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Top 10 highest rated losers on 4NCL debut
During the nine seasons of the 4NCL’s existence many players have enjoyed a successful debut, but every victory has to be balanced by a loss. The list of debutant losers has, in recent seasons, become very impressive.
An upset in the first season – March 1994 – was when North West Eagles’ Gary Quillan beat Alexei Ivanov who was playing for Invicta. Eight years later it is difficult to establish which of the four Alexei/Alexey Ivanov’s now in the FIDE list this was. The highest graded at the moment had a grade then of 2450. Perhaps someone can throw light on the identity of Invicta’s Ivanov.
It was not until two years later that a player higher-rated than 2450 lost on his first appearance. The loser this time was Jonathan Parker who was playing for Midland Monarchs. Rated 2480, Jonathan was beaten by David Cummings of South Wales Dragons. This occurred in January 1996, but only four months later there was a massive jump from 2480 to 2610 when Julian Hodgson, no less, lost to Alan Hanreck (Hertford). This was a 355-point grading upset and Julian remained the highest-rated player to lose on his first appearance in the 4NCL for a full four years.
By the year 2000 the league began to get an annual “crunch” match which would often determine the title and some very high profile performers were being smuggled in as superstar wildcards.
In round 10 of the 1999-2000 season Nigel Short made his 4NCL debut but lost against James Plaskett. Nigel’s rating of 2683 made him the new highest-rated player to suffer a debut loss. The following day, the final round of the season brought together Slough and Wood Green. Facing each other on top board were Zoltan Almasi (2676) and Alexander Morozevich (2748). Victory for Alexander made the Hungarian Grandmaster the second highest debutant loser a mere seven points behind Nigel.
One year on and the doubtful distinction of being the highest-rated debutant loser passed to another world superstar when Russia’s Peter Svidler (2696) also fell victim to Morozevich.
There have been no changes to the top three so far this season but Viktor Korchnoi’s win against Viktor Bologan (2651) put the Moldovan in fourth place on the list.
Surprisingly seven of the top ten losers on debut had the advantage of the white pieces.
The list of the Top Ten is given below. If there are any errors or omissions, please let me know. Remember the criterion is not just high-rated players losing, it is restricted to the loss being in the player’s first game in the 4NCL.
4NCL Chief Arbiter
|DEBUTANT LOSER || || || ||WINNER || || || |
|Peter Svidler ||w ||2696 ||BGr ||Alexander Morozevich ||2749 ||WGn||06/05/01|
|Nigel Short ||b ||2683 ||WGn ||James Plaskett ||2515 ||Gui||30/04/00|
|Zoltan Almasi ||w ||2676 ||Slo ||Alexander Morozevich ||2748 ||WGn||01/05/00|
|Viktor Bologan ||b ||2651 ||WGn ||Viktor Korchnoi ||2633 ||BGr||20/01/02|
|Julian Hodgson ||w ||2610 ||Slo ||Alan Hanreck ||2255 ||Hrtfd||25/05/96|
|Alexander Baburin ||w ||2590 ||WGn ||Luke McShane ||2470 ||Big||22/11/98|
|Jonathan Parker ||w ||2480 ||MMon ||David Cummings ||2350 ||SWD||20/01/96|
|Alexei Ivanov ||w ||2450? ||Inv ||Gary Quillan ||2325 ||NWE||19/03/94|
|Jacob Aagaard ||b ||2440 ||NaF ||Richard Bates ||2315 ||Ric||22/03/97|
|Jonathan Levitt ||w ||2430 ||WGn ||Andrew Webster ||2410 ||MMon||10/02/95|
Download some of the games in PGN format here. If anyone can supply any of the missing games, please let us know.
Pride and Prejudice
Barbican 4NCL 1
White Rose 1
Cambridge Univ. 1
Barbican 4NCL 2
Pandora's Box Grantham
S. Wales Dragons
Poisoned Pawns 1
Jutes of Kent
Warwickshire Select 1
Barbican 4NCL Youth
Poisoned Pawns 2
Celtic Tigers 1
White Rose 2
FCA Solutions 1
Sambuca Black Sheep
Cambridge Univ. 2
Warwickshire Select 2
FCA Solutions 2
The Full Ponty
Sussex Smart Ctls.
Braille Chess Assoc.
Beauty and the Beasts
Celtic Tigers 2