selina saved a difficult position. Dominic drew an even worse one when the Board 2 for England Womens Olympiad team demonstrated a worrying lack of technique in a R&P ending.

Sunday 30 April

    WESSEX 1   v PERCEPTRON YOUTH  
1 w Allicock, Rawle A 2302 - Rendle, Thomas E 2357
2 b Webb, Richard M 2302 - Bigg, Andrew J 2281
3 w Corkett, Anthony R 2354 - Player, Edmund C 2122
4 b Upton, Ian J 2259 1 - 0 Eckersley-Waites, Tom 2111
5 w Simons, Martin J 2293 - Levermore, Peter A 2086
6 b Yeo, Michael J 2208 0 - 1 Wells, Daniel 1988
7 w Neil, David R 2181 1 - 0 Hulley, John 2055
8 b Khoo, Selina (F) 1958 1 - 0 Hutchinson, Joanne (F) * 1715
        5 - 3    

This was the match we knew we had to win to avoid relegation. The plan to hold their top two strong boards and beat them lower down looked to be going to plan until I played yet another nightmare move. Richard missed a win in time trouble. Tony also missed a win and might have played on at the end but understandably played safe. Martin saved a lost B&P ending to preserve a half point which might have become crucial the next day.

This was the first time this season that the first and second teams had both won on the same day (and by the same score as well!)

Monday 1 May

    SOUTH WALES DRAGONS 1   v WESSEX 1  
1 w Cobb, James E 2365 1 - 0 Simons, Martin J 2293
2 b Dineley, Richard D P 2264 - Webb, Richard M 2302
3 w Jones, Richard S 2308 1 - 0 Corkett, Anthony R 2354
4 b Trevelyan, John 2190 - Upton, Ian J 2259
5 w James, David J 2222 0 - 1 Allicock, Rawle A 2302
6 b Zeidler, Sven P 2203 0 - 1 Yeo, Michael J 2208
7 w Morris, Charles F 2203 1 - 0 Neil, David R 2181
8 b Wilson, Julie (F) 1945 0 - 1 Khoo, Selina (F) 1958
        4 - 4    

Various improper suggestions were made as to how we should approach this match. If Guildford 3 were to win 8-0 and Richmond were to beat Cambridge, we would need 3 points to avoid relegation. Our opponents needed a win to guarantee promotion. Ideas involving awaiting our first loss and the remaining players all offering draws to achieve a 4 - 3 defeat to suit us both were rejected when it was pointed out that they might only accept the draw offers on the boards on which they were worse! In the event, Guilford only won 7-1 and Richmond lost to Cambridge so we would have stayed up anyway. Also a draw turned out to be good enough for our opponents to get promoted.

Something of a record was set with half the team having finished breakfast by 8 am! I don't think it was the previous night's curry nor the fact that it was a Monday!

Richard and Ian both drew quite quickly. Martin played his sacrificial lamb role to perfection. Tony had a reasonable position but miscalculated the transposition into an ending.

Rawle (one of the early breakfasters) was extremely wound up for his game, telling everyone in advance that he felt very sorry for his opponent! True to his word, he unleashed the following:

James,D - Allicock,R

14....Qh4! Rawle's opponent now used up over half his remaining hour as he realised that the threats of Ng3 or Nxf2 followed by Qxd4 are rather difficult to deal with. 15.g4?! [ The best chance was probably 15.Bd3 Nxf2! ( 15...Ng3 16.fxg3 Qxd4 17.Bxh7+ Kh8 18.0-0 Rxe3 19.Rad1 Qb6 20.Kh2 just about survives) 16.Bxh7+ Qxh7 17.Qxh7+ Kxh7 18.Kxf2 keeping material equality but then 18....c5! 19.Bb2 a4 exploits the Q-side weaknesses] 15...c5 [ 15...Bxg4? 16.Rg1 is embarrassing] 16.Bb2 Bxg4 17.Bg2 [ Now if 17.Rg1 Nxf2! is terminal as e3 is no longer defended.] 17...Bh5 18.Bxe4 Rxe4

and Black won easily in a few more moves.

Despite appearances to the contrary over previous rounds, I can still play reasonable chess occasionally. Fortunately I saved my best game of the season till the last round!

