Report from White Knights (Llaneli)
White Knights (Llanelli) headed off to Bilbao, Northern Spain on Saturday 12th September 2014 as one of the two Welsh teams competing in the 30th European Chess Club Cup. Our hotel is a leisurely 20 minute walk from the venue, taking the aptly named street “Lopez De Haro”. The weather is warm, 25 – 29 degrees. Some of the rules may come as a surprise, this is an event where you can’t offer a draw before black’s 40th move and the only way around that is to claim a draw by repetition of position. Men aren’t allowed to wear shorts either, which isn’t ideal in the warm weather. The Bilbao Masters is also being played in the same hall.
The tournament website had a few “teething troubles” over the first few days, but they got things together in the end. At the same event in Rhodes last year all of the games were shown live on the tournament website, but that hasn’t happened this year, with only the top matches online. When you finished your games you have to leave the playing area which means you are unable to follow the remaining games. This is a seven round event and White Knights are seeded 50th from 52 teams.
White Knights Oslo Schakselskap (Norway, 24th seeds)
1) Alan Young (w) 2040 0-1 Simon Agdestein 2622
2) Jason Garcia 2056 0.5-0.5 Ornulf Stubberud 2342
3) William Hewitt 2040 0-1 Lars Oskar Hauge 2322
4) Keith Downey 1982 0-1 Sebastian Mihajlov 2257
5) David Buttell 1798 0-1 Mats Persson 2239
6) Chris Daniel - 0-1 Martin Osttveit 2050
Our opponents rested Jon Hammer 2630 but still outgunned us heavily. GM Simon Agdestein led a team comprised of a number of teenage Norwegian FIDE masters who were very impressive. Jason was last to finish, recording a well earned draw. Of the others, Chris came closest to scoring, going down late into the game.
En Passant (Holland, 29th seeds) White Knights
1) Friso Nijboer 2528 1-0 Alan Young 2040
2) Manuel Bosboom 2424 1-0 Jason Garcia 2056
3) Henk Vedder 2382 1-0 William Hewitt 2040
4) Zhaogin Peng 2392 1-0 Adam May 1861
5) Richard Vedder 2286 1-0 David Buttell 1798
6) Dick De Graaf 2205 0.5-0.5 Chris Daniel -
The second round brought up against GM’s on bd1s 1 &4, IM’s on 2 & 3 and a FIDE master on 5. David Buttell went down in a theoretical dragon but the rest of the games all went on some time. Alan went down in an ending against his second GM opponent. Alan later reminded his opponent that he has been to Wales; he played bd1 in Carmarthen at the 1983 Glorney where Alan was also playing!
Adam was cunningly move ordered in an English by a GM on board 4, losing material just before the time control. Jason played one of his favourite lines v the Najdorf, but his IM opponent neatly won material in the ending. I was 2 pawns up for nothing by move 24 against my IM opponent as black in a two knights caro kann, and had managed to swap the queens off. Dropping the exchange didn’t help my cause and eventually I was ground down in 129 moves.
We were in a local restaurant when we heard the draw and ironically, we were on the next table to our opponents who came over to introduce themselves.
White Knights Cercle d’Echecs de Monte-Carlo (43rd seeds)
1) Alan Young 2040 1-0 Jean-michel Rapaire 1851
2) Jason Garcia 2056 0-1 Karl Johan Ribbergren 2195
3) William Hewitt 2040 0-1 Igor Efimov 2412
4) Keith Downey 1982 0-1 Pierre Villegas 2292
5) Adam May 1861 0.5-0.5 Patrick Van Hoolandt 2231
6) Chris Daniel - 0-1 Giancarlo Tortorella 1820
You will see from the opponents grades that they wouldn’t be able to play in this order in the Welsh premier League! Alan won well on bd1 in a scandanavian. Jason erred early on and ended up with a king march which attracted Shirov’s attention at one point. Adam scored an excellent draw and Chris was winning at one point but went under in time trouble.
