European Club Cup 19th - 27th October 2013

EUROPEAN CLUB CUP – RHODES

 

Reports from both teams below.

SCROLL DOWN FOR WHITE KNIGHTS REPORT

 

CARDIGAN – Report by Rudy van Kemenade

 

 

Round 1

 

Very sunny at the Rhodos Palace complex when the sun rises above the hill behind us from 8 in the morning in a clear blue sky. Those on the other side of the hotel have a view of the Turkish shoreline not too far away. The Hotel & Conference centre is complex and winding with lifts in odd corners perhaps a bit like the old medieval town itself, 4 km away. Playing facilities are excellent, with a dedicated arbiter for each couple of rows.

 

Cardigan started off as the bottom ranked team, with two players non FIDE rated in a 52 Open team event, until a 53rd Greek team entered at the last minute. There are a further 10 teams in a women's event with current Women's World Champion, Hou Yifan, playing.

 

In the first round, we were playing a strong team, Tammer Shakki from Tampere in Finland, which was able to field 2 IMs at the top and 2 FMs at the bottom. They decided to field their strongest team against us.

 

Tony and Colin both ended up facing a similar variation of the Catalan; both taking back on d5 with a knight rather than a pawn, allowing a dangerous e4 and d5 break. Tony's king got caught in the centre and he resigned when the White pieces broke through in the centre. Colin dropped a centre pawn, getting some play in compensation, but in the melee he lost another pawn and an exchange.

 

Rudy got an excellent position from his Bird Leningrad against a 2350 FM with his opponent getting more than an hour behind on the clock. White could have tried to win a stranded pawn on e3, but sacrificed one instead to get piece activity, especially against a weak b7 pawn. Black opened up the kingside while White attacked in the centre. At the end, White had the king trapped on the back rank with a rook on the 7th: a pawn down but trying to get king and knight in as well. Rudy took a perpetual and despite a GM kibitzer in analysis suggesting White must be winning, the engines confirm there are enough Black resources.

 

Gerry, playing an IM (who had avoided his favourite Dragon with a King's Indian Attack formation), tried unsuccessfully to prevent e4 and got a difficult defensive position, although surviving the initial onslaught. Then White over pressed, giving up a pawn to get at the king with queen and opposite colour bishops. However, Black remained in a solid superior position, forcing White to take a draw by repetition. Analysis afterwards indicated that Gerry, by trying to run his king away, could easily have lost his queen or his king. It took an engine to find the correct queen placement for the likelihood of a Black win.

 

Julie's game was a complex mainline Ruy Lopez with both sides manoeuvring for space advantage: Julie on the kingside, Black on the queenside. After some complexities, Black won a vital queenside pawn. Julie tried opening up in the centre, gave up a piece to stop a pawn queening, but eventually her attempts at a perpetual were foiled, and she resigned with another pawn about to queen.

 

Iolo's game was perhaps most complex of all. His IM opponent elected for a Dutch Stonewall, advancing pawns on the queenside with White countering in the centre. Exchanges led to White having rook and pawn against bishop and knight. Further developments led to Black gaining a passed b pawn and White  passed d and a pawns. By now Black was winning, and Iolo had two rooks vs queen and knight. An inaccuracy led to a position in which Iolo was able to queen, and have queen and rook vs queen and bishop. But, with both sides living on increments, White, trying to avoid perpetual, lost the rook, and never managed to find one later.

 

The inclusion of the Greek team has led to a bye in subsequent rounds, and Cardigan, as the next lowest rated team, have been given this for Round 2, despite 3 teams scoring 0 & about 6 scoring only a ½ in the first round. A little disappointing.

 

 

Round 3

 

The previous day, as we were not playing, some of the team went on a daytrip to Lindos, a fortified cultic centre, perched high on a hill (indeed there were donkeys for hire to carry one there). It was a complex overlay of Greek, Roman, Crusader and Ottoman buildings and ramparts. The rest of the party preferred to explore the narrow, meandering streets of Medieval Rhodes Old Town, with its numerous shops and leisure outlets.

