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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.

October saw the start of the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL), Britain's premier chess league. Now in its eleventh season, the league attracts 54 teams, competing in four Divisions. During the close season an unprecedented number of new teams joined including the Braille Chess Association and some enigmatically named teams such as Brown Jack and Grendel's Mother.

Most of Britain's strongest players compete in the 4NCL, as do competitors from a total of 27 countries. The strength in depth is shown by the fact that some third and fourth division teams boast International Masters and in one case a Grandmaster. If previous seasons are anything to go by, the promotion and relegation issues will be closely contested in all divisions.

Last year's Division 1 runners up were Guildford-ADC and their strengthened team got off to a good start in the first round, played at the West Bromwich Moat House. In their opening game, Guildford managed a convincing 7-1 win over newly promoted Micro Markets NWE. Their new recruit, French International Master Thal Abergel, made a stunning debut with a 15 move win.

The most exciting game in the match was Danny Gormally's victory over Micro Markets' Charles Kennaugh, which featured the unusual material imbalance of bishop against five pawns. Black went pawn-grabbing in the opening and then sacrificed a knight to amass an impressive pawn phalanx which should have been decisive in the endgame. After a couple of inaccuracies near the time control White's initiative proved impossible to stem. 30...Nxc3! 31.Bxd7 Bxd7 32.Rxe3 dxe3 creating six passed pawns for the rook would have been decisive eg 33.Nf3 b4! and 34...Na4 was strong.

Once Black had missed his last chance of 41...Ka5, he found his king trapped in a mating net and his extra pawns proved worthless. Gormally finished off nicely with 48.Be5+, which forces mate after 48...Rxe5 49.Nxc6+ Kc8 50.Ba6 mate or 48...Ka8 49.Nxc6 Rxc6 50.Be4 with mate next move.

D.Gormally - C.Kennaugh
4NCL West Bromwich

1 Nf3 d5 2 d4 c6 3 c4 e6 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 Bg5 Qc7 6 e3 b5 7 a4 Bb4 8 Nd2 Bb7 9 axb5 Bxc3 10 bxc3 cxb5 11 Bf4 Qc6 12 Qg4 Kf8 13 Be2? Qxg2 14 Qxg2 Bxg2 15 Rg1 Bc6 16 Bd6+ Ne7 17 0-0-0 Nd7 18 Rg3 Rg8 19 e4 Nf6 20 Re3 Rd8 21 Ba3 Rd7 22 f4 Ke8 23 Rf1 Kd8 24 f5 exf5 25 d5 Nexd5! 26 exd5 Nxd5 27 Rg3 f4 28 Rh3 Re8 29 Bf3 Re3 30 Bg4 f5 31 Bxf5 Rf7 32 Bg4 Rxh3 33 Bxh3 Nxc3 34 Bb2 Ne4 35 Nf3 c3 36 Ba3 Rf6 37 Re1 Kc7 38 Nd4 Nf2 39 Bf1 Kb6 40 Re5 Ng4 41 Bc5+ Kb7 42 Re7+ Kc8 43 Rxg7 Bd7 44 Nxb5 Nxh2 45 Nxa7+ Kb8 46 Bd3 Bc6 47 Bd4 Re6 48 Be5+ 1-0

Final position after 48.Be5+


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