Home | News - Page 2 | 1 | 3

Carlsen loses three in a row twice as champion heads for World Cup - Leonard Barden


09.07.21 - Garry Kasparov to take on world title challenger, Ian Nepomniachtchi, this weekend.



Magnus Carlsen suffered a rare double setback last weekend when the world champion twice lost three games in a row at the $100,000 Goldmoney Asian Rapid. The defeats occurred in his losing semi-final against the world No 5, Levon Aronian, then in his third place play-off against Ding Liren, though he still managed to defeat China’s world No 3.


The 30-year-old Norwegian had an off day, missing several tactical chances.




The No 1 has already qualified for the Meltwater Champions Tour final after winning the two previous events, so diminished motivation explains it. Next week he bids to try and put to rest a longstanding hoodoo when he makes his fourth attempt at the 206-player, $1.9m World Cup knockout in Sochi ... more.



In contrast, English over-the-board competitive chess is only now starting to revive from the pandemic, although pent-up demand is certainly there. This weekend’s 4NCL (Four Nations Chess League) congress in Leamington Spa and next Saturday’s £2500 DecodeChess Rapidplay in Manchester Square, London, have entry limits of 130-150 and are already oversubscribed.


The London tournament is followed next day, Sunday 18 July, by the ChessFest in Trafalgar Square, which may attract thousands of players.


The pandemic wiped out the last 4NCL over-the-board season, although it continued to thrive online. Now the plan is to play the first of five 2021-22 weekends in late November, with venues at Milton Keynes, Leamington and Doncaster.


The return of the 4NCL is significant not only for competing clubs but for individuals, because it offers a realistic chance of qualifying for GM and IM norms, plus the women’s equivalents, which are a prime target for ambitious players.


Diagram: Heikki Westerinen v Gudmundur Sigurjónsson, New York 1977. White to move. Black threatens Qxc2+ and Qxe2 mate. Can you find White’s winning move and winning sequence?


Read more and see solution...

Return to OTB chess

We continue to plan the 4NCL's return to OTB chess. As well as our 25th 4NCL Congress at Woodland Grange (Leamington Spa) on 9-11 July 2021, we have also booked the same venue for our 26th 4NCL Congress on 10-12 September 2021. More information to follow when we have it. Needless to say, arrangements may be subject to change depending on what happens later this year with Covid-19.


Mike Truran

4NCL Dates 2021-2022

We're very pleased to be able to announce the dates and venues for the 4NCL's 2021-2022 season, which can be found here. Our thanks go to our friends at Guaranteed Events for their help in finding suitable venues for us. Please note the following:

  1. The dates may be affected (or indeed may need to be cancelled) should the Covid-19 situation not evolve as HM Government hopes. We will keep a careful eye on future developments and keep captains/managers informed.

  2. Given the prevailing uncertainty we will not be publishing entry guidelines, rules etc until much closer to the first round - probably mid/end October.

  3. Despite 2 above, Guaranteed Events are happy to field early accommodation enquiries. As usual, no money is taken until after arrival at the venue, so there is no financial risk to captains, managers and players booking accommodation early should, for example, a Covid-19 resurgence require weekends to be postponed or cancelled. Please do NOT try to book accommodation direct with the hotel as you will not get the preferential 4NCL arrangements.

  4. The proposed divisional format/structure for 2021-2022 (and for 2022-2023) is explained in more detail here.

Kind regards,

Mike Truran

Many congratulations to all the 4NCL Online Season 3 Champions

4NCL Online  

Division 1: Celtic Tigers & Sharks

Division 2: Hull & Beverley Romans 1

Division 3: MK Phoenix 2

Division 4: Barnet Knights A 

Division 5: Charlton Cobras A

Division 6: MK Phoenix 3

Division 7: Newport A


Junior 4NCL Online

Division 1: Muswell Hill Bishops

Division 2: Young Dragons A

Division 3: Barnet Knights A

Division 4: Leeds Juniors 1

Division 5: Lenzie Basilisks

7th 4NCL Online Congress

Friday 23 - Sunday 25 April


Thank you for taking part in this event


Open | U2000 | U1700 | U1400 | U1100 | Entries | Games | Information | Winners

4NCL on the up by Malcolm Pein



AS CHESS clubs begin to take their first small steps to resuming over-the-board activities, the 4NCL Online League continues to prosper.

