Round 4: Hessing overcomes Anderson, Sicat clear leader with Hessing in close pursuit; Round 5 to be played 11th November

First a reminder about our schedule:
Round 5 of the Club Championship will not be played this Thursday, 4th November; you are still welcome to attend the club, but it will be a night of casual chess. Round 5 will be played next Thursday 11th November, and round 5 pairings will be published next Tuesday 9th November. If you need a bye for next Thursday please let me know.

On to the round 4 report:

The battle for the top spot is heating up after an upset by Rod Hessing over Alistair Anderson on board 1! The game was played in Rod’s trusty Bird Opening (1.f4) and his experience was put to good use; Alistair elected to castle on the queenside to escape the menacing build-up of White’s pieces on the kingside, but this did not help, as Rod locked the centre and transferred his attack to the queenside; Black seemed to underestimate the speed of White’s attack and elected for a somewhat slower plan than was needed. Things looked increasingly grim for Alistair as he was caught on the back foot for a lot of the game; he kept his hand in, even going down a queen for two knights, but Rod remained unperturbed and converted his advantage correctly, forcing Alistair to eventually throw in the towel. A convincing victory by the 2017 Lightning Champion.

Board 2 saw a tough battle between Rodel Sicat and Paul Brown. Paul came out of the opening standing well; Rodel had doubled rooks on a semi-open h-file, but Paul had fine pressure against weak White pawns. However, Paul tried some overly ambitious manoeuvres which damaged his own pawn structure more than Rodel’s; Black’s position quickly disintegrated after White applied pressure to the newfound weaknesses.

On Board 3, Sree Sabhapathi gave a tough fight to Mio Ristic; in an unconventional French defence, where the players left theory on move 2 (1.e4 e6 2. Nc3 Bb4!?), Mio had the better of the opening, and all looked almost lost for Sree. However, Black got slightly complacent, and allowed Sree to sacrifice the exchange to get a great deal of activity; in fact, there were points where White had chances for advantage! However, Mio found some tricky resources and Sree eventually found his activity neutralised. Black promoted a pawn and White resigned shortly thereafter.

Harrison Coppock took on Geoff Davis on board 4; Geoff’s experience proved too much, as he collected a few pieces before launching a successful checkmating attack against White’s king.

On board 5, Jamie Parker and Brian Coppock had a wild battle; Brian came slightly better out of an exchange Caro-Kann before Jamie made a mistake allowing a devastating combination, which was surprisingly not executed. The game became incredibly complex and tactical, with both sides missing a few surprising moves. When the dust settled however, Brian had a rook and two pawns for knight and bishop, with the pawns being scarier than the two pieces. However, just as it seemed all was lost for White, a desperate trick was employed, which turned the tide as Black hung a full rook. A real battle!

Round 4 results:
Rod Hessing vs Alistair Anderson 1-0
Rodel Sicat vs Paul Brown 1-0
Sree Sabhapathi vs Mio Ristic 0-1
Harrison Coppock vs Geoff Davis 0-1
Jamie Parker vs Brian Coppock 1-0

Current Standings out of 4 rounds:
1. Rodel Sicat 3.5
2. Rod Hessing 3
3 – 7. Mio Ristic 2.5
Toby Mew 2.5
Alistair Anderson 2.5
Taran Singh 2.5
Geoff Davis 2.5
8. Paul Brown 2
9 – 10. Jamie Parker 1
Sree Sabhapathi 1
11 – 12. Brian Coppock 0.5
Harrison Coppock 0.5

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