Chessable White Rose: Round Five of the 4NCL


Last night brought plenty of action in the Four Nations Chess League (‘4NCL‘), with the three Chessable White Rose teams all heavily involved, as usual.

It doesn’t seem like two weeks since we reported on Round Four but the fixture schedule tells no lies.

Team One

Our first team continued their dominant form with a very convincing 3.5-0.5 victory over Wood Green Youth.

James Adair certainly likes playing against the French Defense; he gained an advantage and his technique to convert it into an endgame victory is the main feature of this report.

Lifetime Repertoires: Queen\'s Gambit Declined

Alexander Raetsky also won in the endgame (with bishops and pawns) and Peter Wells had an interesting draw.

Tim Wall’s Dutch Defense, combined with his usual creativity, brought another win for Team One.

Excellent Endgame Technique

James’ technique in his rook and pawn ending is very impressive. Take a look at this position.

Chessable White Rose Round FiveJames Adair – Michael De Verdier

White to play

I am sure most of us would spend time trying to make 41 Rh8+ or 41 Rh7 work, but they both fall short.

Two sample lines:

1) 41 Rh8+ Kd7 42 Rf8 f6+! 43 gxf6 gxf6+ 44 Rxf6 Rxb2 and, curiously, White appears to have nothing better than a repetition of moves with 45 Rf8+ Kd7 46 Rf7+

2) 41 Rh7 Rxb2 42 Rxg7 Re2+! and 43 …Rxf2+ is only helping Black.

White’s big problem is that Black can always play …Re2+ followed by capturing the f2-pawn with check on the next move. Note how Black’s doubled c-pawns cleverly prevent the white king from going anywhere else apart from the f-file after …Re2+

Back to the diagram. James played the excellent move 41 g6! Now both 41 …f6+ and 41 …fxg6 allow 42 Ke6 with checkmate to follow. Meanwhile, the white pawn becomes a menace and the king suddenly enjoys more scope.

Play continued:

41 …Rxb2

42 Rh8+ Kd7

43 gxf7

What a difference the last few moves have made! White is threatening to promote the pawn with 44 f8=Q, but Black still has some checks to try.

Chessable White Rose Round Five Ending

43 …Re2+

44 Kf5 Rxf2+

45 Kg6

Chessable White Rose Round FiveThis reveals another point of 41 g6. The king can use this square now and if Black continues checking with 45 …Rg2+ then the king continues his journey with 46 Kh7 Rh2+ 47 Kg8! using Back’s g-pawn as a handy shield.

Black therefore decides to try sacrificing the rook for the promoting pawn and seeing how quickly his own pawns can run.

45 …c4

46 f8=Q Rxf8

47 Rxf8 Kxd6

48 Rf5 c3

Is Black making progress?

Chessable White Rose Round Five Rook Against Pawns

49 Rf3! No; this strong move ensures the black king will never be able to protect the advanced c-pawn and 49 …c2 is met by 50 Rc3, rounding up the pawn in the nick of time. 1-0 (55)

I think this is a very instructive endgame. Well played, James!

Team Two

Our second team was defeated by the Guilford Young Guns, by 1.5-2.5. We were definitely outgunned on the average rating of the players (2401 for the opponents, 2102 for us) but that doesn’t tell the full story of the match.

Peter Gayson’s rook outplayed two minor pieces in the endgame to secure an excellent win with Black and Max Parkhouse held his higher-rated opponent to a draw.

The top two boards suffered defeat. Oskar Hackner defended well for a considerable amount of time but Paul Townsend lost from a very good position by what appears to have been a mouse slip.

Edouard Romain – Paul Townsend

Black to play

Paul is clearly winning here and 26 …Rc2 followed by 27 …R8e2 looks like a crushing continuation. However, the official score of the game shows an abrupt end after 26 …R8e5?? 27 fxe5 1-0.

Was 26 …R8e3 the intended move? That would hope to deflect the knight from the defense of h2 (the queen is waiting to pounce with …Qxh2 checkmate) and also threaten 27 …Rd3, trapping the white queen. White could play 27 Qxe3 Rxe3 28 Nxe3 but Black is still clearly winning after 28 …Qe2.

Mouse slips are an eternal danger of online chess and another indication that we are not quite playing the same game any more.

Team Three

Team Three had an excellent evening and beat Hackney Hackers by a score of 3.5-0.5.

Solomon Hayes kept things solid to earn a good draw as Black and the top three boards – Miles Edwards-Wright, Tom Wills and Rayelynn Posadas – all won their games.

There was some excellent tactical skill in this game.

Chessable White Rose Team ThreeMiles Edwards-Wright – Christopher Levy

White to play

First there are some jabs to the black queen.

25 g4 Qf6

26 g5 Qxg5

Now the queen is no longer on the f-file White reveals the plan.

27 Qb8+!

Back Rank Problems

Fantastic! If 27 …Rxb8 then 28 Rxb8+ N(orB)c8 29 R(either)xc8+ B(or N)xc8 30 Rxc8 is checkmate. This is why it was so important to move the black queen from the file, otherwise she could drop back to f8 at some point to block a check.

Black tried 27 …Nc8 but it didn’t stem the tide. 28 Rxg7+ Kxg7 29 Qb7+ and White is winning comfortably; 1-0 (32).

All of the 4NCL Round Five games can be accessed here.

Current Standings

Team 1 is now all alone at the top of Division 1. They are the only team in the group with a 100% score.

Despite losing their match, Team 2 are still in the third position of Division 1, Group A.

Team 3 is still unbeaten and is now in sole second place in Division 6, just one point behind leaders Dundee City B.

We will report on the fortunes of Round Six in two weeks’ time.

You can also keep up to date with developments by following the Chessable White Rose Twitter account.