6th 4NCL Online Congress

Friday 26 - Sunday 28 March


Thank you for taking part in this event


Pairings & Results: Open | U2000 | U1700 | U1400 | U1100 | Games | Entries | Info | Winners

Online Fair Play Report - End of Season 2

Full report here

4NCL Online / Junior 4NCL Online

If you have a problem please try to direct your enquiry to the person best placed to assist. See more...

25th Congress

I'm very pleased to say that we've booked 4-star conference centre hotel Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa for our 25th 4NCL Congress on 9-11 July 2021. More here...

2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons

The 4NCL team have been giving a lot of thought to the future of the 4NCL during the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. More details here including an intended 'roadmap'.

4NCL Online Fair Play Guidelines

The 4NCL Online and Junior 4NCL Online fair play guidelines have been updated for season 3.

4NCL Online Dates H2 2021 and H1 2022



4NCL Online

4NCL Junior Online

4NCL Online Autumn Congress


24 August

19 August

31 August


7 September

2 September

14 September


21 September

16 September

28 September


5 October

30 September

12 October


19 October

14 October

26 October


2 November

28 October

9 November


16 November

11 November

23 November


30 November

25 November


14 December

9 December


4NCL Online

4NCL Junior Online

4NCL Online Spring Congress


25 January

20 January

1 February


8 February

3 February

15 February


22 February

17 February

1 March


8 March

3 March

15 March


22 March

17 March

29 March


5 April

31 March

12 April


19 April

14 April

26 April


3 May

28 April


17 May

12 May


4NCL Online Fair Play Guidelines

The 4NCL Online and Junior 4NCL Online fair play guidelines have been updated for season 3. Please read and bring to the attention of your players the following updated sections in particular:


Section 4: 4NCL Online Fair Play Panel;

Section 5: 4NCL Online Appeals Committee;

Section 8: Other (public allegations of cheating against other players);

Section 8: Other (streaming).


See updated guidelines here.


Players' Agreement to Fair Play Guidelines Form

Team captains will be able to submit their squad lists from 7th January.


Returning teams will be able to amend/update their squad lists from the end of season 2. New teams will have until 16th January to submit their squad lists, and the squad lists at that point will be used for the purpose of seeding the pairings in the lowest division. Pairings and teams will be published on 17th January, and captains will be able to submit their team lists for round 1 from 18th January.




All players will need to sign the Fair Play Form again for Season 3, on the basis that the fair play guidelines have changed significantly from the end of season 2. The fair play form, the link for which can also be found in the dropdown menu(s) at the top of this page, summarises the significant changes from season 2 which players need to be aware of. Players will not be available for selection until the fair play form has been signed.

4NCL Online & Junior 4NCL Online

If you have a problem please try to direct your enquiry to the person best placed to assist:


  • Software (e.g. can't log in, tie-breaks are wrong, accounts for assistant managers/vice captain):

  • Fair play forms:

  • Player incorrectly flagged as not an ECF member please e-mail:   

  • Team list/board order, and estimated ratings for unrated players (rule 2.1): please e-mail both  &

  • Pairings for Swiss sections:

  • PGNs don't appear on the website: please e-mail Andy Howie (as above) or contact the or use the contact us form.

25th 4NCL Congress

I'm very pleased to say that we've booked 4-star conference centre hotel Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa for our 25th 4NCL Congress on 9-11 July 2021. This will be our first OTB 4NCL congress since the start of 2020 if restrictions are indeed lifted on 21 June as we all hope.


Although we are not publishing entry forms just yet, our friends at Guaranteed Events are happy to field early accommodation enquiries. As usual with 4NCL congresses, no money is taken until after arrival at the venue, so there is no financial risk to players booking accommodation early should a Covid-19 resurgence require the congress to be postponed or cancelled. Please do NOT try to book accommodation direct with the hotel as you will not get the preferential 4NCL arrangements.


As the proverb has it, 'There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip', but on the (possibly heroic) assumption that restrictions will ease as HM Government hopes over the next few months we'll be publishing information, entry forms etc on the 4NCL website once we have our organisational ducks in a row.


Kind regards,

Mike Truran

5th 4NCL Online Congress

Friday 19 - Sunday 21 February


Thank you for taking part in this event.


Pairings & Results: Open | U2000 | U1700 | U1400 | U1100 | Entries | Games | Info | Winners

4th 4NCL Online Congress

Friday 15 - Sunday 17 January 2021


Thank you for taking part in this event.


