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4NCL 2010-2011 3rd weekend 19-20 February 2011 Wokefield Park, Mortimer by Lawrence Cooper



  De Vere Wokefield Park, Berkshire

The third weekend of this season’s 4NCL was split between two De Vere venues with Divisions 1 and 2 taking place at Wokefield Park in Mortimer, Division 3 was played at Sunningdale and the Northern League took place at the Barcelo Majestic Hotel in Harrogate.


With just one round to go after the weekend’s matches before the leagues split and merge into championship, relegation and promotion pools the destiny of several teams is still unclear.


Division One Section A:


Pride & Prejudice qualified for the Championship Pool after wins against Pandora’s Box Grantham and Barbican 1 left them on 12 match points. They did, however, suffer two shock defeats in their match against Pandora’s with Michael Adams losing with white against IM Jerzy Slaby and David Howell losing to untitled Marcos Capucci. Gawain Jones also appeared to be in some danger when he agreed to a draw against Martin Burrows. It was left to their other four grandmasters and their Norwegian WIM to secure the necessary wins to steer them to a 5½-2½ victory. Their round 6 victory against Barbican 1 was hard fought but with fewer scares and Chris Ward and Sheila Sahl won on boards 6 and 8 resulting in a 5-3 victory.


Barbican 1 qualified after a 4-4 draw on Saturday against Betsson with the only decisive games being Dave Ledger’s win against Simon Knott for Betsson and Kanwal Bhatia’s point against Maria Yurenok for Barbican. Betsson confirmed their place with a comfortable 7-1 victory against Pandora’s on Sunday.


Cheddleton had a successful weekend with victories against the ADs and Warwickshire Select to move into fourth place on 6 points although they will need at least a 4-4 draw against Barbican in round 7 to qualify for the Championship Pool if, as expected, Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher 2 win their match against Pandora’s Box. The ADs also have a mathematical chance of fourth place but will need to win against Betsson and hope the other two results are favourable.



Sunningdale playing hall, the Evelyn Sharp Centre.


Warwickshire Select and Pandora’s Box will both finish the season in the relegation pool after two defeats but they at least had some notable individual results. I have already mentioned Pandora’s grandmasters scalps above but I was pleased to see two of Warwickshire’s juniors win against titled players with Brandon Clarke winning against FM Peter Sowray whilst Richard Weaving defeated IM Malcolm Pein.


Division One Section B:


Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher 1 powered to two big victories against Oxford 1 and White Rose 1 to qualify for the Championship Pool with 12 match points. I was pleased to see WGHK field an all English top four on Sunday with Luke McShane making his first appearance this season alongside Stephen Gordon, Nick Pert and Jovanka Houska. Jovanka maintained her 100% record whilst Nick is on 5/6 and Stephen on 4½. remain the team to most outperform their seeding and two more victories, including their 3rd 4½-3½ win of the season against Guildford qualified them for the Championship Pool. One of their heroes is England’s number one junior, Yang-Fan Zhou, who has a performance of 2472 after four rounds.


Third and fourth have yet to be decided although White Rose will qualify if they manage 4-4 or better against Sambuca Sharks whilst Oxford will almost certainly have to beat Guildford whom they trail on game points to finish in fourth. Cambridge is the only other team with a mathematical chance but will need to beat Barbican 2 and have the other results go in their favour.


Barbican 2 and Sambuca Sharks will play out the season in the relegation pool. Barbican lost both matches 4½-3½ despite out rating Oxford on every board on Sunday.


Division 2 Section A:


Barbican Youth recorded two more victories to win the section and qualify for the Promotion Pool albeit the only way they can be promoted is if Barbican 2 are relegated. Twelve-year-old Isaac Sanders moved to 5½/6 with two more wins and Sam Franklin now has 2½/3 and a 2356 performance for the season. George O’Toole also won both games and it’s really positive to see so many of our young players being given opportunities and performing so well.


