Round 3: Cardiff (2) – (4) Graz
More Austrians and still no chocolates. We knew that time was running out now. If we didn’t get the bye next round already then Round 4 would be our last chance to get a win and avoid it.
Charles Cobb Ѕ-Ѕ Fahrner (2369)
Tim Kett 1-0 Herndl (2334)
Alan Spice 0-1 Ebner (2256)
John Trevelyan Ѕ-Ѕ Loebler (2216)
Gary Dawson 0-1 Pfaffel (2126)
Peter Davieb 0-1 Herndl (2181)
To get the losses out of the way first, Alan, Gary and Peter all had off-days and got turned over without very much ado.
Charles pushed hard all the way eventually reaching an ending of Q+P vs Q but unfortunately the position of the Black king was good enough to ensure the draw.
John had a good game in which he slowly gained the upper hand with the Black pieces but was tantalisingly unable to make the final breakthrough as his opponents defences (and threatened counterplay) were just enough to hold the draw.
After slowly sliding to defeat through passivity in the last round I decided I had far less to lose by going down fighting and resolved to play more sharply from now on. The following very scary tactical melee was the result:
[White "Herndl, Harald"]
[Black "Kett, Tim"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 dxc4 4. d5 Ne5 5. Bf4 Ng6 6. Bg3 a6 !? (6…e5 is normal, this seems to be virtually a TN – I have only found one other game where its been played before and there Black failed to follow thematically with …b5 after White played e4. Obviously this is highly provocative and risky play for Black and I wouldn’t be surprised if a refutation did exist despite my opponent not finding it in this game) 7. h4 e6 8. e4 b5 9. h5 N6e7 (White has many possibilities hereabouts. One I was expecting wab 10.a4 b4 11. Na2) 10. Qf3 Nf6 11.d6!? (didn’t see that one coming. It wasn’t nice now having to play 4 consecutive ‘only’ moves and Black is lucky there’s nothing decisive at the end of it) cxd6 12. e5 Nfd5 13. exd6 Nf5 14. Nxd5 exd5 15.Qxd5 Nxg3
(White now had a long think, mostly about 16-0-0 Nxh1 when its not clear he has more than a perpetual after 17.Re1+ Be6 18.Qc6+ Qd7 19.Qxa8+ Qd8 20.Qc6+ etc. Luckily for me he wasn’t satisfied with that) 16. fxg3 ? Qa5+ ! (this might seem like an easy move to make but I needed to calculate all the way through before abandoning the protection of my QR) 17. Kd1 Bg4+ 18. Kc2 Qa4+ 19. b3 cxb3+ 20. Kb2 Rc8 (White finally stops the checks but this primarily defensive rook move turns out to provide the crucial extra piece in Black’s counterattack. Now Re1+ Kd8 leads nowhere and so the games up) 21.axb3 Qb4 22. Qe5+ Be6 23. d7+ Kxd7 24. Qe3 Be7 25. Nf3 (I loved this – just developing naturally as though nothing was wrong. You’re about 20 moves too late, pal !) Bf6+ 26. Kb1 Bf5+ 0-1