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Division 2 4NCL Second Weekend, Hinckley Island, 14th-15th Jan 2012 by John Carleton

 

 

Hinckley Island Hotel

The weekend of 14th-15th January saw the return to Hinckley Island, a venue with warm memories for us for it was here that we clinched promotion to Division 2. Despite our setbacks of the first weekend we headed into play in buoyant mood and the revival of those pleasant memories when we saw Bradford, who pipped us on tie break [points scored] receive the Division 3 Championship trophy at the start of play of round 3 of the current campaign did no harm to our mood.

 

 
Bd1: John Carleton (right) 2293 playing Richard Jones, f 2396

and on board 2, (left) Tim Kett 2181 playing Nick Ivell 2335.

 

Once our match with Rhyfedwyr Essyllwy started to progress our confidence was gradually eroded. Our white games were not offering us the prospects we had anticipated, only Andy on board 7 making promising inroads into his opponent's territory and our players fielding the black pieces were mainly under pressure. Peter on board 5 completed peace negotiations at an early stage, the life having evaporated somewhat from the position.

 

Nick on board 2 was lured into an uncomfortable position and decided on kill or cure with an ambitious advance in the centre. This was met by an anticipated sacrifice from his opponent Timothy Kett who threaded his way through the complications to eventually drive Nick's king into the open and then up the board to his doom netting an impressive victory and thereby making sure it was kill and not cure. Dave Latham's game on board 3, which for a while had offered a slight edge, had by now fizzled out and the draw was agreed. Andy, our big hope in the early stages, had not forced a breakthrough on the queen's wing and was facing a worsening situation in the areas where the big issues were being resolved. Andy was relieved to get the offer of a draw which he gratefully accepted. I completed the Atticus white draws quartet finishing a game which Nick observed contained very little significant action. This is a good example of Nick's generosity of spirit since the game contained absolutely no significant action.

 

 

Dave Robertson in action against WFM Vaness Reid

At this point there were three games in progress: Sheila on board 4 striving womanfully to unbalance matters from a sterile early endgame position, Steve on board 6 who had equalised rather comfortably but had slipped into what appeared to be a lost rook and pawn ending and Dave Robertson on board 8 who was in a murky queen ending the exchange down but pawns up. All this was rather disconcerting as Steve "never loses" and we had mentally chalked up a win for Dave from round about the 2 hour mark only to be faced by this bewildering transformation.

 

Perhaps it was the visit of Grandmaster Nigel Short who appeared at this point to say hello to some of the Atticus team that changed matters but normal service was resumed when Steve wriggled into a drawn position. This was enough for Sheila who had also reached a dead drawn position although she had conjured up pressure from somewhere along the way. So we were one down with just Dave in action, faced with, after further fluctuations, a very tricky queen and pawn endgame. In an act of team bonding the rest of the squad gathered in the bar, frequently sending as many as one person back to the tournament hall to will Dave on and report on progress. Eventually, Dave emerged victorious having saved the match with just enough time for him to quaff a well earned glass of wine before we headed to Nuneaton for our post match celebration.

 

 
   

Unusually, very few of the world's problems were solved at the dining table [mainly because we got stuck on how to pronounce our opponents' team name] but discussion was marked by our customary depth and contemplation. The WAG complement was up to a record 20% which added to the undoubted aura that emanated from our group.

 

And so to Sunday morning and a clash with AMCA Dragons, the only 100% record in our section of division 2, and it has to be admitted that right from the early stages the prospects for us looked rather bleak. We were having problems equalising in all four black games in the early stages. On board 1 I felt mine was going rather well but was hit by a bolt from the blue as my opponent Paul Cooksey exploited a familiar theme in an unusual manner. Paul thus emerged a pawn up with positional advantages and pushed me off the board with great aplomb. Steve and Sheila were next to finish on boards 4 and 6 agreeing draws in quiet positions but when Peter drew on board 5 after having negotiated some discomfort we still had vague hopes that this save might help spark a revival of our fortunes. This hope grew appreciably with the approach of the first time control, Dave Latham on board 3, a big pawn down and short of time stirred up some nasty complications leaving his youthful opponent's king exposed. Dave got two rooks for his queen so the approximate material balance was restored and then took up defensive duties to restrain the pawn. This ultimately led to a fighting defeat for the Atticus player; we await the verdict of Herr Fritz as to whether there were attacking options available at the critical stage.

 

 

 

Spirit of Atticus bds 2-4: Sheila Jackson (4), Dave Latham (3) and Nick Ivell (2).

AMCA Dragon players in the foreground include (l to r) Stephen Dishman

(b/w sweater) playing Nick Ivell, James Holland, Tom Farrand playing

Sheila Jackson, Shawn Tavares and Hans-Peter Hansen.

Thus we were two down with three in play. Nick on board 2 who had been our one bright spot from the early stages, was gradually squeezing all activity out of his opponent's position. On the way Nick was showing himself a quick learner; having been introduced to the wonders of digital clocks only the day before he nonetheless had the confidence to complete the required 40 moves for the first time control with just 6 seconds to spare.

 

On boards 7 and 8 respectively, Andy and Dave Robertson were each fighting hard but suffering greatly as, having slipped into passive opening positions, they had shed material and then did their utmost to test their opponents' technique. Each Atticus player ultimately failed against incisive play from the Dragons' experienced opponents. With his defeat Andy's unbeaten run stretching 12 games was ended [but currently is the Spirit of Atticus record]. The final word of the day was had by Nick, calmly and unhurriedly completing his victory, the best [of an admittedly small sample] Atticus win so far this season.

 

We now know we are in an anti-relegation battle and are looking forward to the forthcoming weekends to demonstrate our determination to maintain our status. Should this sound like ludicrous optimism to the reader let me share some good news that Steve Connor gave me towards the end of the weekend and this news was very much in line with one of my hopes. Steve handed me a small piece of paper on which he told me my provisional Elo rating up to January was printed. Now, I have had aspirations on the Elo front but have felt that the whole system has been far too linked to results. Finally with this rating I felt due weight was being given to what I really deserved from my play; 2580! Fantastic or what? And you think we can't avoid relegation! Coincidently, but I will have to leave the topic of coincidence to another day, my rating was the very same number needed to key in to exit the car park on that particular day.

 

 

Rd3 results Rd4 results

Spirit of Atticus team page

Division 2b Table Games in PGN

This report is also available here  

 

 

 

4NCL

 

Four Nations Chess League

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