4NCL Poole Patzers – Rounds 7-8
The Poole Patzers Team (chess and drinking) had been massively strengthened with the addition of Oscar. On a personal note, I was pleased that someone with a similarly superior dress sense was around – what a relief. On the downside, Mike Duggan was unable to join us, but was replaced by the ever-reliable Richie.
The Tournament Hall and Arbiters were as organised as ever and off we went.
Opponents: Guildford Young Guns
I am sure that regular readers will be keenly aware of how much that I believe that the children are our future, that we should teach them well and let them lead the way, and show them all the beauty they possess inside. And this is exactly how the whole team felt lining up against Guildford Young Guns in round 7.
NAH. Old guys rule. These kids were going to get a kicking (metaphorically) if we had anything to do with it. You have to get them while they are young, before they get better than you!
B1 Oscar (b) was playing a rapid improver who looked barely out of junior school. He must have had a cushion and unusually long arms for his age. White played something dubious early doors and allowed a robust 1…e5 and 2…d5 by Oscar with the game quickly going downhill thereafter. Within an hour the first point was chalked up.
But this was not to be the blueprint for the team…
B4 I was playing a young lad who played quickly and in a very sharp manner indeed. Two Knights Defence, 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 d5 and I was left wishing I knew what to do in these positions. Just castle said everyone afterwards, but it didn’t seem that easy over the board. Three moves later, out of nowhere, my opponent was sacking a knight to win a rook in the corner. Gawd. I was spending a lot of time thinking up reasons why I had lost so appallingly but then suddenly saw a way to emerge a piece for two pawns up. Luckily there were no complications and I could use the twenty minutes left to simplify and collect the point. Phew. [Note: there is a better refutation to 4…d5, but that’s for another day]
B6 Martin (w) was playing a young-un with a grading around 1000, although he certainly didn’t play like it! An Advanced French setup gave Martin a strong attack but the little herbert kept creating counterplay and managed to open the center. A draw was agreed and Martin might even have been a little worse. You can’t believe the gradings of these youngsters!
B5 Richie played a very polite young lad who had a chance to create real issues for Richie but seemed nervious to open up the centre with a timely f4. As is often the case, this missed opportunity disappeared rapidly and a vicious king-side attack demolished the White’s king’s defences.
B3 John saw a similar situation whereby he was definitely somewhat worse after the opening phase. His opponent needed a timely d4 to crack open the game to his advantage but similar procrastination caused positional deterioration and John was able to mop up.
B2 MikeW played a lovely game against a tenacious and knowledgeable young man. Mike was able to make use of a weakened kingside to gradually cause Black’s position to collapse. Well played on both sides.
Result: Poole Patzers 5.5 – 0.5 Guildford Young Guns
What happened next? Well the stragglers met Oscar and I in the bar of course! But more interestingly, we spotted IM Andrew Martin analysing our games with his mentors, ie the other team. We joined in the analysis and confirmed that they were indeed a bunch of nice kids, although we didn’t feel guilty. Chess is a tough game! Mike got a ‘very nice game’ from Andrew, I got a ‘played boring chess when a piece up’. Fair enough.
Ian Clark joined us to make it a table for seven at the local pub/restaurant and we all had a great time discussing how easy chess is! It seems that you simply have to play opponents roughly 500 ELO points lower than yourself. Piece of cake. Which oddly was what we all had to finish the evening. Except for Ian who took the ‘biggest desert’ prize with a chocolate Sundae.
An early night was required as we would lose an hour overnight. Some adhered.
Opponents: MASCeteers (I don’t know what this means!)
And so from the day before when the Team average was around 1500, to a much tougher challenge today of around 1860. A win was required to press for the title. Our opponents were all normal size.
B5 Richie (w) was the first to finish with a lovely short game in which his opponent was severely punished for pawn grabbing before being fully developed. Note that the game details online are not correct. The final Qf7 looked gorgeous. I will try and add the game link in here.
B6 Martin (b) and his opponent played a Closed Sicilian, which turned into Ruy Lopez. After a bit of manoeuvring around the closed centre, it didn’t seem like much progress could really be made and Martin was content with the draw, especially looking at the match score.
B4 John (w) quickly obtained a plus with his Bishop Opening/Vienna/sort of thing pushing his f-pawn to f5 with a stranglehold on the centre and kingside. To be honest, I think the position played itself to a great extent with no particular dramas, just a bit of care to exchange stuff off to a winning double rook ending. Another point and 2.5 – 0.5 match score.
B2 MikeW (b) had one of those 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 positions which I have no idea how to play (empirically, this is true!). Well Mike played it very well and allowed White no opportunities at all for a plus. After twenty or so moves a handshake confirmed the shared point. But the most interesting part of this game was before the first move was played! The clocks were on the wrong side and Mike, rightly, asked for the clocks to be moved (to the right-hand side of Black). An arbiter was called who (I am advised) simply stated that he was the arbiter and they would not be moved. Of course, Mike was right but the decision was a bit odd. Either do it right or not at all I say!
So a 3-1 match score with myself and Oscar playing.
B1 Oscar (w) established a slight pull on the position, although perhaps little more than the normal ‘White going first’ advantage, in a Caro Kann with 3.f3. Have a look at the game in the link below, it was an interesting one with a White pawn threatening on d6. Oscar remarked that his opponent was under pressure but found a clever defensive move of Ng8 (not so dim!) causing simplification. The resulting NB+2p v NN+2p was never going to present anything but a draw, but Oscar’s opponent felt obliged to continue as he should with the match score in view. After a couple of attempts to improve, by Black, a draw was agreed.
B4 David (b). The above result allowed me to agree a draw in a more complex (to me) double rook endgame, but only after a few adventures. My opponent played very well and was significantly better late middle game. A poor decision to trade the last bishops allowed me to get into the game enough to have some hope. Unusually for me, it seems that I played the ending very well driving both White rooks to relative passivity, which, combined with Oscar’s draw and the need for my opponent to get off home, prompted a draw agreement. Although this was not until after a final think of almost thirty minutes, so perhaps he was not in such a rush after all, but just frustrated at letting it slip.
Result: Poole Patzers 4.0 – 2.0 MASCeteers
So a good weekend all in all. We avoided the only other ‘strong’ team, that of Wessex Some Stars A, who we will surely face off to at the final bonanza three-day weekend next month. No-one lost a game. Everyone played well/solidly, except for Richie who was ruthless!
Games Link: https://www.4ncl.co.uk/replay/2223/otb/div4.htm
League Status: https://www.4nclresults.co.uk/2022-23/media/4ncl/prog-div4.html
March 26, 2023