Weekend 1

[games, pgn]

Tim writes:

All, the split first weekend has completed and Oxford registered these results:

  • Ox1 beat NE England 5½-2½ and lost 1-7 to White Rose 1;
  • Ox2 beat Throw In The Tal 1 5½-½ and Iceni 2 5-1;
  • Ox3 drew both matches 3-3 against Poisoned Pawns 2 and D&D Utd.

We only had the one really bad result against White Rose who played out of their skins in what was on paper a close match. On the upside, Ox2’s brace of wins puts us on top of Division Four by half a game point. Top marks to Mike H, Aidan, Nick (Ox2) and Phil N (Ox3) all of whom recorded 2/2 over the weekend. In Ox1, David Z started well with 1½.

Ox2’s top two boards won in very contrasting styles on Saturday — absolutely nothing seemed to happen in Aidan’s game, yet his opponent found himself hamstrung for playable moves in the middlegame at move ~30 and dropped two pieces. Conversely Mike H was contemplating a spectacular queen sac at move 27 of his game — he would probably have played it had his opponent chosen 25. … Kg7 not 25. … Bxh4. He’s annotated it here — enjoy the variations given in the note to 25. Bxe6, especially the one after 25. … Kg7 leading to 41. Ne7# with all checks! (I kid you not.)

Oxford 1


North East England 2175 Oxford 1 2308
w Dunn, Andrew c 2245 ½ – ½ Hansen, Hans-Peter 2264
b Moreby, James 2192 ½ – ½ Martins, David Pires Tavares f 2383
w Coathup, Roger H 2159 0 – 1 Zakarian, David f 2380
b Oates, David 2185 ½ – ½ Claridge-Hansen, William f 2302
w Dargan, Paul A G c 2222 0 – 1 Asenov, Pavel 2290
b Waters, Clive L 2147 0 – 1 Harvey, Marcus R f 2276
w Henderson, David 2079 1 – 0 Rose, Matthew 2265
b Roberts, Lynda wc 1930 0 – 1 Varney, Zoe 1996
2½ – 5½

Harvey – Waters
4NCL Division 1b, 19.11.2016

21. … h6? allows for a rapid dissolution of the walls of the palace: 22.Bxf6! Bxf6 23.Nxe6! fxe6 24.Qxg6+ Bg7 25.Qxe6+ Kh8 26.Rxd6 Rxd6 27.Rxd6 … when it’s clear that the white pawns are more than a match for the remaining minor piece. (1-0, 38)

Matt seemed to be doing very well in a c3 Sicilian on board 7, until it finally dawned that he was playing the black pieces:

Henderson – Rose
4NCL Division 1b, 19.11.2016

24. … Qd7 25.Qxd7 Bxd7 26.Nd6 c4 27.Nxe8 Bxe8 28.Re3 Bg6 29.Kf2 f5 30.e5 f4 31.Rec3 Re8 32.e6 Be4 33.Rd1 1–0

At the top end of the match, significant ELO differences weren’t translating into better positions. On top board, there was a quiet draw with an interesting move in this position:

Dunn – Hansen,H-P
4NCL Division 1b, 19.11.2016

… b5 taking on b5 allows the Black queen to re-route to b5 via b8. 15.c5 Nd5 16.Bd2 h6 17.Nh4 Bxg2 18.Nxg2 f5 19.Qc2 dxc5 ½–½

On second board, David looked visually losing; Black has just played … c5, and weakening of the knight’s tenure on e5 allied to the future activity of the black bishops look ominous.

Martins – Moreby
4NCL Division 1b, 19.11.2016

19.Rb3 this picks up a tempo on the loose bishop but now the configuration of pieces on the e5 allow a mate on e1 in some variations. … Ba6 20.Rc1 cxd4 The computer suggests 20…g5 21.Bd2 cxd4 22.Nf3 g4 23.Ne1 Bh6! taking advantage of the weak bank rank, and winning material. 21.Nf3 h6 22.h4 Bc4 23.Rb7 R6e7 24.Rxe7 Rxe7 25.b3 Ba6 26.Rc5 Bb7 ½–½

