NCA Best Game Prize 2015-16
There were sixteen entries for this year, though only four (games 13-16) were eligible for the U140, which is down on last year. All the games are come with annotations by the players and/or myself with the aid of Komodo.
Our judge for this year was Nigel Birtwistle. As most judges choose to do, he made the decisions without knowing the identities of the players, and his decisions and comments were as follows.
Best Game Winner – Jonah Willow (v Robert Richmond)
The open section had several good games. Eventually I decided that GAME 3 was the winner. This game featured a controlled performance by the white player who used his space advantage to restrict his opponent whilst constantly on the lookout for tactics. Eventually the pressure took its toll and white was able to break through gaining a material advantage in the process. The end of the game came swiftly. There were some nice tactical points hidden away in the notes.
Best U140 Winner – Hambel Willow (v Karam Sangha)
The U140 section was more difficult to judge. Eventually I decided that GAME 14 was the winner.
Most of the games in this section contained mistakes. However I liked the patient approach of the black player in this game. Normally lower rated players will rush in at the first opportunity but in this game black waited for the mistakes to accumulate. The black player was the lower rated of the two players in this game and white became frustrated with the solid black approach and blundered a pawn. After that black was still in no rush and white eventually fell in to a mating net trying to avoid simplification in to a lost endgame.