Pairings & Results: Open | U2000 | U1700 | U1400 | Entries | Games | Info | Winners

Online Fair Play Report - End of Season 2

The statistics for Season 2 are below:


  • 11 players were banned due to fair play violations;

  • 11 other players were banned by Lichess, for whom the weight of statistical evidence did not support the 4NCL overturning results (e.g. the bans were imposed as a result of the cheating taking place in non-4NCL games on Lichess);

  • Of the 22 cases above, only 3 cases were attributable to players in Junior 4NCL Online; the other 18 were attributable to 4NCL Online.


In Season 1, there were 50 cases, with the reduction in part caused by changing the definition of what constituted a ban. Previously all 22 cases above would have resulted in the player being banned. In addition:


  • A number of players who were banned in Season 1 have not returned in Season 2;

  • With two exceptions, players who were banned in Season 1 and readmitted in Season 2 have a clean bill of health.


On the face of it, this is a dramatic reduction and looks positive; and for Junior 4NCL Online, it does look considerably more like we would expect to see from an over-the-board event as a whole.


However, 4NCL Online still has a number of people who we expect, if they continue to behave in the way that they have for much longer, will be banned by Lichess and meet our tolerance threshold.


There are approximately 25 players in 4NCL Online who we believe were probably cheating in Season 2. We say this based on comparing data from Season 2 with 4NCL over the board dating back to 2017; there are a number of performances which far exceed anything we have ever seen naturally from over the board chess in England, but which nevertheless fall short of the thresholds under which either 4NCL or Lichess will ban someone. There is a reasonable probability that maybe one or two of these people are playing honestly, but the chances that they are all playing honestly are vanishingly small. 4NCL Online will be combining Season 2 with Season 3 data, and so the slate will not be wiped clean, and may be used to provide justification for bans in Season 3. Most disappointingly, amongst these 25 are three squad captains and an ECF arbiter.


While it’s disappointing that a number of people are clearly ‘sailing close to the wind’, and also that bans/suspicious activity are weighted disproportionately towards 4NCL Online rather than Junior 4NCL Online, nonetheless the overall trend does appear to be in the right direction.


The fair play guidelines have been reviewed and amended to take account of experience gained in Seasons 1 and 2, and we believe that they strike a good balance between identifying cheats effectively and reducing the risk of wrongly accusing the innocent. We encourage captains to read the new guidelines and to share them with their players – and we also thank the vast majority of captains and players who are committed to a clean playing environment.

Carlsen starts well but slows while little-known Swede impresses - Leonard Barden


22.1.21 - World champion admits to errors after four grinding draws as Nils Grandelius surprises world No 5, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, at Wijk.



Magnus Carlsen launched his campaign at Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee, the “chess Wimbledon” in style as the world champion elegantly defeated the rising star Alireza Firouzja, 17, by an imaginative attack.




Then the script went awry, as Carlsen’s next four results were all grinding draws against lower ranked opponents, while his limelight was stolen from an unexpected quarter ... more.


Britain’s national chess league, the 4NCL, has tapped a rich vein of popularity as it begins its third lockdown season with more than 250 teams of four competing in the 4NCL Online in seven divisions. Matches are once a fortnight on Tuesday evenings, played to a comfortable time limit allowing up to three hours per game. A separate junior league has hundreds of players.


The pre-pandemic 4NCL had teams of eight who played on weekends at a central hotel venue, which proved too difficult for some distant teams.



The over-the board version has been dominated by Wood Green and Guildford for most of its 28 years. In contrast, the online version has surging numbers, is attracting teams from Cornwall to Dundee, has two seasons a year rather than one, and is a more open competition at the top.


4NCL Online looks set to stay even if or when the pandemic is over, and its fourth season, expected to start this summer, should continue its rapid expansion. Its participant numbers are already comparable with the weekend congress Fischer boom of the 1970s.


Diagram: Alexey Shirov v Samuel Sevian, Stockholm 2016. How did the then US 15-year-old (Black, to move) defeat the former world title challenger?


Read more and see solution


More about Leonard Barden


Many congratulations to all the 4NCL Online Season 2 champions

4NCL Online

Division 1: ChessPlus Kingston

Division 2: CSC 1

Division 3: Catford Cosmonauts 2

Division 4: Hertford 1

Division 5: Hackney Thirsty

Division 6: Dundee City B


Junior 4NCL Online

Division 1: KJCA Young Kestrels A

Division 2: May the Fork Be With You 1

Division 3: KJCA Young Kestrels F

Division 4: Barnet Knights A

Malcolm Pein on…the Kingston 4NCL Champions



31.12.20 - Malcolm Pein turns his attention back to the Four Nations Chess League in today’s Daily Telegraph chess column – and the match which made Kingston 4NCL champions.


