Saturday, 28 February 2015

Tony Locke Rapidplay - round 6 draw

The draw for round six (of seven) of the Tony Locke Rapidplay has been made (first named player has white):

Nathan Barnes (5)v    Mark Johnson (4)
Clive Bellinger (3.5)v    Ed Goodman (4)
Phil Daley (2)v    Svein Kjenner (3.5)
Martin Harris (3.5)v    Alex Welge (3)
Luke Tatchell (2.5)v    Dave Chatfield (2)
John Duff-Cole (2)v    Matt Stemp (2)
Pete Smith (2)v    John King (1)
Denzel Gonzales (0.5)v    Simon Denney (0.5)

Where previous round games have not been played both players have been given half a point for the purpose of making the 4th round draw - when the games have been played both player's scores will be updated. These half-points are shown in player scores above - so some scores could potentially go down as matches from previous rounds are played. The number after the player's name indicates their current (provisional) score. Matt, Simon and Denzel joined the competition at the round 4 stage.

Due to moving away from the area, four players have withdrawn from the competition (Mohammud, Shazia, Nadia, Zahra) - this means that a number of players have been given wins by default which have increased their scores.

The following games from earlier rounds still need to be played:

Pete Smithv    John Duff-Cole
John Kingv    Simon Denney
Denzel Gonzalesv    Phil Daley
Luke Tatchellv    Pete Smith


Results on the top boards in round 5 saw Nathan Barnes beat Svein Kjenner and a draw in the match between Mark Johnson and Clive Bellinger. With two matches to go Nathan Barnes has a one point lead and a win in round 6 is likely to be enough to win the competition. However, there are still a number of other players who can win the competition if results go their way in the last two rounds - Mark Johnson, Ed Goodman, Clive Bellinger, Svein Kjenner and Martin Harris.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

What would you do? Part 2.

Here is a position reached in a league game this season:

Black is a piece for two pawns up but his king is a bit exposed. Black made his move 20 minutes ago and offered a draw. You, playing White, have used this 20 minutes to calculate the various possibilities and it is now decision time.

The clock situation is that White has now got 3 minutes left for the rest of the game, Black has 30 minutes.

The team situation is that the scores are 1.5-1.5 so the result of this game will determine the result of the match. White is the higher-graded player and based on grades the match result would be expected to be in the 4-0 area.

Would you:

  1. Agree a draw - thus ensuring the team don't lose?
  2. Consider the position as slightly better for Black but approximately equal, blitz a few moves (perhaps starting with Kf2 or Rf1) to see what happens - hoping that if the position stays equal Black will accept a draw offer at a later stage? If so, what would you play?
  3. Consider the position as slightly better for Black but play for a win anyway? If so, what would you play?

Remember, you have had a lot of thinking time so you have as much time to calculate lines as you like - but you have only got 3 minutes left if you decide to play on!! Did you choose correctly?

Saturday, 7 February 2015

New ECF grades

The January 2015 ECF Grading List has been published. The standard play grades for active Colchester players are:

295637JLachinov, Eldar198D198D
256466LGooding, Ian183C185C
140673FBarnes, Nathan152B146D
297026AOrava, Aleksandr148F
120924DWagstaff, Michael148D147D
250046CBellinger, Clive138D139D
155695CDaley, Phil123C123C
150405JHarris, Martin121A120A
213710ASmith, Peter119D123C
268163JDenney, Simon114D115D
117812LRemmer, Brian109D110D
298130AJaufarally, Mohammud99A
297586FJaufarally, Nadia1097A
227455DDuff-Cole, John87C90B
297619FJaufarally, Shazia1377D
283272AHarris, Peter1676D69E
256466LGoodman, Ed73C71C
293018DJohnson, Mark71D69D
297620BJaufarally, Zahra846D
286563EKing, John25E26E
290797FWood, David20A19A

There are also a number of other Colchester players - like Javier Ruano Marco, Svein Kjenner and Matt Stemp - who have played some standard play graded games in the last half-season (but not enough to have a grade yet).

