Report for Cardiff by Stuart Hutchings
KSK 47 Eynatten
5 : 1
Ѕ - Ѕ
1 - 0
1 - 0
Ѕ - Ѕ
1 - 0
1 - 0
There are 56 teams competing, and Cardiff's decision to include me in the squad (even though I shan't be playing), resulted in my most recent FIDE rating (15 years old !) 2325, being used for seeding purposes, and so raising the team's seeding by 7 places. On the plus side this should give more favourable pairings overall, and should ensure avoidance of the dreaded bye if that were to arise, but on negative side, it would mean a tougher 1st round pairing.
And so it turned out. We were seeded 43, which incidentally is top of the 4th quarter, so we had to play the team seeded top of the 2nd quarter i.e. the one rated 15th. My first act as captain was to 'drop' the Welsh Champion (!), not as brutal as it might sound at first, as John wanted to have a day off at some time to go cycling, and I wanted to blood Bill in his first time in the European squad.
KSK 47 Eynatten 5 - 1 Cardiff
Board 1, Ruck 0Ѕ Charles Cobb
Hungarian GM Ruck as White in a Queen's Gambit Declined, allowed Charles to play N(on d5) takes B (on f4), exf4, creating a position where W's space and activity were counter-balanced by B's 2 bishops and better pawn structure. The game started to liven up around move 30 (40 moves in 90 minutes, with 30 second increments from move 1), with Charles running short of time. Charles at one point, in a complex position, could have won a piece, but it was a risky procedure given that he was now having to play moves within a 30 second window. As it was, Charles created enough counterplay to hold the position, and reduced the game to a clearly drawn bishop plus doubled f pawns against rook plus g pawn, which his opponent eventually agreed to a draw after he had blundered his g pawn some 20 moves later (!).
Board 2, James Cobb 0 - 1 Nijboer
James was white in a Queen's pawn, Torre Attack (g6) against his Dutch GM opponent, who if my memory serves me right, has chalked up some notable wins recently. James was marginally better in a relatively static position with only an open d file, but as more pieces came off, it was apparent that black's remaining rook and knight were better than their counterparts, and B played some good technical chess (as you would expect from a GM) to secure the point.
Board 3, Goloshchapov 1 - 0 Tim Kett
Tim had played the same opponent last time with the game beginning 1.e4, but GMs are not stupid (!) and this time the Ukranian began with 1.d4 and with Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2. After a subsequent ced5 exd5, a setup was reached where black was aiming for play on the queenside with c4, b5 etc. and white in the centre f3, Ng3 etc. aiming to achieve e4 at some point. The GM played very accurately and was able to subdue Tim on the queenside, and Tim had to put some of his pieces on awkward squares in an attempt to slow down e4, but once this move came, followed by e5, it was just a matter of time before black succumbed.
Board 4, Alan Spice 0Ѕ Dambacher
Alan's favourite 1.Nc3 was turned into an open Sicilian g3 by the Dutch IM. Alan was always slightly better, and tried hard to make something of the position, initially with queen, 2 rooks, and opposite bishops, eventually winning a pawn to reach an opposite bishop ending. Not a straightforward draw by any means, but his opponent safely overcame any obstacles to secure the half point.
Board 5, Gulbas 1 - 0 John Fletcher
In a nutshell, John remembered to move his clock on one hour and went out walking in the morning, but alas, not his watch, so I had to ring the hotel a couple of times to check if he had arrived back. John was located and made his way to the tournament hall as swiftly as he could (about 20 minutes walk), and was lucky that the 1st round had started 45 minutes late, so he had only lost 10 minutes or so on his clock. However, it took a litlle while for John to settle down, and his FM opponent played a subtle move order against John's Sicilian Sveshnikov, and John fell into a bad line. As hard as he tried there was no way back unfortunately.
Board 6, Bill Harle 0 - 1 Hautot
Bill was involved in a heavy positional struggle, but his FM opponent's extra experience resulted in black slowly gaining space on the queenside, then netting a pawn and not allowing Bill any counterplay as he progressed to the full point.
A good effort by all the team against formidible opposition, with all but one game going past the 1st time control. Charles put in great rearguard action, as one has come to expect of him over the years against really strong players, and Alan was always setting the pace against his IM opponent. To show how difficult it is for the lower rated teams in 6 board matches, all the top half of the draw won, with only a handful of teams conceding more than 1Ѕ points. I was very pleased indeed with the way the team acquitted themselves.
Regards, Stuart Hutchings
Captain, Cardifff Chess team