Sunday, 18 October 2015

Knockout first round

The first round of the NECL knockout saw the three Colchester teams all playing on the same night. Both the A and B teams had unlucky draws having to play Division 1 teams. The A team were drawn against Writtle A, one of the favourites to win the cup and the B team were drawn against Witham A. The C team had a home match against Witham B. A number of players were not available resulting in the A and B teams having to poach players from the C team.

Colchester C were out-graded on three boards and lost a close match 1.5-2.5, they will now be in the plate competition. The A and B teams were out-graded on every board. Alex was on board 1 for the A team and was unable to hold a difficult position resigning when losing a piece was inevitable. John Duff-Cole played well against a much higher-graded opponent but lost a couple of pawns in the late middle-game. Felix pulled a point back with a good demonstration of the advantage of two minor pieces over a rook and pawn. Nathan then levelled the match after some unsound but dangerous tactics which gave his opponent the chance to go wrong. The final score was 2-2 with the A team winning after bottom-board elimination. For the B team Clive and Martin had solid draws, Norbert maintained his winning start as a Colchester player but result of the night was Svein's well-controlled win against an opponent graded 180 (33 points higher than his own grade) following an early piece sacrifice.

Two games are shown in the viewer below - the wins from Felix (annotated by Nathan) and Svein (annotated by Svein).

