Malcolm Pein on…Celtic’s Crown


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Malcolm Pein follows up his 4NCL semi-final report in today’s Daily Telegraph column. After a hard-fought season, it’s Celtic’s crown!

Malcolm Pein on…Celtic’s Crown

Celtic Tigers & Sharks won Division One of the third season of the 4NCL Online League, which featured some seven divisions and 264 teams. Having been fortunate to defeat Chessable White Rose in the semifinals, Guildford Young Gun’s luck ran out, as this time it was they who were eliminated on tie-break after a 2-2 draw with the Tigers & Sharks.

On top board Matthew Wadsworth found himself in early difficulties playing Black for Guildford against fellow IM Peter Roberson, but fought back impressively to draw. Harry Grieve and Tom Rendle also contested a hard-fought draw on board four. Guildford’s veteran GM Mark Hebden took his score for the season to 7/8 after grinding down Mark Kvetny on board three, but their luck was out on board two where two attacking and strong IMs had a topsy-turvy game.

A. Suarez Real – R. Reimanis
Classical Sicilian

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f4 h6 10.Bh4 b5 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Kb1 b4 13.Nce2 Qb6 14.f5 e5 (14…Nxd4! 15.Nxd4 e5 16.Ne2 h5! 17.h4 Bh6 supplies good counterplay) 15.Nxc6 Bxc6 16.Ng3 Qc5 17.Nh5 Be7 18.Bd3 d5 19.exd5 Qxd5? (19…Bxd5! was the correct follow-up to the freeing break, and if 20.Qe2 0-0-0! 21.Bxa6+ Kc7 with good compensation) 20.Qe3! Rd8?

Test Your Strength

A. Suarez Real – R. Reimanis

What dangerous resource for White did both players overlook here?

 21.Rd2? Qd4 22.Qg3 Rd6? (22…Kd7! 23.Qg7 Rhf8 and Kc7 is OK for Black) 23.Rhd1 Kd7 24.Qg7 Rf8 25.Nxf6+! Kc7 26.Ng8? (26.Nh7! Re8 27.f6 was simple and very strong) 26…Rxg8! 27.Qxg8 Bg5 28.c3 bxc3 29.Rc2 Qg4

Celtic's Crown

30.Rdc1?? (A horrible mouse-slip. White must have intended 30.Rcc1 when 30…cxb2 31.Rxc6+ Rxc6 32.Qxf7+ Kb6 33.Qb3+ forces a draw) 30…Rxd3 31.Qxf7+ Rd7 32.Qg6 Be4 33.bxc3 Bxc2+ 34.Rxc2 Qd1+ 35. Kb2 Qd6 36.Qg8 Kb7 37.a3 Be7 38.Qb3+ Ka7 39.Ka2 Rb7 40.Qa4 Qd1 0-1

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

21.Be2! is very strong: 21…Qxg2 (not 21…Qc5? 22.Nxf6+! and even 21…Qa5 22.Rxd8+ Qxd8 23.Rd1 Qc7 24.Qg3 leaves Black in huge trouble, as does 21…Qe4 22.Rxd8+ Bxd8 23.Qc5 Be7 24.Nxf6+! Bxf6 25.Bf3) 22.Rxd8+ Bxd8 23.Rg1 Qe4 24.Qa7! with a decisive initiative, in view of 24…Qxe2? 25.Ng7+! Kf8 26.Qc5+ Be7 27.Qxc6, forcing mate.

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