Board 3 was a slugging match, which settled into its technical phase around move 34, with Black a nominal pawn to the good, but White’s pieces are more actively placed. Black has just played Nc4xa3

Coathup – Zakarian (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 19.11.2016

And White elects on a simplifying continuation involving a combination. 36.Nxa3 The computer prefers 36.Nc3 Ra8 37.Ne2 Nc4 38.Nd4 Qd6 39.Qxh4 36…Rxa3 37.Bxd5 [37.e4] 37…Bxd5 38.Qd8+ Kg7 39.Qxd5 Qxd5 40.Rxd5 Ra1+ but this position now is better for Black, and a wi n was duly converted (0-1, 56).

On Board 5,

Claridge-Hansen – Oates
4NCL Division 1b, 19.11.2016

35.Be3 a3 Fritz points to the subtlety 35. … b6! which ensures that both b-pawns get traded, thus preserving winning chances for Black. 36.Rxb7 Reb8 37.Rxb8 Rxb8 38.b6 Bb4 39.Ra1 Kf7 40.Kg2 Ke6 41.Bc1 Rxb6 42.Bxa3 Ra6 43.Bb2 Rxa1 44.Bxa1 ½–½

Pavel was on the wrong side of a king-side attack for most of this game, until he was rescued by a blunder allowing a cute geometrical motif:

Dargan – Asenov
4NCL Division 1b, 19.11.2016

33.Qf6 b6 34.R1e2 Qd1+ 35.Kh2 Qd4 36.f4?? Rxd6 37.exd6 Qxf6 0–1

Varney,Z – Roberts,L
4NCL Division 1b, 19.11.2016

15. … h5 16.Nxd5 hxg4 17.hxg4 b6 18.Ng5 Qd7 19.e6 fxe6 20.Rxf8+ Bxf8 21.Nf4 Qd6 when White has the option of a king-side attack (Qc2) or a transfer to a clearly better endgame. Zoe chose the latter: 22.Ngxe6 Bxe6 23.Qxe6+ Qxe6 24.Nxe6 Rc8 25.Rf1 Bg7 26.Kg2 Rc2+ 27.Rf2 Rxf2+ 28.Kxf2 … and 1-0, 46.


Oxford 1 2339 White Rose 1 2379
w Tan, Justin i 2456 0 – 1 Wells, Peter K g 2429
b Martins, David Pires Tavares f 2383 ½ – ½ Adair, James R i 2488
w Zakarian, David f 2380 ½ – ½ Palliser, Richard J D i 2421
b Harvey, Marcus R f 2276 0 – 1 McNab, Colin A g 2433
w Asenov, Pavel 2290 0 – 1 Gantner, Matthias f 2287
b Claridge-Hansen, William f 2302 0 – 1 Maroroa, Sue wi 2297
w Gerlagh, Joris 2288 0 – 1 Brown, Martin f 2302
b Varney, Zoe 1996 0 – 1 Townsend, M Paul 2231
1 – 7

After a long month of world championship anti-Berlins, it was a near relief to have an ‘ordinary’ Ruy Lopez on the top board. … ended up spectacularly after a blunder by Justin in the diagram allowed Peter to sacrifice all three minor pieces to effect mate:

Tan – Wells (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 20.11.2016

37.Ke1? (Nc3 keeps the position equal) … Rxh1 38.Rxh1 Nxd3+ 39.Kd2 Nxe4+ 40.Kxd3 Bxc4+ 41.Kxc4 Qe6+ 42.Kd3 c4+ 43.Kxe4 d5# 0–1


On board 3, the adventure started with a b3 Sicilian with an early f4, continued with some original looking play, and ended in an unforced perpetual – although en route there was some major created-by-blunder excitement. White’s last move was 17. Qd1-f3, and this leaves two knights on or near the rim, with a rook lacking protection in the corner.

