4NCL Harrogate

This weekend I participated in rounds 5 and 6 of the Northern 4NCL in Harrogate.  The weekend didn’t start well, as when I arrived at Durham station on Saturday morning no trains were running in either direction due to signalling problems.  I’d planned to get into Harrogate at 12:43 pm, which I thought would be a comfortable cushion as the games started at 2 pm, but I was proven wrong and eventually arrived at the board flustered and out-of-breath at 2:50 pm.  If the following game isn’t my finest effort, then the conditions at least partially explain why:

The next game was very nearly a disaster, but turned into one of the most miraculous escapes I’ve ever had in a long time control game. My team, Cheddleton 2, were paired with the very strong Bradford DCA Knights A, and I felt that I needed to win for our team to have any chance of winning or drawing the match. I was pretty sure I’d be playing David Patrick, and I’d managed to find a few games of his in my database so I spent some time preparing. I had white, and having seen that he played the French Defence I went on to look briefly at his other games. I saw that he played the Exchange Ruy Lopez, the Exchange Caro-Kann and closed c3 or Nc3 Sicilians as white, and combined with his preference for the French this painted a picture of a player who likes to play solid lines and avoid tactical complications at all costs. Consequently I started searching for plausible ways to get tactical complications in the French, and after quickly ruling out the Wing Gambit I started looking into the line 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Bd3 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ne2 cxd4 8. cxd4 f6 9. Nf4?! I stayed up quite late investigating this, whilst also looking at some games in the mainline Tarrasch variation which I normally play. I was in such an agony of indecision about what to play in the morning that I woke up several times during the night with moves after 9. Nf4 running through my head, but unfortunately I didn’t dream up any brilliant ideas! At breakfast the next morning I decided that I would be just as uncomfortable as my opponent in the ensuing positions, and that if he knew what he was doing I was likely to be worse, so I resolved to play the usual 9. exf6 instead.

All in all, a disappointing weekend’s chess, but somehow I am still unbeaten in 4NCL games. My team continues to do quite well overall, and managed to win 3.5-2.5 on Saturday before losing to the leaders on Sunday. My next tournaments will be the BUCA Championship this weekend, followed by the Blackpool Chess Conference two weeks after that.

5 thoughts on “4NCL Harrogate

  1. Hi Will,
    Do you already know with those two games the FIDE-rating you will have for the next list?
    Very nice site BTW and good luck in your road to grandmaster

    1. Hi Didac,

      Unfortunately one of the people I played at each 4NCL weekend didn’t have a FIDE rating (just an ECF grade), and I’m not sure if games against unrated players will affect my rating at all. Also, 4NCL games aren’t submitted for rating until the end of the season. I guess that means the only games submitted so far have been the games from the London Junior Chess Champs, where I performed at 2000, but I don’t know if 6 games will be enough to get me a rating.


    1. Thanks. Counting the 2 4NCL games I’ve had against FIDE-rated opponents it’s 2006, so one more game needed for a rating, and 494 points to gain.

  2. On move 29 you give the variation d4+! 30. Kg1 d3 31. Rxd3 Qf7 32. Rd1 Ba5 but why worry about moving the attacked Bishop when 32 … Qf3 leads to mate?

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