The big final brought plenty of action and a surprising result.


ChessPlus Kingston stunned Wood Green to win the First Division of the 4NCL Online League. Having pulled off one giant-killing act to defeat Guildford Young Guns 2½-1½ in the semifinal, they produced another, despite FM Marcus Harvey taking his score for the season to a whopping 8½/9 by defeating Goran Pavlik. More here ...

Former finance minister scores winning point in British final - Leonard Barden



21.12.20 - The surprise winners of Britain’s online 4NCL league last week were ChessPlus Kingston, who overcame the favourites Wood Green in the final. ChessPlus organises instructional courses for chess teachers, with support from the European Chess Union.




Fittingly in the time of The Queen's Gambit, CPK’s women made decisive top board contributions. In 1984 Pia Cramling defeated Viktor Korchnoi at the height of the legend’s powers, her Beth Harmon moment, and last week she saved a lost rook ending.


Dana Reizniece-Ozola scored CPK’s winning point. There have been keen but weak chess players, like Andrew Bonar Law and Fidel Castro, in positions of political power, and strong players, notably Garry Kasparov, who never achieved power. 



Latvia’s former finance minister has beaten the world No 1 woman, and is still active in both areas, scrutinising the national budget on a spreadsheet while playing her 4NCL semi-final. She speaks five languages and is a mother of four children so the FT is a good place to mark her achievements.


Reizniece-Ozola’s imaginative sacrificial attack decided the final, but IM Ravi Haria missed a draw at the end. A different 27th queen move would have forced White to draw by perpetual check or allow Black a winning counter.


Puzzle 2399: White mates in three moves (by Ellis Ridley, 1890). Just a single line of play with all moves on both sides forced and no checks before the final mate, yet some solving experts have found it hard. How do you compare? Solution.

'Game of the Year' decides title as Covid-19 hits Russian championship - Leonard Barden



18.12.20 - World No 4, Ian Nepomniachtchi, wins and Daniil Dubov creates as Sergey Karjakin fails again.


A game cast in the romantic mould of the nineteenth century and of the legendary Latvian Mikhail Tal decided first prize at this week’s Russian championship.




Its creator Daniil Dubov, 24, an aide to Magnus Carlsen for the 2018 world championship, played what has been widely hailed as the “Game of the Year”, as he took down Sergey Karjakin with a prepared gambit where Dubov blitzed out his first 13 moves and followed up with sacrifices of bishop and queen.


Dubov’s 15 Bf6! and 19 Qxg6!! sacrifices were too hard to defend in practical play. The square g6/g3 was the setting for two of the classic queen sacrifices of chess history, Frank Marshall’s “golden coins” Qg3!! game against Stefan Levitsky at Breslau 1912 and Alexander Alekhine’s Qxg6! against Emanuel Lasker at Zurich 1934 ... more.



England’s 4NCL online league attracted 228 teams in six divisions in its second season which ended this week with a surprise winner. ChessPlus Kingston were the promoted second team of ChessPlus, which organises courses for actual and potential chess teachers in 14 European countries.


Its founder John Foley’s contacts produced a strong team for the finals, led by two women whose careers have included Beth Harmon moments. Pia Cramling was within one move of defeating Viktor Korchnoi at his peak, while Dana Reizniece-Ozola beat the world No 1, Hou Yifan, at the 2016 Olympiad.


Diagram: White mates in four moves (by Fritz Giegold, 1968). Just like last week’s puzzle, there is only a single line of play with all moves on both sides forced, and no checks until the final mate.


Read more and see solution


4NCL Online Autumn Congress

Thank you for taking part in this event.


Tuesday 1 September - Tuesday 24 November, 2020


Pairings & Results: Open | U2000 | U1700 | Games | Entries | Information | Winners

Hull 4NCL Online Congress

Thank you for taking part in this event.


Friday 30 October - Sunday 1 November, 2020


Pairings & Results: Open | U2000 | U1700 | U1400 | Entries | Information | Games | Winners

3rd 4NCL Online Congress

Thank you for taking part in this event.


Friday 2 - Sunday 4 October, 2020


Pairings & Results: Open | U2000 | U1700 | Entries | Information | Games | Winners

Michael Adams wins seven as England's top players battle lockdown - Leonard Barden



25.9.20 - English GMs compete in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and online in the absence of UK over-the-board chess.