Zakarian – Palliser (B)
4NCL Division 1b, 20.11.2016

Richard pounced with: 17. … c4! 18.bxc4 a6! 19.Nc3 Qd4+ 20.Kh1 Qxh4 21.Rf1 Qf4 22.Qe2 Qd4 23.Qf3 Qf4 24.Qe2 Qd4 25.Qf3 Qf4 ½–½ The computer suggests a perpetual can be avoided with 23…Be6 24.Qxb7 Bc5 25.Ne4 Rf8 26.Nxc5 Rxf1+ 27.Bxf1 Qxc5

Marcus’s game on board 4 featured an exchange sac, a queening race, a queen and pawn endgame (1-0, 82), all of which were instructive, but two of them involve a lot of thought and a bit of analysis. So let’s have a look at the queening race:

McNab – Harvey (B)
4NCL Division 1b,20.11.2016

39. … d3 40.a7 d2 41.a8Q d1Q+ 42.Kg2 Nd6 43.Qg8+ Kf6 44.Qf8+ Kg6 45.Ra6 Qe2+ 46.Kg1 Qd1+ 47.Qf1 e2

48.Rxd6+ Qxd6 49.Qxe2 Qd4+ 50.Kg2 h5 51.h3 gxh3+ 52.Kxh3 Qd7+ 53.Kg2 Qd4 54.Qe6+ Kg7 55.Qd5 Qb2+ 56.Kh3 Qe2 57.Qg5+ Kf7 58.Qf5+ Kg7 59.c5 Qd1 60.Kh4 Qh1+ 61.Kg5 h4 62.gxh4 Qc6 63.Qe5+ Kf7 64.h5 Kg8 65.h6 Qg2+ 66.Kf6 Kh7 67.Qg5 Qc6+ 68.Kf7 Qf3+ 69.Qf6 Qd5+ 70.Ke8 Qa8+ 71.Qd8 Qa2 72.Qd6 Qa3 73.Kd7 Qa7+ 74.Qc7 Qa2 75.Qb6 Qf7+ 76.Kc8 Qf8+ 77.Kb7 Qf3+ 78.Ka7 Qa3+ 79.Kb8 Qe3 80.Qf6 Qb3+ 81.Kc7 Qg3+ 82.Kc6 1–0

On board 5, Pavel got caught in the same style of geometric trap as had allowed him to win the day before:

Asenov – Gantner (W)
4NCL Division 1b, 20.11.2016

21.Bxd6 Qb6+ 22.c5 Bxd6 … #aargh 23.Rac1 Rac8 24.g5 Rxc5 25.Qd4 Rxc1 26.Rxc1 Nxd5 0–1

While William seemed to misplay / blunder out of his c3 Sicilian prep, when in the diagram position White has just played Na3-b5:

Maroroa,S – Claridge-Hansen
4NCL Division 1b, 20.11.2016

10. … Bg4 11.Nc7 e5 12.Bd3 Qc6 13.Rc1 Qd7 14.d5 Nc6 15.Nxa8 Qxd5 … and 1–0, 26.

Joris got caught up in the same netting as eventually snared Justin on top board – albeit this time from a closed French:

Gerlagh – Brown
4NCL Division 1b, 20.11.2016

40.Bc8 Na5 (machine prefers …Rc1) 41. Bg4 (machine suggests 41.Bd7!) Nb3 0–1

On bottom board, Zoe seemed to be doing well, even though the White pieces look well-placed to pose a threat to the kingside, there’s an issue with the defence of the f4 pawn:

Townsend – Varney,Z
4NCL Division 1b, 20.11.2016

24.g3 which the machine thinks is marginally better for Black, but … Qc5+ is not preferred. Instead it suggests the cold-blooded line 24…exd5 25.Qxd5+ Kf8 as the route to maintained equilibrium 25.Kh1 Qb4 26.Bxf6! Rxc4 26…gxf6 27.Nxf6+ Kg7 28.Nxe8+ Rxe8 29.Rce1 27.Bc3 Qc5 28.dxe6 Rxe6 29.f5 and White is much better – 1–0, 37.

