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The New Season
Saturday 18 October sees the start of the eleventh season of Britain’s premier chess league, the 4NCL National Chess League. During the close season an unprecedented number of new clubs joined the league, which now has 54 teams, an increase of more than 20% over last season. The decision taken over a year ago to hold each set of rounds over two weekends (Divs 1 & 2 on the first, Divs 3 & 4 on the second) has enabled the league to continue to expand and to accommodate all new applicants.
The eighteen-team fourth division will be run as an 11-round Swiss event, with three promotion places to the third division on offer. Alongside the entry of a number of second and third teams of existing league members, the fourth division has attracted a number of new club teams as follows:
It’s very much a sign of the increasing strength in depth and competitiveness of the league that some teams in the third and fourth divisions now number international masters and, in one case, an international grandmaster in their ranks. We confidently expect the various battles to achieve promotion and avoid relegation to be keener than ever!
- Pontypridd, who are already reporting rapidly increasing local interest as a result of their entry
- Grendel’s Mother, the imaginatively named offspring of the Bristol team Grendel (both teams take their name from the Norse myth “Beowulf”)
- Cheddleton from North Staffordshire
- Cambridge University Past and Present
- Two teams from Oxford
- The Braille Chess Association
- Nottinghamshire (confirming the interest starting to be shown by county associations)
- Brown Jack from Swindon, named after the public house where the team plays its home matches in the local league.
In the top division, champions Wood Green again have an impressive looking squad which includes fifteen grandmasters headed by Adams, Short, Morozevich, Bologan, Seirawan, McShane and Speelman. Guildford-ADC, who drew with Wood Green in last season’s final round, are again likely to be the strongest challengers.
Founder members and 4NCL ever-presents North West Eagles have regained their Division 1 status and will now be known as Micro Markets NWE. We are delighted to see that their original name lives on, even if in an abbreviated form! The two other promoted teams, Numerica 3Cs and Warwickshire Select, are both in the first division for the first time. This is a fine achievement for both, but particularly for the latter, who only joined the league three years ago and were playing in Division 3 as recently as 2002!
Last season almost all the promotion and relegation issues were closely contested with each division being highly competitive. No fewer than 566 players from 27 countries played in last season’s competition, and the international status of the 4NCL was further enhanced when it was being featured in a substantial article in “Schach”, Germany’s main chess magazine, a translation of which appears on the 4NCL website.
During the opening weekend the presentation of the 2002/2003 season team and individual trophies will be made. As last season, the league will be availing itself of the excellent venue and accommodation facilities provided by the West Bromwich Moat House Hotel and the Telford Moat House.
Full details of the 4NCL, including all contact details, team registration lists, fixtures, results, game scores and a variety of news reports can be found on the league’s website at www.4ncl.co.uk/pre2010/pre2010.
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