Report for Cardiff by Stuart Hutchings
Today's results as follows, I'll hand over to Tim for the match report as I was visiting Innsbruck with Bill and Hugh until a couple of hours into the round.
2 : 4
0 - 1
1 - 0
? - ?
0 - 1
0 - 1
? - ?
Charles made his usual slow start consuming oceans of time in a quiet, untheoretical Classical Nimzo. His almost grandmasterly opponent gradually got on top and - with Charles starting to go through the gears as time-trouble bit - duly picked up an exchange. In thoroughly non-grandmasterly fashion, however, he immediately dropped a piece leaving Charles with B&N for R and a potentially winning position. Unfortunately he still had to make move 40 and around 38/39 he handed back the advantage. Although Charles held on till K&P v K&P there was no further generosity forthcoming.
James played his opponent off the park with a totally crushing victory. White played 1.c4 and thereafter shuffled his pieces around in the corners. James simply thrust his way powerfully through the middle, driving a wedge between the two halves of White position. With a passed pawn on d2 and mating attack to boot he had a choice of elegant finishes.
I (Tim) prepared more than 16 moves of theory against my opponent's Sveshnikov Sicilian but it still wasn't nearly enough. Although I had some advantage I was too quick to exchange N for his B on e6 when offered the chance. After that he was quite comfortable before perhaps prematurely opening matters up with 25...b4. I took the chance to simplify to an ending where I would probably emerge a pawn up but there was a moment of tension where he might have tried 31... cxb2 instead of Rxf5. Luckily he didn't - because that looks very dangerous - and the resulting R-ending was swiftly drawn.
John T had his usual Philidor-type start but a blocked up position soon ensued - only where Black had lost a pawn. Amazingly enough the fact that he had the theoretical 'good' B to his opponent's 'bad' one caused him to decline a draw at move 20-something. It didn't take long to regret this decision, particularly when White managed to exchange bishops. A long double-N ending ensued which John seemed to be holding until very near the end, but he eventually buckled under the strain of a long, vigilant defence.
Alan launched his usual 1.Nc3 and had a familiar set-up soon enough with no particular advantage either way. He sacrificed an exchange in order to bloackade his opponent and with best play should certainly never have lost. However he inexplicably lost his composure and tried to force matters too soon when simply sitting on the position would have been OK.
John F was first to finish after an uneventful game. The opening was also the potentially lively Sveshnikov but he played an early ....Be7 avoiding doubling his f-pawns. White showed no great ambition, though, and John was also peaceably inclined and glad to get on the scoreboard.
(Stuart again) Thanks for the summary Tim, I can add that Nidum won their match against Galway 4 - 2. So at the bottom of the table Belfast and Galway have lost all 4 matches, whilst Pristina and ourselves are the only 2 teams with 1 drawn match. Everyone else has at least one match win, so we've not made the progress we had been hoping for.
I've just seen the draw for the 5th round and it doesn't get any easier. We have been upfloated to a team who are seeded 9 places higher than us, and their squad includes 2 GMs and 1 IM (!).
We really have had a tough draw, but there's no point in bemoaning our luck, the experience has (and will be) good, and can only be of benefit to the players.
Captain, Cardiff Chess team