Oxford 2


Oxford 2 2080 Throw in the Tal 1 1968
w Healey, Michael W 2164 1 – 0 Bisereko Pafura Godfrey 2028
b Rawlinson, Aidan M 2208 1 – 0 Pink, Joshua 2042
w Truran, Michael 2178 1 – 0 Ireland, David J 1990
b Dickinson, Tim R 2087 1 – 0 Ho, Marco 1982
w Burrows, Nick 1894 1 – 0 Ward, Andrew 1892
b Matta, Francesca 1949 ½ – ½ Price, Andrew 1877
5½ – ½

All players came out fighting, showing no early season ring-rust – and Nick was almost finished by the time I’d arrived for my game: he’s just played 14. g4, and Black needs to act quickly (and accurately)

Burrows – Ward
4NCL Division 4 Board 5, 26.11.2016

14… f5? Weakening g5 fatally: Fritz suggests 14…Bd7! countering the threat of 15.f5 with the counterthreat Bc6 15.Nf3 Nc6 now if 15…Bd7 16.Ng5+ Kf8 17.gxf5 Bxf5 18.Bb4+ is mating 16.Ng5+ Kf8 17.Nxh7+ 1–0

Mike’s game on top board was developing with similar momentum, and hereabouts he starts to wrap up things on the king side as the Black pieces are tied up elsewhere, the result of some some earlier manoeuvres stranded the Black queen on the a-file:

Healey- Bisereko Pafura (B)
4NCL Division 4 Board 1, 26.11.2016

… Nc6 24.Nxf6+ Bxf6 (… Kh8, 25. Bxe6 fxe6 26. Ng6#) 25.Bxe6 Bxh4 26.Qxf7+ Kh8 27.Rd7 Ne7 28.Bf5 1–0

On board 4, Tim turned the tables on White’s minority attack in the Queen’s Gambit, and won with a majority attack in the same region:

Ho – Dickinson
4NCL Division 4 Board 4, 26.11.2016

29.Qc8+ Kh7 30.Qc5 Qxc5 31.dxc5 Rxb4 32.Rxb4 c3 33.Rb1 b4 34.c6 c2 35.Rc1 b3 36.c7 b2 37.c8Q bxc1Q+ 38.Kg2 g6 39.Qc7 Kg7 40.h3 Qd2 41.Qd6 c1Q 42.h4 Qcb2 43.Qf4 Ne4 44.Qxe4 dxe4 45.Kh3 Qxf2 46.Kg4 Qf5# 0–1

And on board 3, Mike may be a pawn down, but his opponent is short of space and ideas:

Truran – Ireland, David J
4NCL Division 4 Board 3, 26.11.2016

Even so, 18. … e5 offers too much scope for the white knights: 19.Nh4 Bc8 20.Bxc8 Nxc8 21.Nf5+ Kd7 22.fxe5 fxe5 23.Qf2 Ne7 24.Rf1 Rbf8 25.Nd1 c3 26.Nxc3 Nxf5 27.Qxf5+ Ke7 28.Kh1 a6 29.Rf2 Bh8 30.Rbf1 Qb8 31.Qh5 Rg6 32.Kg1 Qc8 33.Rxf7+ Rxf7 34.Qxg6 Rxf1+ 35.Kxf1 Qh3+ 36.Kg1 Bf6 37.Qh7+ Ke8 38.Qf5 Qxf5 39.exf5 e4 40.Nxe4 Bxb2 41.Nxd6+ Ke7 42.Nc4 Bd4+ 43.Kg2 h5 44.Kf3 1–0

And on board 2, Aidan has a solid advantage but wonders whether to pursue victory by direct tactics or more subtle means.

Pink,Joshua – Rawlinson (B)
4NCL Division 4 Board 2, 26.11.2016

18… e6 not a bad option, although 18…Ng4 19.Qd2 Rxf4 is the #savagerymode, and works wonders 20.Nxd5 Nxh2+ 21.Ke2 Re4+ 22.Ne3 Ng4 19.Qd2 0–0 20.Rad1 Rfc8 21.Nd4 Bf8 22.Re3 22.Nce2 Bc5 23.c3 b4 24.cxb4 would prevent the liquidations that follow: 22…Rxd4 23.Qxd4 Bc5 24.Nxb5 axb5 25.Qc3 b4 0–1

Francesca was an ace from a win, but her opponent’s two rooks held the draw option after this:

