Thursday, 28 May 2020

Avengers 2 Close Gap on 2nd Division Play-Off Place

In a closely contested R8 match, Avengers 2 narrowly defeated Sussex Starlings 2.5-1.5.

Sussex Starlings 2014 Anglian Avengers 2 2037
351 w Salmons, Calum 2065 e ½ - ½ White, Russell P 2117 c
352 b Gray, Edward 2012 e 0 - 1 Player, Edmund C 2172
353 w Sutton, Daniel 2005 e ½ - ½ Bui, Kyan 2057 e
354 b Bennet-Stevens, Lucy 1975 e ½ - ½ Kerr, Rowland 1802 c
1½ - 2½

Russell was on the defensive for much of the game against Calum Salmons, but held the draw in a lengthy R+B v R+N endgame.

Kyan looked to have long-term problems holding his isolated queen's pawn.  But Edward Gray snatched the pawn too quickly, allowing Kyan a comfortable draw.

Rowland was clearly getting the better of Lucy Bennet-Stevens in a Queen's Gambit Exchange Variation, but couldn't convert a superior position into a decisive advantage.

The match was decided by a complex tactical encounter on B2.  In a surprisingly active interpretation of the staid Philidor Defence, Edward Gray gambitted a pawn to open Ed's king's-side.  The game could have gone either way if his opponent had been followed up accurately, but Ed held onto his extra material and eventually converted the point on move 73.

This victory takes us to 4th place in Division 2 / Group A.  However, the position at the top of the table is extremely close with 5 teams in contention for the 2 qualifying places.  Only 2 wins from the final two rounds will give us a decent chance of qualifying.

See: 4NCL Online: Division 2 Tables

Friday, 22 May 2020

Avengers 1 Narrowly Defeated By Oxford

Avengers 1 were close to victory against Oxford, but fell short after a remarkable turnaround.

Oxford 1 2226 Anglian Avengers 1 2222
181 w Zakarian, David f 2306 1 - 0 Kanellopoulos, Panayotis 2265
182 b Savage, Ben D M f 2273 ½ - ½ Walker, Martin G f 2275 e
183 w Cont, Arya 2147 e 1 - 0 Player, Edmund C 2172
184 b Smallbone, Kieran D 2179 0 - 1 Talsma, Paul 2177 e
2½ - 1½

Paul got us off to the best possible start with an emphatic 27 move victory against Kieran Smallbone's Slav Defense.  This takes Paul to a massive 6/6 score in this competition!

Martin laboured to prove an advantage against FM Ben Savage's unexpected Centre Counter.  Ben defended resourcefully and a dead drawn position was reached on move 52.

Panagiotis looked under pressure against FM David Zakarian's Four Pawns Attack, but seemed to have completely neutralized his opponent's advantage with a neat simplifying combination on move 23.  Nonetheless, Zakarian continued to press in a R+N v R+B endgame, and was rewarded when Panagiotis went wrong in time pressure.

After a complex central struggle, Ed looked close to victory when he seized Arya Cont's c-pawn on move 34.  However, Ed, heavily behind on the clock for most of the game, never stabilized his advantage, and eventually succumbed to a King-side attack.

This result leaves the Avengers 1st team in 3rd place in Division 1 / Group B, 2 points behind Wood Green Monarchs.  We will need an exceptional performance (probably 2.5/3) over the final 3 rounds to qualify for the Championship play-offs.

See: 4NCL Online: Division 1 Tables

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Avengers 2 Narrowly Defeated by MK Phoenix

In a tightly contested R7 encounter, the Avengers 2nd team were defeated by MK Phoenix 1 by the slenderest possible margin.

  Anglian Avengers 2 1999   MK Phoenix 1 2045
211 w White, Russell P 2117 c 1 - 0 Gardner, James 2132 e
212 b Bui, Kyan 2057 e ½ - ½ Brown, Alan M 2008
213 w Hampton, Christopher 1982 e 0 - 1 Cox, Toby 2020 e
214 b Marshall, Michael 1840 e 0 - 1 Hunt, Peter 2020 c
  1½ - 2½  

Michael obtained an easy opening equality against Peter Hunt in a symmetrical English, but allowed unfavourable exchanges, finally succumbing in a pawn-endgame on move 38.

Chris, in his debut match for Anglia Avengers, obtained a favourable opening against Toby Cox's Dutch Defense, won the exchange, but eventually went wrong in a double-edged endgame.

Alan Brown was never looking for more than the half-point against Kyan's QGD Tartakower Defence, and duly obtained it on move 31.

Russell sacrificed, or rather blundered, a piece from the opening, but obtained a couple of pawn and a few threats by way of compensation. James Gardner defended reasonably, but never quickly enough; and in severe time-trouble, allowed Russell a nice winning tactic.

This result drops us into the bottom half of the table (Division 2 / Group A), and means that the 2nd team will require an heroic 3/3 from the final rounds to have any chance of qualifying for the championship phase.

See: 4NCL Online: 2nd Division Tables

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Avengers 1 Defeat Tail-Enders Atticus A

In R6, Avengers 1 proved just good enough to defeat bottom-placed Atticus A by a deceptively comfortable 3-1 margin.

Anglian Avengers 1 2240 Atticus A 2219
121 w Walker, Martin G f 2275 e ½ - ½ Redmond, John P. 2327 e
122 b Kanellopoulos, Panayotis 2265 ½ - ½ Kennaugh, Charles W f 2249
123 w Talsma, Paul 2177 e 1 - 0 Kee, Steve 2155 e
124 b Lewis, Andrew P f 2243 1 - 0 James, David J f 2147 e
3 - 1

John Redmond's clock was under considerable pressure from Martin's preparation in a French Tarrasch.  However, a composed defence held Martin's plus to a minimum; and a lengthy rook endgame never looked likely to yield a positive result.

FM Kennaugh also got significantly behind on the clock in pursuit of an advantage against Panagiotis's Najdorf Sicilian.  But Panagiotis's active defence kept the initiative in check; and a draw by perpetual was reached on move 41.

Steve Kee was thrown off unbalance by an early pawn sacrifice by Paul, and a neat combination on move 19 secured Paul an advantageous B v N endgame.  Paul's technique was sufficient to earn his 5th consecutive win.

Time trouble was a theme in the B1 & B2 games, but proved the decisive factor in the bizarre B4 encounter.  Andy's pawn sacrifice on move 11 was reasonable enough, but he blundered away the exchange soon afterwards.  FM James gave Andy's limited attacking prospects much, too much credence and fell significantly short of time: finally letting his flag fall on move 33, in a completely won position.

An important result for the Avengers which takes them to 2nd place in Division 1 / Group B.

See: 4NCL Online: Division 1 Tables