Poly Champs R4 5.1.23
Thursday’s Round 4 worked well mathematically, with two no-shows (half-point byes) leaving a re-pairing of J O’Neill v A Lindo (fortunately not having played previously) as the eighth match.
Things started quietly, many boards still having 32 pieces around move 10. But James broke ranks against Alex. A knight foray, discovering an attack on Black’s Queen, netted a pawn or two, including Black’s g pawn with check, leaving his King on f8. But things swung. Alex’s Q retreated to c7 with B on d6 soon snatching White’s h2 pawn, and suddenly the semi-open g file looked dangerous. But, as Alex brought knights into the attack, his Bishop was briefly cut-off from support and fell. James swapped off some pieces, forced the exchange of Queens and Black’s attack fizzled away, leaving him a piece down. 1-0
Next to fall was Kieran. He and Danny looked even in a Queenless middle-game, but the slightly inferior central pawn position worsened for White as he tried to break it up. I took my eye off the ball, and so perhaps did Kieran as it was suddenly all over. 0-1
Scott vs Rob, and Neve v Sam had similar themes. Black developed an early outside passed-pawn on the a file. Rob’s was an extra pawn, and, Queens off, Scott tried to counter in the centre while the pawn sat on a5. However, when his sortie came to naught, his Rooks were left misplaced and the a5 pawn suddenly raced up the board to Queen. His own passed pawn soon fell. 0-1
Sam’s pawn was less supported, and Neve had compensations. She opted to defend the queening route with R,B and N; but as the a1 corner became more complicated, I noted a combination I thought was winning the exchange…looking again, it was a full rook, and her position crumbled. 0-1
Occasionally sighting the outrageously even match between Craig and Bob, I planned the sarcastic report “They drew”. But Bob lost a central pawn by missing the classic “can’t take back or lose a rook” trope and Craig meticulously converted. 0-1
Robert gradually pressured Jim out of a rook pawn…kept it up…got another… and soon simplified into won endgame. 1-0
Meantime the re-paired match was blazing away. Alexey sacked a piece for his Kingside attack, then another. Advanced e&f pawns, Rooks supporting, a B and knight, with Q joining the fray…Looked scary. But Jim was able to give up a Bishop to ease things, swap a couple of attackers off, and Alexey did not have enough. 1-0
Leaving Chris against Matt. White was massing his pieces against Black’s King, but Matt was building a strong defence. Again, I took my eye off, and the Queenside pawns had all disappeared, while Matt’s Rooks were down on the seventh, joined by the Q. Suddenly White’s position looked uncomfortable. His Rooks on e2 and f2 confined to defensive duties. But there was no way through for Black. And when Queens came off, his Rooks retreated to help defend…and things looked safe for White. A pawn fell, and advances on his King proved too difficult to deal with.
We await results of the postponed “top match” G King v M Matar, and D Gaffney v B Fitzpatrick.
Have you guys still not learned how to draw?
Gibb v Prentice 1-0
Yapp v Hayhow 1-0
Innes v Fay 0-1
O'Neill v Lindo 1-0
Wells v Breslin 0-1
Blackwell v Dickinson 0-1
Gillespie v Marshall 1-0
Connelly v Cassie 0-1