Several players appear on the list for the first time: Aleksandr Orava, Mohammud Jaufarally, Nadia Jaufarally, Shazia Jaufarally and Zahra Jaufarally.

A few players have increased their grades - with Peter Harris (+7) and Nathan Barnes (+6) having the most significant increases.


The top 3 "biggest scalps" achieved by current Colchester Club players in standard play games in the January 2015 grading period:

  1. Graham Moore (197) v Ian Gooding (185)
  2. Nathan Barnes (146) v Jonathan Burrows (164)
  3. Nathan Barnes (146) v Ed Kirkham (155)

The top 3 "biggest grading upsets" achieved by current Colchester Club players (players with estimated grades not included, wins only) in standard play games in the January 2015 grading period:

  1. Martin Harris (120) v Mark Johnson (69) - grading difference of 51
  2. Simon Denney (115) v Paul Seymour (134) - grading difference of 19
  3. Nathan Barnes (146) v Jonathan Burrows (164) - grading difference of 18


The rapidplay grades for active Colchester players are:

295637JLachinov, Eldar159F
140673FBarnes, Nathan153F
293018DJohnson, Mark103D
297586FJaufarally, Nadia10100A80D
298130AJaufarally, Mohammud97A
150405JHarris, Martin96E
213710ASmith, Peter85E113E
297619FJaufarally, Shazia1374A71E
297620BJaufarally, Zahra858A14E
290797FWood, David45A43A
295877GWelge, Alex1135D34D
297977KTatchell, Luke1215F

There are also a number of other Colchester players - like Phil Daley, Clive Bellinger, Svein Kjenner, John Duff-Cole and Ed Goodman - who have played some rapidplay graded games in the last half-season (but not enough to have a grade yet).

Several players appear on the list for the first time: Eldar Lachinov, Nathan Barnes, Mark Johnson, Mohammud Jaufarally and Luke Tatchell.

A few players have increased their grades - with two juniors, Zahra Jaufarally (+44) and Nadia Jaufarally (+20), having the most significant increases.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Three recent games

A choice of three recent games to view today:

  • A Martin Harris miniature from the CRGS/Colchester C match - showing how to play a gambit
  • John Duff-Cole's win from the Maldon C/Colchester C match - featuring a killer pin
  • A Nathan Barnes game from a recent Suffolk League match (playing for Clacton) - against an opponent with a FIDE rating of 2027

Select a game from the pull-down list.

