weekend 30th April -2nd May 2011, Hinckley Island,
- by Lawrence
Mickey Adams (green
top) vs. Luke McShane (½-½)
colleague David Howell
about to move
against Jon Ludvig Hammer (1-0).
The final weekend saw all three divisions
playing at one venue, the Northern League merged
with Division Three and titles, promotion,
relegation and European Club Cup places were up
The destination of the title
inevitably came down to the final round
encounter between defending champions Wood Green
Hilsmark Kingfisher 1 and Pride and Prejudice.
P&P had the advantage on game points which meant
as the teams both had 12 match points that a 4-4
draw would suffice.
The match was surprisingly one sided despite
the teams appearing to be evenly matched. Board
one saw a hard fought draw where Luke McShane
had some initiative against Michael Adams but
black was able to liquidate and hold. David
Howell won on board 2 against Jon Ludvig Hammer
after gaining a clear advantage in the early
middle game due to black’s exposed king and
weakened pawn structure.
Division One Championship Pool:
Board 3 was a fifteen move draw as
Emmanuel Berg fell an hour behind on the clock
trying to find a plan against Sergei Tiviakov’s
3…Qd6 Centre Counter. Gawain Jones easily
converted a positional advantage into extra
material after a seemingly quiet opening where
black made a couple of questionable decisions.
Board 5 saw an interesting tussle between Nick
Pert and Glenn Flear where black had an extra
pawn but white had some space.
As someone who prefers to grab pawns and
worry about compensation later I was more
convinced by Glenn’s position throughout the
game. Mark Hebden had a nominal edge against Pia
Cramling but black always looked secure on board
6. Board 7 started quietly but then exploded
into life before the time control. John Emms, as
black, was allowed a dangerous passed e pawn
which Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant was unable to
stop. Sophie Milliet played an enterprising
gambit against Neil McDonald but he gave up
material which allowed Sophie to play without
risk having an extra pawn in a rook and opposite
coloured bishop ending which Neil was able to
hold. This meant that Pride and Prejudice won
the match 6-2 and secured their first 4NCL
Division One title. Congratulations to the team
and to Claire Summerscale, their manager. Their
team has changed a lot since they first set foot
in the 4NCL. Initially a team that fielded
mainly women, then juniors they have now evolved
to a team that regularly fields three of the
England team and a number of other experienced
English GMs with a foreign female player.
Bd8: Neil McDonald vs. Sophie Milliet,
The earlier rounds of the weekend had seen
WGHK1 win a tough match against Barbican with
Luke McShane winning against Jonathan Parker on
top board which combined with wins on boards 5
and 8 helped them to a 5-3 victory despite Max
Devereaux winning against Ketevan Arakhamia.
Pride and Prejudice were able to overtake them
on game points though as they scored heavily
against White Rose and e2e4.org.uk.
(White Rose 1).
White Rose clinched third place with an
impressive win against Cheddleton by winning the
bottom two boards (wins for Paul Townsend
against Paul Wallace and Lateefah Messam-Sparks
against the much higher rated WIM Fiona
Steil-Antoni from Luxembourg) and showing great
resilience in some of the other games with Colin
McNab holding a knight and pawn ending against
Danny Gormally in the last game to finish. This
victory, coupled with their win against Betsson
in round 8 ensured they clinched a European Club
Cup place and they finished with a creditable
4-4 draw with Barbican. They have clearly had a
great season and have managed to finish above
teams with far bigger budgets and higher rated
Cheddleton finished their first season in the
top flight in fourth place and Jonathan Hawkins
secured his first GM norm after a great result
on top board which included wins against Parker,
Gordon and Conquest. He has made huge progress
in the last couple of years and I won’t be
surprised to see him making more norms in the
near future. The team also added Elisabeth
Paehtz and Richard Pert to the team for the
final weekend to ensure a good finish.
Bd6: Pia Cramling vs. Mark Hebden (½-½).
Of the other teams e2e4.org.uk had an
outstanding first season in the initial group
stage and Yang-Fan Zhou gained yet another IM
norm which he can add to his collection. He
should become a ratified IM at the next FIDE
meeting in June and is likely to have a rating
around 2450 in July. He is still only sixteen
and is an outstanding talent who I hope can keep
improving and fulfil his potential. He is also a
great role model to the other juniors and I hope
his results will help inspire them to keep
I should also thank David Howell for his work
with Yang-Fan and hope this will continue. I was
also pleased to see Ameet Ghasi return to
international chess for the first time in five
years and a draw with Elisabeth Paehtz and a win
against Richard Bates was a very encouraging
comeback. His only loss came against Sergei
Both Betsson and Barbican finished slightly
lower than expected but were involved in a
number of close matches which could have gone
either way whilst Guildford had a good final
weekend to avoid last place.
(Wood Green HK 2).
The top three teams qualify for the European
Club Cup in 2011 although as WGHK have already
turned down their place this means that P&P,
White Rose and Cheddleton are currently the
three teams able to take up places. At the time
of writing only White Rose have confirmed their
intentions so it is still possible that Betsson
will get a chance to play and I am aware that
e2e4 are also interested should enough teams
turn down the opportunity.