England’s top grandmasters, most of them ranked among the world’s best 100 players, are battling against the rule of six and other restrictions which have virtually eliminated over-the-board chess in the UK.




Michael Adams, the England No 1, took eye-catching advantage of the better opportunities in central Europe with a Caruana-esque run of seven straight wins in classic tournaments. It was a performance which harked back to the seven-time British champion’s peak years in 2000-02, when he was ranked No 4 in the world ... more.


Back in the UK, the national 4NCL league is flourishing online, England’s juniors performed above expectations in the online European youth championships, while Simon Williams is one of the most popular web commentators.


For over-the-board British chess, in contrast, the immediate outlook remains challenging to bleak, with the new restrictions coming at the start of the club, county and congress seasons. The Northumbria Congress announced for this weekend was a bold attempt at a revival, but it had to be cancelled due to the North-east lockdown.



There is still hope for the future, though. The English Chess Federation is in a sound financial position, and its membership renewals have been above expectations despite the lack of activity. There will be scope in future for Innovatory events with a mix of online qualifiers and over-the-board finals to harness English chess’s current strange pattern of simultaneous boom and slump.


Diagram: Loek van Wely v Richard Rapport, Solingen v Baden-Baden, Bundesliga 2020. Black to play. Can you find Black’s winning move and why it prompted White’s immediate resignation?


Read more and see solution


Fantasy Football



08.9.20 - The Premier League commences Saturday 12th September. So there's still time to enter your team at https://fantasy.premierleague.com/. Could you do better than Magnus Carlsen who was 10th overall last year? "Premier Chess" welcomes prospective managers - join code this year is 9as9zf.

4NCL Online Fair Play Guidelines

These are the current guideline and rules for fair play in 4NCL Online including a summary of anti-cheating arrangements. The rules are being reviewed on an ongoing basis and will be updated as appropriate based on experience from 4NCL Online and other events ... see full guidelines.


Note: The above are the proposed fair play guidelines for 4NCL Online & Junior 4NCL Online for Season 2.

  Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Cancelled: Easter Congress (9-13 Apr), Women's League (25-26 Apr), 3rd Spring BHol Congress (22-25 May) & Crewe Congress (10-12 July).


Cancelled: Weekend 4 (28-29 Mar & 4-5 Apr) and Weekend 5 (8-10 May). More here.


Entry forms for the three cancelled congresses and the cancelled Women's League have been withdrawn, and these events will not be taking place as planned given the current pandemic.



Call to Arms

The 4NCL requires extra assistance to help us to administer an expanded portfolio of online events during the 2020-21. If you are an arbiter, click here to fill in the application form.

2nd 4NCL Online Congress  



Thank you for participating in this event!


Friday 21 - Sunday 23 August, 2020


Pairings & Results: Open | U2000 | U1700 | Entries | Information | Games | Winners

1st 4NCL Online Congress



Thank you for participating in this event!


Friday 10 - Sunday 12 July, 2020


Pairings & Results: Open | U2000 | U1700 | Entries | Information | Games | Winners

COVID-19 and the 4NCL

We have with great regret decided not to proceed with weekends 4 and 5 of this season's 4NCL, which we had hoped could be held in August and September. Given the continuing uncertainty caused by the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, in our view the financial and operational risks both to the 4NCL and to Guaranteed Events are just too big to run the risk of proceeding at this stage.


We will be actively looking at two options for the future:

  1. If over the board chess resumes in an orderly manner and in a way which makes running 4NCL weekends viable by late 2020 we will consider starting the 2020-21 season in November/December 2020 and continuing as normal in 2021. In this event the 2019-20 season would effectively be abandoned (so there would be no promotions or relegations).

  2. If over the board chess does not resume in an orderly manner and in a way which makes running 4NCL weekends viable until 2021 we will consider holding the final two weekends of the 2019-20 season in March-May 2021, effectively 'losing' a season - assuming, that is, that a return to orderly over the board chess is possible even then. Please note that FIDE has given the option for leagues to extend beyond a year, and so any title norm opportunities would still be available in the event of option 2.

If there is a suitable gap in the calendar under option 2, we may look at holding a separate one-off weekend team event at some point.


We apologise for the continuing lack of clarity over future plans (other than the clarity that the 4NCL will not now resume until November/December 2020 at the earliest), but the 4NCL Board hopes that 4NCL captains and players will understand the difficulties that we face at present in making anything like informed decisions that do not entail significant risk at a time of such uncertainty.


