Archive for category Leagues

4NCL Finale

We got home from St Petersburg after 9pm on Thursday evening just in time to vote in the council elections.By Saturday morning we were on the road to Hinckley for the final 4NCL weekend, in fact it was also my first of the season and it was good to meet up with my Wood Green teammates and new recruits. I started with an interesting game with Peter Wells -after my exertions in Russia another long endgame was not especially welcome but my opponent erred late on and I managed to win. At dinner that evening Lawrence Trent was kind enough to explain the 2Nf3e6 3g3 Sicilian to me (amongst other things) but the next day I went my own way in a game in that line with Graham Morrison. My opening scheme proved underwhelming but I triumphed in the end.
As expected the big match came against Guildford on the Bank Holiday Monday in which a draw would enable them to take the title. There were a number of surprise guests on both sides but it seemed fated that no matter how the board orders were shuffled I would end up playing Laurent Fressinet who took the same plane back from Russia as me;another lengthy game was the result, I thought I had a massive position from the opening but the tricky 15…Ne4 limited the damage. We eventually ended up in a rook and pawn endgame where I had an extra pawn, I initially imagined this would be a fairly easy draw, but as this game and the subsequent Carlsen-Wang Hao game showed it is not that simple. Unfortunately the 4-4 draw was of little use to Wood Green but the hard fought match involving many homegrown players was a fitting finale to the season.

Turkish Tragesty*

I was happy to return to the Turkish League for the second time, although the dates selected proved unfortunate for me as they were very unfriendly for both the World Open and the British Championship which I originally planned to play at least one of. My team ISEK Aquamatch was in optimistic mood as in my absence the previous year they had won the league but hopes of defending the title proved farfetched. Two years ago the top boards were considerably less tough as in the interim many teams had shrewdly recruited 2600 rated young foreigners. It’s easy to forget how many strong players there are out there that you may well not be aware of. I began with a sequence of five draws before finding someone in worse shape than me in the second game of the day in round 7.
In passing whilst it’s obviously undesirable to play 2 games in a day the ordeal could be minimised if some sensible rules regarding time controls were applied to this situation. I would think 90mins +30 secs for the whole game should be a maximum timelimit allowed for a double header.
The team situation was even worse with only one win in seven; I think four consecutive defeats might be a team worst for me. After a crisis meeting on the free day, (ironically in the Turkish League two double round days are neatly bisected by a free day as, if I understand it correctly, for some reason this allows the local participants to dodge military service) we established a new plan to avoid relegation which with four wins in the last six rounds we narrowly achieved. I actually won a couple of decent games against Tregubov and Safarli but managed to sour my tournament in the last round with a horrible blunder.


*For those of you wondering if my spellchecker is on the blink, tragesty was Julian Hodgson’s favourite description of such incidents, when someone informed him it was not a word, he replied that it was a cross between a travesty and a tragedy I’m sure the OED will catch up soon.

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Team Triumphs

With team chess in the close season in Germany and the UK I thought I would wrap up the end of the Bundesliga and 4NCL. Both leagues ended happily for my respective teams Grenke Leasing’s Baden-Baden and Wood Green. I had contrasting seasons, several weekends containing only draws in Germany, but a memorable win in the key match v Werder Bremen which was helpful in retaining the title. I scored 5/5 back at home but all in matches that were not too competitive as Wood Green cruised home whilst out rivals floundered.

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Car Cacophony

There are many good things about chess organisation in France, where the federation is much more dynamic than in England but this year the French league, played in one block of 11 games, was held in truly dismal playing conditions. The venue which housed the games was a car museum which was not all bad as you could inspect Formula 1 cars when they more accurately resembled cigarette packs on wheels and other older automobiles, but the playing hall did not cut the mustard. The lack of windows and randomly pointing spotlighting are not so unusual and the leaking roof and horrendous noise when it rained could be considered a bit unlucky; however the looped music which repeated several times throughout the games as well as the hubbub from the tours which was just as frequent were excessive. I have never seen so many players using earplugs.
The only really comparable experience I can remember was the first game of my match versus Tiviakov which was held in the Trump towers shopping centre in new York. Somewhat bizarrely the games had been situated in the middle of the mall just alongside an escalator which enabled shoppers to peer down on the games as they ascended which was suboptimal (and I write as someone who won with black that day). However at least the problem was resolved before the next game, in France nothing changed.

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Bundesliga Champions!

Baden-Baden Champions 2011One advantage of playing for a strong team is that is quite easy to win a competition without contributing much personally. So it was a pleasant change of pace to finish the German season with 2 wins in important matches v Eppingen and Werder Bremen and a decent score of 7,5/9. Much better than last season when my ‘contribution’ against Bremen was less useful. One oddity in the German league is that all games are rated on your ELO at the start of the season otherwise I might have gained a few more rating points .