We were given a 1 point bye in Round 2 as the next lowest graded team, hence for Round 3 we got an even stronger team to play, and an upfloat to Asker from Norway, on 2 points. Thus Cardigan faced a team with 2 GMs, an IM and a couple of FMs and a CM.

Surprisingly, things were not looking at all bad at first, until the 3-400 grade difference began to tell.

John played the Ruy, and faced by an early d5 offer of a pawn, preferred to keep things closed. He got a solid enough position, but got tempted into some queen side play, when an advanced black b pawn caused mayhem.

Rudy got an excellent position against an IM when White reacted rather passively to an early d5 move in the Petroff (admitting afterwards he had not looked thoroughly at Rudy's previous games and felt he was struggling to gain equality). The game looked rather level with perhaps a slight Black edge, which at one point might have increased with a more accurate Queen move. Black had earlier seen Qa4 coming, with a threat to mate and a pawn, but a slight inaccuracy led to a couple of pawns going and a victorious White b pawn up the board.

Julie, facing an FM, defended with a King's Indian against a Botwinnik English, but although her pieces seemed well placed, she failed to prevent a king side pawn advance by White. This soon won a piece and Black decided it was not a good idea to carry on.

Iolo faced a GM, who turned his customary Old Indian defence into something more like a King's Indian against an English. Gradually the Black pieces got into passive positions, allowing White a break in the centre with a c5 thrust. Perhaps White got too ambitious, turning his attentions to the King instead of being content with an extra central pawn. But Iolo, running low on time, succumbed to a double rook and queen assault on his King.

Tony, again, looked to be doing well. With an exchange French, he advanced his pawn on the queen side against the castled King. After various tactical interludes, which looked levellish, it got down to a rook & knight endgame in which all of White's advanced pawns fell victim to the Black pieces.

Gerry also must have been fine. Playing an English, he doubled his opponents pawns on an open c file, then switched to infiltrating against the Black King. Gradually pieces were swapped off into an endgame with a knight and 6 pawns each: White having 2 to 1 on the queen side, Black two centre pawns. Unfortunately Gerry tried to win a pawn on the king side, which only ended in the GM thinking further ahead and gaining two connected passed there, with White still 2 to 1 on the Queen side. The passed pawns yielded Black victory.

So a 6-0 whitewash, but Cardigan should have got some points for trying?

 

 

Round 4

Success at last! We got to play the bottom team, Ippotis Rodu (Knights of Rhodes) whose late inclusion had caused the bye in the first place. It was a mixed team with a ten-year-old and a sixteen-year-old, and several players without FIDE ratings or severely underrated.

For example, Tony was up against the ten-year-old who was rated 1369, but played more like an 1800. In a French McCutcheon, Tony grabbed several pawns offered as sacrifices then gave one back. At the crucial stage White still had nasty threats and offered a bishop, which Tony took, overlooking that he would be mated in 2. But the bishop move was wrong as it allowed Tony to keep a winning game. Instead, Rh8+ followed by Qh7 would have forced Black in turn to find a bishop sacrifice to draw by perpetual.

On the next board up, Rudy faced a 1996, playing stronger than that. Having played a sequence of moves intending to advance a knight, Rudy unfortunately began to think about things, and ended up playing the other knight backwards. Black duly won a queenside pawn, leaving White to try desperate measures against two passed connected pawns. After a few inaccuracies by Black in time pressure, White got a knight invading on the kingside and the possibility of forcing through an h pawn. The critical position for Black occurred on move 41, where having gained 30 minutes on the clock, he had time to spend 20 of them working things out, and force through the queenside pawns rather than allow a drawn position with a knight holding Black’s h pawn, White protected d5 holding the Black king, and White king holding the two queen pawns. So 0-2.

Colin opened up the scoring for Cardigan. Playing a French Winawer with early …c4 by Black, it was a closed position, until White unwisely tried a sacrifice to break things open. It gained some play, but Black gave up the queen for rook & knight, leaving the lone white queen to defend her king against the black army.