Price – Matta, F
4NCL Division, 26.11.2016

A position where those bishops are poised to take over the world, but after 32.Rc2 the defence of the c-pawn looks problematic: …Bd6 [32…Rc8 33.Rac1 d3 34.Rxc4 Rxc4 35. Rxc4 d2 wins as 36. Rd4 Bc5] 33.Rxc4 Bxg3 34.hxg3 Bxe4 35.Rd1 Bxf5 36.Rcxd4 Rb8 37.b4 Nd7 38.g4 Be6 39.Re1 Kf7 40.Rf4+ Ke7 and the White rooks have enough play to hold the draw (½–½, 61)


Iceni 2 1695 Oxford 2 2015
w Kenning, Paul H 1871 0 – 1 Healey, Michael W 2164
b Jones, Robert L 1792 0 – 1 Rawlinson, Aidan M 2208
w Usher, Michael 1750 0 – 1 Burrows, Nick 1894
b Goldsmith, Rory 1690 ½ – ½ Matta, Francesca 1949
w Balakrishnan, Kathirvel 1556 ½ – ½ Cole, James 1952
b Thatte, Nishchal 1513 0 – 1 Terry, Sean 1923
1 – 5

Today was a more sedate affair on board 1, as Mike first of all weakened his opponent’s pawns in a 4 Knights, before manoeuvring expertly to secure an early win:

Kenning – Healey
4NCL Division 4, Board 1, 27.11.2016

15.Be3 Rde8 16.Rfd1 Qf5 17.Rd3 g5 18.Rad1 18.Rf1 h5 19.Qf2 g4 slows the momentum somewhat: 18…gxf4 19.Rd5 R8e5 20.g4 Rxe3 21.gxf5 Rxf3 0–1

On board 2, the players segued seamlessly from a Catalan to a closed French where it wasn’t clear (at least to this viewer) who was edging ahead – until around this point:

Rawlinson – Jones
4NCL Division 4 Board 2, 27.11.2016

Here Black over-thought the position and opted for 32… Nf4+ when after 33.Qxf4 f5 34.exf6 Rf7 his position caves in. The computer suggests the simple 32. Nxg3! which weakens the White’s king position along the g-file (if the king captures) or the 2nd rank (if fxg3), while maintaining the material balance. 35.Ne5 Nxe5 36.dxe5 Qc7 37.Qg4+ Kf8 38.a4 Bd3 39.Ba3+ Ke8 1–0

Nick won a long game on board 3 characterised by careful play up to the point where White blundered the exchange. Next door, Francesca tried for a long time to break through against a backward c pawn on a half-open file, but couldn’t arrange the machinery to complete an effective break-in.

Meantime, on board 5 James was under the cosh for long periods of his game and was pushed to escape with a draw:

Balakrishnan – Cole,J (B)
4NCL Division 4 Board 5, 27.11.2016

36. …g5 37.Kg4 gxf4 38.Kxf4 Qb8+ 39.Kf5 Qg8 ½–½

which seems fair enough. The computer offers White this option on move 37: 37.f5 (closing off the diagonal, threatening Kg4-h5) … h5 38.g4 h4 39.b5 when Black might have problems defending against the advance of the b-pawn.

On board 6, my young opponent caused the comedy moment of the round when deciding to play Qb6 in a standard enough French Tarrasch, and noticed with some concern when the piece was mid-air around d6 that he was holding his king. Thinking seamlessly, the monarch was air-ambulanced back to e8, placed firmly on the throne to the tune of “… adjust?!”.

Over the board, the endgame hovered between various levels of advantage and equality. I missed opportunities to take on f6 and/or play f5, my opponent missed (even in the diagram position) … f5, which would make winning attempts on either side quite difficult to implement. Be that as it may, play continued:

Terry – Thatte
4NCL Division 4 Board 6, 27.11.2016

23 … Bd7? 24.Nh4 f5 too late 25.Ng6 Rhe8 26.Bf2! winning an exchange or pawns … Kc7 27.Nxe7 Rxe7 28.Bh4 Ree8 29.Bxd8+ Kxd8 when the result was now in sight (1-0, 43)

