How to Enter
English Chess Forum
New to the 4NCL
The Four Nations Chess League does not accept responsibility for the content of other websites, to which this site links.
This website includes information on participants in the Four Nations Chess League in respect of name, grade, title, nationality and sex (team registration lists), as well as telephone number(s), email address(es) and postal address(es) in certain circumstances (team captains/managers, management board members, arbiters etc). Participants wishing this information not to be included on the website should contact the webmaster to have it removed, but should be aware that in this event they will not be permitted to play in the league.
European Club Cup
Lawrence Cooper reports on Hilsmark Kingfisher at the European Club Cup in Fuegen, Austria
After the usual teething problems that seem to accompany entering any major chess event it was something of a relief to finally board the flight from Stansted early on the 7th October to head off to Fuegen via Munich. Although we had lost Matthew Broomfield from our original squad we were able to call on the services of team manager Mark Hogarth as an unlikely board 8. My plan at the start was to play a team of Ulf Andersson, Keith Arkell, Simon Williams, Andrew Greet, Jovanka Houska and Daniel Lindner in every match using myself as a reserve when players wanted to rest or were unavailable. At the start I knew Daniel would miss round 3 and Ulf round 7 so I was hopeful of at least 5 days off with the option of Mark playing in round 7 if a medal was out of reach. We were seeded 21st so I was hopeful of winning at least four matches whilst aware that we would probably yo-yo between beating a lower rated team and then losing to a top team.
In the first round we were paired against Kilkenny. The general consensus seemed to be that Ulf would draw on top board and we would try to win the other five! It actually turned out to be very close. Ulf was solid and held the draw and Andrew won easily but boards 3 and 5 were causing concern. Simon was an exchange down but the position was completely blocked so a draw seemed likely whilst Jovanka was in trouble. In the end, Simon's opponent refused a draw and then proceeded to blunder away his whole position in a very painful (for him) manner. Jovanka rallied but narrowly failed to hold her ending a pawn down. Meanwhile Daniel drew uneventfully and Keith was enjoying a long grind which included a king hunt and an eventual winning rook ending. The good news was that the bottom two pairings were against unrated players so at least Jovanka and Daniel's rating emerged unscathed. A hard fought victory to start with but at least the team had held their nerve in their European debuts.
|Bo.||50||Kilkenny||Rtg||23||Hilsmark Kingfisher||Rtg||2 : 4|
|23.1||GM||Baburin Alexander||2541||GM||Andersson Ulf||2542||½ - ½|
|23.2||IM||Heidenfeld Mark||2365||GM||Arkell Keith C||2479||0 - 1|
|23.3|| ||Mcphillips Karl||2208||IM||Williams Simon||2473||0 - 1|
|23.4|| ||Keogh Eamon||2093||IM||Greet Andrew||2439||0 - 1|
|23.5|| ||White John||0||IM||Houska Jovanka||2364||1 - 0|
|23.6|| ||Bradley Sean||0|| ||Lindner Daniel||2271||½ - ½|
The second round pairing was a perfect example of why we were so pleased to qualify for the event. We were playing Clichy, the seventh seeds who had 6 GMs including 2 big 2600s. They played very professionally and successfully adopted a win with white draw with black strategy. In particular, both Simon and Jovanka's opponents played to draw from the outset and achieved their aims although Simon's game flickered briefly into life. Ulf emerged from the opening with a difficult position and had to work hard to survive, his legendary technique was certainly tested. After missing a chance to equalise in the opening Keith faced a difficult task. However, he seemed to outplay his opponent to fight back to almost equality only to blunder and allow his opponent to escape with an endgame win. Andrew was defeated by a fine attacking display by Tregubov whilst Daniel was ground down after a theoretical but slightly dubious pawn sac in the Schliemann.
