Chris took a relatively quick draw in a French Defence that turned turgid. Neil refuted his opponent’s speculative rook sacrifice; the crowd (aka Chris) were baying for mate in six with 25. Qxg6+ followed (if Chris & I agree) by Qf6+ and Qxh8+. Neil chose to hand some material back to swap queens and reach an endgame a bishop up with a HUGE passed pawn on e6. That was enough for his opponent who promptly resigned.
For a moment we were 1.5-0.5 up but Tashika’s Dragon had gone wrong somewhere – skip thinks swapping queens was the problem – and Dimitrios’s opening gambit had also gone awry. All over by 20:45 and we are OUT, but at least we took as many game points off Uxbridge A in one match as they’ve conceded in their seven previous matches!
I’ll take this opportunity to give you complete final player stats for Season 3 (including tonight’s results):
Start with the most important matches. In Ox4, Graham had an amazing start, taking a whole rook off the Ginger GM by move 10. I suspect it’s new-fangled theory, but still. The Ginger GM produced a brilliant game thereafter, it has to be said. Ian gave us hope with his endgame win but sadly Killian ran out of time at the crucial moment. Oh well.
In Ox3, Guildford’s board 2 set his heart on Dimitrios’s b2 pawn. Having failed to bag it with … Qb6, he went the other way with … Qf6 and this was not a success. Neil came up with a brilliant pawn-then-exchange sacrifice. Chris F moved to 6.5/7 with an impressive board 1 win. Kenneth wrapped up a whitewash, his technique attracting admiring comments from the kibs. Oxford 3 win Pool B and have a semi-final to look forward to in two weeks’ time. Skip has a problem: to choose four from these chaps plus Tashika. A nice problem to have, mind you.
There was a queen trap in Ox1 as well, rather a strange one as Nakul’s rooks lawnmowered the White queen. Ross produced another entertaining game and won a bishop endgame. David made it 3-1 and Ox1 finish in 4th place.
Ox2 saw wins from Oscar & Sean, the former turning down a draw in the middlegame. Edgar wangled a late late draw in a R+P endgame.
Ox5 finished their season with a defeat, but are by no means disgraced in their first full season. Alex ends up on 5/7, our fourth-best scorer behind Chris F, Oscar 6/7 and Ian 5/6. We are overall +73 =28 -39 for the season, or in terms of matches +21 =4 -10. (Does that divide by seven? Ah, yes it does.)
Our games are available for scrutiny here. It was a fairly successful night for our troops as we scored up the highest number of game points (13.5) we’ve managed all season – previous high was 13 in Round One.
Ox1: It seems Arya’s opponent anticipated 28. Bg5+ Rxg5 but forgot the bishop could (and did) go the other way. James won the match with his second discovered check – it felt to skip that he’d had more!Ox2:
Nakul’s opponent was quickly mated in a Petroff.
Oscar calculated well in a complicated minor-piece endgame.
Ross lost on time in a tricky R+P endgame – his wifi dropped at the key moment.Ox3
:The mighty Stonewall Attack – with bishop outside the chain – landed Chris F a whole rook very quickly and he moves to 5.5/6. Neil played down to bare kings in a quest for 4-0.Ox4:
Chris E won quickly, breaking through down the h-file.
Graham’s opponent had a disastrous mouseslip. Not as painful as this “TN” in Division One, though: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Qf6 5. Bf4 0-1.
Ox5:Asif had an exciting King’s Gambit, I liked White’s enterprise but it didn’t work out for him as he lost too much stuff.
Ox1 secured Division 1 safety, skip reckons, with victory over Atticus A earned by a standard K win and Ben’s win on time in a near-winning position.
Ox2 leapfrog their opponents in the Division 2 Pool D table with a useful win. Caro-Kanner skip was pleased to see the Blackmar-Deimar Gambit decimated by James on top board. Oscar’s win takes him to 4/5 for the season.
Ox3‘s promotion aspirations took a hit as we went down to Downend 2. Chris F extended his winning run to 4, he’s on 4.5/5 for the season, but there was little to cheer elsewhere.
Ox4 were in the metaphorical clubhouse early, winning 3-1 with skip liking Killian’s game.
For the second round running, Ox5‘s juniors earned a 2-2 draw as their older colleagues ran into little tactics mid-game – well done to Jan & Alex. They are both on 4/5 for the season.
Ben’s game was all about stopping nasty sacrifices on g4. Black did eventually throw his knight onto that pyre, but only to save Her Majesty. K’s quirky 20. … Bc1 is worth a second look as Ox1 scored the maximum.
Skip has an odd feeling he saw Oscar win an exchange in a Congress recently with a near-identical Nf5 move attacking Q & Ne7+ fork. Deja vu, if he’s right. It was the only bright spot in a match loss; Nakul may feel better that his blunder didn’t cost Ox2 anything.
Ox3 scored a useful win against top-of-the-table Ashfield Anonymous B: 1800s > 1900s. Guildford Gatekeepers are keeping pace on maximum points but Ox3 are top of the Pool for now.
Ian had the misfortune to run into the oppo 2300 number – “he’s listed in chessboxing, glad this is online” was his verdict. Asif’s Kings Gambit victory was the only bright spot. Skip disliked Graham’s early exchange sac but Graham did achieve a promising-looking endgame. Something went wrong in there, skip knows not what.
Ox5‘s senior pair lost to higher rated oppo but skip was super-pleased with juniors Alex (who scored a nice pawn mate after his opponent risked keeping the queens on with a wide open king) and Jan (who controlled his game very well – almost Oscar-esque).