The final Classical Tournament for the year is the Koelle event, a tribute to a very strong past member. The event consists of two tournaments: the Koelle “A”, with the top 8 players competing in a round robin, and the Koelle “B” for the Reserves players, and with 8 players this year, it also, is a round robin.
The Koelle “A” is a strong event, with no less than 5 Club Champions plus the winner of the recently completed Teters Memorial in the field, while the Koelle “B” has 3 aspiring juniors and the 2013 Reserves Champion, so competitive chess is expected.
Top seed Patrick Cook faced Teters winner Vamsimohan Rani in a Catalan. After a quiet opening phase, White managed to grab a pawn and seemed to be threatening more, but sensible exchanges by Black enabled him to regain the pawn and simplify the position, whereupon the “drawmeister” accepted Black’s draw offer.
Club Champion Rob Bailey met Jamie Brotheridge in a Caro-Kann. A major theoretical battle between 2 well-armed opponents, neither player was able to gain an edge, and a draw was duly agreed.
Rob Loveband took on Kevin Perrin with an unambitious Queen pawn opening that resembled a London/Colle system. A careless move by Black gave White 3 pawns and a seeming stranglehold on the game. However Black didn’t despair, and incredibly was able to get back into the game after White failed to deliver a decisive blow. With mayhem on the board, Black scrambled to a winning position! before amazingly accepting White’s draw offer.
Rod Jacobs versus Peter Miitel was a French, Tarrasch variation. The game became lively after an interesting pawn offer by White in the early middle game opened up lines of attack. Black missed a good chance for an advantage, before crashing in flames when he missed a tactical shot that netted White Queen for Bishop.
In the “B” tournament, all games were decisive, with Anna Yates versus John Abson the pick of the games.
Patrick Cook took on the Club Champion Rob Bailey in a Nimzo-Indian and quietly set about trying to gain an edge. White succeeded in winning a pawn in the middle game, but this proved to be temporary, as Black traded down to an end game where he was regaining the pawn, whereupon a draw was agreed.
Vamsimohan Rani faced Peter Miitel in a French, Advance variation. After a sharp opening phase, Black saw a chance to grab a pawn and pounced. White struggled to find good play in the middle game as Black increased the pressure, winning the exchange in the process. With victory seemingly assured, Black inexplicably offered a draw, which White happily accepted.
Kevin Perrin versus Rod Jacobs was an English. A tough positional battle ensued, with some interesting tactical motifs in the play. Black eventually won a pawn, but under pressure, stumbled into a mate.
Jamie Brotheridge met Rob Loveband and the “innocuous” Colle System was the result. Black snatched a free pawn early on, at the cost of his Queen being side-lined for much of the game. White took the opportunity to launch a King-side pawn storm, however, Black seemed to hold firm, even keeping all of his pawns on the board as an end game approached. Passive play cost Black dearly in the end, as White finally broke through for victory.
Rob Bailey versus Vamsimohan Rani was a Queen’s Gambit Declined. After an uneventful opening phase, Black managed to win the exchange in the early middle game. White kept resisting in a tough positional battle until Black blundered horribly, dropping a whole rook without compensation. Amazingly, this rollercoaster game was eventually drawn!
Rob Loveband took on Patrick Cook with a Colle System and profited from a rare opening mistake by Black, picking up a pawn and dislocating the Black King. Black lashed out and a lively and interesting game resulted. Accurate play by White kept his advantage and he eventually pocketed the full point.
Rod Jacobs faced Jamie Brotheridge in a Caro-Kann. Black found himself in considerable discomfort early on, with his King stuck in the centre. Black managed to swap most of the pieces to reach a playable end game, before eventually succumbing to White’s pressure.
Peter Miitel versus Kevin Perrin was an unusual Dutch Defence with 3.h4. White dropped a pawn unnecessarily in a complex middle game. With opposite side castling, a sharp game resulted, before White resigned when he realised that he was shedding a piece.
Vamsimohan Rani versus Kevin Perrin was an Italian Game in which Black gave up a pawn in exchange for rapid development and some pressure against White’s King. In a lively game, White calmly escaped the problems and went on to win in emphatic style.
