Close NCCL match at Wanstead

Wanstead A v Ilford 2, Tuesday 29 November 2022.
8 board match, G80 + 10
Jef Page, captain.

 NORTH CIRCULAR CHESS LEAGUE   Division A  

                    WANSTEAD I 3½ – 2½ ILFORD
2073        JOHN CAWDERY   ½   TOM BARTON 1921   b
2029                STEVEN RIX  0-1  RAHUL GHOSE 1915  w
2000   ASHLEY  FREEMAN  1-0  NEVILLE TWITCHELL 1947
1906        IAN HUNNABLE  0-1   JEF PAGE 1666
1863      PHIL STANILAND 1-0   TAHA UNDRE 1585
1867      MARK MURRELL 1-0   BIEL OBIOLS* 1571

Wanstead won the toss- White on odd boards.
Detailed result here: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/124520

A much closer match result than I expected fearing the worst. Although we were outgraded on every board by a very strong Wanted team we did well.

Taha was overwhelmed by Phil’s neat play to swamp the board with a massive pawn advance and his Kn threatened to wipe out Undre’s pawns whilst Biel was doing well holding up Mark’s attack until he missed a B fork on his R & Kn.          It was a match of two contrasting Alekhine openings. Rahul crushed the life out of Rix’s Alekhine stopping him from developing his pieces and invading his K-side position with his Kn. Neville meanwhile had a more open game to defend but his Alekhine saw him drop pawns and the advance of Freeman’s c and d pawns overwhelmed Nev. Rahul has had a very good season so far – see his game and the puzzle like board position below.

Hunnable built up a good position but then I took the opportunity to break open the centre and get in a counter-attack. Ian made a real blunder which cost him a Kn and when I forced off his Queen in the ending he quickly resigned. The match hinged on Tom’s game and he also had trouble defending as Cawdrey’s a & b pawns tried to storm up the board to win a R&P endgame.  But neat counter play saw Tom exchange off all the other pawns on the board, win Steven’s extra pawn gaining an unlikely draw which was very good but not quite enough to save the match.

Puzzle like position after 19 … c6?
What did White play to win? Game score and solution below.

Rahul Ghose – Steven Rix
1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. c4 Nb6 4. d4 d6 5. f4 g6 6. Nf3 Bg7 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Be3 Be6 9. b3 Bg4 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Qxf3 Nc6 12. Rd1 dxe5 13. dxe5 Qc8 14. c5 Nd7 15. Bb5 Ndb8 16. O-O e6 17. Ne4 Ne7 18. Nf6+ Kh8 19. Qf2 c6 20. Qh4 h6 21. f5 Nxf5 22. Rxf5 exf5 23. Bxh6 Qe6 24. Bxg7+ *

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