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4NCL Rapidplay 29th-30th September by Lawrence Cooper


02.10.2012  - The team event on the Saturday had fourteen entries. Matches were played over four boards with placings being decided by total game points followed by total match points, sum of opponents’ game points, sum of opponents’ match points and finally coin toss.




Rapidplay venue: De Vere Harben House

Barbican (Matthew Piper, John Cox, Jonathan Rogers & Mark Ferguson) found themselves in the unusual position of being top seeds. They outrated their nearest rivals by almost twenty points per board but over four boards with a quick time limit upsets can occur. Sons of Anarchy, (Thomas Rendle, Peter Roberson, Ben Purton & Liam Varnom) captained by Ben Purton, were hoping to defend their title whilst Barbican 2 also fielded a strong side with Chris Dorrington on top board.


Based on average rating the teams were ranked as follows:


Barbican 1 (231), Sons of Anarchy (211), Barbican 2 (205), Kings Head (204), RSJ (203), Hackney (196), Leeds University Old Boys & Warwickshire Select (182), BUCA (178), Oxford (177), FCA Solutions (172), Leighton Buzzard (170), BCM (153), Snodland (145).


Round one produced no upsets although Sons of Anarchy had a solitary Liam Varnom win on board four against Kings Head whilst RSJ defaulted bottom board but still managed to score 2½ on the top three against Warwickshire Select.



In round two Barbican scored 3 against Leighton Buzzard despite a shock defeat for John Cox against Kevin Williamson on board two, Sons of Anarchy also scored 3 against Warwickshire Select with wins for the top three but defeat for their round one match winner. Hackney were held by Oxford while RSJ had a surprisingly convincing victory 3½-½ against Barbican 2.

In round three Barbican 1 overpowered their second team 3½-½, Sons of Anarchy overcame Hackney 3-1 with wins for Tom Rendle & Ben Purton and RSJ beat Oxford 3-1.


Barbican and RSJ drew 2-2 in round 4 with wins on boards one and two for Barbican for Piper and Cox against Alan Merry & Ian Snape but surprise losses for Rogers and Ferguson to Andrew Mayhew and Paul Talsma. Sons of Anarchy defeated Oxford 3-1.


The match of round five pitted defending champions Sons of Anarchy against multiple previous winners Barbican 1. On this occasion youth was no match for experience and Barbican unexpectedly won all four boards. RSJ lost 2½-1½ with IM Richard Bates and John Reid winning on boards one and three.


Barbican secured what proved to be a decisive victory in round six over Hackney 3-1. Matthew Piper beat Richard Bates on top board and their IMs John Cox and Mark Ferguson also won. Sons of Anarchy lost to RSJ with defeats on boards three and four.


Barbican finished with a 2½-1½ victory against Oxford with wins for Cox & Rogers and a draw on top board. RSJ completed a fine team performance with a 2½-1½ victory against Kings Head, which included a win for Alan Merry on top board against John Pigott. Sons of Anarchy lost to Barbican 2 which meant that Kings Head took third place on game points. First place went to Barbican and second to RSJ.


Congratulations then to Barbican 1 who finished first on 21½ game points and only one match point dropped. RSJ finished second with 17½ game points and three match points dropped whilst Kings Head took third on 17 ahead Barbican 2, Hackney and Oxford on 15½.


In terms of individual performances, Matthew Piper scored 6/7 on top board for Barbican 1 with John Cox and Paul Talsma scoring 5½.


Team results in detail - | Rd1 | Rd2 | Rd3 | Rd4 | Rd5 | Rd6 | Rd7 | Crosstable |

Individual results in detail - | Round by round incl. Crosstable |


Whilst the individual event on Sunday didn't have any grandmasters it had two IMs and a number of talented younger players including Alan Merry and Marcus Harvey and had thirty-seven players in total including ten graded over 200. Placings were decided by total number of points, sum of progressive scores, sum of opponents’ scores and coin toss.



Whilst round one passed by without any upsets round two featured a few clashes between potential prizewinners including a draw between Richard Bates and Marcus Harvey whilst Chris Dorrington and Alan Merry drew against Liam Varnom and Ben Purton. The four players on 2/2 all drew in round three meaning that eight players shared the lead on 2½/3. Three draws followed in round four which enabled Thomas Rendle to take the lead by defeating Bob Eames with black.


After all those draws round five featured decisive results on the top eight boards. Tournament leader Thomas Rendle lost with white to Richard Bates who was joined on 4/5 by Peter Roberson, Ben Purton, Alan Merry and Marcus Harvey.


In round six Richard Bates beat Alan Merry on top board and Marcus Harvey won against Ben Purton board two. Peter Roberson lost to teammate Thomas Rendle leaving Marcus and Richard in the lead on 5/6 with Tom Rendle and Liam Varnom on 4½. As the two leaders had already played this meant the last round pairings were Marcus on five against Thomas on 4½ and Liam on 4½ against Richard on five.



Whilst Richard won to finish on 6/7 Marcus was unable to do the same and lost to Thomas leaving the final scores as Richard Bates first on 6 with Thomas Rendle on 5½ and Marcus Harvey, Alan Merry, Ben Purton and Peter Roberson on 5. Marcus won the junior prize whilst Kishan Pattni took the U175 grading prize scoring 4.


As well as thanking all the players who took part I should also thank our hosts Harben House, the De Vere venue in Newport Pagnell and the organising team headed by David Welch, which included arbiters Peter Purland, Neville Belinfante and Dave Thomas. Apologies for not attending the weekend hence my reliance on result journalism which doesn't contain the thrills and spills of the individual matches and games.




© 4NCL


Four Nations Chess League

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