4NCL Match Report 17 Nov

In terms of league fixtures, Tuesday saw the final week of the current 4NCL online season but with the top 4 teams in each division going through to their particular semi finals, Horsham 1 secured their place in the league 3 play offs with an emphatic win by 3.5-0.5. Their semi final is on 1 December (and can of course be watched online) with the hope of a final on 15 December.

Dix wrapped up a nice quick win with white within 17 moves as his opponent resigned in a poor position. Nick's opponent played well against the London system until he castled Queen side which allowed a very quick attack on open files, the king lost in the middle of the board forcing an early resignation.

Alex was next to finish playing the Sicilian, his opponent also castled Queen side and Alex managed to get the king attack in first and resignation soon followed as Alex pilled on the pressure. Mark had a really tough game playing black and both sides had good chances but under time pressure none were taken, a very edge of the seat draw played out.

Horsham 3 were up against a strong team in War and Piece 2. Sam had a family emergency at the last minute so defaulted his game. Andrew almost missed the game, but having arrived on time struggled for composure and his opponent grabbed an early lead that proved decisive. Charlie and Harry both had close games that they ultimately lost due to tricky tactics under time pressure.

Turning to Horsham 2 (my team) I am getting a bit of a complex as in neither of our two match wins have I actually played as was again the case last night, though with the tightest possible score.

John's reputation had evidently gone before him and his opponent failed to even put in an appearance, effectively giving us a 1.5 point start (1 point for the win and 0.5 deduction from the other team for defaulting) but not quite so smooth thereafter!

Richard's game against a QP opening got off at a blistering pace with both queens and half the minor pieces off the board within 12 moves and before much longer into an end game with one rook each and opposite coloured bishops. A draw seemed inevitable except that Richard pressed for more and walked into a tactic with what seemed like a natural move. I was watching the game and was surprised that Richard didn't sense my apprehension through the ether!

With Marian's opponent expanding aggressively on the kingside, both castled long and through complicated tactics Marian nicely won a minor piece for 2 pawns. Unfortunately this was gifted back shortly thereafter and in a tough endgame he was just unable to hold.

This left Guy needing to win and in a very hairy game featuring his Max Lange attack the computer analysis must have been fluctuating wildly between the two players. Indeed fairly early on I feared the worst (computer indeed subsequently showed -6 at that point!) but difficult to play for both sides and in ever more complex tactics, Guy came out on top.

An enjoyable competition which is set for season 3 commencing late January.