Kind regards,

Mike Truran

Fair Play Article

08.7.2020 - Alex Holowczak has written about Fair Play issues in online chess, with particular emphasis on the experience of the 4NCL over the course of its first 4NCL Online season.


The 4NCL is thankful to CHESS magazine, where this article will also be published in its August 2020 edition. You can subscribe to it here.

Online End of Season 1 Winners

Very many thanks to all the teams who participated in the first season of 4NCL Online and Junior 4NCL Online, and congratulations in particular to the following;


4NCL Online

Division 1:

Winners - Chessable White Rose 1, runners-up Guildford Young Guns.

Division 2:

Winners - ChessPlus Beta, runners-up Wood Green Youth, also promoted Chessable White Rose 2, St Benildus A, Wessex Some Stars A, Liverpool, Bristol University A, Exeter Honey Badgers.

Division 3:

Winners - Brentwood, runners-up Warwick University B, also promoted West is Best 2, 3 Smarties 1 Tube, Hull Romans, Harrow 2, The Rook1Es, CSC 3.

Division 4:

Winners - Celtic Tigers Cubs, runners-up Chessmates, also promoted Bon Accord B, Kent KJCA Kestrels C, St Benildus B, Hatch End A, Warwickshire Bears A, Clevedon.

Division 5:

Promoted - Hertford, CSC 5, Wirral League Wanderers, St Albans 2, Uxbridge Knights 1, Gonzaga D, Maryport Assassins B, Bolton & Worsley.


Junior 4NCL Online

Division 1:

Winners - To Be Decided, runners-up KJCA Young Kestrels A.

Division 2:

Winners - Warwickshire Bears A, runners-up Gonzaga College SJ B, also promoted A6 & Chill, Cambridge Chess & Go A.

Division 3:

Winners - KJCA Young Kestrels C, runners-up 4 Gems, also promoted Stroud Cubs, St John’s College A.

Division 4:

Winners - KJCA Young Kestrels D, runners-up St Benildus 2, also promoted Woking Warriors, Harrow Juniors C.

Division 5:

Promoted - East Kilbride Knights, Liverpool 2, St Benildus 1, Gonzaga College SJ C.


Ranking lists for all divisions in PDF format

1. 4NCL Online

2. Junior 4NCL Online

End of Online Season 1 Report


05.7.2020 - Many thanks to John Foley for his detailed account, with annotated games, about the various ChessPlus teams.

Questionnaire Responses

08.7.2020 - The 4NCL is pleased to publish the questionnaire responses received for the 4NCL Online and Junior 4NCL Online. Click these links for the relevant document: 4NCL Online | Junior 4NCL Online

Magnus Carlsen prepares for meeting with prodigy Alireza Firouzja - Leonard Barden



10.4.20 - Magnus Carlsen, the world champion, has helped spark an immediate and impressively rapid growth in online chess with his announcement of a $250,000 elite tournament which starts on Saturday 18 April with Carlsen himself as the No 1 seed.


Before that, there is the fascinating prospect of a dream final in chess24’s Banter Blitz Cup where players commentate on their moves verbally while the game is in progress and may also trash-talk their opponent ... more.


Britain’s national league, the 4NCL, was quickly into action as an online 4NCL attracted 172 four-player teams, far above expectations.




The opening weekly round (of 10) was played on Tuesday on Lichess.org, the user-friendly free site where you are paired with an opponent within a few seconds and which is recommended for newcomers to internet chess.



One unusual aspect of the online 4NCL is that Guildford, who have dominated the over-the-board version for the best part of a decade, are absent. In place of their elite GM squad there is a team of rising talents, Guildford Young Guns. There is also Guildford Gatekeepers, a quartet of low-rated amateurs.


Sanan Sjugirov v Magnus Carlsen, Banter Blitz semi-final 2020. White’s last move d3-d4 was a fatal blunder. Can you match the world champion and find the forced win for Black (to move)?


Read more and see solution


Fide drops handshakes after coronavirus cancels five Opens - Leonard Barden



07.3.20 - Coronavirus is starting to affect major chess events. Five international Opens have already been cancelled or postponed while Fide, the global chess body, has issued detailed medical advice for the over-50 and over-65 World Senior Teams which have just begun in Prague.




Britain’s 4NCL (Four Nations Chess League) played its latest matches last weekend at Daventry, where Guildford stretched their unbeaten sequence to 85 matches and eight years. Guildford’s world team silver medallist Gawain Jones brought off a quick finish as he exploited White’s army crammed in a corner.



