After yesterday’s excellent performance, it’s back to a team similar in standard to Bolivia 2 rounds ago, which we won 2.5 – 1.5. Ioan is on target for an IM norm, his tournament performance rating currently being above the required 2450. I’ll certainly do everything I can to help him achieve this target over the required 9 rounds.
Jones Richard S
? - ?
0 - 1
Blackburn Jonathan Lb
0 - 1
1 - 0
Games in the order they finished:
Ioan (B) faced an opponent well prepared and managed to steer Ioan into a Dragon fianchetto variation. Ioan used up quite a lot of time, and his pieces became slightly awkwardly placed. W won the ‘b’ pawn, but B was able to penetrate W’s a file for some compensation. W was able to improve his position by exchanging some pieces, and Ioan, running short of time, dropped a bishop to a rook fork.
This is a blow to Ioan’s IM norm chance, I will have to keep a close check on potential opponents and either play both Richard and Ioan or not play either accordingly (e.g. if there is a suitable player only on board 1, Richard is happy to stand aside, a great attitude).
Richard (W) faced an irregular defence, but still managed to get a nice position. He should have played dxe5 instead of Rg1 to maintain a good advantage, and indeed after exf4 Richard suddenly realised he could not play the intended Qxf4 because of Rxc3, bxc3 Qb6+. When Richard later won his pawn back, the position was finely balanced, and petered out into a 3 fold repetition.
The finish was rather amusing as Richard offered a draw, to which his opponent wasn’t readily going to agree, so Richard told him he (Richard) was about to play Qf3 for a 3rd repetition. I involved the arbiter who was told by the B player that he (Black) may play something different, to which all 3 of us replied (to the effect) he wouldn’t be having the opportunity to make another move (!).
Jon’s (W) game was a KID/Benoni g3 line, in which B built up a fortress of pawns on the B squares, and the position looked akin to a Czech Benoni structure. The position became very blocked and Jon could have repeated moves, with most/all the pieces on, by Bg5-h6 to achieve a draw, but with Ioan already losing, played on for the team (well done Jon). Progress was still limited to a space advantage only, and Jon’s Nxe5, to unbalance the position may have been a bit too speculative, or certainly no more than even chances. As it went, B won back 2 pawns, and Jon’s rooks although doubled on the 7th, proved an inadequate match for the R + B + N.
Alan (B) played his favourite French MacCutcheon, with his opponent (according to Alan) playing a rather innocuous line. This actually looked quite threatening as W transferred his rooks to the kingside, but Alan calmly played g5 to parry this. W rashly opened the ‘g’ file, and B subsequently won the ‘e’ pawn to reach a R + B ending with 5 v 4 pawns. Eventually B managed to create connected passed ‘e’ and ‘f’ pawns, which proved decisive (in the final position B is threatening Rxh5 mate !). A well played game throughout by Alan.
So another near miss, but team spirit and morale are really good, and I am optimistic we can have a good run-in.
3 : 1
Blackburn Suzie G
1 - 0
Mazariegos Silvia Carolina
0 - 1
1 - 0
Owens Megan R
1 - 0
The women continue to impress with another excellent win today, this time against Guatemala. In board order a win for Suzy, a loss for Olivia, and a couple of much needed wins for Julie W and Megan. Looks like it will be up amongst the ‘big girls’ tomorrow (!), a great achievement.
Captain, Wales Men
We played the IPCA (International Physically Disabled Chess Assosiation) in this round. Olivia and Julie V played well and deserved wins. Meg, black on board 3 didn't play her best and lost after a long battle. Julie W was last to finish and was cross with herself for not getting the point after a promising start. We finally drew the match 2-2
Paired against Bolivia. Julie V on board 4 gained the advantage early on and went on to win. Olivia was next to finish with another win although she admitted the game wasn't her usual standard. Suzy settled for a draw, and Julie W's advantage slipped away as she ran into time trouble. We won this round 2 1/2 - 1 1/2
We played Guatemala in this round who had a similar ranked team. These were important games for Julie W and Meg as they were not 'playing up' a board, and needed to regain their confidence after some long fought battles which hadn't given the results they wanted. Fortunately they both won :) Olivia felt she didn't play her best again and lost. Suzy held out in her game, and after declining a draw went onto confidently win from a position revised from analysis of Alan's game the day before. We won this match 3-0
After this round we were lying 46th ! in the ranking list and on the same match points as England !