Gerry had a decent position from something resembling a Modern Benoni, with active queenside pawns. White sacrificed an exchange to get rid of the dark-squared bishop, but in the end, the rook was able to gain the extra pawns needed for victory.  2-2.

Iolo, in a QP opening with his opponent playing an early …Bg4, preferred to gain the two bishops rather than a pawn. Then the centre pawns, supported by the bishops began to roll forward, restricting Black’s movements. At one point White might have won a piece, but instead got a deadly protected passed pawn on d6, which eventually netted an extra piece, and his opponent resigned. 3-2.

This left Julie playing to ensure the match. In a Bishop's Opening, an incautious …Bg4 netted Julie a pawn with a Bxf7+ combination, creating a wandering Black king. Black made the best of it, by aiming everything against White’s king while tucking his own king away on the queenside. White duly opened up around there, and with the time limit approaching, Julie had her eye on successful Rxa7 sacrifices. The Black king returned to the centre, and White failed to find several quick finishes. Then it was Black's turn: sacrificing a rook on g3 to break into the king’s position. It appears that there is a long series of moves that lead to a perpetual eventually (courtesy of Hiarcs14), which the team failed to find when looking at the game in the bar afterwards. Instead Black tried for a mate, was held up, and then both White rooks, aided by the bishop on c4, swept via the queenside to deliver mate.

4-2, and off the bottom lines.

 

 

Round 5

 

After a win your team goes soaring up the table, and you draw an even stronger team to play. This turned out to be number 39, The Smashing Pawns Belvaux from Luxemburg.

John, unrated at FIDE level, played Pierre Gengler 2134, and had predicted the Exchange Variation against his French Winawer. Black gained a good position in the centre, similar to a Petroff, but instead of massing his forces in the centre, decided to open a line on the queenside. This resulted in White harassing some weak pawns, doubling rookss on the open c file, and under pressure, Black dropped a knight.

Julie played Fiona Steil Antoni who, at 2185, was graded some 400 points above her. At first the game proceeded smoothly with Julie's positional Ruy Lopez. An unusual early …Ne8 by Black gave White ideas of sacrificing an h pawn to open up the kingside. Unfortunately a miscalculation led to doubled f pawns, and a knight was able to settle on f4. White had to give up a knight to prevent the queen coming in to mate, and there was not enough compensation in the way of counter attack.

Colin, also FIDE unrated, faced Olivier Jeitz, 2010, playing a Scandinavian …Qd6. White developed simply, and with kings on opposite sides, opened up the g file for his rooks. Black, in return, got pressure against a backward f2 pawn, though White had a splendid knight on e4 blocking an isolated e pawn. Trying to force the pace, the knight went over to force Black to play …g5, but White was unable to follow up with h4, lost the f pawn, and then there were too many Black pawns.

Playing well against an IM, Tom Weber (2415), Gerry's English again surprised his opponent and he got excellent pressure down the c file. With pieces flying about, White tried to win an exchange. In the complications that followed, Black also looked to win an exchange, and won when a queen check picked off White’s knight on d7. What Gerry had missed was a temporary piece sac on e5, which would have won another pawn on the c file and regain the piece on c8, going two pawns up and winning.

Rudy was in for a slight surprise against Christian Jetz, FM (2222), who has only played e4 in available databases. However, perhaps because of a drawn Petroff against Iolo in the European Team event of 2011, he decided not to play another one, but specially prepared a solid variation against Black's Budapest. White got a space advantage, but the black pieces lay in waiting, ready to emerge if White over pressed. White did miss two chances of winning lines, but angled for a knight endgame a pawn up. White was, by now, living on 30 sec increments and Rudy had correctly seen that it took White time to collect the pawn, which allowed Black’s king to become very active, and this was sufficient to be able to get rid of all White’s pawns, thus drawing.

Iolo drew his strongest opponent yet, the IM Vladimir Hamitevici (2490). There ensued a Bogoindian, transposing to Catalan, where the c and d pawns exchanged, leaving Iolo as Black with knight and rook against rook and bishop. White tried to make something of this, to confuse Iolo in the endgame, but instead miscalculated & Black emerged with an extra a pawn in a rook ending with 3 pawns each on the other side, which was not enough for a win for Iolo.

