YP Article 15 – 4NCL Weekend 2 – Div 3 North Part 1

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This is an extended version of the column published in The Yorkshire Post on 23rd January 2016

Bradford Stumbled, But Didn’t Fall

Round 3

R3 Bfd A

Round 3 of the 4NCL took place at Wychwood Park near Crewe. We were up against 3C’s 2 and on paper looked to be a close match, and so it proved. First to finish was the late arriving Adam Lang, nearly 20 minutes late and then agreed a draw with his team mate from the Yorkshire league, Alan Walton after only 12 moves played in a Dutch defence!? Moving on swiftly.

Next to finish was our debutant, Greg, who agreed a draw on move 17 of a c3 Sicilian that ended up looking like a Rubinstein French. A nervous start maybe as Greg usually plays to the death. David Barlow on board six looked to have a comfortable advantage against Robert McLean but missed playing b5 on move 26, which I think would have given black good winning chances. Instead, his resourceful opponent found ways to gain counter play and in the final position a draw looked a fair result. Next to finish was Roger Jennings, who managed to neutralise Mitchell Burke’s Kings Indian rather well and then sued for peace, on move 12.

So far 3 games finished in under 20 moves, I was starting to wonder if either side were actually trying to win this?! And as a long time addict of the short draw that’s saying something!

That just left myself against Justin Lau and Richard Allis against Joao Rita. Richard had decided in the opening not to develop his pieces in the standard fashion, but to lead with his queen instead! Joao pushed it back and before long was up two pawns. Richard struggled on for hours and put up very stiff resistance, and in a queen and pawn endgame made his opponent fight for the win.

My game against Justin had seen me gain an advantage out of the opening and then in the middle game I had an idea! Mmm, really should stop doing that, it gave away all of whites advantage in one move. Luckily for me, black then missed a fork and dropped the exchange, and though Justin continued to fight the end was nigh after a few exacting calculations.

Game of the day is a close one, between David Barlow and myself, and the winner is ….. both of us! I’d have given it to David if he’d won the game but I’m taking my chance for glory!

Even-stevens then for day one, though I have to say it feels like we dodged a bullet.

Like Mo Farah, Bradford stumbled but did not fall!

Like Mo Farah, Bradford stumbled but did not fall!

Round 4

R4 Bfd A
Day two was versus a relatively local team, Cheddleton 2. By grades it should have been a close match but in the end Bradford eked out a 4-2 victory. First to finish was David Barlow on board 6, when he won a pawn in the opening and his opponent generously resigned on the spot. 1-0 to Bradford. Looking at the other boards, Richard Allis had gambited a pawn in the opening for activity and looked to be doing well, Andy Bak had more space and activity, Greg Eagleton was in a Benko Gambit that looked like it had gone wrong and Roger Jennings looked to have a complicated game that could go either way. My game was looking ok in a Sicilian… Yes, I played a Sicilian!

A short while later and Greg had agreed a quick draw again. I don’t know, the yoof(sic) of today just don’t appreciate you have to suffer sometimes for chess! Anyway, a good debut by Greg on his first weekend in the 4NCL, I’m sure there’s much more to come from him.

Moving on and Andy Bak had suddenly won a piece and his opponent didn’t appear to have any meaningful compensation for it, Roger looked to be slowly gaining the upper hand, Richard had exchanged down into a rook and pawn endgame which looked decidedly better for white and I was putting up some resistance against whites initiative.

Paul Wallace (R) played a fine game to give Cheddleton a fighting chance.

Paul Wallace (R) played a fine game to give Cheddleton a fighting chance.

I’m not sure who finished first between Andy and Richard as I had to work hard to maintain equality. Richard had been playing the endgame rather quickly and established a winning position only to give most of his advantage away with 44.Kxe6, so ended in a draw. Meanwhile Andy had gained two united passed pawns that were unstoppable. Around this point and coming up to the first time control Roger and his opponent were bashing out moves furiously resulting in a substantial material advantage for Roger. At the same time I missed an opportunity, just before the first time control, to completely equalise and was in a mess thereafter, I MUST have been ill, after all, whoever heard of losing a game when you felt well! NO, NO, NO, all credit to Mr Wallace, he just played better for longer and deserved the win. Shortly after this Roger Jennings converted his advantage into a win, allowing me to resign. 4-2 to Bradford.

Game of the day today would have gone to Richard if he’d converted his advantage, however, it has to go to Roger Jennings. A very tricky game, time control blitz and then calmly winning his game to seal the victory under pressure, a job well done.

Bradford’s A team was somewhat weaker this weekend and so we were lucky to escape with the results we did and a testament to Andy Bak in getting new players to add to the depth of the team. Losing a couple of 190-200’s is a tough ask at this level and we were a little lucky. A small stumble then for us, and rather fortunate not to fall. Bring on the next round!

Report by Andrew Drabble

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2 Responses to “YP Article 15 – 4NCL Weekend 2 – Div 3 North Part 1”

  1. Martin Carpenter

    Jan 28. 2016

    Interesting thanks :) Now know why Joao (an ex club mate of mine from the Manchester league) felt like he could offer me such a fast draw on the Sunday!

    I thought Richard did really well to even threaten to win on Sunday from such a quiet looking rook ending.

    Your carry over seems likely to be very healthy :)

    Jorvik were basically just backs to the wall all the way – with some amusing resourceful escapes but only Paul Anderson (on Saturday) ever really threatening to win.

    Reply to this comment
    • Andy Bak

      Jan 31. 2016

      We should be carrying over 5 points. The only scenario where we can’t is if we fail to beat Holmes Chapel and they qualify through to the Promotion Pool.

      Conceivably we could still lose to Holmes Chapel and still carry over 5 points if they don’t make it into the top 4.

      Reply to this comment

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