Oxford 3


Oxford 3 1818 Poisoned Pawns 2 1852
w Colburn, Paul J 1924 ½ – ½ Goodger, Martyn 2022
b Terry, Sean 1923 0 – 1 Redman, David J 1937
w Cole, Graham 1834 ½ – ½ McMahon, Paul 2000
b Neatherway, A Philip 1836 1 – 0 Ribbands, Patrick 1757
w Henbest, Kevin B 1673 0 – 1 Judkins, Brian D 1797
b Tselos, Ross 1720 1 – 0 Sahinoz, Giulio O 1600
3 – 3

Things didn’t get off to a good start in this match, so 3-3 was a great result. Paul either sacrificed or lost a piece early in the opening, and continued to the time control without giving the game (or the answer) away. By about move 25 it did look like the sacrifice (if it were that) had backfired a bit. Meantime, on board 2, I played … d6 in this position and went off to the water cooler, having calculated that Qa4+ didn’t win the piece.

Redman – Terry
4NCL Division 4 Board 2, 26.11.2016

at which point I realised that my Nf6 was pinned. … It shows how alert we both were that my opponent continued Bd3, only noticing after playing it that Qa4+ was immediately winning decisive material. Alas, however, my subsequent play was pretty ropey, so it was one down before the first time control.

Fortunately, Phil was on form and his win on board 4 meant we were still in the match:

Ribbands – Neatherway (B)
4NCL Division 4 Board 4, 26.11.2016

24… axb3 25.Bxe5 Bxe5 26.Qxe5 Nc4 ah 27.Qc3 Nxa2 0–1

And Ross won well on bottom board, picking up a piece from this positon:

Sahinoz – Tselos (W)
4NCL Division 4 Board 6, 26.11.2016

17.Rxc7? Rb1+ 18.Ne1 Rxe1+ 19.Kxe1 Qa5+ 20.Ke2 Qxc7 21.Rc1 Qb6 22.Qf5 Ne7 23.Qd7 Qb2+ 24.Kd1 Qa3 25.Rc7 Qd3+ 26.Ke1 Rb8 27.Rb7 Qc3+ 28.Ke2 Rxb7 29.Qxb7 Qa3 30.Kf3 a5 31.Qa7 Qb4 32.Kf4 a4 33.e4 a3 34.Ke5 Nc6+ 0–1

So that when Graham shook hands we were 2½ – 1½ with 2 games left – and all of Chelsea – Spurs to spectate in the bar. Paul by now had equalised in material and for a while it looked like his Q, B, N + P (all on the queen side) were better than his opponent’s Q, B, B + P (all on the king’s) – but this petered out to a draw. Which meant we needed Kev to do his best with this endgame:

Henbest – Judkins (W)
4NCL Division 4 Board 5, 26.11.2016

With the prime idea that White hoovers up the h- and g- pawns while sacking the bishop for the a pawn. Alas, it was not to be… 52.Bc5 a3 53.Bxa3 Nxa3 54.Kg7 Nb5 55.Kxh7 Kf7 56.Kh6 Kf6 57.h4 Nd6 58.f4 Nf5+ 59.Kh7 Nxh4 60.Kh6 Kf5 0–1

… although we wondered in the bar at half-time whether sacrificing the bishop on a1 might change the timings, or the result: e.g. 52.Bd6 a3 53.Kg7 a2 54.Be5 a1Q 55.Bxa1 Nxa1 56.Kxh7 Kf7 57.Kh6 which is chess algebraic for “no”


D&D Utd 1573 Oxford 3 1793
w Kamath, Vikram 1907 1 – 0 Cole, Graham 1834
b Sheikh, Nasarullah 1608 1 – 0 Bush, Ian 1810
w Jaufarally, Nadia 1638 1 – 0 Foster, Timothy 1883
b Sheikh, Anum wc 1479 0 – 1 Neatherway, A Philip 1836
w Jaufarally, Mohammud 1480 0 – 1 Henbest, Kevin B 1673
b Jaufarally , Zahra 1330 0 – 1 Langham, Rod 1723
3 – 3

Another cut-thrust game, with the Oxford team drawing on board count (as it were). We raced to a 3-0 lead before being pegged back on the top boards:

Phil’s youthful opponent hung in for long periods but lost concentration with the approach of the time control:

Neatherway – Sheikh,A (B)
4NCL Division 4 Board 4, 27.11.2016

35… Kh7? 36.f3 Fritz suggests 36.Bd8 Qxd7 37.Rxd7+ Kg8 38.Bb6 Rb8 39.Bd4 instead … Ng5 37.Bc5 Qf7 38.h4 Nxf3+ 39.gxf3 Kg8 40.Qxf7+ Kxf7 41.Rd7+ Kg8 42.Rxb7 g5 43.hxg5 hxg5 44.Bd4 f4 45.Kf2 Kf8 46.exf4 gxf4 47.Bc5+ Kg8 48.Ra7 1–0

While Kev came back from the dead – here, a piece down for some pawns – after an inaccuracy from his opponent first gave a form of equality, then another handed the full point:

Jaufarally,M – Henbest (W)
4NCL Division 4 Board 5, 27.11.2016

34.Ne2? Qf8! 35.Qh3 Qe7 36.Qe3 Ng7 37.Nd4 Nf5 38.Nxf5 gxf5 39.e5 Qe6 40.Bf4 Qd5 41.Qg3

… Qd4+ 42.Kh2 Qd5 43.Qg1?? a draw might be the better option now … Qf3 44.Bc1 Qe2+ 45.Kh3 Qxc2 0–1. In fairness, not an easy game to play for White, with isolated and separate pawns.

Rod spotted a small combination and unfurled it on an unsuspecting opponent:

Langham- Jaufarally,Z (B)
4NCL Division 4 Board 6, 27.11.2016

30… Nc6 31.Bc3 Rb8 seems to defend the b-pawn successfully but 32.Rxg7 Kxg7 33.d5+ Kf7 34.dxc6 Rc8 35.a4 Kg8 36.Nd4 Kf8 37.Bb4+ Ke8 38.Bd6 Kf7 39.c7 Ke8 40.Nb5 Kd7 41.Bg3 Ke6 42.b3 Kf7 43.Nd6+ Ke6 44.Nxc8 Kf6 45.Nd6 Ke6 46.c8Q+ Kf6 47.Qf8+ Ke6 48.Qf7# 1–0

Now for the fightback by the oppo:

Ian has gambled that his 3 queenside pawns will outweigh the exchange he’s invested – a decision that looks justified – but as the game went on, it looked like the pawns remained stayed, and the black bishops emerged to wreak havoc:

Bush,I – Sheikh (W)
4NCL Division 4 Board 2, 27.11.2016

25.Bc2 Fritz suggests the committal 25. c5! Which blocks out the black squares and gives time for the a-pawns to through themselves forward to the 8th. … Ra8 26.Ba5 Rd2 27.f3 Rxa5 28.Nb1 Rxc2 29.Rxc2 Ra8 30.Kf2 f5 31.c5 Bc6 32.Rc4 Kf7 33.Ke1 Bb5 34.Rc3 fxe4 35.fxe4 Bc6 36.Nd2 Rd8 37.Nc4 Bxe4 38.Nxe5+ Ke8 39.Nf3 Bf6 40.Re3 Bd5 41.a4 Kd7 42.Ne5+ Bxe5 43.Rxe5 Kc6 44.Re3 Rb8 45.b5+ Kxc5 46.Rc3+ Kb4 47.Rc7 0–1

Tim lost a pawn in the centre which had an evaluative measure of -2.5 and was out of the game early, and so this left board 1, where this intricate & unbalanced position was being fought over in the second session. It’s easy to say “chances are equal”, but the tension is quite enormous, and evaluating decisions in the fifth hour not easy:

Kamath – Cole,G
4NCL Division 4 Board 1, 27.11.2016

42.Re1 a5 43.e5 f5? 43…fxe5 44.Rxe5 a4 45.Re7 a3 46.Ra2 Bc6 keeps the central pawns in check, and forces White to look after the advance of the a-pawn 44.e6 Bxe6 45.Qxb5 Qd7 46.Qxd7 Bxd7 47.Re7 Bb5 48.Rd5 1–0

11 December 2016