Malcolm Pein on…The 4NCL Teenage Stars


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Malcolm Pein focuses on the Four Nations Chess League in today’s Daily Telegraph chess column, with a game from two 4NCL teenage stars.

Our own report on the latest adventures of the Chessable White Rose teams will follow later on today.

Malcolm Pein on…The 4NCL Teenage Stars

The 4NCL Online League boasts 258 teams. Four grandmasters, including Gawain Jones, and 13 IMs took part in round three last week. WFM Maaike Keetman now has 3/3 on top board for Chessable White Rose II, including a victory over IM Richard Pert, while 14-year-old Julia Volovich, playing for Poisoned Pawns, claimed the scalp of IM Jack Rudd.

Two teenagers did battle in the game of the third round, in which kitchen sinks were thrown. The lower-rated Arya Cont emerged victorious, helping Oxford to a 2.5-1.5 victory over Brentford.

A. Cont – J. Siddharth
Nimzo-Larsen Attack

1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nf3 (4.Bb5 is the main line when a modern interpretation is 4…Bd6!?) 4…e4 5.Nd4 Bc5 6.Nxc6 dxc6 7.d4 exd3 8.Bxd3 Bg4 9.Qd2 Qe7 10.Nc3 0-0-0!

A. Cont – J. Siddharth Nimzo-Larsen Attack

Black’s more active pieces more than offset his doubled c-pawns, and White is unable to bring a rook to d1. 11.0-0 Nd5?! (Hoping for a rook lift, but Black should have kept White under pressure with 11…Rhe8, or settled for 11…Kb8) 12.Nxd5 Rxd5 13.Rfe1?! (13.e4! Rh5 14.Qf4 would have broken free) 13…Qg5 14.Qc3 f6 15.Be4 Rd6 16.b4! Bb6 17.a4 Re8 18.Bd3 Bf3 19.Bf1 f5!? (Going for it, but Black might have first frustrated White on the queenside with 19…a6!, or even 19…a5!? 20.Ba3 Rd5) 20.g3! (20.a5 Bxg2! 21.Bxg2? Rg6 was Black’s idea, but White is still fighting after 21.f4! Qg4 22.Bxg2 Rg6 23.Qd2 Bxe3+ 24.Rxe3 Rxe3 25.Rd1! threatening Qd8#) 20…Rh6 21.a5 Rxh2!? (Or 21…Qh5 22.h4 Re4 23.Qxg7 Rxh4 24.Qh8+ when White has perpetual check) 22.Kxh2 Qh5+ 23.Bh3 Bg4 24.Rh1

Test Your Strength

4NCL Teenage Stars

Black’s bishop is trapped and he has already invested a rook, but what resource did he miss here? A good test of your calculation, and far from easy. 24…Bxe3? 25.Kg1! (Untangling and winning) 25…f4 26.Bg2 Qb5 27.fxe3 f3 28.Qxg7! Qf5 (Or 28…fxg2 29.Rxh7) 29.Qxg4 1-0 If 29…Qxg4 30.Bh3.

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

24…Qxh3+? 25.Kg1 wins, but 24…Rxe3! would have drawn: 25.Kg1! (and not 25.fxe3?? Qxh3+ 26.Kg1 Qxg3+ 27.Kf1 Qf3+ 28.Kg1 Bxe3+) 25…Rxc3 26.axb6 Bxh3 27.bxa7 Rxg3+! 28.fxg3 Qf3 29.a8Q+ Kd7. Black is two rooks down, but has perpetual check after 30.Rxh3 Qe3+ 31.Kg2 Qe2+.

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