[Event "Suffolk League Division 2"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.01.27"] [Round "?"] [White "Feavyour, John"] [Black "Barnes, Nathan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D02"] [Annotator "Barnes, Nathan"] [PlyCount "96"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] {D02: 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 sidelines, including 2...Nf6 3 g3 and 2...Nf6 3 Bf4} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 {I hadn't expected this - in preparation for this match I had looked up some of John's games and saw that he normally played the mainline against the Slav and that is what I had prepared for.} Nf6 3. g3 Bf5 4. Bg2 c6 5. O-O e6 6. Nbd2 Na6 $146 {I had been trying to transpose to a Slav, but having failed to do so I decided to play a move that would be okay but not in the book - thus reducing any advantage my opponent would have from playing an opening I was not familiar with. According to my database it is a novelty - but probably not one that will have many future adherents!} (6... Bd6 {is the normal move in this position.}) 7. a3 {Not necessary, ...Nb4 is harmless.} Be7 8. Ne5 Nd7 9. Ndf3 f6 10. Nxd7 Qxd7 11. b4 $6 {Looks agressive but it creates a hole on c4 and a backwards pawn on c2.} Nc7 {The correct response - rerouting the knight to take advantage of the new weak point in White's setup.} 12. Bb2 {The bishop doesn't do much here but White's plan is to open up the centre when the b2 bishop could support a kingside attack.} Nb5 13. Nd2 Nd6 { The knight has already moved 4 times.} 14. f3 Bg6 {The e4 pawn push can't be prevented but moving the bishop back first means that play isn't as forced. This also frees up the f5 square for the knight - threatening to win the exchange with the knight fork on e3 (if White doesn't play e4).} 15. e4 b5 16. Qe2 Nc4 {I was a bit unsure what to do here and decided to stick with my original plan of occupying c4 - if White captures then there is an imbalance in the pawn structure which keeps the game interesting. I also considered the sensible option of castling kingside - which the computer prefers.} 17. Nxc4 bxc4 18. Rae1 Kf7 $1 {While Bf7 is okay, Kf7 is the best way of shoring up the defences.} (18... -- 19. exd5 $1 {was the main move I was worried about} (19. Bh3 $1 {was another decent move.} f5 $1 {the only move that keeps Black in the game} 20. exd5 exd5 21. Qe5 {looked uncomfortable for Black.}) 19... cxd5 ( 19... exd5 20. Bh3 Qb7 {I didn't like the Black position here - the open e-file looks very dangerous.} (20... Qxh3 $4 21. Qxe7#)) 20. Qxe6 {White has won a pawn and has a better position}) 19. Bh3 f5 $1 {Played instantly - all other moves lead to a winning advantage for White. I had planned this move - and also my next three moves before playing 18...Kf7. The speed these moves were played at meant I was able to build up a good advantage on the clock.} ({ For example,} 19... Qb7 $2 20. Bxe6+ $1 Kxe6 21. exd5+ Kf7 22. Qe6+ Kf8 23. d6 Bd8 24. d7 Bc7 25. Qe7+ Kg8 26. Qe8+ Rxe8 27. dxe8=Q+ Bxe8 28. Rxe8+ Kf7 29. Rxh8 {is one line that shows how White can obtain a decisive advantage.}) 20. Bc1 Rae8 21. g4 Rhf8 22. Qf2 $2 Kg8 $6 {Completing a manual castle but missing a chance to gain an advantage on the board - though the speed the last few moves were played at had allowed me to gain a good advantage on the clock.} ( 22... fxe4 $1 23. g5 Kg8 24. Qh4 {Black will hold onto the pawn advantage - I had seen this line, but (incorrectly) felt that the position was a bit dangerous for Black. I am not convinced I would have stayed on the right path in this line - too many chances to go wrong.}) 23. e5 $6 {Taking some of the tension out of the position - but more importantly this move increases the power of the Black bishop on g6 considerably.} Qd8 {Reasonable, but the computer points out that ...fxg4 was the best choice in this complicated position - eventually Black will win a pawn.} 24. Qe3 (24. -- Bh4 $1 {was the threat White had to deal with, skewering the queen and rook.}) 24... Bh4 {... fxg4 was still best} 25. Re2 f4 26. Qc3 a6 {A move that I knew was completely innocuous - played very quickly to try and increase my time advantage.