Gothenburg 2005 Round 4
Another hard-fought day resulted in a 3-1 loss to our chums from across the Irish sea ... but as usual there were chances to make it an even better result:
4.19 32 Ireland 3 - 1 39 Wales
1 GM Baburin Alexander 2523 1 : 0 FM Jones Richard 2325
2 IM Kelly Brian 2504 Ѕ : Ѕ Kett Tim 2192
3 IM Collins Sam 2413 1 : 0 Trevelyan John 2196
4 IM Orr Mark 2305 Ѕ : Ѕ Spice Alan 2175
Richard knew exactly what would happen in the opening of his game as the former Russkie is entirely consistent in his opening choices. The position up to about move 15 (K-side fianchetto vs KID) was on Rich's laptop and being feverishly analysed in the morning before the game.
It seemed OK as well in a fluid, piece-heavy middlegame until Richard missed one or two little zwischenzugs and suddenly things started going downhill. The Irish GM wrapped things up efficiently showing full control of all the tactics.
My opening variation - another French Winawer but this time with 4.e5 and the Qd7/b6 system rather than an early c5 - was also well-rehearsed beforehand. It was a line that Brian has played many times before but he surprisingly made a couple of errors (Rc8 ! before Nb8 ?! and Qa4?) which allowed me to charge forward with a crude K-side attack. f4 and my favourite f5! were chucked in and suddenly he was close to being mated. He found all the best defensive resources though and managed to hold on by a thread. The only definite winning chance I missed was 25.Bg7+! which I had considered but thought the resulting Q vs 2R's ending a bit too unclear compared to a safe draw so I wimped out.
Sam Collins acquiesced in John's favourite early queen exchange and then came up with the new (to John) 6.Bg5 !? John's response was 'probably dodgy' he reckons and he never really equalised. With 2R&B vs 2R&N Sam set up a comfortable bind, sat on the position and just slowly squeezed out the point.
Alan's good form continued despite a ropey start in which he managed to lose a pawn in the opening (1.Nc3 again) for not much. He fought back though and once Mark failed to find the best continuation Alan almost took over some small advantage himself. Once it came down to an opposite-colour B ending though it had draw written all over it.
At the top it looked like France were going to beat Germany to take the outright lead on 4/4 ... not many would have predicted them beforehand. Still, a long way to go and many others are in contention. The Russkies put an end to their indifferent form with a comprehensive 4-0 walloping of Scotland. Luke McShane and Danny Gormally have played well for them but Wells and Pert are struggling.
Tomorrow it’s the big one ... us against Cyprus, the only two teams on 0/4. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
Ireland 3-1 Wales Orr v Spice
Finland 3-1 Wales
Jones against English attack expert Tapani Sammalvou
“Ymosodiad Dewr; Amddyffyniad Sicr”