|Bo. ||23||Hilsmark Kingfisher||Rtg||7||Clichy||Rtg||1½:4½|
|7.1||GM||Andersson Ulf||2542||GM||Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter||2690||½ - ½|
|7.2||GM||Arkell Keith C||2479||GM||Naiditsch Arkadij||2676||0 - 1|
|7.3||IM||Williams Simon||2473||GM||Pelletier Yannick||2588||½ - ½|
|7.4||IM||Greet Andrew||2439||GM||Tregubov Pavel V||2596||0 - 1|
|7.5||IM||Houska Jovanka||2364||GM||David Alberto||2534||½ - ½|
|7.6|| ||Lindner Daniel||2271||GM||Apicella Manuel||2538||0 - 1|
Our first change of the event was an enforced one as Daniel Lindner had a prior engagement in Munich which meant a reluctant debut for our captain. Ulf, tired by his efforts the previous day, drew fairly quickly but this was more than compensated for by Simon obtaining a winning position in the opening. Keith was again on the way to grinding out a win whilst the only board causing concern was a below par display by myself on board 6. Andrew won well whilst Jovanka won two rooks for a queen and finished her opponent off with a mating attack. Unusually for Keith, he failed to reap the rewards of outplaying his opponent in the ending whilst I slipped to a poor defeat. Fortunately for me, it didn't cost us the match.
|Bo. ||36||LSG||Rtg||23||Hilsmark Kingfisher||Rtg||2 : 4|
|16.1||IM||Wiersma Eelke||2414||GM||Andersson Ulf||2542||½ - ½|
|16.2||IM||Van Haastert Edwin||2393||GM||Arkell Keith C||2479||½ - ½|
|16.3||FM||Van Ketel Raoul||2324||IM||Williams Simon||2473||0 - 1|
|16.4||FM||Van Wessel Rudy||2321||IM||Greet Andrew||2439||0 - 1|
|16.5|| ||Bakker Sven||2237||IM||Houska Jovanka||2364||0 - 1|
|16.6|| ||Wantola Ivo||2226||IM||Cooper Lawrence||2309||1 - 0|
The yo-yo effect continued as we again met a strong side. Ulf had a quick draw on top board but things became bleak after that. Although Keith's opponent failed to capitalise on a big advantage from the opening and Andrew held on to draw a difficult position a pawn down, Simon lost after failing to find the right plan in the middlegame whilst Jovanka and Daniel were both in trouble in the middlegame and were unable to survive.
|Bo. ||23||Hilsmark Kingfisher||Rtg||13||Bauset Pardubice||Rtg||1½:4½|
|8.1||GM||Andersson Ulf||2542||GM||Movsesian Sergei||2637||½ - ½|
|8.2||GM||Arkell Keith C||2479||GM||Laznicka Viktor||2596||½ - ½|
|8.3||IM||Williams Simon||2473||GM||Heberla Bartlomiej||2569||0 - 1|
|8.4||IM||Greet Andrew||2439||GM||Votava Jan||2531||½ - ½|
|8.5||IM||Houska Jovanka||2364||IM||Bernasek Jan||2470||0 - 1|
|8.6|| ||Lindner Daniel||2271|| ||Stehno Pavel||2273||0 - 1|
From a personal point of view, round 5 was the highlight of the tournament for me. After losing in round 3 I was desperate not to repeat the experience and so to score the winning point was very special. I was called into the team when Ulf became ill and was therefore unable to play. This made the match much closer but we produced one of our best team performances. Keith took over Ulf's mantle and held top board. Simon played a fine queen sacrifice and a good game but failed to convert the position and went astray, eventually losing although he had a late chance to save the game. Andrew drew a hard fought, fluctuating struggle, eventually drawing with a lone bishop against rook. Jovanka won well with black and I won a ridiculous game where I kept obtaining a won position only to throw it away and have to win it all over again. Daniel equalised early on and his opponent eventually lost on time as Daniel gradually seemed to be getting the better of the ending.