} 27. a4 Be7 28. Ba3 a5 $5 {Not the best move in the position, but one designed to try and unbalance the game so that I could try and increase the small advantage I had and go for the win.} 29. bxa5 {Move 29 and we have the first pawn capture of the game} Bxa3 30. Qxa3 Qxa5 {Time control reached - White has 17 minutes left for the rest of the game, Black about 25.} 31. Rb1 { White has a passed pawn - but I thought that Black's pawn on c4 was stronger than the a-pawn due to White's weak c-pawn.} Qa7 $1 {Found after a bit of thought - much better than my original plan.} (31... Rb8 {was my original plan when I played 28...a5. However, I now saw that after the White queen moves into d6 there is no advantage for Black.} 32. Rxb8 Rxb8 33. Qd6 $11) 32. Rd2 { White must protect the pawn on d4} Qa5 $5 {The queen is better on a7 than here but this move was played for psychological reasons. White was the higher-graded player and would probably want to avoid a draw by repetition so I played this move to see if it might provoke a mistake - I prefered my position but (correctly) did not think I had a winning advantage. I could still return my queen to a7 again without creating a three-fold repetition.} 33. Qb4 $2 {The ploy worked - this is the losing mistake} Qxb4 $1 34. Rxb4 Rb8 (34... c3 $1 {was even better} 35. Re2 Rb8 36. Rxb8 Rxb8 37. Bf1 {and White will lose at least two of the pawns on c2, a4 and d4}) 35. Rxb8 Rxb8 36. g5 $6 (36. c3 {would make the win more difficult.}) 36... Kf7 37. c3 Rb3 38. Ra2 Rxc3 39. a5 Rb3 (39... Bb1 $1 {was a move I considered. It does lead to a quicker win but by this point I was starting to run short of time - I had already calculated that ...Rb3 was sufficient to win.}) (39... Rxf3 $4 {the a-pawn is too strong and Black will struggle to hold on for a draw}) 40. a6 Rb8 41. a7 Ra8 42. Kf2 Ke7 43. Ke2 Kd7 44. Kd2 Bf7 45. Kc3 Kc7 46. Kb4 Kb7 47. Bf1 Rxa7 48. Rxa7+ Kxa7 {I stopped recording moves here - the game went on for quite a few more moves but the endgame is a fairly straightforward one for Black.} 0-1 [Event "NECL Div 3: Maldon C v Colchester C"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.02.01"] [Round "?"] [White "Duff-Cole, John"] [Black "Perfect, John"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B06"] [Annotator "Duff-Cole, John & Barnes, Nathan"] [PlyCount "45"] [EventDate "2015.01.23"] 1. e4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. d4 e6 4. Bg5 f6 {first positional weakness, but not fatal} 5. Be3 c6 6. Be2 Ne7 7. O-O O-O 8. Nbd2 d5 9. c4 e5 {a pawn stand-off} 10. dxe5 fxe5 11. cxd5 cxd5 {this is how I had predicted the sequence to go} 12. Qb3 {a pin on the pawn} Be6 $2 {protecting the pawn with the bishop} 13. Ng5 $1 Qd6 $2 {NB: letting the pawn go with ...Bc8 was better (though still losing)} 14. Nxe6 Qxe6 15. exd5 Nxd5 16. Bc4 {pin restored} Rd8 17. Ne4 Kh8 18. Bg5 Nc6 {NB: looks like an error - but is actually Black's best choice (though White still has a huge advantage)} 19. Bxd8 Rxd8 20. Bxd5 Rxd5 {fear of Na5 attacking queen and bishop prompted this exchange} 21. Qxb7 Rd4 22. Ng5 Qd6 $4 {thank you} 23. Nf7+ $1 {Black resigned a few moves later} 1-0 [Event "NECL Division 3: CRGS v Colchester C"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.01.29"] [Round "?"] [White "Harris, Martin"] [Black "Hirani, Shivan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C21"] [Annotator "Harris, Martin & Barnes, Nathan"] [PlyCount "35"] [EventDate "2015.01.29"] 1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4 cxb2 5. Bxb2 Bb4+ 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Nge2 { The computer says Black is winning already - but White has a significant lead in development} Nxe4 8. O-O Nxc3 9. Nxc3 O-O 10. Nd5 Nc6 $4 (10... Qh4 $1 {the only move that keeps Black alive}) 11. Qg4 g6 12. Nf6+ Kg7 13. Qh4 h6 14. Ng4+ Kg8 15. Nxh6+ (15. Qxh6 {leads to mate} Bc3 16. Bxc3 Ne5 17. Bxe5 Qf6 18. Nxf6# ) 15... Kh7 16. Qh3 Qg5 17. Ng4+ {missing a quicker mate - but the move played is more than sufficient to win} (17. Nxf7+ Qh5 18. Qxh5+ gxh5 19. Bd3+ Kg8 20. Nh6# {is an attractive finish}) 17... Qh5 18. Nf6+ 1-0