[Event "NECL Knockout"] [Site "Witham"] [Date "2015.10.14"] [Round "?"] [White "Kjenner, Svein"] [Black "Coughlan, Stephen"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C44"] [Annotator "Kenner, Svein"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2015.10.14"] [EventCountry "ENG"] {Witham A - Colchester B 2015 I did not know anything about my opponent. and had no idea about his strength. That, I think, was to my advantage.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. Bb3 a6 7. h3 O-O 8. Bg5 Ba7 9. Nbd2 Be6 10. Bc2 {I read some place that it is safer to allow the exchange of the light-squared bishops.} h6 11. Bh4 g5 12. Nxg5 $5 {To me this seemed very promising. (I am sure many will put a question mark to this move). If I knew the strength of the player facing me, maybe I would sit on my hands and consider more seriously to retreat the bishop.} (12. Bg3 {would be a completely different game.}) 12... hxg5 13. Bxg5 Kg7 {During the game I got impressed by the way my opponent manoeuvred his pieces to defend the position. He got both rooks into play, the knight via b8 and also the bishop on a7,} 14. Qf3 Rh8 15. Nf1 Nb8 16. Ne3 ({I also considered} 16. Ng3 {but on e3 it seemed more flexible.}) 16... Nbd7 17. O-O-O c5 18. Bb3 ({Here, and also later in the game, I considered} 18. Nf5+ {But here I did not feel the need to give my opponent the chance to exchange pieces. I felt it would give him better chances to defend with} Bxf5 19. Qxf5) 18... Qe7 19. g4 $6 ({As next note shows, I should not allow black to play the ...c4. That's why I should have played} 19. Bd5) 19... Rag8 ({I did not even look at the better move} 19... c4 {which my engine suggests as the best move. A line goes} 20. Bxc4 Bxe3+ 21. Qxe3 Bxc4 22. dxc4 Qe6 23. f3) 20. Bd5 ({Maybe now its time to exchage some pieces. It is not easy to hold the position for black. The bind is irritating and the white initiative is dangerous.} 20. Nf5+ Bxf5 21. Qxf5 b5 22. h4) 20... Nb6 {Here I did not even consider Bxb7.} 21. Rdg1 ({but I was tempted to play} 21. h4 {which is more to the point.}) 21... Nbxd5 22. exd5 Bd7 23. h4 Bb6 24. Nc4 {Maybe not the best knight manoeuvre.} ({One good alternative was} 24. Nf5+ Bxf5 25. Qxf5 {The bind is still annoying black. Specially in his dawning time trouble.}) 24... Bd8 25. Nd2 Qe8 26. Bxf6+ {The bind is no longer, so I might as well get rid of my bishop to give room for the pawns to advance.} Bxf6 27. g5 Be7 28. Ne4 Qd8 29. Rg2 ({My opponent had time trouble here. I should have played} 29. h5 {which, beside being a better move, would been more difficult to meet with little time left on the clock.} Rh7 {would have been a terrible mistake because of} 30. g6 {and it all falls apart.}) 29... Rh7 30. h5 Kh8 { And here Black got extra 15 minutes on the clock. To be honest I did not expect Black to manage to get out of this, as well as he did. I think he played these difficult positions very well. It was much easier to play the white side.} 31. Rhg1 Qe8 $4 {The first real blunder in the game. As often it comes just after the time control.} ({Better is to bunker in with} 31... Rgg7 { The Black position looks solid, and it is not clear how White can improve the position. Still I would not mind to play this positon as White. In the game I had much better time on the clock, and new timetrouble for Black was approaching.}) 32. Nf6 {The game is now lost for Black.} Qd8 33. Nxh7 Kxh7 34. g6+ fxg6 35. Qf7+ Rg7 36. hxg6+ Kh8 37. Rh1+ Bh4 38. Qf3 Kg8 39. Qh5 Qf6 40. Rxh4 Re7 41. Rg3 {Several moves were better, but I saw this forcing line and did not really consider anything else.} Bf5 (41... Be8 42. Qh7+ Rxh7 43. gxh7+ Kf7 44. h8=Q) 42. Rf3 1-0 [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.10.14"] [Round "?"] [White "Smith, Ivor"] [Black "Schnell, Felix"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C02"] [PlyCount "110"] [Annotator "Barnes, Nathan"] [EventDate "2015.10.14"] {C02: French: Advance Variation} 1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 e6 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. cxd4 d5 6. e5 {The opening has transposed from a Sicilian to a French (Advanced Variation).} Qb6 7. Nc3 Bb4 8. Bd3 Bd7 9. a3 Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 Nge7 11. O-O O-O $2 12. Bxh7+ $146 {The Greek sacrifice is sound - it is a good move in the position but there was a better one.} ({One example of how dangerous the position is for Black...} 12. Rb1 $1 Qc7 13. Bxh7+ Kh8 14. Ng5 g6 15. Qf3 {1-0 (15) Albu,M-Lecoq,E Huy 1993}) (12. Rb1 $142 $1 Qa5 13. Bxh7+ Kxh7 14. Ng5+ Kg6 15. Rxb7 $18 f6 16. Qd3+ $18 {and the rook along the 7th combined with the open kingside leads to a clear advantage for White}) 12... Kxh7 $16 13. Ng5+ Kg6 $8 {Almost always forced after the bishop sacrifice on h7.} ({Obviously not } 13... Kg8 $4 14. Qh5 Rfb8 15. Qh7+ Kf8 16. Qh8+ Ng8 17. Nh7+ Ke7 18. Bg5+ Nf6 19. Qxg7 Kd8) 14. Qg4 f5 15. exf6 Kxf6 $14 (15... gxf6 $2 16. Nxe6+ Kf7 17. Qg7+ Kxe6 18. Re1+ Ne5 19. dxe5 $18) (15... Rxf6 $4 16. Nxe6+ Kf7 17. Qxg7+ Kxe6 18. Re1+ Ne5 19. Rxe5+ Kd6 20. Qxf6+ Kc7 21. Qxe7 $18) 16. Nh7+ $6 {Solid play from Black has panicked White into trying to recover the sacrificed material - it would be better to have just kept the pressure on the black king. } (16. Qf3+ $142 Kg6 17. Qd3+ Kf6 18. Rb1 $14) 16... Kf7 $15 17. Nxf8 Rxf8 { White's attack has gone, the Black king is safe now despite the open nature of the kingside. Black has two minor pieces for a rook and a pawn which is normally enough for a decisive advantage in the middlegame.} 18. Bd2 Kg8 19. Rfb1 Qc7 20. Qg3 Qxg3 21. hxg3 {Exchanging the queens helps to consolidate Black's advantage.} b6 22. Bf4 Rc8 23. Kf1 Na5 $19 24. Bd2 Nc4 25. Ke2 Nf5 26. g4 Nfd6 $19 27. f3 Kf7 (27... Ba4 $5 28. Rb4 a5 29. Rxa4 Nxd2 30. Kxd2 $19 { The rook on a4 is trapped.}) 28. a4 $17 Nxd2 29. Kxd2 Nc4+ 30. Kd3 Kf6 31. Ra2 Be8 32. Rc1 $2 Bg6+ {Black is winning but missed a nice tactic to increase the advantage} (32... Bxa4 $142 $5 33. Rca1 (33. Rxa4 $2 Nb2+) 33... b5 34. Re2 $19 ) 33. Ke2 Rh8 34. Kf2 a5 35. Re1 Be8 36. Rb1 Bd7 37. Re1 Rc8 38. Rc1 Rb8 39. Rb1 Kg6 40. Kg3 b5 41. axb5 Rxb5 $19 42. Rxb5 (42. Raa1 a4 $1 $19 {the a-pawn can safely advance}) 42... Bxb5 43. Kf4 a4 44. Ra1 a3 45. Kg3 Kf7 46. f4 Ba4 47. f5 Bc2 48. Kf4 Bb3 49. fxe6+ Kxe6 50. g5 a2 51. Re1+ Kf7 52. g4 Bc2 53. g6+ Bxg6 54. Kg5 Bc2 55. Rf1+ Ke6 {White resigns} 0-1


Date: Oct-2015
NECL Knockout Round 1
1 b Alex Orava (165) 0 1 Dave Kraszewski (183) w
2 w Nathan Barnes (158) 1 0 Jim Howson (167) b
3 b Felix Schnell (e155) 1 0 Ivor Smith (160) w
4 w John Duff-Cole (89) 0 1 Robert Rodie (139) b
(avg=141) 2 2 (avg=162)


Date: Oct-2015
NECL Knockout Round 1
1 b Stephen Coughlan (180) 0 1 Svein Kjenner (147) w
2 w James Steele (162) 0 1 Norbert Voelker (e140) b
3 b Chris Darbon (134) ½ ½ Clive Bellinger (130) w
4 w Dave Pearce (130) ½ ½ Martin Harris (120) b
(avg=151) 1 3 (avg=134)


Date: Oct-2015
NECL Knockout Round 1
1 b Phil Daley (120) ½ ½ Barrie Quin (121) w
2 w Pete Smith (119) 0 1 Keith Husband (114) b
3 b Brian Remmer (109) 1 0 Peter O'Malley (113) w
4 w Mark Johnson (100) 0 1 John Staplehurst (101) b
(avg=112) 1.5 2.5 (avg=112)

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