Malcolm Pein on…4NCL Favorites
Four of the favorites are still on 100 per cent in the third 4NCL Online League: Barbican, Celtic Tigers & Sharks, Chessable White Rose and Guildford Young Guns. Chessable White Rose are looking to regain their crown, having won the inaugural season of the league before ChessPlus Kingston pulled off a major upset.
The Yorkshire-based side are headed up by two-time British Champion Gawain Jones, who has been playing from New Zealand where he is currently with his wife, WIM Sue Maroroa, and their baby daughter. The early starts haven’t appeared to do Jones any harm.
The Powerful Ruy Lopez
G. Jones – M. Piper
Chessable White Rose vs CSC
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Bc5 (An old favourite of Boris Spassky’s) 5.Nxe5 Nxe4 6.Qe2 Nxe5 7.d4! Be7 (7…Bxd4? 8.Qxe4 wins a piece and 7…Qe7 8.dxc5 Nxc5 9.Nc3 leaves White with excellent compensation) 8.dxe5 Nc5 9.Rd1 0-0 10.Nc3 Re8? (Weakening f7. Black must try 10…c6 11.Bc4 b5!, as in Matulovic-Knezevic, Belgrade 1978) 11.Qf3! f6? (This cannot be right, but 11…c6 12.Bc4 Ne6 13.Ne4 leaves Black bound hand and foot) 12.Bc4+ Kh8
13.b4! (There’s nowhere for the knight to go in view of the potential pins down the d-file and h1-a8 diagonal) 13…fxe5 14.bxc5 Bxc5 15.Ne4 Be7 16.Qh5 d6 17.Bf7! 1-0 17…Rf8 18.Bg6 h6 19.Bxh6 forces mate.
IM Tom Rendle played the move of the round, as Celtic Tigers & Sharks overcame Exeter Honey Badgers.
Smashing the Sicilian
T. Rendle – P. Hampton
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.0-0 Bg7 7.h3 0-0 8.a3 a6 9.Ba2 b5 10.Bg5 e6 11.Qd2 Qc7 12.Bh6 b4 13.axb4 cxb4 14.Ne2 d5!? 15.exd5 Nxd5 16.Ng3!? (Gambitting b2. 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Bxd5! exd5 18.c3 leaves White in control) 16…Bb7? 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Bxd5 exd5 19.Qg5! (Exploiting the vulnerable black kingside) 19…f5 20.Nh5+! Kh8 21.Nf4 Qf7 22.Qh6 Rae8 23.Ng5 Qg8 24.Rae1 Nd8 Either knight to e6 is strong. What stronger and more aesthetic move was played?
Test Your Strength
White to Play and Win
Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.
25.Re7! Rxe7 (25…Nf7 26.Nxf7+ Rxf7 27.Nxg6+ also overloads the black queen) 26.Nxg6+ Qxg6 27.Qxf8+ Qg8 28.Qxe7 1-0