4NCL online (week 3)

22nd September 2020

Chessable White Rose 1 2½-1½ Atticus A

Conceding an average of 150 ELO points per board, one might have expected Atticus A to be intimidated by their storied opponents, boasting two GMs, and IM and an FM.  In the event, we could count ourselves unlucky not to take a least an even share of the spoils.

James Adair 1-0 John Redmond

In a French Tarrasch 3...Be7, the so-called Morozevich Variation, white signalled intent with 11.Ne1 and 12.Qg4, but then I guess you don't play the black side of the French, if you are not happy to soak up a little pressure.  But just as Foreman was tiring, Ali had the chance to get the queens off the board and all but nullify white's efforts, yet in seeking the natural looking counterplay on the queenside, left white one last opportunity to land the haymaker.

 

Charlie Kennaugh ½-½ Peter Wells

After being unavailable for round 2, it was a delight to see Charlie bring his best form on the occasion of his return to the team in what turned out to be a humdinger.  Playing the aggressive 6.f4 line of the Najdorf (a favourite of Judit Polgar among others), the game transposed into a kind of Grand Prix Attack and once attacked with scant regard for reputation, it was clear that even illustrious opponent's "don't like it up 'em".  As blows were traded through a tense middlegame, black had precious little time remaining when he was able to simplify down to a rook and minor piece endgame, although a pawn to the good, white was still even money favourite.  Yet, just as it seemed the game would be drawn, Charlie found himself obliged to give up his rook to prevent a passer.  It would have been cruel end, yet there was one last twist as honours finished even.

 

 

Alexander Raetsky ½-½ Steve Kee

Steve has taken some flack for playing Bird's Opening since the beginning of last season.  Yet in my view unfairly so, since it has effectively been a Leningrad Dutch with an extra tempo.  Return to the black side of said opening, he is starting to show a deep knowledge, and had achieved clear equality before his opponent pushed the envelope too far and exposed his king.  With fifteen minutes on the clock, it may have cost Steve more than the odd night of sleep to consider what might have been.  Yet the winning plan was not straightforward, and his opponent was able to wriggle free and secure the draw.

 

 

David James ½-½ Tim Wall

I suspect Dave has forgotten more about the positional aspects of chess than I ever knew!  This game turned on subtly disbalancing black's forays towards central control.  After one centralised knight found its way back into the wooden box, another took its place, yet a pin along the h1-a8 diagonal forced the second piece to be traded and landed black with weak doubled-pawns.  Even once queens were traded to leave a rook and pawn endgame, Dave had enough trumps force home the win, but as a reflection on the night as a whole, will leave wondering what might have been.

 

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Games can be followed fortnightly on Tuesday evenings starting at 7.30pm at https://lichess.org.  Simply search for the player’s online handle and navigate to the games tab.  Fixtures, results and details of player account names can be found on the 4NCL website an hour before games begin.

Round 4 is this evening (Tuesday 6th October).

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