Report for Cardiff by Stuart Hutchings
One thing I didn't mention in my round 1 report, mainly because it overlapped the 1st 2 days, was that at the captain's meeting, all teams were asked to pay for accommodation and taxi from the airport to Fuegen, by 10:30 on day 2 ..... and in cash (!). Here I was able to call on the services of our regular supporter (and very reassuring presence of) Hugh Price and also of John Trevelyan.
John, whose aversion to airports/flying means that he drives across Europe year after year to play in these events, was able to ferry us to the bank. I'm not sure if any onlookers would have been amused or concerned if they had witnessed 5 men getting out of a car late at night outside a bank, and proceeding to do their utmost to empty the cash machine by withdrawing hundreds of Euros each (!). A couple of others returned the following morning (day 2) to try and finish the machine off (!), whilst Hugh, in his usual efficient way, did the sums, collected the money and made sure it all tallied up.
On another front, I am obliged to hand in the team sheet at another hotel (about 5 minutes walk) between 09:00 and 09:30 on the day of the match. However, this should have been proceeded by the team pairings being available in our own hotel the previous evening, but they never materialised. So I had to hand in the team sheet without knowing the opposition(!), but as it happened it didn't matter in this case as John Fletcher had asked to be excluded suffering from blistered heels and generally feeling under the weather after his exertions and frantic efforts the previous day to get to the playing hall on time (see round 1 report).
Cardiff 2 - 4 Rochade Eupen
Board 1, Charles Cobb 0 - 1 Glek
The German GM played a deferred Benoni, with Charles re-capturing on d5 with the 'e' pawn after a delayed exd5. Glek played some unorthodox chess, such as leaving his queenside pieces at home, other than manouvering his QR to g7 and pushing his kingside pawns. Charles managed to create some counterchances against black's king, but Glek deftly refuted these by sacrificing his queen for 2 pieces. This plus connected passed pawns on g3 and h3 i.e. on the 6th rank in front of white's king on h1, soon proved decisive.
Board 2, Berelovich 1 - 0 James Cobb
After both players rapidly churned out a lot of heavy Ruy Lopez Breyer theory, the game reached a fairly even Q+R+B against Q+R+N (6 pawns each) position, but during moves 30 - 40, the Ukranian's bishop started to play a more imporatnt role, and after twice temporarily sacrificing a pawn, white was able to reach a Q+P ending, where a passed pawn on d6 was decisive.
James can count himself unlucky to have played very well in both his 1st 2 games, yet scored nothing because he has accomplished GMs.
Board 3, Tim Kett - Meessen
A French Classical opening resulted in opposite side castling, with white 'throwing' his pawns forward on the kingside, with the Belgian FM doing likewise on the queenside. It turned into an interesting race, with Tim, after displaying admirable control, broke through with a neat combination, stifled any counterplay, and finished neatly. An excellent game by Tim which should boost his confidence for the remainder of the tournament.
Board 4, Ahn - John Trevelyan
John essayed his favourite Philidor against the Belgian FM, and was comfortably holding the position with a solid setup. Ahn exchanged the major pieces to get down to a same bishop ending where he was slightly better, with John well ahead on the clock. Alas, for one fleeting moment John actually had a win, but it's always difficult to reset your sights having been on the back foot for some while. The relevant pieces were White: K on f4, B on b5, pawns on d4 and c3, B: B on c2, pawn on d5, W now played c4 (??), which was answered by dxc4 (??) instead of Bd3 winning a pawn and probably the game. That aside, a good defensive display by John.
Board 5, Alan Spice - Marechal
In the morning, Tim and Alan were looking at the Caro Kann which Tim's opponent had been known to play, and after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 Alan recommended (and I agree with him) 3.Nd2 instead of 3.Nc3, as this setup is better against 3...g6 (c3 at some point), and otherwise there would be no difference in effect of the 2 3rd moves.
The amusing part of this story is that Alan's game started 1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 c6 3.d4 g6 reaching the 'inferior' position discussed during the morning (!). Alan slightly misplayed the opening and left himslef with an IQP, which proved significant as the agme progressed as this was lost, and a Q+R ending materialised with B having an extra pawn. This then became a Q+P ending, where the Belgian FM, seemed to be making a little progress, but without really threatening to win the game. At the end B was running short of time, and with his K now a little exposed repeated the position 3 times for a draw. A very good reargurad action by Alan.
Board 6, Huesmann - Bill Harle
In reply to Bill's classical French, his Belgian FM opponent essayed the dangerous Alekhine-Chatard attack, playing very quickly as well. Bill fought off the first wave of the attack, but his opponent remorsely continued, sacrificing a N on d5 to leave Bill's K stranded defenceless in the centre.
Another good fighting performance with Tim achieving our 1st individual win, and John and Alan both defending well and being unbeaten. Before the tournament I set the team a target of (at least) 3 match victories, which I think is still achievable, but little did I (or they) realise that they would be playing 12 titled players in the 1st 2 rounds (!). Well played again.
Regards, Stuart Hutchings
Captain, Cardiff Chess team