Abergavenny (49th seeds) White Knights
1) Sven Zeidler 2236 1-0 Alan Young 2040
2) Charles Morris 2159 0.5-0.5 William Hewitt 2040
3) Mark Adams 2006 0.5-0.5 Keith Downey 1982
4) Matthew Parry 1748 1-0 Adam May 1861
5) Chris Dixon 1829 0.5-0.5 David Buttell 1798
6) Andrew Owen - 1-0 Chris Daniel -
The Welsh derby’s in this event are always hard fought with no easy games and this was no exception. Abergavenny took the lead winning on bds 4 & 6 with black. Mark and Keith drew in a bishop ending when there wasn’t anything left in the position. Charles and I played to rook and king each, Charles having missed a win in the middlegame and me blundering away my extra pawn in the ending. Chris and David on bd5 played on to move 73 in a birds opening and Sven converted his material advantage in the ending against Alan.
Butrinti (Albania, 52nd seeds) White Knights
1) Ilir Seitaj 2377 1-0 Alan Young 2040
2) Fuat Karralliu - 0.5-0.5 Jason Garcia 2056
3) Perikli Kolagji - 0-1 William Hewitt 2040
4) Lime Mihasi 2024 1-0 Keith Downey 1982
5) Murat Mejdini 2003 0-1 dam May 1861
6) Erald Mihasi 1861 0.5-0.5 David Buttell 1798
A match we expected to win, but were fortunate to draw in the end. Adam was first to finish, a neat win against the London system. David drew by repetition in a dead king and pawn endgame just before the time control. I won in an exchange carol kann leaving us 2.5-0.5 up with three to play.
Keith had his first white and was a pawn up out of the opening but holding the pawn didn’t prove possible. Keith gave up the exchange but went into a losing endgame. Alan went down in a Ruy Lopez leaving Jason still in play. Jason certainly pulled this one out of the fire, scoring an excellent draw to tie the match.
White Knights Cercle des Echecs Dedelange
(Luxembourg, 44th seeds)
1) Alan Young 2040 0.5-0. Fred Berend 2377
2) Jason Garcia 2056 0-1 Boris Prizker 2235
3) Keith Downey 1982 0.5-0.5 Hubert Mossong 2085
4) Adam May 1861 0.5-0.5 Theid Klauner 2057
5) David Buttell 1798 1-0 Jean Guidoreni 2007
6) Chris Daniel - 0-1 Nadine Kremer 1846
A match in where we came agonisingly close to winning. Chris had the advantage as black before move 10 but opened the position too early and his opponent’s pieces came to life. David Buttell scored an excellent win to bring us level. Jason lost in a Rossolimo Sicilian but at this stage the match was still going our way. Keith sacrificed the exchange for the second game in a row and the game eventually ended in a perpetual check. Adam was a couple of pawns up and cruising. After dropping an exchange he was still doing well, but the game ended as a draw. Alan’s game fluctuated, from him being a pawn down to later a pawn up with a pawn on b6 and a queen and rook each. There were two obvious moves to choose from, both appeared to be winning. However, his opponent found a neat response to Alan’s choice and a draw was soon agreed.
Werder Bremen (Germay, 37th seeds) White Knights
1) Gerlef Meins 2448 1-0 Jason Garcia 2056
2) Stephan Buchal 2305 0-1 William Hewitt 2040
3) Dr. Joachim Asendorf 2312 1-0 Keith Downey 1982
4) Olaf Steffens 2269 1-0 Adam May 1861
5) Sascha Pollman 2057 0-1 David Buttell 1798
6) Simon Bart 2037 1-0 Chris Daniel -
We’d hoped for an easier pairing in the last round, but it wasn’t to be! Werder Bremen rested one of their FM’s but still fielded an IM and 3 FM’s. Chris and Keith lost around the two-hour mark but the other 4 games were still pretty level. Jason was outmanoeuvred in the ending by his IM opponent without having seemed to do anything wrong. Adam reached a fine position against an FM but eventually his kingside weaknesses told. I had my best game of the event, beating an FM with a nice sacrifice of my white knight on e6. This left David in play as black in a kings Indian attack. His opponent turned a draw down and within a few moves, David had outplayed his opponent and scored another excellent win.
Unfortunately, the website is missing the rd7 results (the teething problems were never quite ironed out) so we haven’t seen the final table. When you see the standard of the teams in the event it’s clear it’s a big step up from Welsh Premier League and 4NCL. We were one of only two teams without a titled player, which gives an indication of the standard involved. Having said that, we all had a go and came back with some entertaining games and wonderful memories of a beautiful city. We’d like to thank Kevin and the WCU for making our participation possible.