Tuesday, 14 March 2017

NECL update

There have been a number of excellent results for the club in recent matches. The C team drew 2-2 with Clacton A, despite being out-graded on every board. Felix Schnell won on board 1 with Clive Bellinger and Phil Daley drawing on boards 2 and 4.

The D team went one better with a 2.5-1.5 win against Braintree C even though they were out-graded by more than 30 points on every board. Adrian Catrinar won his first graded game, Brian Remmer won on board 1 and John Duff-Cole sealed the team win with a draw on board 2.

The A team have reached the final of the knockout with a comprehensive 3.5-0.5 win in the quarter-final against Witham A and then drawing 2-2 with Brentwood A in the semi-final but progressing due to wins on boards 2 and 3 from Norbert Voelker and Nathan Barnes. Brentwood A fielded the league's only International Master (Richard Pert) on board 1. The final will be against Writtle A whose semi-final opponents (Braintree B) defaulted 4-0.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the B team beat regular Division 1 winners Writtle A 3-1 with wins for Nathan, Svein Kjenner and Felix on the top three boards. The key parts of Felix's and Nathan's wins from this match are shown below.

Select a game from the pull-down list.

[Event "NECL Division 1 2016/17"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.02.22"] [Round "?"] [White "Barnes, Nathan"] [Black "Moore, John C"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "156"] [BlackElo "184"] [Annotator "Barnes,Nathan"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1bqk2r/p1p2ppp/1nQ5/4p3/2P5/3B4/PP1N1PPP/R3K2R b KQkq - 0 12"] [PlyCount "22"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "team"] [WhiteTeam "Colchester B"] [BlackTeam "Writtle A"] 12... Qd7 13. Qe4 (13. Be4 {was the main alternative I considered and is also fine.}) 13... f5 $5 {This pawn sacrifice was the main move I had been looking at before playing Qe4. The computer agrees it is best.} 14. Qxe5+ $1 { Alternative moves are too passive and mean Black has no problems. If anything Black would have a slight edge with his pawns controlling the centre.} Kf7 $1 $11 {The only move that makes the pawn sacrifice work - it allows Black to use his rook and queen on the open files in the centre where White has an exposed King on the e-file and two pieces waiting to be skewered on the d-file.} (14... Kd8 $2 15. O-O-O Re8 16. Qg3 {Black is in trouble with his king stuck in the centre and will soon be more than a pawn down in material.}) (14... Kf8 $2 15. Be2 $18 {White is a pawn up and has more active pieces.}) (14... Qe7 $2 15. Qxe7+ Kxe7 16. O-O-O $16 {Again, White is a pawn up and comfortable.}) 15. Qg3 $1 {White had limited options due to the loose bishop on d3 and the pin threat. I spent a long time checking this move - my original intention after playing 13.Qe4 had been to play Qc3 in this position. Qc3 (and Be2) are okay but Qg3 is better as the queen is actively placed and potential skewers along the e-file prevented.} (15. -- Re8 {[%cal Re8e1] wins queen for rook.}) 15... Re8+ {Slightly better than Rd8 trying to take advantage of the slightly awkward minor pieces on the d-file.} (15... Rd8 16. Nf3 $1 {and the bishop is protected by the knight fork.} Qxd3 $4 17. Ne5+ {[%cal Re5d3,Re5f7]}) 16. Kd1 { The only move that maintains equality.} Bb7 17. Kc2 Rad8 18. Rhe1 $11 Be4 $2 { Threatening to win a piece but this is the losing mistake.} 19. Nxe4 $1 (19. Bxe4 $4 Qxd2+ {and mate will follow soon.}) (19. Rxe4 fxe4 20. Nxe4 h6 $11 { White has sufficient compensation for the exchange sacrifice but no more than that.}) 19... fxe4 20. Rxe4 (20. Bxe4 $2 Qd2+ 21. Kb3 Rxe4 $15) 20... Rxe4 21. Qf3+ $1 {The move that Black must have missed when playing 18...Be4. This zwischenzug is the only move that gives White a winning advantage.} (21. Bxe4 $2 Qd2+ 22. Kb3 Rb8 23. Qxc7+ Nd7+ 24. Bb7 $15) 21... Rf4 22. Qxf4+ Kg8 23. Qe4 {After the dust has settled White is simply two pawns up. White made parts of the rest of the game more complex than necessary but eventually won.} 1-0 [Event "NECL Division 1 2016/17"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.02.22"] [Round "?"] [White "Schnell, Felix"] [Black "Thomson, Phil"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "155"] [BlackElo "163"] [ECO "B15"] [Annotator "Barnes,Nathan"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2rr1nk1/1pb2ppp/2p1p1q1/2P5/1P1PQP1P/4B1P1/B5K1/2R1R3 w - - 0 36"] [PlyCount "41"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "team"] [WhiteTeam "Colchester B"] [BlackTeam "Writtle A"] 36. Qf3 $1 {Avoiding the queen exchange is best - from here the queen puts pressure on Black's queenside pawns.} Ra8 37. Bb1 {Attacking the queen.} Qf6 38. b5 $1 {White will either win a pawn or get a protected passed pawn.} Ba5 $2 39. Red1 (39. bxc6 $142 $1 bxc6 40. Re2 Rdc8 41. Be4 $18) 39... cxb5 40. Qxb7 { Material is equal but the c-pawn is too strong.} Rdb8 41. Qe4 Qd8 42. f5 Qd5 $2 43. fxe6 $1 fxe6 44. Kh3 $2 {Not necessary, gives Black time to regroup - though White is still best.} Qxe4 $2 (44... Bc7 $142 $1 $16) 45. Bxe4 Ra7 46. d5 Bd8 47. d6 Ra4 48. Bc2 Rc4 49. Bb3 Re4 50. Bd4 g5 51. hxg5 Bxg5 52. Rc2 Rc8 53. c6 h6 54. d7 Nxd7 55. cxd7 Ra8 56. Rc8+ 1-0

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