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Bundesliga 2010-11: Rounds 1-4, 7

Bundesliga Round 1, Saturday 9th October 2010

SG Solingen OSG Baden-Baden
(W) Chanda Sandipan 2641 1/2 – 1/2 Peter Svidler 2731
(B) Jan Werle 2574 0 – 1 Sergei Movsesian 2723
(W) Predrag Nikolic 2597 1/2 – 1/2 Etienne Bacrot 2716
(B) Markus Ragger 2628 1/2 – 1/2 Michael Adams 2728
(W) Romain Edouard 2636 0 – 1 Francisco Vallejo-Pons 2697
(B) Artur Jussupow 2589 0 – 1 Arkadij Naiditsch 2674
(W) Sipke Ernst 2587 1/2 – 1/2 Jan Gustafsson 2646
(B) Alexander Naumann 2544 1/2 – 1/2 Philipp Schlosser 2574
2.5 – 5.5

Bundesliga Round 2, Sunday 10th October 2010

OSG Baden-Baden SC 1950 Remagen
(W) Peter Svidler 2731 1- 0 Tigran Gharamian 2658
(B) Sergei Movsesian 2723 1/2 – 1/2 Mircea Parligras 2601
(W) Etienne Bacrot 2716 1- 0 Jean-Marc Degraeve 2561
(B) Michael Adams 2728 1- 0 Alexandre Dgebuadze 2524
(W) Francisco Vallejo-Pons 2697 1- 0 Benjamin Bok 2453
(B) Arkadij Naiditsch 2674 1- 0 Bart Michiels 2459
(W) Jan Gustafsson 2646 1/2 – 1/2 Petar Popovic 2495
(B) Philipp Schlosser 2574 1/2 – 1/2 Jens Kipper 2394
6.5 – 1.5

Bundesliga Round 7, Friday 12th November 2010

OSG Baden-Baden SC Eppingen
(W) Peter Svidler 2731 1/2 – 1/2 Ferenc Berkes 2678
(B) Michael Adams 2728 1 – 0 Sergei Tiviakov 2637
(W) Peter-Heine Nielsen 2670 1/2 – 1/2 Csaba Balogh 2608
(B) Arkadij Naiditsch 2674 1/2 – 1/2 Zoltan Gyimesi 2595
(W) Georg Meier 2659 1/2 – 1/2 Peter Acs 2601
(B) Jan Gustafsson 2646 1/2 – 1/2 Falko Bindrich 2507
(W) Rustem Dautov 2602 1/2 – 1/2 Arik Braun 2538
(B) Philipp Schlosser 2574 0 – 1 Zoltan Medvegy 2531
4 – 4

Bundesliga Round 3, Saturday 13th November 2010

SV Wattenscheid 1930 OSG Baden-Baden
(W) Mateusz Bartel 2599 1/2 – 1/2 Peter Svidler 2731
(B) Sebastian Bogner 2549 1/2 – 1/2 Michael Adams 2728
(W) Pawel Czarnota 2524 0 – 1 Peter-Heine Nielsen 2670
(B) Alexander Rustemov 2541 0 – 1 Arkadij Naiditsch 2674
(W) Ralf Appel 2547 1 – 0 Georg Meier 2659
(B) Florian Handke 2494 1/2 – 1/2 Jan Gustafsson 2646
(W) Tobias Hirneise 2436 0 – 1 Rustem Dautov 2602
(B) Dr. Volkmar Dinstuhl 2424 0 – 1 Fabian Doettling 2579
2.5 – 5.5

Bundesliga Round 4, Sunday 14th November 2010

OSG Baden-Baden SK Turm Emsdetten
(W) Peter Svidler 2731 1/2 – 1/2 Anish Giri 2677
(B) Michael Adams 2728 1 – 0 Wouter Spoelman 2538
(W) Peter-Heine Nielsen 2670 1 – 0 Ruud Janssen 2498
(B) Arkadij Naiditsch 2674 1/2 – 1/2 Daan Brandenburg 2519
(W) Georg Meier 2659 1 – 0 Roeland Pruijssers 2483
(B) Jan Gustafsson 2646 1/2 – 1/2 Thomas Fiebig 2453
(W) Fabian Doettling 2579 1 – 0 Christov Kleijn 2427
(B) Philipp Schlosser 2574 1 – 0 Christian Richter 2392
7 – 1

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French Cup Fortress

I enjoyed reading Eric Hallsworth’s columns on chess engines’ failings in 2 recent editions of Chess magazine and found that a similar silicon bemusement had occurred in one of my games.  It took place in the final of the French Cup, which was not my finest hour, perhaps affected by “First Game Syndrome” in my opening appearance for a new team. The word lucky is completely insufficient to describe the amount of good fortune I needed to win the game but the fortress possibility at the end is fairly unusual.

After the game I got the happy news that the football had finished 4-1 to Germany!

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