Division One Demotion Pool:
The demotion pool was mostly about relegation
but Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher 2 beat
Cambridge to top the pool despite having to play
their joker as I was asked to fill a vacant
board leaving Brian Smith free to look after Pia
Congratulations also to Peter Sowray who
secured another IM norm.
The crucial relegation battles were
realistically between ADs, Barbican 2 and
Oxford. Sophie Tidman continued her fine run of
form for Oxford. She started the weekend on 4/6
and performing at 2293. She won on Saturday
against Pandora’s Box and drew a complicated
game against IM Craig Hanley leaving her assured
of a norm if she played anyone rated over 2235
or a draw against anyone lower. Sadly, she was
unable to do this and lost to Jana Bellin. Her
rating performance was still 2240 for the season
and probably her best career result to date.
I hope to see her playing more as she remains
one of our strongest women. Sadly for Oxford
their 4-4 draw in round 9 against Pandora’s Box
was followed by defeats to WGHK2 and in the
vital eleventh round they were overpowered 6½-1½
by the ADs so not only did they miss out on
norms for Sophie and David Zakarian but they
also fell into the bottom four meaning they will
play in Division 2 next season. Barbican 2
secured their escape by winning in rounds 10 and
11 and Chris Dorrington made his first IM norm
whilst Kanwal Bhatia narrowly missed out on her
first WIM norm.
Division Two Promotion Pool:
Jutes of Kent recruited GM Luis Galego from
Portugal and IM Bjorn Thorfinsson and this
enabled them to win all three matches to move
from fifth to top the division albeit round 9
was only 4½-3½ against Poisoned Pawns. Bjorn
lost to Andrew Dunn and Luis was held to a draw
but wins by GM Simon Williams, WFM Aly Wilson
and Alexis Harakis saw them home.
Barbican Youth were the team to slip out of
the promotion places although as Barbican 2
survived they would not have been able to take
promotion anyway. Anglian Avengers had a great
season and finished second only on game points
to Jutes. Their strength in depth enabled them
to draw 4-4 with Bristol despite taking only ½
on the top four. Their last round 4-4 draw with
Wessex also led to Wessex finishing seventh
whereas a 4½-3½ victory to Wessex would have
seen them finish fourth by half a game point!
Guildford 2 therefore took fourth place ahead of
Wessex whilst Bristol secured third by winning
against Barbican Youth.
Both Jutes and Bristol look well equipped to
establish themselves in Division 1 whilst it
will be interesting to see how Anglian Avengers
fare, they have certainly been one of the
success stories of this season. Guildford 2’s
chances may largely depend on how strong their
first team is.
Division Two Demotion Pool:
The demotion pool saw AMCA Dragons, Kings
Head and White Rose both win in round 9 to
virtually secure their survival.
AMCA won 5½-2½ against Cambridge 2 with James
Holland amongst the winners on board 3, Kings
Head whilst White Rose 2 win against 3Cs left
Cambridge and 3Cs with too much to do and
despite both winning in round 10 they finished
with a 4-4 draw and were both relegated along
with Sambuca Black Sheep and Poisoned Pawns 2.
South Wales Dragons topped the pool on 11
Brown Jack vs.
Spirit of Atticus.
Division 3 saw the 8 northern teams joining
up for the final weekend meaning Bradford DCA
Knights and The Spirit of Atticus carried
forward points from the first four weekends to
head the table.
Brown Jack defeated Bradford 4-2 in round 9
whilst Atticus won 3½-2½ against Wessex 2 thanks
to a win by John Carleton on top board. There
were also wins for Celtic Tigers, Oxford 2,
e2e4.org.uk 2 and the Braille.
Round 10 saw promotion for both Bradford &
Atticus as Brown Jack were unable to make their
rating advantage tell against Atticus and David
Robertson secured the only decisive result on
board 5. Bradford won 4-2 against Celtic Tigers
with Ben Hague defeating Ryczard Maciol on top
board and their were also wins for e2e4.org.uk
2, FCA Solutions and the Braille.
Peter Richmond and
Round 11 saw Brown Jack join the top two
northern sides in Division 2 next season as they
overcame Warwickshire Select 2 thanks to wins
from Mike Truran, Richard Haydon and Pablo
e2e4.org.uk 2 needed to win against Atticus
but despite heavily outrating them on the bottom
5 and securing a draw on top board they were
held to 3-3 with James Jackson the only winner.
This enabled FCA Solutions who won 4-2 against
Oxford 2 to claim the fourth remaining promotion
place ahead of Celtic Tigers by half a game
point! e2e4 also finished on 16 points but were
3 game points behind the Celts.
On behalf of the players and officials I
would like to thank the Barcelo Hotel in
Hinckley for hosting the weekend and enabling us
to hold all three divisions at the same venue.
SConnor for 4NCL
Table data: Dave
Thomas and Neville Belinfante
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