YP Article 25 – 2nd April 2016

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This week we turn to Division 1 of the Four Nations Chess League, with the two White Rose teams taking part in Rounds 7 and 8 in Birmingham. Round 7 was the final round of the qualifying pools to determine which teams would be in the Championship and Demotion Pools for round 8.

White Rose 1 warmed up for the Championship Pool with a perfect 8-0 win over Sussex Martlets 1. Their first match of the Championship Pool against Wood Green HK proved to be a much closer affair. Paul Townsend and Matthew Webb got the Yorkshire outfit off to a great start. Neil McDonald pulled one back for Wood Green with a lovely thematic attack that you can see in today’s puzzle. David Fitzsimmons equalised to make the match 3-3. Ultimately Wood Green’s experience on the top two boards proved critical as John Shaw and former world number 4 Jon Speelman both managed to secure draws with their backs against the wall to draw the match 4-4.

White Rose 2 predictably lost against the powerful Cheddleton 1 team but Peter Shaw took an excellent GM scalp, beating Keith Arkell. Their first match of the Demotion Pool was a much closer affair against South Wales Dragons. Unfortunately wins for Shaw and Kieran O’Driscoll weren’t quite enough as they narrowly lost 4.5-3.5. The final weekend of fixtures takes place over May Day Bank Holiday weekend in Birmingham.

The Winning Move

McDonald – Palliser, Birmingham 2016. White has sacrificed a piece for an attack but his queen is en prise, what is his best continuation? Last week: 1.Ne2! Bc5 (Black cannot take the pawn with 1…Bxg6 as the other pawn will queen) 2.Kd5 Ba7 3.c5 Kf3 4.c6! Bb8 5.Ke6! Black resigned as he can’t capture the knight as one of White’s two pawns will queen.

McDonald – Palliser, Birmingham 2016. White has sacrificed a piece for an attack but his queen is en prise, what is his best continuation?
Last week: 1.Ne2! Bc5 (Black cannot take the pawn with 1…Bxg6 as the other pawn will queen) 2.Kd5 Ba7 3.c5 Kf3 4.c6! Bb8 5.Ke6! Black resigned as he can’t capture the knight as one of White’s two pawns will queen.