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2001/02 season - Weekend 1
The 8th season of the UKís premier chess league, the 4NCL, got underway in Birmingham over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd September. The new season features a total of 36 teams split across three divisions, with play taking place over 5 weekends culminating in May.
In Division 1, defending champions Beeson Gregory I got off to a flying start by winning both their matches. Their superstar top player, world ranked number 5 Michael Adams, led them to victory with wins against Michael Hennigan and Stuart Conquest. Bristol I and Wood Green I also enjoyed two victories during the first weekend, with Wood Green taking a slim lead at the top of the table on game points. Bristol were something of a surprise package, chalking up a good win against Slough I in the first round.
The first weekend features all the 'first team' against 'second team' matches. Although results ultimately went to form, both Barbican and Wood Greenís elite squads were made to sweat a bit against their bumptious understudies.
Division 2 saw Richmond and Perceptron Youth setting the early pace as the only teams to start off with 2 wins. Craig Hanleyís victory on top board for the Youth against Levy Gee 3Cís grandmaster Nigel Davies was one of the highlights of the division. Many of the matches were very close and a tough battle for the three promotion places is clearly in prospect.
At the end of the weekend, South Wales Dragons II are the clear leaders of Division 3, having defeated the Warwickshire Select and All Four Corners outfits. No mistaking itís a competitive division this year Ė 4 of the 12 matches ended in 4-4 draws.
Battle will be joined again on the weekend of 24th and 25th November when rounds 3 and 4 will take place.
Michael Adams vs. Michael Hennigan
Beeson Gregory I vs. Beeson Gregory II, board 1
Division 1, round 1
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.0-0 Nge7 5.c3 a6 6.Ba4 d5 7.exd5 exd5 8.d4 c4 9.Re1 h6 10.Bxc6+ bxc6 11.b3 cxb3 12.axb3 Be6 13.Ne5 Qb6 14.Nd2 g6 15.Ba3 Bg7 16.Qe2 Qb7
Disaster strikes down the e-file ...
17.Nxf7 (ouch!) and Black resigns.
On Saturday evening the glitterati of British Chess gathered in Hugo's Bar for the presentation of the 4NCL awards for the 2000/2001 season. The winners included:
Captain / Manager of the Year:
Richard Haydon (Witney & Swindon).
Player of the Year (Division 1):
Mark Hebden (Beeson Gregory).
Player of the Year (Division 2):
Nigel Davies (Levy Gee 3C's).
Player of the Year (Division 3 and 4):
Peter Taylor (Barbican 4NCL).
Young Player of the Year:
Richard Jones (Nidum Knights).
Female Player of the Year:
Teresa Khoo (BCCA).
Game of the Season:
Tony Miles (Slough)
for his win against Alexander Baburin.
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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