Guildford’s rivals Manx Liberty have also won all six matches, but the most impressive performance so far has been by Grantham, whose team has no grandmasters and just a few IMs. They have lost only to Manx and are sure to qualify among the eight teams in the championship pool, while it was a Grantham player who brought off the most visual finish of the weekend in the puzzle diagram.


Katarzyna Toma v Rajat Makkar, Wood Green v Grantham, 4NCL 2020. How did Black (to play) win quickly and cleverly?


Read more and see solution

Junior 4NCL Weekend 3/3

The final 19-20 weekend took place Sat 15 & Sun 16 February at Mercure Daventry Court Hotel and Spa.


Click for links to the pairings, results and tables. This was the 3rd & final weekend of the J4NCL season.


Entry guidelines 19-20 | Competition Rules 19-20 | Teams 19-20

Main 4NCL 2019-20

a) 2019-20 Rules | view or download the new rules & tracked version


Main Changes (from 2018-19)


Rule 1.3:   Date of birth for eligibility as a junior updated.
Rule 3.1:  

There are now financial penalties for late submission of team registration lists (submission deadline 11 October).

Rule 9.4:  

Changes to team lists can still be made without penalty until midnight of the day before the fixture, but they should be made online or by email (in other words, do not rely on arbiters staying up late).

Rules 11.9 & 11.10:  

Amended to discourage the practice of teams in Swiss divisions attending for only part of a weekend.

Rule 12.1:  

Starting time on the middle day of a three-day weekend will be 12 noon and not 13.00.

Rule 13.3:  

Corrects last season’s rules’ rather odd failure to mention explicitly that four teams will be relegated from Division 3 South.


b) Runners & Riders: The final list is here. Thank you to all concerned for the information.

c) Entry Guidelines: These are published with fees due and important dates.

d) Venues and dates: These are now arranged and agreed for the forthcoming season.

Guildford extend unbeaten run to 83 matches over nearly 8 years - Leonard Barden



14.2.20 - The Surrey club’s two wins in the 4NCL mean they are unbeaten since 5 May 2012 while a victory for Michael Adams, 48, makes him the world’s second oldest 2700-rated player



Guildford’s stranglehold on Britain’s Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) is set to continue for an eighth consecutive season as the Surrey club steamrollered two more opponents at Daventry last weekend, while their sponsored rivals from Yorkshire and the Isle of of Man lost ground on the leaders.


Guildford last lost a match, 3½-4½ to White Rose, on 5 May 2012, since when the team’s unbeaten run stretches to 81 wins and two draws.


Read more ...

Weekend 1 Guidelines

25.9.19 - The guidelines are intended to advise team captains on the interpretation of Rule 8 which will be applied to the first weekend of the 2019-20 season. Please read more here - Dave Thomas, Chief Arbiter.

Sad News - Jane Kremer

20.2.20 - I am sad to tell you that my partner Jane Kremer, whom many of you will remember assisting with the admin at the 4NCL for many years, died in the early morning of Wednesday 5th February.


Her funeral will take place at Rowley Regis Crematorium, B65 0AD at 3.15pm on Monday 2nd March. No flowers, bright clothes please  - Dave Thomas, 4NCL Chief Arbiter.

Weekend 3 - Divs 1 & 2 [Daventry], Divs 3s & 4s [Maidenhead/Windsor], Div 3n [Bolton]


Results, Sat 8 February, 14.00


Division 1 Pool A

Division 2 Pool A

Division 3N

Division 3A

Division 4S

Division 1 Pool B

Division 2 Pool B


Division 3B


Results Sun 9 February, 11.00


Division 1 Pool A

Division 2 Pool A

Division 3N

Division 3A

Division 4S

Division 1 Pool B

Division 2 Pool B


Division 3B





All Tables

PGNs & Replays


Note: The rate of play for all divisions was 40 moves in 1 hour 40 minutes plus 30 seconds per move, followed by the rest of the game in 50 minutes plus 30 seconds per move | See Rules Governing Play


The 4NCL Anti-Cheating Policy applied to this event.

Dominant Guildford face new British chess league challengers - Leonard Barden


13.1.20 - Britain’s 4NCL (Four Nations Chess League) has been monopolised by a single team for almost a decade now.


Guildford last lost a match in 2012, since when the Surrey players have won 79 encounters and drawn just two. They often score at least 7-1 over eight boards, and even single game defeats are rare.


They had just one game loss in the entire 2018-19 season, and in last weekend’s matches, which launched the 2019-20 fixtures, Guildford crushed Cambridge University by 8-0, then Barbican, the City of London team, by 7-1.