So, a 1-5 loss, but not bad against a strong team.

 

 

Round 6

 

Our reward for losing 5-1 in the preceding round was to play an even higher average rated team, the Finnish Chess Club Velhot, ranked no 31 (who only drew their previous match)

Rudy was allowed to play his Petroff against FM Timo Paakkonen (2290), who chose the Nc3 & Nxe5 line. Complex piece manoeuvring ensued: with White coming close to inadvertently allowing the same position to occur three times. White won the d pawn, but Black took a c pawn, and seemed to have counterplay. However White found a quiet move and Rudy had to sac a piece for 2 pawns: resigning when that became a rook for 2 pawns.

Iolo, against another IM, Sampsa Nyysti (2358), was also allowed to play his Petroff, and seemed to be doing fine in the d4 line where White ends up with a pawn on e5. Black castled queenside, and then things gradually got worse as White attacked on that flank. The curious position in which Iolo resigned had his queen stuck on a8, with the king on b8 keeping her company.

Gerry also had a tough opponent, the FM Frans Valli (2282), and never really felt happy with his c4 opening, getting his pieces onto slightly passive squares. Trying to open up against a king in the centre, it was Black’s pieces that got onto active squares instead. An injudicious bishop move allowed Black to centralize, and the active black rooks soon forced the win of a bishop.

Colin, against Niko Papula (1980), had a decent position against a Sicilian for a long time. Then, trying to force the position open with …f5, he lost the e4 pawn. From then on Black pushed the centre pawns (aided by the 2 bishops) until one of them queened, winning an exchange. Colin resigned when a b pawn also was about to queen.

Julie, against Santul Kosmo (2237), experimented with the Hippopotamous Defence. White might have played a little sharper in the opening, but Julie got a decent King's Indian type setup with good attacking chances. Black chose to keep her king in the centre, and then a c5-c6 more or less forced the win of a piece, and the kingside attack was not enough compensation.

This left Tony, on board 5, fighting with his usual Trompovsky against the powerful Petri Hokkanen (2301). Following a series of exchanges, White entered a rook ending in which he had, in effect, an extra passed d pawn: Black having 2 f pawns. White, perhaps too quickly, pushed the d pawn to d7, where the king had to blockade it on d8. Trying to win, White had to allow all the kingside pawns to be exchanged, and lose his d pawn, leaving the position with Black having pawns on a6 and b7 to White's on a5. Black probably missed several winning ideas, and elected to play with just an a pawn and a slightly cut off white king. Just as it seemed all all over, as Black built a bridge to get his K out of the a pawn's way, Tony came down the other side with all sorts of ingenious mating threats if Black was not careful. Then, right at the end, after checking the white king away, Black played a rook to a3, giving White  a series of repeating checks. So the game was drawn in the long run. However Black had missed an ingenious rook sac to gain a queen with check, which would have resulted in the theoretically winning queen v rook scenario.

0.5-5.5: whitewash avoided. Maybe a slightly easier match tomorrow?

 

 

Round 7

 

The final round, and yet another team seeded above us, SV Muelheim Nord, ranked 49, so within reach.

Gerry was first to score, when his higher rated opponent tired of defending a disintegrating position. He got an excellent position from a Modern Benoni, with his queenside pawns advancing and driving a knight away. Black's raking bishops, plus his advanced pawns, meant that White had little to play for.

Rudy played well initially. His Bird Leningrad, designed to avoid his opponent's favourite French Winawer, left Black unsure which side to castle. Despite Black swapping off the light-squared bishop, White was able to outmanoeuvre his opponent and win a piece. Then a bout of thinking left White confused; he tried to simplify, but suddenly found himself the exchange down. Fortunately the bishop on d4 was a powerful piece, and when Black's attempts to mate failed, an ending of bishop and two pawns against a rook was a comfortable draw for White (just a tempo away from winning).

