4NCL 2014/15 Weekend 1 – Division 3 North

4NCL 2014/15 Weekend 1 – Division 3 North



Official 4NCL Website
All 4NCL Posts
More pictures from the weekend
Spirit of Atticus Report by John Carleton and Andy Mort
Manchester Report by David Pardoe
Holmes Chapel Report
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Round 1

Rd1 Bfd A

After getting relegated from Division 2 last season, Bradford DCA A were looking to continue their previously perfect record of getting promoted from Div 3 North. However their first opponents were going to prove to be very tricky. Their FIDE grades did not reflect the playing strength of the bottom boards as their ECF ratings were all above 160.

The local team got off to a flying start with two quick wins to give Bradford a huge mountain to climb. Paul Robson caught Roger Jennings napping in the opening and quickly got a crushing position. Robson had also used the same trick against Jos Woolley, so Pirc players beware! Shortly afterwards Bill Somerset had grabbed a hot pawn that left his king fatally exposed in the centre and George Gazis finished the job efficiently. Not only were Bradford 2-0 down, but we were also struggling on boards 1 and 4. However I felt more optimistic when Eric Gardiner’s nagging advantage elicited a one-move blunder from his opponent that decisively ended things there and then. North East England 2 were 2-1 up at half time.

The remaining three games all went to endgames. Joseph Dalton had won a pawn in the late middlegame and the resulting rook and pawn endgame was completely winning. He coolly kept his opponent from making any counterplay and won in a controlled and mature style. Bradford DCA now needed a miracle two wins from the top two boards. Although Adam Lang had been pressing during the middlegame, in his attempts to play for the win, he badly misjudged the endgame and gave Mark Reynolds some serious winning chances in a knight and pawn endgame. However Adam managed to generate enough counterplay with his passed pawn to get a draw, although this meant the match was lost. By this time, Oskar Hackner had turned things around and was pressing in a rook and pawn endgame with two pawns each. Eventually his opponent cracked under the intense pressure and Bradford DCA at least had some consolation for their 3.5-2.5 loss.

Rd1 Bfd B

Bradford B were favourites for this match, but watching what was going on with the first team, they knew they couldn’t take anything for granted! The top board clash between two fast-improving players fizzled out into a draw in relatively short order. Bradford then seized the initiative with the White bits. Dave Patrick outplayed his opponent on the White side of an Exchange Ruy Lopez with relative ease. Tony Slinger then gave Bradford a 2.5-0.5 lead when his nagging pressure in the centre eventually lead to decisive material gains.

Paul Johnson and Dave Pardoe ended up in a rook and pawn endgame which was drawn by repetition. The game on board 3 between Damian McCarthy and Jon Lonsdale was also drawn but in a much less clear manner! Pawns were seemingly scattered all over the place at various points but eventually Damian managed to defend the pawn-down minor piece ending very well, playing actively and forcing his opponent to trade pawns down to a draw, which sealed the win for Bradford. Jim Nicholson made it three wins out of three with the White pieces as he accurately consolidated against his opponent’s interesting exchange sacrifice before launching a controlled yet devastating Kingside assault. He also spotted a clean finish, can you figure out what he played?

Nicholson-Taylor Position after 48...Nb2. White to play. Find White's cleanest win that forced instant resignation.  The answer is given in the game viewer at the bottom of the page.

Nicholson-Taylor Position after 48…Nb2. White to play. Find White’s cleanest win that forced instant resignation.
The answer is given in the game viewer at the bottom of the page.

Rd1 Bfd C

Chris Bak secured a great victory to give Manchester Manticores 1 a big scare.

Chris Bak secured a great victory to give Manchester Manticores 1 a big scare.

In the other Bradford vs Manchester clash, Manchester this time started out as heavy favourites, but Bradford were the first to get on the board as Gary Corcoran came through a very double edged contest with the decisive blow when he performed a very precise piece of calculation and scored a great win against a much higher-rated opponent. Robert Dean then added to the score as he held a draw with Laszlo Antal as he had enough compensation for the gambited pawn in a French Winawer Poisoned Pawn.

