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1st weekend 3-4 November, Sunningdale Park & Wokefield Park, Berkshire by Lawrence Cooper


The new 4NCL season got underway this weekend with the top two divisions being held in Sunningdale and Division Three South at Wokefield Park. Division Three North will be played at Wychwood Park near Crewe on 24th and 25th November.


Round 1:



David Howell (Wood Green HK 1)




The defending champions, Wood Green 1 fielding seven grandmasters, started with a convincing 7-1 victory over newly promoted BCM (formerly AMCA) Dragons, with Richard Webb and Ken Coates holding Jonathan Rowson and Nick Pert to draws on boards two and three to avoid the whitewash. David Howell beat James Holland on top board in one of the youngest pairings seen on board one in the 4NCL top division.


The remaining three matches were much closer, 1 had a surprise 5-3 victory over Guildford 2 with wins for Peter Sowray, Alan Byron and Rasa Norinkeviciute, Cheddleton beat Sambuca Sharks 5-3 with quick draws on the top two boards and 3/3 with the other whites. Sambuca’s victory came courtesy of Clement Sreeves who beat grandmaster Enrique Rodriguez Guerrero. Barbican 1 beat Cambridge University 4½-3½ with wins for Matthew Turner, Jonathan Rogers and Mark Ferguson. Nathan Alfred beat John Cox and Sabrina Chevannes (fresh from her England Olympiad debut in Istanbul) defeated Ingrid Lauterbach for Cambridge.


In Division 1b Guildford 1 scored a commanding victory against Warwickshire Select. Guildford fielded two new players on boards one and two; grandmasters Gawain Jones and Robin Van Kampen. Gawain drew with Ameet Ghasi, who had been very close to a GM norm at the recent Basingstoke e2e4 event and the other solitary half point came on board seven with Paul Lam drawing against Alberto Suarez Real.



Maria Yurenok (BCM Dragons) - Keti Arakhamia-Grant (WGHK 1)


Jutes of Kent had a convincing win against Wood Green 2, scoring 5½/6 on boards two to seven to offset losses on top and bottom board, whilst White Rose defeated South Wales Dragons by the same score including a win for James Adair who was recently awarded the FM title. By far the closest match of the round was a 4-4 draw between Barbican 2 and Blackthorne Russia with Samuel Franklin (who had also recently been awarded the FM title) winning on top board against Adam Hunt and Kanwal Bhatia winning on bottom whilst Richard Bates and Bob Eames replying for Blackthorne.


In Division 2a 2 emulated their first team with a victory against a much higher rated Oxford team with wins for John Garnett, Richard Webster and Theodore Dias. Despite the loss, it was heartening to see three of our most promising juniors; Marcus Harvey, Anna and Maria Wang all playing in the Oxford first team.


The only match in the division that went according to rating was Pandora’s Box Grantham’s 5-3 victory over Spirit of Atticus. Wessex overcame a deficit of almost one hundred points per board to defeat Anglian Avengers 1 4½-3½ with the match being decided on a successful 10.2 claim by the Wessex board six after wins for Gavin Lock and Bruce Jenks. Poisoned Pawns edged home 4½-3½ against Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg 1 with wins on boards four, five and seven and losses on boards one and eight.



Sue Maroroa

Division 2b matches all went according to rating. The ADs defeated the slightly more youthful KJCA Kings with wins for John Richardson, Ian Snape and Mark Stockwell, Kings Head narrowly defeated 3Cs 4½-3½ with wins for Felix Kwiatkowski, Rik Thomas and Ananthanarayanan Balaji. Bristol had a comfortable 6-1½ victory over North East England (½ game point deduction for NE for defaulting board eight despite having a female player, Sue Maroroa who has recently transferred to England, in the team). A relatively youthful Barbican Youth team lost 3½-4½ to White Rose 2 despite wins for Guy Moss and Ashley Stewart. Jean Luc and Pierre Weller were amongst the White Rose winners.


