4 NCL 

We are indebted to Jack Rudd for the following report on Bristol's performance in the first two rounds of the First Division of  the 4 NCL competition.


Round 1


Bristol 1 v Wood Green 1


1 Jack Rudd 2281 0-1 Jon Speelman 2555 GM

2 Chris Beaumont 2329 IM - Alexander Baburin 2527 GM

3 Simon Buckley 2314 0-1 Bogdan Lalic 2527 GM

4 James Sherwin 2303 IM 0-1 John Emms 2508 GM

5 David Buckley 2223 0-1 Chris Ward 2490 GM

6 Paul Helbig 2184 0-1 Daniel Gormally 2479 IM

7 Ann-Marie Ashby 2105 0-1 Jonathan Levitt 2432 GM

8 David Collier 2168 0-1 Harriet Hunt 2385 IM/WGM


Bristol 1 - 7 Wood Green 1


The Bristol first team had come into this match on a run of five consecutive victories. It had always been highly probable that this wasn't going to be our sixth, especially with the unavailability of Charles Cobb. Of course, our opponents were also under strength - they fielded only six grandmasters, none of whom were over 2600.

This, however, proved an entirely adequate team to despatch us (and, the next day, their own second team). The first game to finish was Hunt-Collier, which was just getting interesting when Dave made a horrible miscalculation, losing a piece. My game was the next to finish; having worked out a load of calculations relating to what happened when a knight on c5 captured a pawn on b3, I failed to notice it could also go to d3, forking my queen and rook. 2-0 to Wood Green. Next David Buckley succumbed to Chris Ward's Blumenfeld Gambit, getting his king caught in the centre.

  At about this point, I was called away to help the arbiters with the time-scrambles. When I came back, 3-0 had become 5-0; Jim Sherwin's handling of the French had left him with a bad bishop and no counterplay, something Emms exploited without much fuss, and Jon Levitt had ground down Ann-Marie Ashby in an ending where white's isolated h-pawn was the critical factor.

  The next three endings were all ones in which we had drawing chances, with rooks and minor pieces on the board. In the end, Paul fell for a trap in a tricky ending against Gormally, and Bogdan Lalic converted to R+2RPs v R with his rook behind the pawns, a technical win he duly exploited. So it was up to Chris Beaumont to spare our blushes, which he did by drawing a tricky ending against Baburin.

  Round 2


Richmond 1 v Bristol 1


1 Laurence Webb 2339 - Simon Buckley 2314

2 Richard Bates 2381 IM - Chris Beaumont 2329 IM

3 Thomas Hinks-Edwards 2366 FM 0-1 Jack Rudd 2281

4 Gavin Wall 2405 IM 1-0 James Sherwin 2303 IM

5 Thomas Nixon 2198 0-1 David Buckley 2223

6 Michael Franklin 2219 FM 1-0 Paul Helbig 2184

7 Nicholas Mitchem 2060 0-1 Ann-Marie Ashby 2105

8 Default 0-1 Jerry Humphreys 2094


Richmond 1 3-5 Bristol 1


This was always going to be the more critical match of the weekend; Richmond had avoided relegation on tie-break (with a little help from Slough's default penalty points), while Bristol had just been promoted. It had therefore been billed as a relegation derby from the start.

  The match started off well for Bristol; Richmond could only muster seven players for the tie, so Jerry Humphreys graciously agreed to be the player to go without a game. I then made the score 2-0 to Bristol after some opening preparation paid off against Hinks-Edwards.

  The match looked very good for us at that point, but the next couple of games swung it back. Gavin Wall's impressive handling of the Dutch Defence resulted in his winning a piece, and Jim Sherwin resigned on reaching the time control. Then Paul Helbig horribly mishandled a winning endgame, walking into a mating net. That made the score 2-2, with the games all in the balance.

  At around that point, Richard Bates offered a draw. Chris Beaumont wisely decided to sit on the offer, waiting to see what happened elsewhere. Gradually the endings on boards five and seven turned in favour of the Bristol players; David found a neat trick in what looked a totally drawn rook ending, and Ann-Marie managed to invade her opponent's position with her king. On seeing this, Chris accepted his opponent's draw offer. Simon also took a draw a few moves later. Their decisions were vindicated when David and Ann-Marie both managed to convert their advantages to the full point.

All the games played by Bristol in Rounds 1 and 2 follow.

(1) Rudd,J (2281) - Speelman,J (2555) [B10]
4NCL/D1/BRI1-WG1 West Bromwich ENG (1.1), 18.09.2004

1.e4 c6 2.d3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 e5 5.Nf3 d6 6.0-0 Nf6 7.c4 0-0 8.Nc3 Nbd7 9.h3 Re8 10.Re1 a5 11.Be3 Nc5 12.Qc2 Ne6 13.d4 Ng4 14.hxg4 exd4 15.Bd2 dxc3 16.Bxc3 Bxc3 17.Qxc3 Nc5 18.Nh2 Qb6 19.b3 Qb4 20.Qd4 a4 21.Qxd6 axb3 22.axb3 Be6 23.Rab1 Rad8 24.Qf4 Nd3 25.Qe3 Nxe1 26.Rxe1 Rd2 27.Rb1 Red8 28.Nf3 Rd1+ 29.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 30.Kh2 Bxg4 31.Ne5 Be6 32.Bh3 Qe1 0-1