|Bo. ||23||Hilsmark Kingfisher||Rtg||28||SK Hohenems||Rtg||4 : 2|
|14.1||GM||Arkell Keith C||2479||GM||Bezold Michael||2535||½ - ½|
|14.2||IM||Williams Simon||2473||IM||Atlas Valery||2482||0 – 1|
|14.3||IM||Greet Andrew||2439||IM||Novkovic Milan||2417||½ - ½|
|14.4||IM||Houska Jovanka||2364||IM||Gaertner Guntram||2331||1 – 0|
|14.5||IM||Cooper Lawrence||2309|| ||Grabher Heinz||2311||1 – 0|
|14.6|| ||Lindner Daniel||2271||FM||Thoma Robert||2363||1 – 0|
After the euphoria of the previous day we came back to earth with a bump. Leading the way, I played a particularly poor game with black and this put the team under early pressure. Simon ended a run of two defeats by defeating a GM, the final position as vivid an example as you could wish for in terms of knight dominating bishop and one side being completely unable to free his position. Andrew sacrificed the exchange for sufficient compensation whilst Keith held another hard fought game on top board and Jovanka pressed without being able to break through. Probably the most tragic game from the Hilsmark point of view in the whole event was Daniel's game where having refuted his opponent's sacrifice with good preparation and a well played game he blundered into a queen sac forcing mate in 2. There's often a fine line between victory and defeat.
|Bo. ||16||Schachgesellschaft Zürich||Rtg||23||Hilsmark Kingfisher||Rtg||4 : 2|
|11.1||GM||Gabriel Christian||2540||GM||Arkell Keith C||2479||½ - ½|
|11.2||GM||Jenni Florian||2521||IM||Williams Simon||2473||0 – 1|
|11.3||GM||Vogt Lothar||2479||IM||Greet Andrew||2439||1 - 0|
|11.4||IM||Hug Werner||2440||IM||Houska Jovanka||2364||½ - ½|
|11.5||FM||Gruenenwald Joerg||2354||IM||Cooper Lawrence||2309||1 - 0|
|11.6||IM||Hess Ralf||2340|| ||Lindner Daniel||2271||1 - 0|
One interesting event prior to the match was the opposition's omission of Victor Korchnoi from their team as he doesn't enjoy facing the ultra solid Ulf. If only he had known about Ulf's illness Keith would have the chance to face one of the world's most legendary players.
A disappointing end to an enjoyable week and a good learning curve for my young team. The top two boards were quickly drawn as the tiring schedule and long games in earlier rounds took their toll. Faced with a 400 point deficit on bottom board our intrepid team manager fought hard but unsuccessfully whilst Andrew pressed hard but ultimately without reward. Defending pawn deficits in the final two games Jovanka was successful in a rook ending but Daniel wasn't able to hold in a queen ending.
|Bo. ||23||Hilsmark Kingfisher||Rtg||26||Vilnius Chess Club NSEL30||Rtg||2 : 4|
|13.1||GM||Arkell Keith C||2479||GM||Kveinys Aloyzas||2540||½ - ½|
|13.2||IM||Williams Simon||2473||IM||Zagorskis Darius||2468||½ - ½|
|13.3||IM||Greet Andrew||2439||IM||Grabliauskas Virginijus||2419||½ - ½|
|13.4||IM||Houska Jovanka||2364||IM||Sarakauskas Gediminas||2438||½ - ½|
|13.5|| ||Lindner Daniel||2271|| ||Novikov Vitalij||2328||0 - 1|
|13.6|| ||Hogarth Mark||1921||IM||Dambrauskas Virginijus||2331||0 - 1|
Summing up, this was a great experience. To see teams such as Ural field 4 2700s and fail to win the event showed how strong it was. The team fought hard and possibly with the addition of another titled player we could have finished higher up the rankings. Ulf (=4) and Keith (+1 =5 -1) led from the front and played extremely well against very tough GMs on top board. Simon (+3 =2 -2) was his usual creative self and clearly unsettled the GMs he faced. Andrew (+2 =3 -2) battled hard but was unlucky to get black against most of his toughest opponents whilst Jovanka (+2 =3 -2) also played well. I did feel if I could have swapped their colours in some of the big games they could have both fared even better. I was disappointed with my own performance (+1 -2) against opposition of my own rating, maybe the only bright spot for me is that in my last 4 rated games I've had no draws and over the 200+ moves there hasn't been a single draw offer by either side! Daniel was somewhat unlucky to finish on +1 =1 -4 and will rue his round 6 game which should have left him on 50% with a round to go. Mark was delighted to get a chance to play in such a big event and it seemed only fair to give him the opportunity in view of what the team has achieved since he formed them only four seasons ago. Finally, thanks again to Friends in Chess for their magnificent financial support. The tournament website can be found at here.
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