4NCL 2013/14 Weekend 2 – Divisions 1 & 2

4NCL 2013/14 Weekend 2 – Divisions 1 & 2

4NCL

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Round 3

Div1B Rd3

Div2B Rd3

With a number of players available for selection White Rose were hopeful of having a successful weekend. The first team faced newly promoted 3Cs on Saturday and the mighty Wood Green 1 on Sunday.

The second team had to travel down Hinckley, Leicestershire to face their local rivals from Yorkshire. Some rivals even travelled down together in the same car. Their second match would be against the experienced South Wales Dragons outfit.

Realistically the pressure was on the team to get something from the match against 3Cs, where White Rose 1 had the higher average grade. 3Cs had youth on their side and battled to earn the victory with 7 draws and the only win coming from their latest teenage star, Andrew Horton.

White Rose 2 were evenly matched against Bradford DCA but were stunned to suffer defeats on all the top three boards. Jon Arnott managed the only victory for White Rose while Steven Jones came through a rather violent encounter against Pierre Weller. Suffering our heaviest defeat of the season only gave the team resolve to do better the following day.

Report by Ihor Lewyk

The first match of the weekend’s 4NCL pitted the two Yorkshire-based teams in Division 2 against each other. This match also occurred last time Bradford were in the lofty heights of Division 2 where White Rose won 5-3. Could Bradford get their revenge?

Bradford unveiled a surprise new weapon in the form of Michael Fernandez. He is the younger brother of IM Daniel Fernandez and is a very talented player in his own right, graded 203 ECF at just 13 years old! Other than Michael, the rest of the squads were somewhat predictable, but the potential board orders were far from certain.

Of course fate would have it that I was pitted against my taxi driver for the weekend, Bradford Chess Club captain and fellow website editor Ihor Lewyk! We played out an almost interesting symmetrical English, but I had managed to equalise pretty easily and a draw was agreed as pieces were about to start exchanging. The next board to us produced a far more interesting game. Pierre Weller chose to go for a dubious sideline in the French McCutcheon, probably a bad idea against Steven Jones who is well known for his thorough opening knowledge. Pierre’s pieces were all stuck in the corners and Steven opened up his king to give Bradford the lead. Jonathan Arnott won comfortably after winning a pawn early on, while Andy Drabble and Jim Burnett drew to make the scores 2-2 with four to play.

4NCL

Bill Somerset

On Board 1, our new recruit Michael Fernandez was facing White Rose’s relatively new recruit, Swiss FM Matthias Gantner who is a post-grad at Leeds University. Michael spent a lot of time in the opening and gave up a couple of pawns for a lot of activity. Ultimately Matthias’ king ended up exposed in the centre and Michael’s pieces were too active and Bradford took the lead once again.

Dave Adams has been one of White Rose’s most reliable players, especially with the Black pieces. However seeing what was going on around him, he probably tried for too much in a level position, but his opponent Bill Somerset played extremely well to take the initiative in a seemingly quiet position to conjour up an unstoppable mating attack to force Dave’s resignation.

So we only needed a draw to win the match. Adam Lang had been involved in one of his typical games with a strange opening and tactics going on everywhere. Adam had a bishop trapped on a5 for about 15-20 moves en prise which Pete Shaw didn’t have the time to take until late on. Adam was trying to press for the win but fell into a 3-fold repetition which was spotted by the eagle-eyed Pete. After Roger Edwards confirmed the claim, the draw was enforced and Bradford had won the match. Oskar Hackner put the icing on the cake with a marathon win in what looked like a level major piece endgame.

Report by Andy Bak

Round 4

Div1B Rd4

Div2B Rd4

Colin McNab © John Saunders

Colin McNab
© John Saunders

It was always going to be a big ask to get a result against a team of 8 Grandmasters. The match was chosen for live internet broadcast and I’m sure people at home were trying to identify who would create an upset. Richard Palliser and Colin McNab soon put White Rose on the score sheet with well earned draws. Nic Croad showed some good form to force a draw against Neil McDonald but the match looked lost by this stage.

Paul Townsend and Jean-Luc Weller were still playing and it looked like they were both trying to convert wins. Paul certainly had the advantage of an exchange but seemingly accurate defence from Scottish GM John Shaw held the draw.
Jean-Luc was the exchange up too but there were many pawns on both sides and John Emms seemed to have created a fortress not allowing Jean-Luc’s rooks into the game. This was the last game to finish and we were all sad to receive the news on our homeward journey that Jean-Luc had indeed lost this game.

The White Rose second team had learned it was Jon Arnott’s birthday and we were determined to give him something to celebrate. It was another day of close matches with every board in the balance. Peter Gayson kept his early advantage through the game and won it nicely. Pierre didn’t have enough of an attack for a piece and the scores were level.

Matthias Gantner our Swiss Master, played a lovely game showing how important it is to keep your pieces active. He defeated his IM opponent to put White Rose in the lead. The team slowly forced draws on the remaining games and left it to the cool and unflustered Peter Shaw to brig home the two points with a typical un-dramatic draw.

The league table makes frightening reading. Apart from the ADs who have stormed to four wins in four matches, all the other teams have either four or three points. The top four teams will go to the promotion pool and the bottom four will head off to the demotion pool. There promises to be a hell of a fight in the February weekend.

Report by Ihor Lewyk

Eric Gardiner (Bradford A)

Eric Gardiner (Bradford A)

On Sunday we faced Barbican Youth. They had strengthened up from their Saturday game and their bottom boards had secured some good results, so we knew they weren’t to be taken lightly!

Bradford got off to a bad start and never recovered. I was thoroughly outplayed by Andrew Brett in a Breyer Ruy Lopez and Cosima Keen overcame a large rating gap in convincing style to give Barbican a 2-0 lead with the match situation looking very favourable.

Four draws followed as boards 1, 3, 4 and 5 all reached endgames where no progress could be made. David Coleman secured the win for Barbican Youth as his experience in the Najdorf showed as he conducted a clinical attack in a very sharp position where both sides castled queenside. Eric Gardiner brought some respectability to the scoreline for Bradford as he ground out a win in the last game to finish.

Bradford can be fairly satisfied with their weekend’s work, getting one over on our local rivals made us particularly happy! The final three games of the pool stages promise to be extremely tense as the standings are incredibly tight as you can see below.

Report by Andy Bak

Cover photo © John Saunders


Features editor for the Yorkshire Chess website. I collate and write atricles about all the latest chess activities in Yorkshire and beyond. I've also been known to shove some pieces myself from time to time!

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