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4NCL 2010-2011 1st weekend 6-7 November by Lawrence Cooper



Sergei Tiviakov was held to a

draw by Jonathan Hawkins in round 1


Following the successful reintroduction of the rapidplay event in October the 4NCL proper hosted its first weekend of the 2010-11 season with Divisions 1 and 2 at the Barcelo Hotel in Daventry and the nearby Staverton Park accommodating Division 3. The two hotels are just over 3 miles apart so reporters and captains were just about able to keep an eye on both venues.


Divisions 1 and 2 are again divided into two pools of eight teams with the top four 4 in each qualifying for the championship/promotion pool and the bottom 4 finishing the season in the relegation pool. This gives eight teams the opportunity to avoid relegation in the first 7 rounds but also rules out eight teams from promotion and the battle for European Club Cup places (23 Sep - 1 Oct 2011 in Rogaska Slatina, Slovenia).



  Jonathan Mestel

playing board 1 for the Ads


Pool A in Division 1 is headed by Pride & Prejudice and Barbican who are big favourites to qualify along with probably Betsson and one team from Cheddleton, The ADs and Wood Green 2. Having now jinxed all those teams I can report that the most significant result in terms of qualifying was Betsson’s 5.5-2.5 win over Wood Green 2 with wins for Andrew & Dave Ledger and Laurence Webb in round 1. The second weekend sees Cheddleton playing WGHK 2 and Betsson in two matches that will decide who will be best placed to qualify.


Pride and Prejudice powered to a 6-2 win over Cheddleton and 7-1 against The Ads although a surprise win for Staffordshire’s Darren Wheeler over Mark Hebden prevented the whitewash. Mention should also be made of Jonathan Hawkins’s draw with black pieces against Sergei Tiviakov. Barbican and Betsson also started with two match victories whilst Cheddleton and The Ads both have one match victory each.



Katie Martin

playing the 150 attack


In Pool B the defending champions WGHK1 started impressively with comfortable wins against Sambuca Sharks and Cambridge University. In terms of individual results though 18-year-old James Adair holding Stephen Gordon to a draw in round 1 was the stand out individual result along with Sam Williams defeat of Mohamed Tissir.


Guildford and White Rose are both expected to qualify for the championship pool and although White Rose were significantly outrated by Guildford they secured an impressive 5˝-2˝ victory in round 2 (see below).


Guildford A&DC 1 (2408) - White Rose 1 (2282) 2˝-5˝

161 w Brunner, Nicolas m 2462 ˝ - ˝ McNab, Colin A g 2445

162 b Cuenca Jimenez, Jose Fernando m 2490 0 - 1 Palliser, Richard JD m 2445

163 w Kosten, Anthony C g 2513 0 - 1 Buckley, Simon T 2345

164 b Conquest, Stuart C g 2529 1 - 0 Gourlay, Iain f 2367

165 w Berzinsh, Roland m 2427 0 - 1 Townsend, M Paul 2246

166 b Garrido Dominguez, Jesus m 2410 1 - 0 Croad, Nicolas f 2297

167 w Povah, Nigel E m 2336 0-1 Gayson, Peter M 2184

168 b Grigoryan, Meri wf 2099 0- 1 Messam-Sparks, Lateefah w 1928


Amongst the many impressive performances were Simon Buckley who defeated Tony Kosten with black and Lateefah who beat Meri Grigoryan.


The remaining place is wide open although Cambridge secured an important victory over Oxford whilst e2e4 surprised Barbican 2 with victories on boards 5-7. Oxford also narrowly defeated Sambuca Sharks despite victories for James Adair and Sam Williams.



Holmes Chapel v Cheddleton

Jonathan Blackburn v Alex Richardson, bd 1



  Redworth Hall Main Entrance


After two rounds WGHK1 and White Rose have two match victories with Sambuca and Barbican 2 both surprisingly yet to get off the mark. E2e4 play both Cambridge and Oxford at the second weekend after which we’ll probably have a better idea of who is best placed to qualify.


Pool A of Division 2 looks set to be a hard fought section and after 2 rounds only one team, South Wales Dragons, emerged with two match wins. Five teams follow with 2 and two teams have 1 match point. The surprise result of the weekend was Jutes of Kent, led by Simon Williams, who suffered a surprise defeat to Barbican Youth. There was also a hard fought match between the two Welsh teams in round 1 which South Wales Dragons won, aided by their two IMs on boards 1 and 2.


Pool B also looks like being very hard fought and three of the weekend’s 8 matches ended in 4-4 draws. Bristol are the only team with maximum match points after wins against Kings Head and Sambuca Black Sheep. Guildford 2 and Poisoned Pawns are both on 3 match points whilst Sambuca and 3Cs are both yet to get off the mark.



The Surtees Conference Room, where conditions were of the usual 4NCL high standard


photo © Pat Bennett (Holmes Chapel)


Division 3 is always a league where early predictions, especially mine, are normally way off the mark.


There are 36 teams competing in a swiss. It is always interesting to seek out star names in the league and arguably Sussex Smart Controls, who have the luxury of being able to field Amy Hoare on board 6, stand out.


There are several strong squads though which outrate them and Brown Jack and Braille Chess Association (led by IM Colin Crouch) fielded the highest average rating and both started with 2 match wins as did Celtic Tigers, Iceni, Oxford 2 & Guildford 3 whilst UCL & FCA Solutions 2 are on 3 match points.


The 4NCL Northern League was also launched on the same weekend at the Barcelo Redworth Hall near Darlington. It featured eight teams with the early pace setters being Bradford DCA Knights, Cheddleton and Spirit of Atticus with Holmes Chapel and Jorvik on 2 match points.


On behalf of the league I would like to thank all three hotels for providing excellent venues and playing facilities.


The second weekend takes place takes place on the 15th & 16th January at the exotically named Hinckley Island Barcelo Hotel. All three Divisions will be played at the same venue. The northern league will take place at De Vere Wychwood Park near Crewe.


The remaining dates can be seen here.


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