In round 1, we were up against a tough Belgian team who outrated us on average by 250 rating points on each board. Yubo’s opponent won his weak c4-pawn and soon after Yubo was two pawns down with no compensation and eventually got checkmated by doubled rooks on the 8th rank.
Ben was next to lose when he underestimated his opponent’s attack on the kingside and allowed his opponent to sacrifice his Bishop. It was only until several moves afterward that Ben realised he had missed his opponent’s threat of sacrificing his Queen for mate and had to give up lots of material.
Con was the next to finish. His position was pretty symmetrical until his opponent opened the a-file and Con was forced into passive defence. His opponent took Con’s a-pawn from a winning position missing Con’s perpetual which lead to a draw, a great result for Con since he was outrated by over 150 points.
Thomas’ opponent played a sideline against the Winawer which led to an extremely sharp opening with mistakes from both Thomas and his opponent. Thomas tried to escape his opponent’s perpetual but unluckily went the wrong way which his King and lost. In spite of this, he still achieved a winning position against his opponent who was over 350 rating points ahead of him, an amazing achievement!
Atharva’s game ended in a quiet draw where his opponent opened up the centre and eventually an opposite coloured bishop endgame arose which was a clear draw.
Cody got the only win of the evening for our team where he started a kingside attack which led to him winning an exchange. His opponent had compensation though and eventually won it back. Cody offered a draw which his opponent refused and not so soon after his opponent hung a piece. Cody created a mating net which caused his opponent to resign. Well done to Cody!
An overall team result of 2-4 which is a good start against strong opposition and also everyone is getting used to playing classical games online. We will play Scotland tomorrow with us having a slight advantage in rating but it will be an interesting match.
Day 2 Robinson Team:
Today we were playing Scotland who were a bit lower rated than the Belgium players we played yesterday, but they weren’t much lower rated than us, so it wasn’t going to be an easy match.
Yubo kept taking his opponent’s pawns in the opening which was working well until he went after the fourth pawn and unfortunately lost his Rook. It was still an interesting endgame but his opponent played well and converted it. Hard luck to Yubo.
After Yubo, the next to finish was Con. His opponent allowed him to win two bishops for a rook and pawn. Con pointed both bishops toward his opponent’s King and won shortly after. Well done Con.
Karel was playing today instead of Thomas. He played well during the game to end up with a slight advantage until his opponent hung a Knight for no reason and resigned a couple of moves later. A good result for Karel. Next to finish was Cody, who was prevented from castling by his opponent’s bishop and his exposed King was soon checkmated. Hard luck to Cody.
Ben’s opponent had an open file, an outpost and a better bishop (the engine thinks it’s equal for some reason) but his opponent hung his d4-pawn to a fork and Ben won soon later.
Last to finish was Atharva. He had a space advantage but his opponent swapped off most of the pieces and the game was soon drawn.
This left us with an overall score of 3.5-2.5, which was much higher than yesterday and a good win to improve the player’s moods after yesterday’s loss. Tomorrow we face a tough opponent, England, who on average are around 250 points higher rated than us on each board.
Day 3 Robinson Team:
Today we were playing England, the strongest team in the competition based on rating. They had sent a strong team with their top three boards all over 2100 rated, if you convert their ECF to FIDE. Yubo was sitting out today, and Ben and Con had been swapped around in an attempt to frustrate the English players’ preparation. Thomas was the first to finish with an upset against a player 600 points higher rated than him. He gained a strong Kingside attack and his opponent was eventually lost. Thomas’ opponent was actually flagged for cheating, but this takes nothing away from Thomas who had forced mate in the final position.
Ben was the next to finish where his opponent was probably slightly better out of the opening. However, he allowed Ben to trap his bishop on move 21 and soon resigned.
After Ben the next to finish was Atharva. Atharva reached an isolated pawn couple position and was fine until a critical moment in the game:
Here Atharva went wrong with 17. g3 which is very natural but a mistake because it leaves the Kingside structure too weak. Atharva’s opponent later sacrificed his Knight on g3 and Atharva’s King was too exposed. Instead 17. f4! is the correct move, which looks unusual but is thematic against the IQP.
Next to finish was Karel who was slightly better against his opponent. Karel played a very natural move, which would have won his opponent’s Knight, but it didn’t work for tactical reasons and Karel was checkmated. Con was beaten by England’s number 1 ranked U14 player, no shame in that! Unfortunately, Con was caught out by a Qc3+ fork idea in the Winawer Poisoned Pawn. Con put up a tough fight but his opponent is a really strong player and was able to win.
