Report for Cardiff by Stuart Hutchings
1 - 0
Ѕ - Ѕ
1 - 0
1 - 0
1 - 0
0 - 1
We reached rock bottom today, not only playing the lowest seeded team, but also appearing on the bottom board. And to make matters worse, we were on the door side of the table, so my duties today included pretending to be an Arbiter, and keeping passers-by from knocking the team about or standing in the doorway chatting. Board 1 was Slovakian, boards 2,3 & 4 Irish, board 5 English, and board 6 Polish. James had, prior to the tournament, asked for a rest day at some point, so against today's lower rated opponents was as good a time as any, but it could well mean some of the boards below him now having to play 3 games in a row with the same colour.
Charles' 1.c4 turned into a Maroczy Bind, with his opponent initially playing passively, then playing an ill-timed f5 to leave white well placed, and Charles was able to cash in and win the exchange. However, in a 2Rs + 6p against R+B+5p, black managed to set up an awkward blockade. After some probing, Charles decided to sacrifice back the exchange and a pawn to reach what he thought was a won R+4p each ending. W's passed pawn on a7, with the B rook hemmed in on a8, looking a winner, but B managed to create connected passed d + e pawns. With best play this was winning for W, but Charles went wrong, at least on one move, and B suddenly had the chance to win, but put his K on the wrong square, missed his chance, and was last seen still sitting at the board cursing his luck. This game was the last to finish so we had already secured the match victory.
Tim's game started 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 (!?!?), and I'll leave it for others to name this gambit and say what's supposed to happen. As it was W gave the piece back almost immediately after 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nc3 d4 7.Ne4 f5 8.Neg5 fxe4, but B seemed to be better with a good centre and a stronger attack after opposite side castling (B on the queenside). Tim later sacrificed the exchange for some pawns, but in this game, as on board 1 and other Cardiff games during this tournament, he allowed a one move chance of a win for his opponent. The game later reached N+5p against R+2p, and later still N+a+b pawns against the rook, with only Tim having the possibility of a win, but there doesn't seem to be anything better that he missed.
John's opening experiment in a Caro Kann backfired and he ended up 2 tempi down on the Black position in a Queen's Gambit Declined (!), Thereafter, John was forced to accept doubled d pawns, but managed to fight back to reach an equal position (!), and then started outplaying his opponent. He converted his position into a winning one with an exchange sacrifice to create decisive connected passed c + d pawns.
Alan's favourite MacCutcheon was met by the rare Be3 instead of Bd2. A complex position resulted which was still unclear until W blundered an exchange, after which it was just a question of mopping up.
John's attempted Blackmar-Diemer turned into a French MacCutcheon, which reached a superior 2R+N ending, which John converted into a R+5p versus R+4p which he won competently.
In reply to the English opening, Bill got into a rather cramped position, where W kept up the pressure to net an exchange. Bill continued to put up good resistance, but unfortunately could not avoid the inevitable.
At last a win, and although the result ended more or less as it should have, on the run of play, it can be seen from the comments above that some of the games could well have been unexpectedly reversed. Nidum unfortunately took a heavy reverse 0Ѕ - 5Ѕ at the hands of Pristina (the team Cardiff had drawn with), with Richard Jones again on the scoresheet with the solitary draw.
This leaves the bottom of the table looking like this (2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, seeding in brackets):
49th-51st - HMC Calder (33), Cardiff (43), Pristina (52) all with 3 points
52nd - 55th - Echternach (46), Monte Carlo (49), Nidum (53), Butrinti (55) all with 2 points
56th - Galway with 0 points
And tomorrow's pairings are (yes you've guessed it, our pairing ill fortune continues):
Table 25 HMC Calder (33, with 2 IMs and 2 FMs) - Cardiff (43)
Table 26 Monte Carlo (49) - Pristina (52)
Table 27 Butrinti (55) - Nidum (53)
Table 28 Galway (56) - Echternach (46)
A 3Ѕ - 2Ѕ win will equal our best ever match score (2 wins and 1 draw) and also equal our best ever game score, so here's going for it or better.
Captain, Cardiff Chess team