Round 2:


The first real clash of the season was between Cheddleton & Barbican 1. Apart from Wood Green & Guildford these were the only two teams with a realistic chance of competing for the title. The teams were evenly matched but wins for Jonathan Parker and Sam Franklin against Keith Arkell and Robert Bellin resulted in a 5-3 victory for Barbican. Three of the games went to the final hour and two ended with barely minutes of the playing session to go.


Quite possibly the most amazing result in an eight board match in the history of the 4NCL occurred in what appeared to be a routine match for Wood Green 1 against The average of the teams were 2504 and 2235 and the closest game on rating was 184 points whilst the biggest gap was 393 on board eight. Despite this it was e2e4 who were pressing on several boards but ultimately Lawrence Trent was able to hold a draw a pawn down in a rook ending against Mark Josse which resulted in a 4-4 drawn match with no decisive games! This was a great result for e2e4 captain Sean Hewitt and the team of Alexei Slavin, Raja Panjwani, Peter Sowray, James Jackson, Robert Willmoth, Alan Byron, Mark Josse and Rasa Norinkeviciute.



Evelyn Sharp Centre, Sunningdale Park, Berkshire

Guildford 2 were held 4-4 by BCM Dragons who scored well on the lower boards to cancel out Guildford’s supremacy at the top and Cambridge defeated Sambuca Sharks 5-3 despite losing the top two boards.


Division 1b saw Guildford 1 defeat Barbican 2 6½-1½ whilst their nearest rivals had a surprisingly convincing 7-1 victory over Jutes of Kent. This was a very impressive result even allowing for the fact that Jutes aren’t always at their best on Sundays! The other two matches were very close, Warwickshire Select had an impressive victory against Blackthorne Russia with wins for John Pitcher (against IM Richard Bates), Henrik Stepanyan (against FM Bob Eames) and Ali Roy whilst South Wales Dragons overcame an average rating deficit of 95 points to triumph 4½-3½.


In Division Two Pandora’s Box Grantham and Wessex are the only teams with two match victories in Division 2a. Wessex overcame Spirit of Atticus 5-3 and Pandora’s beat Anglian Avengers 4½-3½. Oxford and Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg got off the mark with wins against Poisoned Pawns 1 and 2 4½-3½ and 5½-2½ respectively.


In Division 2b Kings Head finished the weekend with two match victories after defeating The ADs 5½-2½. Bristol were held 4-4 by White Rose 2 despite their two IMs winning the top two boards. 3Cs bounced back from their narrow defeat on Saturday with a 5½-2½ victory over KJCA Kings whilst Barbican Youth overpowered North East England.


Division Three South:



De Vere's Wokefield Park


Play took place at Wokefield Park as a thirty-seven team swiss. After the first weekend the following teams recorded two match victories: Fermented Sharks, FCA Solutions 1, Cambridge University 2, Anglian Avengers 2, Leeds University Old Boys, Guildford 3, Brown Jack, Ashfield-Breadsall, Rhyfelwyr Essylwg 2 and BCM Rhinos (2) whilst Oxford 2 and Celtic Tigers 1 have three points.


In round 1 Brown Jack whitewashed Banbury Bulldogs albeit the latter team defaulted on bottom board giving an unusual match score of 6-½ as a half point is deducted for each defaulted board. They then rattled up a 6-0 score line on Sunday with being the unfortunate victims for whom Joshua Altman, who won the bronze medal at this August’s European Youth and was recently awarded the Candidate Master title, made his debut for 4.


In conclusion:


I would like to thank both venues for providing excellent playing and accommodation facilities and the arbiters, game inputters, live board operators and webmaster for ensuring the chess ran smoothly and that the website was regularly updated. The weekend’s results and league tables can be found via the following link:


All the games from the weekend should be on the website to download and play-through, soon.


The next weekend is on 13th and 14th January with Staverton Park hosting the top two divisions and Division Three South being held at the Daventry Court Hotel.




© 4NCL


Four Nations Chess League

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