The remaining three places remain undecided. Five of the six matches not involving Barbican Youth ended 4½-3½ and the section is so close that it may come down to the last game of one of the round 7 matches to determine who qualifies in the top four. The pairings will be as follows:


White Rose 2 (5) vs. Barbican 4NCL Youth (10)

Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg (7) vs. Jutes of Kent (7)

Anglian Avengers 1 (7) vs. Poisoned Pawns 2 (2)

Cambridge University 2 (6) vs. South Wales Dragons (4)


Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg are on 25½ game points whilst Anglian Avengers 1 and Jutes of Kent are both on 25 game points.


Cambridge University 2 are on 6 match points and 24 game points whilst White Rose 2 has only a slim chance as they have 5 match points and 22½ game points.


Both South Wales Dragons and Poisoned Pawns 2 will finish the season in the relegation pool..


Division 2 Section B:


Bristol qualified for the Promotion Pool despite losing on the Saturday to Guildford 2. They secured a 6-2 victory on Sunday against rivals Wessex to finish the weekend on 10 match points.


Guildford 2 look favourites to join them although they will need 4-4 or better against 3Cs to be certain. There are three teams on 7 match points, Poisoned Pawns have 26½ game points, Wessex have 25½ and AMCA have 24½. Kings Head have 5 match points and 22½ game points so need to beat Wessex by at least 5½-2½ and hope at least one of the other teams on 7 loses. Eleven-year-old Ravi Haria of Kings Head has had a good season so far, scoring 3 out of 4 and performing at 2145.


Poisoned Pawns face Sambuca whilst AMCA appear to have the trickier round 7 pairing against Bristol but with James Holland on 4½/6 and performing at 2380+ they are not without match winners.


3Cs and Sambuca Black Sheep will be involved in the relegation pool after round 7.


This division remains wide open with Wessex 2, Celtic Tigers and Oxford 2 being separated only by game points with 10 match points whilst Brown Jack are the only team on 9. Seven teams are on 8 points and another 5 teams are on 7.


Prior to the weekend the Braille Chess Association had won all 4 matches and were leading the table. Despite 2/2 from IM Colin Crouch on board 1 they were outrated in both matches and lost 3½-2½ to Celtic Tigers and 4-2 to Brown Jack. Wessex 2 also won both matches to join the leaders.


Amongst the junior performances twelve year old Tarun Malhotra has played on board 1 for AMCA Hippos and is performing at 2175 after four games.


Northern League:



  Barcelo Majestic Hotel, Harrogate

The crucial top of the table clash in round 5 between Spirit of Atticus on 8 points and Bradford DCA Knights A on 7 ended in a 3½-2½ victory for Bradford with Ben Hague defeating John Carleton with black on board 1. Louis Brijmohun also won for Bradford on board 5 while David Robertson won on board 4 for Atticus against a much higher rated opponent.


Bradford then won 4-2 against Cheddleton on Sunday with wins for Adam Lang and Louis Brijmohun to finish the weekend on 11 points ahead of Atticus on 10 who won 4-2 against Aigburth. Holmes Chapel had two wins to move to 9 points ahead of Cheddleton on 8. Jorvik defeated Bradford B to move to 6 while Bradford remain on 4 while Manchester Manticores and Aigburth are still looking for their first points and will face each other in round 7.


My thanks to the hotels for accommodating and hosting the third weekend and to all the arbiters and 4NCL officials for the smooth running of the weekend.


The fourth weekend takes place on the 26th & 27th March 2011 with the following venues being used:


De Vere Venues, Staverton Park Divisions 1 and 2

Barcelo Hotel, Daventry Division 3

De Vere Wychwood Park (near Crewe) Northern League


Players are requested to make themselves familiar with the venue addresses and suitable directions beforehand!


Links to the website are as follows:

4NCL site homepage: 




Games for download: 


Dates for 2010-11 season: 


Rounds 9, 10 and 11

30th April to 2nd May 2011

Barcelo Hotel, Hinckley Island Divisions 1, 2 and 3 & Northern League


Junior 4NCL Weekend 3

9th & 10th April 2011

Barcelo Hotel, Daventry


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