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Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph

Malcolm Pein's daily chess column is available at the Telegraph's web site. You need to register, which is free. The daily chess column can be found by clicking the "Chess Club" link in the Arts section.

This article is used on the 4NCL web site with permission.

The Four Nations Chess League is now firmly established as the premier team competition in England. It was the brainchild of Christopher Dunworth, who is currently the League's Managing Director. In the 1990s Dunworth, a master standard player and an internationally qualified arbiter, became dismayed at the lack of high-class team chess in England, and he resolved to do something about it. Taking as his model the successful German Bundesliga team competition, Dunworth's idea came to fruition in 1993 when 6 teams competed for the inaugural 4NCL title.

Now, ten years on, the league is thriving and has 4 divisions, a total of 44 teams and about 350 players regularly taking part. The event has an international flavour, with grandmasters from around the world regularly turning out for the leading teams. This season's competition was won by the formidable Wood Green outfit, headed by England's top players Michael Adams and Nigel Short. As well as providing top-notch competition, the league has also proved to be a great social occasion.

This season saw the league expand to 4 divisions for the first time. Eight newly formed teams competed for the division 4 title, giving an opportunity for many players to enjoy their first taste of team competition. The eventual winners were Hilsmark Fisher, who after losing their first 2 matches, stormed through with 8 consecutive victories. Much of the credit should go to their team captain, Mark Hogarth, who managed a fine win in today's game against Kevin Moore.

Hogarth employs the Grand Prix attack against the Sicilian, a dangerous system designed to develop an initiative on the king's side. When his opponent tries to throw him off the scent by castling queen's side, Hogarth skilfully manoeuvres his major pieces round to the opposite wing. In the final position Black has no defence to a mating attack starting with Qa6+ and then b6 to open lines to the Black king. Black's queen and bishop watch on as helpless spectators.

M Hogarth - K Moore
4NCL Hilsmark Kingfisher - ADs 3
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 f4 e6 4 Nf3 d6 5 Bb5 Bd7 6 0-0 g6 7 Bxc6 Bxc6 8 Qe1 Bg7 9 f5 Qd7 10 a4 0-0-0 11 fxe6 fxe6 12 Nb5 Bxb5 13 axb5 Kb8 14 c4 b6 15 d3 Ne7 16 Ra6 Rhe8 17 b4 Nc8 18 Bg5 Ne7 19 Qh4 h5 20 Qg3 Rg8 21 bxc5 bxc5 22 Rb1 Kb7 23 Qe1 Ra8 24 Bxe7 Qxe7 25 Qa5 Rgb8 26 Rc6 1-0

Final position after 26 Rc6


Division 1

Pride and Prejudice
Barbican 4NCL 1
White Rose 1
Guildford-A&DC 1
Cambridge Univ. 1
The ADs
Barbican 4NCL 2
Oxford 1
Pandora's Box Grantham
S. Wales Dragons
Guildford-A&DC 2
Poisoned Pawns 1
Jutes of Kent

Division 2

Sambuca Sharks
Warwickshire Select 1
e2e4.org.uk 1
Barbican 4NCL Youth
AMCA Dragons
Kings Head
Poisoned Pawns 2
Anglian Avengers
Wessex 1
Celtic Tigers 1
Bristol 1
White Rose 2
Brown Jack
Guildford-A&DC 3
FCA Solutions 1

Division 3

Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg
Sambuca Black Sheep
Cambridge Univ. 2
Wessex 2
Warwickshire Select 2
KJCA Kings
FCA Solutions 2
The Full Ponty
Sussex Smart Ctls.
e2e4.org.uk 2
Nottinghamshire 1
Nottinghamshire 2
Oxford 2
AMCA Rhinos
Braille Chess Assoc.
AMCA Hippos
Glos. Gambits
Bristol 2
KJCA Knights
Guernsey Mates
Bristol 3
e2e4.org.uk 3
Beauty and the Beasts
Celtic Tigers 2
Oxford 3
Guildford-A&DC 4
AMCA Cheetahs