Iolo's QP opening, after early exchanges, led to White having the centre & light-squared bishop against a knight with both pairs of rooks still on. After further exchanges, a double rook ending, with four pawns each was reached. White shed a pawn for activity, then gave up another to force open the 7th for both rooks and a perpetual. An evenly balanced struggle.

Tony faced a two knights arrangement against his French. He got a solid enough position, but then gave his opponent a little too much leeway on the kingside, and White could have forced the win of queen for rook. Instead Black got bishop and rook for queen, and when White failed to make much headway with his queen & remaining rook, the Black rooks became dangerous. When Tony took the perpetual, the engines actually found a win for him if he had moved his f pawn forward!

Julie, having prepared against a possible Hippopotamous, faced a Sicilian instead. White built up an excellent Grand Prix attack, with an advanced black pawn on d3 clogging up the black pieces. White missed a couple of winning chances with an f5 advance; going instead for the king and queen on the h file with her rook. Unfortunately the queen was just able to escape, and although White was able to win the queen in the end, she got mated as a consequence.

With the score now on 2.5 -2.5, it was finally all down to John's game. He played a solid King's Indian setup against a slow King's Indian Attack line up for White. Black grabbed his chance, taking a pawn on b2 after an incautious sequence by White, and might well have been able to help himself to a pawn on a2 as well. After exchanges, Black began slowly but surely to advance pawns on the queenside, and White resigned when …b1= Q was inevitable.

So 3.5-2.5.

 

 

On reflection, the club performed very well, finishing in 45th place, being ranked initially (at 52) the second lowest. We finished with 5 match points, ahead of our companion club White Knights (we were often just a table away), Edinburgh West Club, Adare from Ireland; equal with Gonzaga from Ireland, & just one match point behind Edinburgh Chess Club & Jutes of Kent from England.

We played only one team below us (53) and one within reach (49). The other teams were way above us, at 38, 31, 26 and 25. We were given the bye (only 1 point not 2) and then an upfloat to a team on 2 anyway (Asker 25, who finished in 15th place). The problem with byes is that you get a stronger team in the next round than you would have had otherwise. Several players were unlucky not to score points against their much stronger opposition. Even so, the 5 points gained gave Cardigan a joint second performance with Cardiff over the last 10 years of European clubs, bettered by Nidum's 6 points in 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHITE KNIGHTS – report by Bill Hewitt

 

White Knights Chess Club celebrated their 40th anniversary with a trip to The 29th European Club Championship in Rhodes. White Knights were seeded 50th from 53 teams.

 

 

Round 1

 

 

 

White Knights

 

SK Limhamns (Sweden)

 

1

2029

Alan Young  (w)

1-0

B Ahlander (IM)

2442

2

2069

Bill Hewitt

0.5

C Jepson (IM)

2392

3

2044

Jason Garcia

0-1

L Johansson (FM)

2321

4

1901

David Buttell

0-1

S Schneider

2327

5

1888

Adam May

0-1

P Lindgren (IM)

2278

6

1778

Nicholas Evans

0-1

O Penalver

2264

 

 

 

1.5-4.5

 

 

 

The first round saw us paired with Limhamns of Sweden. They had 2 IMs, an FM and their ratings tapered off to 2264 on board 6. Although they outgraded us heavily on every board, it really was a match we felt we could do well in. This was the first time any of us had played in an event where draw offers were prohibited before move 40, which meant all games would be hard fought. Nicholas was caught out after grabbing a pawn in a Tarrasch. Jason had a very sharp French, and resigned in an ending with his opponent the exchange up. Alan played an excellent game against his IM opponent's Caro-Kann. Alan won his opponent’s queen for a rook, knight and pawn, but sacked the queen back and his opponent resigned. David was slowly ground down in a Benoni. Ironically, my opponent played the "Barry" attack against me, and we eventually drew in 58 moves. Adam was last to finish and was very unfortunate not to draw at the end of a long ending with bishop against knight and pawn.

