Friday, 19 November 2010

Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? No, It's...

... a 4NCL Division 3 report! Lucky you.

In my student days, getting from Coventry to Daventry was almost too easy. However, the journey in from Macclesfield is a lot less fun, and after 2 trains, a bus (25 minutes late) and a 2 mile walk I was not in the best of moods. I arrived to find the game already underway, and due to a default I'd been bumped up to a career high of 3rd board for Bristol 3 vs Guildford A&DC 3, which incidently also happened to be board 333. With the magic number on my side, nothing could go wrong.

Richard Bryant (174) - (139) John-Paul Taylor

1. e4 d5 2. Nc3!?

Oh, what the hell is this? I took a bit of a think to consider 2. ... e6 and 2. ... c6 hoping to transpose into a French or Caro, before realising I had no idea how to play either.

2. ... d4 3. Nce2 c5 4. Ng3 e5 5. Bc4 Nf6 6. Nf3 Bd6 7. O-O Bd7 8. d2 b5?!

Not the greatest of ideas. After 9. Bb3 I'd planned to chuck in 9. ... a5 and really go to town on his queenside, but 10. a4! pisses on that bonfire.

9. Bb3 O-O 10. a4 c4!?

I'm still unsure whether this should get a !? or a ?! but I'm feeling generous. This was played partly out of anger that my a5 idea didn't work, partly because I didn't like the look of playing b4 giving white a delicious outpost on c4, and mostly because it looked like good fun. With open files aimed at the b and c pawns, and also weakening the e pawn I felt I had at least some justification for playing this.

11. dxc4 bxc4 12. Bxc4 Bc6 13. Qe2 Qb6 14. Bd3 Nbd7 15. Nd2 Bb4 16. Nc4 Qb7 17. f3 Qc7 18. f4 Ne8?

Either rook to e8 would've been prudent. Now comes the attack.

19. Nxe5 Nxe5 20. fxe5 Qxe5 21. Bf4 Qc5 22. e5 Nc7 23. Qg4 Ne6 24. Nh5 Kh8 25. Qf5 g6 26. Qf6+ Kg8 27. Qh4?

The knight can safely be taken, presumabley my opponent didn't spot my 28th move. Instead, 27. Bh6! Qe7 (27. ... Qd5? 28. Nf4!) 28. Qxe7 Bxe7 Bxf1 wins an exchange, and black's position is untenable.

27. ... gxh5 28. Qxh5 f5! 29. Bxf5 Rxf5

Possibly not necessary, but with 11 moves still to make before the time control, I was keen to swat a few of the wasps buzzing around my king.

30. Qxf5 Nxf4 31. Rxf4 Be8 32. Qe4 Rd8 33. Kh1 Bg6 34. Rg4 Kh8??

Both of us missing the win under time pressure: 35. Rxg6! hxg6 36. Qh4+

35. Qf4? Qb6 36. Qg5 Rd5 37. Rf1 Qe6 38. Qf6+ Qxf6 39. exf6 Bxc2 40. f7 Bg6??

Awful, and probably worth 3 question marks. The obvious 40. ... Rd8 gives black good opportunities to draw, but with seconds on the clock I hallucinated a mate and blundered away any chance of that.

41. f8Q+ Bxf8 42. Rxf8+ Kg7 43. Rf2 Re5 44. h4 Re1+ 45. Kh2 Rd1 46. h5



A disappointing performance to start the season off for me, but elsewhere Steve Woolgar continued his excellent form in the 4NCL, winning on board 2 against an opponent who outgraded him by over 300 points, and Martin Oliver recorded an impressive win with the black side of a Caro Kann on board 1. The match finished with Guildford A&DC 3 winning 3-2, not too shabby given we were outgraded by an average of 361 points and if it weren't for my blunder on move 40 it could have been a dream result.

After enjoying the traditional Daventry cuisine and nightlife I was up for round 2. The gods of 4NCL had other ideas though, and we were faced with Mission Impossible after conceding the bottom two boards to defaults and being docked 1.5 points in the process. We needed 4/4 against 1894 average opposition, and with Martin being promoted to the second team I was on board 1. Bring it on.

John-Paul Taylor (139) - (172) Tim Lunn

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qd6!?

Unusual Scandinavians seem to be the dish of the day, and whilst I have actually seen this one a couple of times before, I don't really know what I'm supposed to do. I opted, as I often do in such circumstances, for aggression.

4. Bc4 Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. Qf3!?

Going straight for the jugular on f7 and preventing any b5 antics he might have been planning, but the queen does become a target. 6. Nf3 may have been more sensible, but that's just not my style.

6. ... Nc6 7. Ne4 Qd8 8. c3?

Looking to prevent the annoying Nd4, but ends up just weakening my pawn structure. Trading knights on f6 followed by 9. Ne2 might have been better.

8. ... Ne5! 9. Nxf6+ exf6 10. Qe2 Qe7 11. Bf4 Nxc4 12. Qxe7+ Bxe7 13. dxc4 c6 14. Nf3 O-O 15. O-O

So much for aggression. I suppose I could have offered a draw here, but I was hungry for vengeance for round 1.

15. ... Be6 16. Rfe1 Rfe8 17. b3 Bg4 18. Rad1 Kf8 19. a4 Rad8 20. Bc7 Rxd1 21. Rxd1 Bf5 22. Rd2!? Ba3 23. b4? Bc1

Oops. Ra2 is possible now, hanging on to the pawn, but I was more concerned with the back rank issues.

24. Bd6+ Kg8 25. Rd1 Bb2 26. Nd4 Bg6 27. b5 cxb5 28. axb5 Bxc3 29. bxa6 bxa6 (Not 29. ... Bxd4? 30. axb7!) 30. g4 Be4 31. f3!? Bxd4+ 32. Rxd4 Bxf3

Buying an opposite coloured bishops endgame at the cost of a pawn. I knew I should have just offered a draw earlier.

33. Kf2 Bb7 34. Bb4 g5 35. Rd7 Bc8 36. Rd6 Kg7 37. Bc3 Re6 38. Rd5 Re4!? 39. Rxg5+ Kf8 40. Rc5 Be6 41. h3 Ke7 42. Rc7+ Kd6 43. Kf3 Rxc4 44. Rxc4 Bxc4 45. Bxf6 Ke6 46. g5 Kf5 47. h4 Bb3 48. h5? Bd1+ 49. Ke3 h6? 50. Be7! Bxh5 51. gxh6 Bg6

Blunders galore, but now the draw from here ought to be relatively straightforward, right? My king runs to a1 and I stick my bishop on the a7-g1 diagonal, ready to snap off the f pawn whenever I get the chance. Easy.

52. Bc5?!

But don't do it in the wrong order! Now a race ensues.

52. ... Ke5 53. Bd4+ Kd5 54. Bf6 a5 55. Kd2 Kc4 56. Kc1 Kb3 57. Kd2 a4 58. Ke3 Kc2 59. Kd4 a3 60. Kc5 a2 61. Kd6 Kb1 62. Ke7 a1=Q 63. Bxa1 Kxa1 64. Kf6 Bb2 65. h7 Bxh7 66. Kxf7


Phew. Sadly the team didn't share my luck, losing by 6½ - an impressive margin for a 6 board match. Hopefully we'll be able to field a full team by January.

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Release The Kraken by Philip Makepeace and Christopher Russell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.