The last round of the tournament started with all the English teams in contention for first or second place in their sections and the glorious England Bishops team having already clinched the Stokes Cup! Four of the five faced the strong Irish teams, with the Stokes Knights needing a big score against Scotland to push for second place behind their compatriots.
Here’s how they all got on..
- Ezra Brass (b) – Nimzo-Indian defence led to a powerful counter-attack on the white king which won the day.
- Shajahon Saidmurodov – The 1.e3 opening strikes again, with a long game eventually turning in white’s favour.
- Alex Leslie – Nimzo-Indian led to a passive white position and a deep positional pawn sacrifice by Alex led to an unstoppable kingside attack and a double-rook mate.
- Thomas Ng – Reti Opening against d5 with black grabbing the c4 pawn Drawn
- Lavanya Maladkar – King’s Indian with classic pawn-storm in the centre forcing an excellent quick win.
- Niamh Bridgeman – First winner of the day – won a piece in 14 moves and converted smoothly.
- A final score of 5.5 – 0.5 gets the Knights second equal position overall!
- Ranesh Ratnesan (w) – Old Indian saw black on the attack first but after some tenacious defence the tables turned and white crashed through for victory. 4.5/5 for Ranesh overall!
- Jacob Yoon – Maroczy Bind Sicilian where black quickly forced weaknesses in white’s position and won smoothly.
- Tristian See – Charged to 5/5 with a sharp theoretical opening giving a small advantage in a rook endgame where the pressure led to his opponent blundering.
- Charlie Metcalfe – Gained two pieces for a rook with a nice position but later lost after an unfortunate blunder.
- Samuel Gilmore – Lined up Qa1 and Bb2 and play against black’s centre led to material gain and a nice win
- Nishchal Thatte – Highly theoretical French Winawer with white’s marauding passed h-pawn balanced by black’s strong centre and then piece play against the white king eventually leading to a spectacular mate for Nishchal.
- Final score 5-1 to the Bishops – Stokes Champions by a huge 10-point margin!
- Calum Salmons (w) – Sicilian f4 led to a passive position for white, and black eventually converted to a pawn-up rook endgame balanced between win and draw which black eventually won.
- Oliver Howell – Technical Dutch with black’s king-side chances not coming to fruition and then having to defend a slightly-worse ending, finally losing it in time-trouble.
- Mikey Watson – Catalan led to a level middle game and a draw eventually ensued.
- Omeet Atara – Sound opening play in the Owens led to a won position but an unlucky blunder turned the game.
- Nadia Jaufarally – London System headed to a fairly level ending but black’s central pawns eventually proved decisive.
- Thyviaa Rahulan – Tarrasch French with g3 for white, solidly played by black who agreed a draw in even a slightly better position.
- Cassie Graham (w) – Grand Prix Attack led to an ending advantage for black with better structure and BB v BN which eventually proved decisive.
- Emily Green (b). Unusual Modern Benoni with no Bg7 – black won Q for R&B and duly got her queen in against the white king for a nice win just as the white pieces started to threaten.
- Lauren Weaver (w) – Colle-type system came under quick kingside attack and white’s king never quite made it to safety.
- Final score 1-2 defeat but a creditable third place overall
- Daniel Gallagher – French Wing Gambit, and another tour-de-force in what has been a magnificent tournament for Dan, as in an incredibly complicated game he once again breaks through against his opponent’s king in spectacular style with Rf8+!! destroying black’s counter-attack with mate following soon after. 4.5/5 for the tournament for a 2388 rating performance!
- Callum Brewer – Standard Caro, came under pressure but cleverly bailed out by offering his opponent the dangerous looking Qxa7 with a forced drawn line to follow, draw offer accepted.
- Dominic Miller – Sharp Najdorf Sicilian, a new line for Dom who varied from theory on move 16 sacing a pawn but kept enough pressure for a draw. 5 draws in the tournament, very unusual for Dom!
- Elliot Cocks – English with black e5&d5. Nice solid opening led to an attempt to smash white’s pawn structure which didn’t quite come off so draw offer accepted with perpetuals in the air.
- Matthew Forster – Reti v d5. Mass exchanges leading to drawn Bishop endgame – Draw in 28.
- Final score – 3-2 to England and a comfortable 2nd place behind the powerful (and older!) French team.
— Chris Howell
Round four on the Thursday afternoon saw lots of determination from our England players keen to improve on their scores and put the teams into contending positions.
It proved to be a very quick round for Elliot who came out of the playing hall in around forty-five minutes. He took advantage of an opening error, launched a strong attack and secured the win. This was soon followed by Callum who also scored an early advantage to gain the win.