January summary

The current top ten players in the club grand prix are:

1stNathan Barnes10.5
2ndMohammud Jaufarally6
3rdSvein Kjenner5.5
4thMartin Harris5.5
5thMike Wagstaff5
6thAleksander Orava4.5
7thClive Bellinger4.5
8thSimon Denney4
9thMark Johnson4
10thMatt Stemp3

Games played in the club championship, Tony Locke rapidplay and the NECL league/knockout count for points in the grand prix. Where points are equal percentage score is used as a tie-breaker.

In the last month, no games have been played in the club championship. In the Tony Locke Rapidplay there are a number of players who have not played all their first four games yet so the current standings are not clear. Nathan, Svein, Clive, Mark, Nadia and Zahra have all played more than one game and are currently unbeaten.

In NECL Division 2, Colchester A are in 1st place having won three matches and drawn one. Colchester B are in 8th place (a win and two losses) - but have played the three teams currently at the top of the table. In Division 3, Colchester C are in 1st place after winning two matches, drawing two and losing one - though they have played more games than most teams; Colchester D are in 3rd place with three wins and one loss. In the NECL Plate, Colchester have reached the final where they will play Maldon B.


In the first match of the new year, Colchester had a comfortable win in the semi-final of the NECL Plate competition. Fielding what was probably the strongest team the club have put out this year there were wins on boards 2-4. Javier, playing his first match of the season, had a slightly better position in the endgame but did not have enough time on the clock to find a win (if there was one) and had to force a draw by repetition in a rook and pawn endgame.

Date: Jan-2015
NECL Plate semi-final
1 b Javier Ruano Marco (e189) ½ ½ Michael Spurr (152) w
2 w Ian Gooding (183) 1 0 Steven Robinson (118) b
3 b Matt Stemp (e165) 1 0 Tony Rawlins (93) w
4 w Mike Wagstaff (148) 1 0 David Gold (70) b
(avg=171) 3.5 0.5 (avg=108)


Colchester C have played three matches this month - the first was a draw against Braintree C.

Date: Jan-2015
NECL Division 3
1 w Clive Bellinger (138) ½ ½ Greg Mantle (134) b
2 b Martin Harris (121) ½ ½ Ollie Martin (105) w
3 w Simon Denney (114) 1 0 Peter Copsey (89) b
4 b John Duff-Cole (87) 0 1 Alan Rutland (67) w
(avg=115) 2 2 (avg=98)


Colchester B had a very close match against Chelmsford B - one of the strongest teams in Division 2. Clive drew after a quiet game on board 3, Martin went for a material advantage of a pawn but this ended up being insufficient compensation for the positional weaknesses that resulted from this. There was an interesting game on board 1 where Alex obtained a better position but then had to play very carefully following, a probably dubious, piece sacrifice. He found a series of strong defensive moves and returned some of the material at the right time to dissipate his opponent's attack and start a decisive one of his own. Mike's game went to a rook and 3 pawn vs rook and 2 pawn endgame which was drawable but in time trouble it was not easy to find the drawing line.

Date: Jan-2015
NECL Division 2
1 w Aleksander Orava (148) 1 0 Egor Latypov (145) b
2 b Mike Wagstaff (148) 0 1 Ed Porter (143) w
3 w Clive Bellinger (138) ½ ½ John Constantine (125) b
4 b Martin Harris (121) 0 1 Peter Brander (110) w
(avg=138) 1.5 2.5 (avg=130)


Maldon C fielded a stronger team than they had in the match earlier this season against the D team. On board 1, Martin Harris played a higher-graded opponent and was probably a bit tired in his second match of the week. Simon beat Doug Mothershaw - who had beaten him in the Maldon C v Colchester D match earlier in the season. Simon again showed his predilection for sacrificing material. His knight and pawn sacrifice may have have been unsound but was difficult to play against and an error by his opponent allowed him to finish the game off. Brian got into early positional difficulties meaning he used up too much time on the clock. John Duff-Cole had a return to form, comfortably beating his opponent who turned up late and made some quick moves resulting a poor positonal start which John was able to capitalise on.

There were issues in the match caused by incorrectly set digital clocks - if you need advice on how to use digital clocks or on how to check they have been set up correctly please speak to Nathan or John.