 

 

Round 2

 

 

 

White Knights

 

White Rose (England)

 

1

2029

Alan Young  (b)

0-1

R Palliser (IM)

2455

2

2069

Bill Hewitt

0-1

J Van de Griendt (FM)

2317

3

2044

Jason Garcia

0-1

P Townsend

2233

4

1901

David Buttell

0-1

S Barrett

2216

5

1888

Adam May

1-0

default

2183

6

1964

David Guy

0-1

K O’Driscoll

2120

 

 

 

1-5

 

 

 

Round 2 saw us up against the English team White Rose. Unfortunately, when we got to the board we found they were defaulting board 5 as their player was still in the UK, so after a morning of preparation, Adam didn't get a game. At one time I thought we’d run them pretty close, but it wasn’t to be. David Buttell’s opponent had sacrificed a pawn in a Kings Indian, but this was clearly insufficient and the other games were mostly pretty even. Alan lost to Richard Palliser IM in a London System to level the match. David Guy sacrificed a piece, but missed a tactic and was lost. I missed a tactic in a Kings Indian attack and dropped a piece in time trouble. Meanwhile, David Buttell’s position had turned and his opponent broke through to win. Jason’s opponent sacrificed a piece for two passed queen side pawns. Jason was unable to stem the tide of pawns and went down in the last game to finish.

In Round 3 we have a German side ranked 42nd. We need a result to avoid a bye in rd4.

 

 

Round 3

 

 

 

White Knights

 

Eppingen (Germany)

 

1

2029

Alan Young  (b)

0-1

C Noe

2247

2

2069

Bill Hewitt

0.5

T Welz

2207

3

2044

Jason Garcia

0-1

T Wener

2147

4

1888

Adam May

0-1

H Denkans

2172

5

1964

David Guy

0-1

J Reirnold

2037

6

1778

Nicholas Evans  

0.5

U Glass

2156

 

 

 

1-5

 

 

 

Round 3 saw us paired with Eppingen of Germany who outgraded us heavily as we went down the board order. Chatting to our opposing captain before the game, we pointed out that no, we weren’t a small town in Scotland and “Swansea” …. (Barclays) premier league was more than sufficient to explain whereabouts Llanelli was in the world!

We lost 1-5 but certainly had our chances and could/should have won two games. Alan had his second black in a row and was saddled with an isolated queen’s pawn by his very impressive young opponent who was probably the best player Alan thinks he’s played in the event so far.

Adam was doing well in an …e5 English going into the middlegame. How to press the advantage wasn’t clear and his opponent eventually turned the tables to win. Jason was black again, this time in a Reti. Jason seemed to have overcome his difficulties on the queenside, but his opponent eventually broke through after much manoeuvring. David Guy was black in a quiet c3 Sicilian. A couple of loose moves and his opponent made no mistake, winning material. I faced the Nimzovitch which became a Pirc and was winning from an early stage. I managed to lose the thread completely but thought it some form of poetic justice at the end when I managed a perpetual check with my two white knights. This left Nicholas in play as White against a Benko. Nicholas made a mockery of his 1778 FIDE grade, by completely outplaying his 2147 opponent, but just when victory was in his grasp, his opponent found a queen sacrifice to force a stalemate.

We have the bye in round 4.

 

 

Round 5

 

 

 

White Knights

 

Butrinti (Albania)

 

1

2029

Alan Young  (w)

0-1

I Seitaj

2380

2

2069

Bill Hewitt

0-1

L Mihasi

2030

3

2044

Jason Garcia

0.5

M Medjini

1997

4

1901

David Buttell

0.1

E Mihasi

1850

5

1888

Adam May

1-0

P Kollagji

 

6

1778

Nicholas Evans

0.5

F Karalliu

 

 

 

 

2-4

 

 

 