Matthew’s game involved some strong tactics in the middlegame which won him the exchange and led to another win for the team. A draw for Dominic followed and a final win for Daniel after a longer game which had some good sacrifices to win the opponents Queen.
All in all, a very strong round for the England Glorney team against their Welsh opponents with a England 4½ – Wales ½ victory. This put the Glorney team still in contention and gives the boys all to play for going into the last round.
Round four proved to be a little more challenging for the girls. Cassie’s game started well with some strong opening play and a slight advantage, however as the game developed this levelled out to an equal position and she ended with a draw.
Lauren’s game was similar with good placement of pieces and an advantageous position in the middlegame, however it then developed into a drawn king and pawn endgame. Emily played a long game against her Welsh opponent and secured advantage out of the opening but struggled to keep the pace.
The final score for this round for our Gilbert term was England 1 – Wales 2
The Robinson team were determined to get some good results in this round and build up the points.
First to finish was Omeet who secured a victory in 20 moves by utilising all his prior knowledge and preparation. On board one, Calum had a difficult yet very close game against a strong Welsh player which didn’t go his way this time.
Next out was Mikey, who played a tactical game in order to win the exchange and a strong positional advantage. Nadia also secured a comfortable win. Thivyaa played a long game which was close and could have gone either way. She had some strong placement of pieces out of the opening, however her Welsh opponent continued the fight and managed to create a drawn position. Oliver also came away with a draw.
Overall a good round for the Robinson team with a score of England 4 v Wales 2
Stokes – England Bishops
The England Bishops have been having a great tournament so far, with some quality chess and strong performances, and round 4 was no exception with no losses for the team.
First out was Samuel with a great win. He played a very impressive game and utilised his preparation and the work he had been doing with his coach through the event. Tristan and Charlie also secured more points for the team by winning their games. This was quickly followed by draws from Ranesh and Jacob on the top two boards.
The last to finish his game with Nishal who also won. A great round for the whole team with a score of England Bishops 5 v Wales 1
Stokes – England Knights
The England Knights team have been developing good chess skills throughout the tournament and demonstrated some quality chess and lots of potential.
In round 4 they played the French team and it proved to be a very closely matched competition. The first England player back to the team room was Niamh who reported her win with a big smile. She played a strong game and managed to successfully use her prepared tactics.
Lavanya also came back with a good win and Sharjahon managed a well-deserved draw. Both Thomas and Alex played very close games but didn’t get the points in this round.
Ezra was the last to come out of the playing hall after a long and complicated game. He fought valiantly but a few miscalculations went against him. The final result was very close with England Knights 2½ v France 3½
— Jo Wildman
First player to finish his game was Daniel Gallagher, Daniel played on board 1 against Irish top board. He played a very aggressive middle game attack which his opponent found hard to handle, he came crashing through with a very good miniature and mated in 13 moves!
Next to win was Forster Matthew with a tactic which won the exchange. He soon simplified into a win.
Another win by Callum Brewer featured a great tactic that created two threats. He threatened a Rook and a pin on the queen. Cocks Elliot drew his game with a fortress which led to a draw. England’s Glorney team stands second after round 3 just 1 and half point behind French team.
In the Gilbert, Cassie Graham won her game by squeezing the black pieces; the rooks in particular. Then white weakened black’s king’s side pawns. She then exchanged queens and attacked the pawns. Notice that the e7 pawn stopped the black rooks from leaving the 8th rank. The black rooks were helpless to prevent the e and a pawns from Queening as they were soon swapped off. What a crushing defeat!
Emily Green and Lauren Weaver both drew their game against Welsh team. England’s Gilbert team stands 2nd after round 3 just with half point behind Irish team.
In the Robinson Cup Calum was the first to finish his game with win.
Interesting win in Omeet Atara game. Andrew Martin describes it as on the bizarre game of todays’ round. Omeet describes his game as a roller-coaster. England’s Robinson team stands 3rd after round 3 with 9 points.
In the Stoke Cup England’s Stoke Bishops played against Stoke Knights on round 3. First who finished their game were See Tristan and Alex Leslie winning point for Stoke Bishops.
Followed up with Nishchal and Niamh drew their games. Next to win was Bishops team Yoon Jacob with an extra rook. It was quite complicated in the beginning. Then Shahjahon made mistake after move 19 and it turned a winning position for black. Ranesh Ratnesan was next to win his game with great control over the centre. Finally in the Stokes Lavanya and Samuel had one of the longest games of the round in which Samuel won with an extra exchange and a few pawns.