Cody was the last to finish. His opponent had sacrificed a piece for three pawns during the game, which led to a really interesting and complicated endgame:
The engine thinks Cody is a lot better here but it is by no means an easy win, especially with the passed d-pawn, and Stockfish a lot of the time evaluates these positions wrong anyway, because they are so complicated. Several moves later Cody played 39. Qe8+ which the engine evaluates as a dead draw. It was very natural since it looks like Cody is in trouble from the start and Cody thought he was lost. A few moves later this position was reached:
It is still probably a draw after 42…Qxe5! but Black played 42…Kf5, a natural mistake. The game went 43. Qh7+ g6 and here Cody missed 44. Qd7 which wins but Cody was obviously not in the mindset of playing for a win having been in a difficult position for a fair amount of time (even a player such as Petrosian accepted a draw against Fischer when he was in a better endgame because he had been worse for most of the game). Hard luck to Cody but an extremely complicated game which even his 2100 rated opponent couldn’t play perfectly.
This leaves an overall result of 2-4 which is an improvement on the Nederland’s who lost 1-5 to England! All in all, some very instructive games played which everyone can learn from. We will face the Nederland’s tomorrow in an interesting match.
Today we faced another tough team, the Nederland’s, who are ranked number 2 based on their average rating. A good result here would put us in contention for 3rd place.
Yubo was the first to finish having missed that his opponent can take his b2-pawn safely (in a lot of positions the pawn is poisoned but Yubo was unlucky here that it wasn’t). His opponent, who was over 350 points higher rated than Yubo, swapped off into a rook-endgame which he played near flawlessly and converted the extra pawn. Hard luck to Yubo, but he was playing a really strong opponent.
Next to finish was Thomas who made just one mistake which allowed his opponent to trap his bishop. Thomas was unlucky because his opponent played a perfect game with no inaccuracies.
Cody managed an upset where his opponent was defending well against the IQP but then Cody was allowed a Bxh3 followed by Qxf3 tactic which exposed his opponent’s King, and Cody was able to convert it into a good win against an opponent with a FIDE rating of 1849.
Karel and his opponent played the opening perfectly but Karel was unlucky when the game went into crazy complications which his opponent played near perfectly. Karel ran into time trouble and couldn’t work everything out and lost. He’s not the only one to succumb to pressure in time trouble though!
Ben finished next after Karel. He reached a symmetrical pawn structure out of the opening and a lot of pieces were traded off. The game ended in a fairly simple draw.
Con managed a great win over his 2045 rated opponent who hung a piece on move 11 for no reason. His opponent still had 2 pawns for the piece, but Con played really well, forcing his opponent to weaken his pawns which allowed him to pick them all off. When Con promoted, his opponent stalled for over 6 minutes before resigning which was bad sportsmanship, especially since Con was much lower rated than him.
Overall, this left a tight score of 2.5-3.5 which means we still lost but still a good result given they were much higher rated than us. We face Wales tomorrow in the final match. If we manage a good score against them, and the Nederland’s beat Belgium, we will have a fighting chance of finishing in the top four.
Today we played are last match of the competition against the Welsh who were not as strong as England or the Nederland’s, but they had similar ratings to us, which means it was not going to be easy beating them. Also, at least a 4-2 win was required for us to jump ahead of Wales and get 4th place. The board order was Ben, Con, Yubo, Karel, Atharva and Thomas, where Cody was sitting out this round.
Yubo was the first to finish (what’s new?). His opponent gambited a pawn, but then her rook was trapped and Yubo went on to convert his extra exchange.
Ben was next to finish when his opponent missed the threat of f4-f5 trapping his bishop. Ben’s opponent got three pawns for the piece but then he missed another tactic which won a rook and Ben’s opponent resigned a move later. A good start as we were 2-0 up.
Thomas lost his c-pawn due to his underdeveloped queenside pieces and ended up in a bishop vs knight endgame where he was a pawn down (and also with the knight). However, his opponent hung his a-pawn and Thomas was able to win back the pawn he originally dropped, which left him a pawn up on the queenside. Thomas created an outside passed pawn and his opponent eventually resigned.
Con’s opponent had the more seemingly active pieces on the kingside but he ignored Con’s queenside play and was down a couple of pawns there. Con was able to defend on the kingside and won with his several extra pawns. We were now 4-0 up and we had achieved 4th place. If we won the final two games, we would have been in contention for 3rd place (and now that we know the result of the Belgium vs Nederland’s match, it would have put is in third).
Karel was a pawn down but managed to trade off into an opposite coloured bishop endgame. He unfortunately was in bad time trouble and blundered with little time to think and figure everything out. His opponent was making it as difficult as possible for Karel to hold the draw. Hard luck to Karel, but his opponent played really well on this occasion.
Atharva played perfectly for the first 26 moves but allowed his d-pawn to become weak in a rook endgame where his opponent brought in his King to attack it. Atharva tried to defend it but his opponent also pushed forward his pawns and created a mating net out of nowhere. Still, up until that point both players had played perfectly. Atharva’s and Karel’s opponents were certainly playing above their ratings in this round.
An overall win of 4-2 was a good result and left Ireland placed 4th in the competition, ahead of Scotland and Wales, and only 1.5 points behind Belgium, quite an achievement given Belgium are, on average, 250 points higher rated than us! All in all, an interesting tournament with lots to learn from games against strong opponents. Hopefully next year, the Glorney Gilbert tournament will be held OTB instead of online.