4NCL Round 7 & 8

White Rose has been performing well in the 4NCL. I put it down to good team spirits. This is the second time I have played for White Rose, the first being in 2008 when I was a replacement for Anya Corke who had a family emergency. Since then I’ve switched teams every year, playing for Bristol, Pandora’s Box, North East England and now back for White Rose.

Gawain had been a player for White Rose for a long time. They supported him as a junior and I think that he still counts as an honorary member.

Why all the team switching? Well, long story short, it just happened that way. Gawain has been playing for professional teams who have already had a strong IM / GM female player and I wanted to play on a high board for North East England in Division 2 as opposed to playing Board 8 in Division 1.  I’m not sure what I scored last year (just checking the ECF Grading Database) but our team didn’t fare well and were relegated to Divsion 3.I scored 5/9 against a 2161 average. 

This year the 4NCL has allowed players to use a conversion of their English grade instead of their FIDE Rating. My 205 Grade converts to 2290 (not sure that’s my rating but hey ho) and so I don’t always have to play on board 8. This weekend, however, I played board 8 both days. Why you might ask? Well sometimes you’ve got to help the team. I’m also never trying to specifically play or avoid other female players, instead I aim to try and play strong people.

Round 7
Round 7

Saturday, Round 7 White Rose faced Guildford 2. We were slightly outrated but only just. I played IM Dagne Ciuksyte originally from Lithuania she now lives in England. Our game followed the recent Svidler-Topalov game from the Candidates in Khanty-Mansiysk. Dagne didn’t play the critical line and instead followed an old game of hers when I managed to use an improvement Gawain had suggested.Thanks to my husband I got an edge and I managed to convert the game comfortably. Why did it gel this weekend when for so long I’ve not been so interested? I don’t know. I guess if I knew the answer I’d be able to make Gawain World Champion. Sometimes it works but I know I got a lot of rest, spending the morning napping as opposed to the gym and I had my snacks with me, although my game was only 22 moves so I didn’t need them this time. 


FM Jan Van De Griendt from Holland. (I took this  photo from the 4ncl main website as I currently don't have a camera!)
FM Jan Van De Griendt from Holland. (I took this photo from the 4ncl main website as I currently don’t have a camera!)

After my game, I decided I needed to hit the gym. So off I went to do a 5km run and 5km cycle. Then I was starving and we had to wait for Ga and my team to finish. FM James Adair successfully saving a worse endgame meant we won 5-3.

The Blue Pig
The Blue Pig

We ate at the Blue Pig in Wolvey. What did I have? Ribs! Why?? Well I’m not such a strict vegetarian anymore. Okay, I’m probably not a vegetarian any longer but I just love eating my vegetables! So I struggle in small villages where it’s all about the pub grub – but don’t get me wrong, I love pubs! So what’s my overall review? Portion size – HUGE. If you are a teenage boy and hungry, head there otherwise I would avoid. Next time my team captain emails around asking about dinner options I’ll be more vocal. The Blue Pig was definitely better than the pub around the corner but I wouldn’t call it a Gastropub. We finished quite late, headed back to the venue around 11.30pm. I headed to bed as I know how much I need my sleep. 

The mixed grill (from the Blue Pig) which rumours has it that a former Women's World Champion has devoured completely!
The mixed grill (from the Blue Pig) which rumours has it that a former Women’s World Champion has devoured completely!

With the victory White Rose qualified for the Championship pool and in contention to qualify for the European Club Cup held in Bilbao later this year. In round 8 we faced Cheddleton and Guildford 1 had to play Guildford 2. We managed to beat Cheddleton 6-2. I played WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni who I had played once before in Hastings. I had a won position but she defended well and it was a draw. Knowing that I had nearly beaten her before, I really knuckled down and knew if I was going to get a good position to just slowly keep it moving. 

Championship Pool
Championship Pool

Here’s my game with light annotations (by me!)