Robert Bailey faced Rob Loveband in a Caro-Kann. White found himself in some trouble early, a piece for 2 pawns down and with an exposed King. Playing like a true champion, he defended well to draw a tough game.
Jamie Brotheridge took on Peter Miitel in a weird Benko Gambit. White gained a positional advantage with a protected passed pawn and declined Blacks hopeful draw offer. Later, a hasty move by White forsed a draw anyway.
Patrick Cook versus Rod Jacobs was a Dutch Leningrad. Neither player got on top from the opning phase, and sharp middle game ensued. Black sacrificed a piece for a big attack which looked to be winning, but White calmly returned the piece and the game petered out to a draw.
Rob Loveband faced the tournament Houdini, Vamsimohan Rani, in a Semi-Slav. Too many Queen moves put White on the back foot quite early. He went on to lose the exchange and a pawn before resigning despondently.
Rod Jacobs versus Robert Bailey was another Semi-Slav. A careful manoeuvring game, neither player was able to gain an edge, and a draw was eventually agreed.
Peter Miitel took on Patrick Cook with a Reti Opening. After a brief skirmish in the opening phase, a draw was agreed after just 11 moves. It seemed that Black preferred to watch real players in the Anand-Carlsen World championship match!
Kevin Perrin met Jamie Brotheridge in a Grunfeld Defence, main line Exchange variation, Black’s specialty! The game was pretty even throughout and reached an endgame where White took too many liberties and collapsed in the face of Black’s accurate play.
Only 2 games from the Koelle ‘A’ were played on the night.
Vamsimohan Rani faced Jamie Brotheridge who showed his versatility by adopting the Pirc Defence. In a complex middle game, Black managed to win Queen for Rook, before being forced to return the material. White won the ensuing Bishops and pawns endgame.
Rob Bailey versus Peter Miitel was a French, Tarrasch variation. White was “lumbered” with an isolated Queen-pawn, but used it as a weapon and simply crushed Black.
Patrick Cook versus Kevin Perrin and Rob Loveband versus Rod Jacobs were postponed.
Rod Jacobs faced tournament leader Vamsimohan Rani in a Morra Gambit! (1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3). In an ultra-sharp game, White won the exchange for a pawn in the middle game melee. White then launched a spectacular attack, sacrificing 2 pieces and 2 pawns, before finishing Black off with a Queen sacrifice as well. A brilliant game by Rod, who now has a chance to win the tournament outright next week.
Kevin Perrin versus Rob Bailey was a Dutch Leningrad which left Black with a backward e pawn from the opening phase. In a positional struggle, a clever pawn decoy late in the middle game won Black a piece and the game.
Jamie Brotheridge versus Patrick Cook was the usual uncompromising fight between these two great rivals. The game began as a Reti before transposing into a King’s Indian Attack. Black developed sensibly until a couple of tactical oversights by White put Black firmly in control. Thereafter it was a massacre, White finally resigning 2 rooks and 2 pieces down.
Peter Miitel versus Rob Loveband was a forfeit for Black after Peter failed to show.
Round 8 and Round 9
The 2 postponed games from round 6 were played, and all eyes were on the encounter between Rob Loveband and Rod Jacobs. A win for Rod would give him outright victory in the tournament, a draw would result in a 3-way tie between Bailey, Rani and Jacobs.
The game was a Sicilian, Najdorf in which Black wasn’t quite able to get his special brand of attacking chess going. White carefully avoided the pitfalls and picked up material along the way before Black ran out of ideas and resigned.
Patrick Cook versus Kevin Perrin was a Dutch Stonewall and with little at stake and a drawish looking pawn structure, the watching Rob Loveband was expecting an early peace treaty. White wanted more, however, and the game flared up with White appearing to break through. Black had counter chances, though, and eventually settled for a perpetual check when he couldn’t find a way to win.
So the 3rd Koelle ‘A’ finished in a joint victory for Club Champion Rob Bailey and man-of-the-moment Vamsimohan Rani. Koelle 'B' was dominated by Dan Healey who finished 2 full points ahead of the pack. Congratulations to both our winners!