England’s Stoke’s Bishop Team stands 1st with 16 points ahead of strong French team by 6 points while Stoke’s Knight team with 8 point on 3rd position after 3rd round.
— Gulbahor Hamdamova
Stokes (Under 12) A Team
After the first round the A team had 5 points.
1. Ranesh (B) – nice attack with a tactical finish won the day
2. Jacob (W) – in a complex middle game position, took advantage of opponent’s blunder to win
3. Tristan (B) – punished his opponent’s mistake in the ending with a checkmate
4. Charlie (W) – another great win
5. Samuel (B) – after a dodgy opening, fought back well to draw
6. Nischal (W) – a vicious attack won a pawn, then a Rook with a pin and the game soon after
So the A team now have a whopping 10.5 points, 1st place, 3 clear of the B team!
After the first round the B team had 3.5 points.
1.Ezra (W) – brilliant sacrificial attack brought home the bacon
2.Shahjahon (B) – capitalised nicely on his opponents blunder to bring home the point
5.Lavanya (W) – first back in the team room and rewarded for an aggressive approach with another win
6.Niamh (B) – cleverly swapped into a Knight ending where, despite the level material, a passed pawn was decisive for her
So the B team now have 7.5 points, 2nd place, what a day for them
Robinson (Under 14)
After the first round the team had 2 points.
1. Calum (B) – a nice tactic gave a strategic advantage and Calum never let his grip loosen, finishing with more fireworks
5. Nadia (B) – capitalised on an endgame blunder by her opponent
6. Thivyaa (W) – tried hard to win but good defence by the opponent held the draw
So the team now have 4.5 points, 5th place
Gilbert (Under 18 Girls)
After the first round the team had 1.5 points. Cassie was playing the Scotland board 1 for Gilbert points whilst tough rated friendlies had been set-up for Emily and Lauren.
1. Cassie (B) – took advantage of pawn weaknesses to win a pawn and the game with good endgame technique
2. Emily (W) – in an unfamiliar opening, played well in a fantastically complex game to draw
3. Lauren (B) – another beautiful win, full of strategic skill and brilliant tactics
So the team now have 2.5 points and are well placed
Glorney (Under 18)
After the first round the team had 1.5 points.
1. Dan (B) – a masterpiece, surely Game of the Day, brilliant
2. Callum (W) – the hanging pawns gave a long term edge and he converted with a couple of neat tactics
3. Dominic (B) – a wild, topsy-turvy game ended in a hard-earned draw
4. Elliot (W) – outplayed opponent in the opening and then picked off pawn after pawn to win efficiently
5. Matthew (B) – did well to hold a draw under pressure
So the team now have 5.5 points, 2nd place
— Dave Graham
For England Knights, Nia and her opponent played very quickly to draw with the French. In the same team Lavanya won next after fighting back with some nice tactics after being several pawns down in a heavy piece ending. Shahjahon followed up with a good win as Black in a double-rook ending. With Thomas achieving a draw in a very unclear position the knights went to a fantastic 3 – 1 lead at 14:00 pm and were the source of much happiness in the England room! Finally in the Stokes, Alex had one of the longest games of the round with a 63 move draw after a long hard-fought rook and pawn ending. Despite a reverse for our top boar our Knights finished with a superb 3.5 – 2.5 win to get our first win onto the scoreboard.
In the Stokes Bishops’ team, Samuel was the first to win against the French. He missed none of the tactics and scored a quick win. Next to win was Nishchal (with a superb positional grip as black where white almost ran out of moves in the middle game) and then Charlie won quickly after his opponent missed a threat while Charlie strengthened his position. In the Bishops Tristan won with some tactics in a heavy piece endgame, and with a win for Ranesh on board 1 (following an exciting opening gambit) we scored a fantastic 5 – 1 win in the first round against the French.
In the Glorney, Daniel was next to finish after a hard fight where he was very close to achieving a winning position but ran out of time in complications and grabbed the draw. The pattern was to continue at the end of the four hour session with both Dominic and Matthew a pawn up each in their endgames but running out of time and having to take the half points with the clocks setting the agenda. The final score a 3.5 – 1.5 victory for France – but England somewhat unlucky not to convert any of their better positions as white.
In the Gilbert, Lauren was first to finish with a nice queen sacrifice and mate combination. Cassie achieved a tense draw in a complex position with a final result of 1.5 each to England and France.
In the Robinson, there was a nice win for Mikey with central control and strong positional pressure leading to an attack that overcame a significantly higher opponent. With careful draws from Nadia and Thivyaa on boards 5 and 6 our final result was England 2 – France 4
— Mike Forster