Date: Jan-2015
NECL Division 3
1 w Malcolm Savage (137) 1 0 Martin Harris (121) b
2 b Doug Mothershaw (115) 0 1 Simon Denney (114) w
3 w Frank Sealey (103) 1 0 Brian Remmer (109) b
4 b John Perfect (90) 0 1 John Duff-Cole (87) w
(avg=111) 2 2 (avg=107)


CRGS are the only team to have beaten the D team so far this season, but the C team ran out comfortable winners in their 3rd match of the month. Clive drew on board 1 against a higher graded opponent. On board 4, it was good to see Denzel Gonzales winning in his first graded match. Martin played one of his sharper openings and won with a classic sacrificial attack. Martin missed a few mating chances to win more quickly but the game was still wrapped up within 18 moves. Simon unleashed a bolt from the blue against a seemingly solid set-up against Peter Harris that completely tore the position apart. After losing his first NECL match, Simon has now won four games in a row; including all who have played 3 or more games, he is currently in 12th place in the NECL player of the season rankings (80%) - one place ahead of Mohammud Jaufarally (75%). Nathan Barnes is currenly in 1st (100%), with Aleksander Orava (88%) in joint 4th and Svein Kjenner (83%) in joint 8th. Ian Gooding and Clive Bellinger have also scored more than 60% having played 3 or more games.

Date: Jan-2015
NECL Division 3
1 w Jeremy Hadcock (149) ½ ½ Clive Bellinger (138) b
2 b Shivan Hirani (102) 0 1 Martin Harris (121) w
3 w Peter Harris (76) 0 1 Simon Denney (114) b
4 b Lakdinu Peries (82) 0 1 Denzel Gonzales (e80) w
(avg=102) 0.5 3.5 (avg=113)

Tony Locke Rapidplay - Round 5 Draw

The draw for round five (of seven) of the Tony Locke Rapidplay has been made (first named player has white):

Nathan Barnes (4, 0)v    Svein Kjenner (3.5, 1)
Mark Johnson (3, 1)v    Clive Bellinger (2.5, 2)
Zahra Jaufarally (2.5, 2)v    Martin Harris (2.5, 0)
Nadia Jaufarally (2.5, 2)v    Ed Goodman (2, 2)
Mohammud Jaufarally (2, 0)v    Alex Welge (2, 2)
Pete Smith (1.5, 1)v    John Duff-Cole (1.5, 0)
Dave Chatfield (1.5, 0)v    Phil Daley (1.5, 1)
Shazia Jaufarally (1, 2)v    Luke Tatchell (1.5, 1)
Matt Stemp (0.5, 1)v    Denzel Gonzales (0.5, 1)
John King (0.5, 0)v    Simon Denney (0.5, 1)

Where previous round games have not been played both players have been given half a point for the purpose of making the 4th round draw - when the games have been played both player's scores will be updated. These half-points are shown in player scores above - so some scores could potentially go down as matches from previous rounds are played. The first number after the player's name indicates their current (provisional) score, the second number indicates the number of games from earlier rounds not yet completed. Matt, Simon and Denzel joined the competition at the round 4 stage.

With a number of games from earlier rounds not played yet the exact state is not totally clear. However, the top two matches involve four unbeaten players and with only two rounds to go the results of these will have a big impact on the final standings. Nathan is the only player on 100% who has played all their games, though Svein is on 100% from his three completed games. Mark and Clive have both drawn one game meaning a decisive result will move the winner of this match into contention for first place. Zahra and Nadia are currently the leading juniors having both won and drawn, both have two matches not yet completed.

The following games from earlier rounds still need to be played:

Simon Denneyv    Matt Stemp
Denzel Gonzalesv    Phil Daley
Alex Welgev    Nadia Jaufarally
Nadia Jaufarallyv    Clive Bellinger
Luke Tatchellv    Pete Smith
Svein Kjennerv    Clive Bellinger
Ed Goodmanv    Zahra Jaufarally
Zahra Jaufarallyv    Mark Johnson
Nadia Jaufarallyv    John King
Shazia Jaufarallyv    Alex Welge
Shazia Jaufarallyv    Ed Goodman