Round 5 saw us paired with Butrinti of Albania. We managed to field a full team with a few players having been struck down with illness over the last few days. Again, a case of chances missed in a match we should have drawn, maybe even won. This time, though, it was chances missed against lower rated opponents. Jason was first to finish in a sharp Sicilian. With only a couple of minutes left after 17 moves, Jason’s game ended in a perpetual check after he had sacrificed material. Later analysis showed Jason should have won. Alan played another very strong opponent and had an interesting game in a Two Knights variation. The Albanian accepted a sacrificed pawn and his pawn structure looked to be giving Alan compensation, but in the end, it didn’t prove to be enough. I misplayed the opening but had turned the tables. I disdained winning the exchange, played for an attack, but was lost soon after. Adam scored his first win, outplaying his opponent in an English. His opponent lost on time before making his 40th move; material down and in a lost position. David Buttell defended a London system, but was left with a bad French bishop behind a wall of pawns. His opponent was able to play on both flanks and broke through on the kingside to secure the win. This left Nicholas still in play with the match already lost. Nicholas defended a quiet Four Knights variation for 60 moves. His opponent tried to play on both flanks as well but eventually, Nicholas deservedly held the draw.

 

 

Round 6

 

 

 

White Knights

 

SV Voerendaal (Holland)

 

1

2029

Alan Young  (w)

0-1

P Driessens

2308

2

2069

Bill Hewitt

0-1

D Ciornei

2172

3

2044

Jason Garcia

0.5

B Merx

2129

4

1888

Adam May

0-1

L Zimmerman

2102

5

1964

David Guy

0-1

M Winkels

2097

6

1778

Nicholas Evans  

1-0

E Morren

1747

 

 

 

1.5-4.5

 

 

 

Alan’s opponent played the French with 3 … Be7 followed up with an early …g5. Alan gave up a pawn but his opponent kept control of the position to win. David Guy accepted the Benko pawn and entered an ending with equal material. David’s king proved the more exposed of the two, so we were 2-0 down. I was black in another open Sicilian, with White attacking the kingside and Black the queenside. I managed to convert a winning position into a losing one with a couple of loose moves. As Black, in an English, Nicholas had dropped a pawn in the opening but his opponent declined to take the exchange as well. Nicholas had plenty of positional compensation for the pawn. He regained the material and entered the ending a pawn up. He coolly converted the position to record the full point. Adam had Black in a … Bf5 classical Caro-Kann. The position was fine for Black with queenside counterplay underway. The position turned and his opponent won the queen and pawn ending. Jason’s Scotch opening resulted in an interesting middlegame. For a time Jason thought he may have been a little worse in the late middlegame, but drew the knight endgame comfortably.

 

 

Round 7

 

 

 

White Knights

 

Rhodes (Greece)

 

1

2029

Alan Young  (w)

1-0

D Menikos

 

2

2069

Bill Hewitt

0.5

S Karaboikis

 

3

2044

Jason Garcia

1-0

D Mavreas

1997

4

1901

David Buttell

1-0

S Rousos

1369

5

1888

Adam May

1-0

A Alevizos

 

6

1778

Nicholas Evans  

1-0

E Michelakis

 

 

 

 

5.5-0.5

 

 

 

We won our final match, but the score line doesn’t tell the whole story. Alan was White in another French. and the Greek gift sacrifice Bxh7+, Ng5+ & Qh5 seemed to be the prelude to a simple win. Unfortunately, he should have diverted the queen from c7 first with pawn to b6. As it was, his opponent played … Qxc2 leaving Alan a piece down. At this point, Jason had also dropped a piece so we were in some trouble. Nicholas continued his marvellous run to record the first point. As Black in an Evans Gambit, he trebled on the f file and won quickly. David Buttell’s opponent misplayed the Yugoslav against his Dragon and David converted the initiative into a win, so we were 2-0 up. I drew in a quiet Grand Prix Attack which ended in a perpetual check. By now had Alan set his opponent a few problems and recovered his piece, but he was still two pawns down in the ending. Undeterred, the game was now going Alan’s way and he won a piece and later the game. Jason had also turned the tables and won his opponent’s queen for two pieces. Adam faced the  …Bc5 response to his English for the third time. A good positional squeeze from Adam and we scored a resounding 5.5-0.5 victory.

We ended the tournament in 50th place, matching our seeding.