However the rating advantages started to tell on the lower boards. Peter Mulleady won an early pawn in the opening against Mike Bramson. Mike then turned down a draw, thinking a win was necessary to try and salvage anything for the team, which was probably a reasonable assessment at the time. With hindsight, a draw in this game would have secured the draw for Bradford, but as was, Peter went on to win. Wins followed on Boards 5 and 6 for Manchster from John Lyth and Paul Evans to guarantee Manchester the win. However in one of the last games to finish, Chris Bak gradually kept improving his position right through to the endgame where he secured a decisive advantage by swapping into a king and pawn endgame to join Gary Corcoran in getting wins against much higher-rated opposition.

Report by Andrew Bak

Round 2

Rd2 Bfd A

Despite losing their first game, Bradford DCA’s first team had a tougher match on paper as they received the upfloat to play Manchester Manticores 1. The match started off in a cagey fashion as there were quick draws on boards 2 and 3. After a quiet start on board 4, Andy Drabble quickly obtained some serious pressure and ultimately won rather comfortably to give Bradford the lead.

Oskar Hackner was playing with fire as he won some material but had his king in the centre of the board coming under fire from Black’s active queen and bishop. However he managed to gain a decisive material advantage by winning his opponent’s queen and the rest was straightforward. This left Bradford 3-1 up with Bradford’s other two boards unlikely to lose. Eric Gardiner scored his second victory of the weekend as he made his extra activity count to get inside his opponent’s position and combine mate threats with a dangerous passed pawn. Bill Somerset and Bob Newton eventually agreed a draw once Bradford’s victory had been confirmed. Bill had seemed to fend off Bob Newton’s Benko successfully and get a much better position. However, as typical for Bob he always finds a way to get some counterplay and it turned out this was sufficient to save the draw.

Rd2 Bfd B

Jim Nicholson scored 1.5/2 to help guide Bradford B to a perfect start.

Jim Nicholson scored 1.5/2 to help guide Bradford B to a perfect start.

Bradford DCA B were out to gain revenge on North East 2 on behalf of their A team. The local team took advantage of their proximity to the venue by allowing some of the other members of the squad to play, but this meant they were slightly weaker compared to Saturday. Jim Nicholson and Mark Reynolds repeated moves after Black had comfortably equalised going into the late middlegame. Much like on Saturday, Bradford B then took control of the match with the White pieces. I sacrificed a piece to break my opponent’s centre and get a couple of strong passed pawns as well as opening up my pieces to get at his weak king, which proved decisive. Paul Johnson then doubled the lead after swatting off Black’s attempt at an attack before taking advantage of the weak light squares that are so typical of the Dutch.

North East hit back courtesy of Kevin Wilson who secured a crushing attack down the h-file that his opponent could not stop. However this comeback was shortlived as Dave Patrick’s win on Board 6 secured the win of the match. Much like Saturday’s game, he played very simply, trading into a favourable rook endgame, followed by swapping into a winning king and pawn endgame. Damian McCarthy and Paul Robson agreed a draw after Damian had been pressing for most of the game.

Rd2 Bfd C

After giving Manchester 1 a scare on Saturday, Bradford C took on their third team in what promised to be a close match. This was borne out as the first three games of the match were drawn. Nick Mahoney had won an exchange just after the opening but Mick Norris managed to block the position sufficiently enough to probably equalise when the draw was agreed. Chris Bak and Mark Taylor had a short but interesting struggle, the tactics ended up liquidating into an endgame with reduced material when the draw was agreed. Mike Bramson then agreed a draw with David Pardoe in a seemingly favourable position but the game had many twists and turns in front of it and Mike decided to take the safe route and bag another half point for the team.

Peter Braham scored a crucial victory in his debut weekend for Bradford DCA Knights.

Peter Braham scored a crucial victory in his debut weekend for Bradford DCA Knights.