Yeo,M - Zeidler,S

17.Rxe6!? I was extremely nervous about playing this move given the match situation. It seemed quite likely, despite Rawle's "Pulp Fiction" effort on the next board, that I might have to make a contribution to the 3 points we needed. There were also a number of quieter alternatives available (e.g.Nc5; Ne4; Qe2) which would have preserved an edge. In the end I rationalised it by thinking that even if Rxe6 wasn't the best move, it still gave rise to positions that I was more likely to win than if I played quietly. I guess it just confirms that Richard is right to label me as a "hacker"! 17...fxe6 18.Nc5 Qd6 Striving for activity, but I had seen that this allowed my pieces to become even more active. At the time I was more concerned by the passive approach with 18...Qc8 but after 19.Bh3 Kh8 20.Bxe6 I thought I had enough compensation as it would take him a long time to get his rooks into play. 19.Nxb7 Nc4 If Black tries to repeat with 19...Qc7 20.Nc5 Qd6 21.Qe2 is very good. 20.Qe1 I was also tempted by 20.Nxd6 Nxd2 21.Nb7 Nc4 22.Nc5 which is clearly better for White but might last a long time. When I was originally dreaming up this mess, back on move 16(!) I had trouble making it work because I was only looking at 20.Qe2? After 20....Qb4 21.Nc5 Nxb2 22.Nxe6+ Kh8 23.Rb1 Rfb8 the difference from the game is that the c3 knight is undefended so there is no time for 24.Bxc6 and after 24.Qe3 Black can defend with 24....Qd6 as d5 is no longer a threat. 20...Qb4 21.Nc5 Nxb2 22.Rb1 Rfb8 22...e5 23.Ne6+ Kg8 24.Nxf8 Rxf8 25.dxe5 Ng4 26.Ne4 Qxe1+ 27.Rxe1 is also good for White. 23.Nxe6+ Kh8 23...Kg8 24.Bxc6 Ra7 25.d5 also wins 24.Bxc6 Ra7 25.Qe3

and the threat of 26.d5 combined with 26 Qh6 and the pinned knight on b2 meant that Black was forced to resign a few moves later. By then we knew that Guildford had dropped a couple of draws and that we were safe from relegation.

Dave had a reasonable game for a long time, but dropped a piece when he got in a tangle. This left Selina who had managed to snaffle a couple of pawns before the time control but then allowed one of her opponents pawns to advance to d3. Impressively, she kept her composure to win the position all over again very neatly.

So we survived for another season in Division 2. I have decided not to produce the usual performance table, not just because it would be too depressing (!), but because I can't compete with the excellent FIDE crosstable that appeared on the 4NCL website on 2nd May! Sorting this table by column AI (Actual Score-Expected Score) demonstrates clearly why we had so much trouble this season!

Saturday 29 April

    WESSEX 2   v SLOUGH SHARKS 3  
1 w Jenks, Bruce 2120 - Taylor, Robert M 2203
2 b Taylor, Phil 2063 - Purton, Ben J 2107
3 w Rutter, Nicholas 2133 1 - 0 Duggan, Michael 2082
4 b Gregory, Keith D 2093 1 - 0 Roberson, Peter T 2126
5 w Clark, Ian C 2133 - Cox, Tristan 2047
6 b Ferrington, Nigel M 2115 0 - 1 Muter, Donny 2087
7 w Pym, Thomas W 2078 - Nelson, Omowale 2089
8 b Norman, Dinah (F) 2008 0 - 1 Heinrich, Stefanie (F) 2083
        4 - 4    

Ian Clark reports:

I began the weekend looking negatively downwards as technically we could still be relegated and promotion seemed to be a dream.

The first match against Slough Sharks 3 was most important as avoiding defeat should see us safe. We were slightly outgraded but with our strength in depth thought we would pick up most points on boards 5 –7. Best laid plans!! Tom seemed to have a big advantage in his game early on but somehow this disappeared as he could not develop his pieces quickly enough to avoid a draw. Nigel and I were struggling and only Nick seemed to have a plus.

