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The Northern 4NCL 2nd Weekend, 15th-16th Jan 2011 by John Carleton

 

 

Wychwood Park, Crewe

 

It was a big sporting weekend in Crewe with Port Vale the visitors to Gresty Road on Saturday to play the Alex [The match of hate as it is known locally since Stoke's fairly recently acquired lofty status]. Fortunately, two of our stars [heading for the other major sporting event in Crewe] Andy and Mike managed to elude the police cordon at Crewe Station and joined their colleagues at the second superb venue for the fledgling 4NCL Northern League. This time we knew a bit more about our opponents and were expecting a tough match against fellow 100% scorers Cheddleton 2 in our Saturday fixture.  We were not to be disappointed in this expectation.

 

 

 

Spirit of Atticus - Rd4

The match soon settled into a series of headlong collisions with quarter neither being given nor expected with the possible exception of board 6. Andy approached me fairly early on saying that the positions were going to be pretty drawish and would a draw be O.K. Trying to fathom where three and a half points might come from was proving quite taxing so I was agreeable to reducing that problem to trying to work out from where a further three points might come. So as anticipated, this game was agreed drawn quite early in the proceedings. Meanwhile in my game we were trying to recall some heavy Nimzo theory which was taking quite a bit of time. You may be surprised that I needed quite so much time since I had actually played the variation before [unlike my opponent]; this should not connected in any way to my having a deteriorating memory but at the moment I can't quite recollect why I took so long. Meanwhile board 2 was rapidly turning into a Dutch Defence tribute afternoon. Peter, with scarcely a glance to the queenside, took on the mantle of the Ginger GM and overwhelmed his opponent's king's defences; a smooth Atticus victory with a snappy finish.

 

 

Captain: John Carleton

 

On board 3 Dave Robertson had started slowly but his opponent lost time when he had prospects of a promising initiative. Dave needed no further invitation and soon whipped up a ferocious attack which ensnared the black king. Many people were worried whether, playing board 4, Dave Stuttard, with his somewhat idiosyncratic style, would be ready for the generous time allowance and positional emphasis of the 4NCL. Of course they should have been worried whether the 4NCL would be ready for Dave. Suffice it to say that on this occasion even his captain was more than a little concerned that he might not have quite enough for the two pieces sacrificed.

 

 

 

Giovannis, Crewe

In addition Mike on board 5 had been under pressure, was forced to jettison a pawn and although he was fighting back,  the match, despite our two fine wins, could depend on board 1. This had progressed to an ending where I had the notional advantage of two pieces against rook and pawn and could play on for a long time but was having trouble coming up with winning ideas. My plans for an early trip to the bar seemed in jeopardy when Mike lost on time with a move to make to the time control in a drawn ending. At this point Dave Stuttard's opponent was forced to resign [obviously, oh ye of little faith!] so  peace negotiations swiftly followed in my game to wrap up a satisfying 4-2 win.

 

 

And so, pausing for a only few drinks at the golf club bar, the team embarked on our traditional in-depth post match debriefing session before heading into Crewe town centre for a meal. Robbo's researches had indicated that Giovanni's offered a particularly interesting selection of wines and so even the traditional beer drinkers decided this was the opportunity to broaden their horizons and to embrace the produce of the grape. As a result of this pioneering decision it was felt by many that the conversation reached new heights, although recollection of said discussions proved somewhat elusive on Sunday.

 

The dawn of a new day saw us move up from the competition's 5th highest rated team on Saturday to the 4th highest team on Sunday so we felt we must have had a good evening. We were however wary of Jorvik, who had looked in good shape in the previous round. Our wariness had grown to real concern quite early in the round 4 encounter with our opponents looking more comfortable overall. Jos Wooley had a small opening edge against me. On board 2, Peter was our brightest starter, looking very comfortable as he built up big pressure on the black centre. Dave on board 3, with a willing partner from Jorvik [Richard Mounce], embarked on some hot Najdorf theory which had the non-aficionados amongst us bemused. Dave Stuttard on board 4 appeared very relaxed as he lost/sacrificed a pawn in the opening, swapped queens and then converted the material situation to an exchange deficit. There was some concern in the Atticus camp that this game might not last too long. Mike was under big pressure on board 5 but was digging in and showing real determination. Andy on board 6 had realised that we required a win and, accepting a potentially loose position, had grabbed space and was generating some initiative.

 

The well appointed playing room at Wychwood Park, an ideal setting for rounds 3 & 4.

 

All the games came to a head with the approach of the time control: board 3, after some startling adventures fizzled out to a draw. Andy made his space count on board 6, gathering material as his opponent attempted to break out. Jos outplayed me in the crisis position I had provoked which meant the match was all square. Mike liberated his position and even grabbed a pawn but was content to agree a draw as matters were changing on board 4. Dave had won back the exchange for a [weak] pawn which duly dropped off. Thereafter, he gave a text book demonstration of play with two bishops against bishop and knight and once again delivered the full point. This enabled Peter to agree the draw in what was surely a winning ending [but posing real problems of coordination] to bring victory by the narrowest margin.
 

Another weekend of tough chess thus saw us sitting proudly at the top of the division, but with nearly every match close and unpredictable we look forward to more uncompromising battles in the forthcoming rounds.
 

Rd3 results Rd4 results

Spirit of Atticus team page

Northern league Table Games in PGN

 

This report can also be seen here.

 

Additional reports

 

 

 

 

- 4NCL