[pgn height=500 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none] [Event “4NCL Cheddleton Vs White Rose”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “23.03.??”]
[Round “8”]
[White “Maroroa, S.”]
[Black “Steil-Antoni, F.”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B07”]
[WhiteElo “2110”]
[BlackElo “2181”]
[Annotator “Maroroa,Sue”]
[PlyCount “81”]
[EventDate “23.??.??”]
[SourceDate “2009.03.12”]

1. e4 d6 {I was slightly surprised by this but it made me confident she didn’t
want to play something that she knows well as she wanted to avoid my prep (or
perhaps she’s trying something out).} 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nbd7 4. Be3 e5 5. Qd2 {
Trying to get my normal setup with f3,g4 and 0-0-0.} Be7 6. f3 c6 {Here I had
a long think. I needed to figure out my plan. In the past I think that I was
too commital with pushing my kingside pawns especially as she hasn’t castled
so I decided a new approach was necessary.} 7. Nge2 {With the idea of moving
my knight to g3 and potentially f5/h5.} b5 {A bit premature.} (7… Qa5 {feels
more natural.}) 8. Ng3 {Threating to jump in on f5 and provoking a weakness.}
g6 (8… Nb6 {would be better but would block the queen’s path to a5.}) 9. d5
$1 {I like this move. Black’s c6 pawn is very weak and the king isn’t safe yet.
} cxd5 (9… b4 10. dxc6 bxc3 11. cxd7+ Bxd7 12. Qxc3 {loses a pawn.}) (9…
Nb8 10. dxc6 a6 11. Nd5 Bf8 12. Bb6 {traps the Queen.}) 10. Nxd5 Nxd5 11. Qxd5
Rb8 12. Bh6 $1 {Stopping the king from castling and if black tries to swap off
her dark squared bishop she is left with vulnerable dark squares. This is now
the critical moment. Black needs to take time out here and decide what her
pieces are doing and her plans. It’s already a difficult position to defend
and I was feeling quite pleased.} (12. Bxb5 $4 {allow} Qa5+) (12. Bxa7 {also
allows} Qa5+) 12… Qa5+ 13. c3 Nf6 14. Qd2 Qc7 15. Be2 {Developing my pieces
is always a good rule and getting my king to safety. From my opening, I didn’t
think I would castle short but you’ve got to keep it flexible.} Be6 16. O-O Nd7
17. b3 {Preparing to open up the c file} f6 {I actually forgot that my bishop
might get trapped in after this. Fortunately for me Black’s position is weak.}
18. Rac1 Kf7 (18… g5 19. h4 {keeps it together.}) 19. f4 {Opening the f file}
exf4 20. Qxf4 Rhc8 {A last attempt to get the king to safety} 21. Nf5 Qc5+ (
21… gxf5 22. Bh5+ Kg8 23. Qg3+ Kh8 24. Qg7# {would’ve been a nice finish.}) (
{I think it was better to take with} 21… Bxf5 22. exf5 {first}) 22. Nd4 a6 $2
{A final mistake. That pawn isn’t what I’m after.} 23. Bg4 {I thought I was
completely winning here, everything for Black is falling apart. Her king is
weak, her pieces are blocked in and uncoordinated.} (23. Rf2 {is what the
computer wants to do.}) 23… Bxg4 24. Qxg4 Nf8 25. Bxf8 Kxf8 26. Kh1 Qe5 (
26… Ke8 {would have kept the game going.}) 27. Qd7 Rxc3 28. Rxc3 (28. Ne6+
Kf7 29. Rxc3 Qxc3 (29… Qxe6) {allows} 30. Ng5+ Kf8 31. Qe6 Ke8 32. Nxh7)
28… Qxd4 29. Rc8+ {Simplying and getting to an endgame. I didn’t want any
back rank tricks.} Rxc8 30. Qxc8+ Kf7 31. Qxa6 Qd3 32. Rg1 h5 33. Qc6 (33. a4 {
was probably a good idea to swap pawns and get those a&b pawns running.}) 33…
Qe2 34. a4 bxa4 35. bxa4 h4 36. Rc1 {Threatening a queen swap} Qe3 37. Qc3 Qf4
38. Qc4+ Kg7 39. Rf1 Qg4 40. h3 Qd7 41. Qb5 1-0 [/pgn]



Round 9 Pairings. White Rose face the might of Guildford 1
Round 9 Pairings. White Rose face the might of Guildford 1