Phil managed a solid draw and then Nick won, Tom drew and Nigel went down leaving us at 2-2. I managed to turn around my game but could not convert Q and 3 pawns v Q & 2. Keith then came up with a great win when his opponent allowed 3 pieces for his Queen and Keith finished the game off in style. Dinah was always struggling and after a long battle went down. This left us 3 to 3. Bruce playing his first game for the second team had a couple of pawns advantage but a double edged position. I hinted that a draw would not be a bad result but he played on for a win! In the end he took the draw as his advantage was disappearing. This meant a drawn match and we were almost mathematically safe.

Sunday 30 April

    MINDSPORTSLTD.COM   v WESSEX 2  
1 w McFarland, Robert S 2257 1 - 0 Gregory, Keith D 2093
2 b Richards, Heather (F) 2235 - Taylor, Phil 2063
3 w Hawkins, Nick 2036 0 - 1 Rutter, Nicholas 2133
4 b Almond, Richard 2093 1 - 0 Ferrington, Nigel M 2115
5 w Ackley, Peter 2030 - Pym, Thomas W 2078
6 b Twitchell, Neville 2000 0 - 1 Jenks, Bruce 2120
7 w Kelly, Paul J 1945 0 - 1 Clark, Ian C 2133
8 b Weidman, Mark * 1720 0 - 1 Norman, Dinah (F) 2008
        3 - 5    

The next match was against Mindsports and they had come with a weak team apart from their top 2 boards. Keith was rewarded for his excellent win with another black and top board and unfortunately went down fairly early. Phil had another good draw on 2 with Olympiad player Heather Richards and Nick kept up his good form with another win. Dinah played a good game and was winning comfortably when her opponent lost on time.

Tom had another draw and Nigel was having a bad weekend! I somehow managed to stay in my game after getting caught out to the wing gambit and even offered a draw which was turned down then 7 moves later I had won! Bruce again played a good game and won easily. This gave us a 5-3 win and even better news Poisoned Pawns 1 only drew which meant that we were equal 3rd ( with a much worse board count) going into the last match.

Monday 1 May

    WESSEX 2   v SLOUGH SHARKS 2  
1 w Clark, Ian C 2133 0 - 1 Rees, Ioan 2241
2 b Jenks, Bruce 2120 - Kahar, Krunal 2209
3 w Rutter, Nicholas 2133 1 - 0 Williams, Samuel G 2227
4 b Taylor, Phil 2063 - Taylor, Robert M 2203
5 w Pym, Thomas W 2078 1 - 0 Domany, Zsofia (F) 2184
6 b Ferrington, Nigel M 2115 0 - 1 McCarthy, Kevin 2060
7 w Gregory, Keith D 2093 - Willis, Rupert 2100
8 b Norman, Dinah (F) 2008 - Duggan, Michael 2082
        4 - 4    

Our last match was against Slough Sharks 2 who were top of league but were having a poor weekend. Poisoned Pawns 1 were playing Slough Sharks 3 and we had to obtain a better result than them for promotion.

We were outgraded on 7 boards, by quite a way, so it was going to be difficult.

I was caught out in an opening that neither of us could remember and was lost early on. Keith and Dinah secured good draws and Phil had an edge but could not find a way through so had another solid draw! We were therefore 2 to 1 down and not too promising on most boards. Even worse Poisoned Pawns 1 were already comfortably ahead so promotion seemed out.

Tom was playing their Hungarian female player and I was hoping that he could concentrate on the game! He seemed to be losing for a long time but around the first time control he somehow turned his position around to secure an excellent win. Nick again came up trumps winning an end game with a very small advantage. Bruce again held on to an excellent draw meaning we were 4-3 up at this stage.

This left Nigel. His position was a bit of a mess but his opponent seemed to give up exchange for no good reason on move 28 in a long time scramble. Unfortunately Nigel missed a couple of Queen moves on moves 38 and 39 and was lost after the time check.

This still meant that we had drawn with the top team. Poisoned Pawns 1 won their game easily so a win would not have helped and finishing 4th was much higher than anyone had imagined at the start of the year. Nick was top points player with 7.5/11 overtaking Nigel who had started with 5/6. Lets see if we can improve one place next year!


Last modified: May 22, 2006

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