Chess: England’s medallists battle jetlag but rack up six wins in 4NCL

first_imgForty-eight hours after the world team championship closing ceremony in Astana, Kazakhstan, England’s jet-lagged trio of team silver and individual board medal winners Luke McShane (gold), Gawain Jones (silver) and David Howell (bronze) were in action again in the penultimate weekend of the 4NCL, Britain’s national league. Not conveniently near Heathrow, either – they had a further tiring journey to Telford in the West Midlands. Support The Guardian Since you’re here… Twitter Share via Email news 3611 1 Bh7+! so that if Kf8 2 Qxh6! gxh6 3 Rxf7 mate. The game ended 1…Kh8 2 Bg6! and Black resigned faced with fxg6 3 Nf7+ and 4 Nxd8. Chess England’s world team championship squad (left to right): Jonathan Speelman, Luke McShane, Michael Adams, Gawain Jones, David Howell and Malcolm Pein. Photograph: David Llada Quick guide Gediminas Sarauskas v Luke McShane, 4NCL, Telford 2019 Thank you for your feedback. Share on Messenger Chess: England win first major medal in 22 years with silver at world teams Was this helpful? Reuse this content The decorated trio notched up a combined result of six wins in six games. It was a significant feat, since jetlag is well known to affect chess players and another participant at Astana, attempting the same operation in a different European league, lost badly with the comment: “My brain was just useless.”Jones and McShane led the Guildford team which continued its record unbeaten run, now standing at 72 wins and two draws spread over more than six years. Guildford has 8/8 match points, followed by Howell’s Cheddleton squad and chess.com Manx Liberty on 6/8.Manx was level with Guildford in February, but was then beaten by Yorkshire’s White Rose, for whom James Adair scored in this week’s puzzle.The title deciders are at the final league weekend in early May, when Guildford meet both Cheddleton and Manx. The Surrey team is far ahead in tiebreaking game points, so the realistic question is whether well-financed Manx can end Guildford’s mammoth unbeaten run and thus gain a psychological edge for a serious title challenge in 2019-20. Rumour has it that Manx will really go for it and bring in a couple of 2,700-rated elite GMs to outrate Jones and McShane, plus some 2,600s in support. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook A different question prompted by the England medal trio’s intercontinental dash is why they took such trouble, since their teams won by wide margins anyway. At least part of the answer lies in the bunched live ratings, which show England’s top five – the medal trio plus Michael Adams and Matthew Sadler – covered by a mere 15 rating points between Howell 2,701 at world No 39 and McShane 2,686 at world No 54. The race is on to succeed Nigel Short and Adams as top dog and every rating point counts.McShane’s win below was a classic case of too many early queen moves, here seven of the first 14, by his opponent. White’s homespun plan was intended to dodge the mainline Berlin Wall 5 d4 or 5 Re1, but when the errant queen finally returned to base by 14 Qd2 McShane already had a pleasant position with active bishops and knight.White tried a tactical trick 19 Bxc7 but McShane struck with 20…f5! and 23…Bxg2! comically netting the white queen still recovering at d2 from her early sortie. In theory there was still work to do with rook, knight and pawn for queen, but Black’s active queen soon homed in on the a2 pawn and White resigned due to 34 Ra1 Qa3 35 h4 Qb2 when the queen eats White’s a2 pawn and Black’s own a pawn has a clear run. Pinterest Leonard Barden on chess Share on LinkedIn … we have a small favour to ask. 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