Tim Hilton struck the first decisive blow. In a game neither player will probably be too proud of, his opponent made the decisive mistake in the minor piece endgame that gave Manchester the lead. Bradford then equalised courtesy of new recruit Peter Braham. Peter sacrificed a kingside pawn to get a lot of central and queenside activity. This investment resulted in him winning an exchange and the collapse of his opponent’s position. With the score at 2.5-2.5, Robert Dean and Jon Lonsdale gave the nervous spectators a long battle in a queen and pawn endgame. Jon was pressing for the win with a far-advanced passed pawn but Robert found enough checks and resources to hold the draw to keep the match as a draw.

Report by Andrew Bak

Rd1 Jorvik

Rd2 Jorvik


Jorvik were involved in the slightly confusing triangular match with Holmes Chapel and Spirit of Atticus B. This triangular match took place over both days with a jamboree-type fixture list that produces three “matches” over six boards. Jorvik will be very happy with the win and draw they managed to secure, putting them just one point behind the leaders. In the last game of the weekend to finish, Jos Woolley held David Robertson to a draw after some tough defence in a clearly worse endgame which gave Jorvik a 3.5-2.5 win over Spirit of Atticus B.

Mark White in action for Jorvik.

Mark White in action for Jorvik.

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!


7 Responses to “4NCL 2014/15 Weekend 1 – Division 3 North”

  1. Martin Carpenter

    Nov 21. 2014

    Bradford B for promotion! Well at least they’ll be very dangerous to any of the teams.

    NE1 easily the strongest team this weekend of course, looks like it’ll be tough for DCA A to me but maybe you’ll manage it.

    Nice to see Gazis doing well :) The poor man spent the start of last season being repeatedly swindled by Darlington players in the most absurd manners imaginable!

    I lost track of the Jorvik games/matches amid the triangles :( Definitely a good win vs Spirit 2 though – very tough team and we had four blacks in that match too.

    Mark had a very long, tough win vs Michael Johnson in that match and rather a shame that game and Jos holding that ending ended up split over two days.

    As for me, I’m starting to think I should carry Redworth Hall around with me ;) Didn’t play brilliantly but definitely better than some of the garbage I’ve been responsible for elsewhere this year.

    Reply to this comment
    • Andy Bak

      Nov 23. 2014

      Well hopefully Bradford B might be able to mirror the achievements of NE2 and play spoiler when we inevitably play them in Round 3.

      With all the changes in venue that are happening for next year in the 4NCL, I hope we don’t lose Redworth Hall as it seems to be one of the more popular venues. However having a venue that far north might dissuade some Div 3 South teams from joining Div 3 North, it will be interesting to see how this develops.

      Reply to this comment
      • Martin Carpenter

        Nov 23. 2014

        That reads like you want DCA B to beat DCA A not NE1 ;) Chances, although that NE1 team last weekend was very strong/solid indeed.

        Fear more teams might be a little bit of a lost cause that if they move Div 3 South to Telford full time :(
        (If anything more likely to lose Holmes Chapel/Cheddleton.).

        Moving the eastern venue(s) a bit further south would make sense though.

        Reply to this comment
  2. Eric Gardiner

    Nov 22. 2014

    Thanks for the report Andy. In the event that anyone wants to play through my games, I noticed two moves were entered incorrectly in Evans-Gardiner, Round 2. My 27th move was …Rg8-g2 (…Rg8-g7 is pointless of course) and my 34th move was …Rg2-h2.

    Nice 49th move from Jim N by the way! I’d seen the game after Black’s 47th and then left the room – I didn’t see how Jim could break through.

    Reply to this comment
    • Andy Bak

      Nov 23. 2014

      Thanks Eric! I’ve now amended the game score, it makes much more sense now!

      On another note, if anyone hasn’t already seen this game, I’d highly recommend checking out Armstrong-Newton from Round 1, it’s one of the crazier games you’re ever likely to see!

      Reply to this comment


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