Read more ...

World chess champion’s firm gets on board to help Yorkshire team target title

10.1.20 - The north's strongest chess team start their campaign for glory in the game’s equivalent of the Premier League this weekend after catching the eye of world champion Magnus Carlsen.



Yorkshire-based White Rose has received backing from one of the Norwegian star’s companies and is now expecting a sudden influx of world-class grandmasters for the new season.


Read more ...

Weekend 2 - Divs 1 & 2 [Daventry], Divs 3s & 4s [Maidenhead/Windsor], Div 3n [Bolton]


Results Round 3 Sat 11 January


Division 1 Pool A

Division 2 Pool A

Division 3N

Division 3A

Division 4S

Division 1 Pool B

Division 2 Pool B


Division 3B


Results Round 4 Sun 12 January


Division 1 Pool A

Division 2 Pool A

Division 3N

Division 3A

Division 4S

Division 1 Pool B

Division 2 Pool B


Division 3B





All Tables

PGNs & Replays


Note: The rate of play for all divisions was 40 moves in 1 hour 40 minutes plus 30 seconds per move, followed by the rest of the game in 50 minutes plus 30 seconds per move | See Rules Governing Play


The 4NCL Anti-Cheating Policy applied to this event.

Hull International Congress Report

12.11.19 - GM Danny Gormally has published a detailed annotated report of two of his games, played in rounds 1 and 2 of the FIDE Open.

Pairings 2019-20 

Pairings for the first stage all-play-all pools and for the first weekend of division three North, and the first round of division four are published. The pairings for round two of division four will be published once round 1 is complete - with thanks to Dave Thomas, Chief Arbiter.


Tables: all the tables are now available on a single page here.

South Normanton, 23rd Congress Game Report

08.10.19 - GM Keith Arkell provides a detailed annotated report of his game from rd2 of the FIDE Open.

23rd 4NCL Congress

Friday 4 - Sunday 6 October 2019, Holiday Inn South Normanton, Derbyshire.


3 sections; Open, U2000, U135. Results: Open | U2000 | U135 | Games | Prizewinners | Entries | Info

Junior 4NCL, Weekend 1

04.10.19 - The first 2019-20 weekend took place Sat 5 & Sun 6 October at Basingstoke Country Hotel. Click for links to the pairings, results and tables.


Also available: Information & entry | Competition rules | List of teams | Dates 19-20

Hull 4NCL International Congress - & incorporated a 10-player GM Norm Event


Friday 1 - Sunday 3 Nov 2019 at the Royal Hotel Hull.


Three sections; FIDE Open, Major (U2000) and Minor (U135) | More Here


Congress: Open | Major | Minor | Prizewinners | Entrants | Replay


GM Norm Event: Pairings & Results | Chess Results.com | Replay | PGN


GM Event Final Crosstable




Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts.   
1 GM

Plat, Vojtech 

2573   0 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 6½  
2 GM

Turner, Matthew J 

2519 1   ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 1 5½  
3 IM

Greet, Andrew N 

2414 0 ½   ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 1 1 5  
4 GM

Gonda, Laszlo 

2541 ½ ½ ½   ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 4½  

Harvey, Marcus R *

2405 ½ ½ 1 ½   0 ½ ½ 0 1 4½  
6 IM

Eggleston, David J 

2394 0 0 0 ½ 1   ½ 1 1 ½ 4½  

Haria, Ravi 

2463 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½   ½ ½ 1 4½  
8 IM

Roberson, Peter T 

2437 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½   1 ½ 4  
9 IM

Merry, Alan B 

2426 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 0 ½ 0   0 3½  
10 IM

Palliser, Richard J D 

2413 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 1   2½  

* FM Marcus Harvey obtained IM norm.


We're indebted to the John Robinson Youth Chess Trust for their financial support on the junior side, and to Hull & District Chess Association, Hull Culture & Leisure, Friends of Chess and the ECF for their financial support for the GM norm tournament.


Women's League - 1st Weekend


This took place Sat 12 - Sun 13 Oct 2019, Holiday Inn Kenilworth-Warwick, Kenilworth.

Results Round 1

Results Round 2

Results Round 4

Results Round 4

Table | Replay Games/PGNs | Photos

David Welch (1945-2019)



David's funeral took place at Landican Crematorium, on Friday 6th December.


Afterwards there was a wake and substantial buffet at the Grove House Hotel, Grove Road, Wallasey, CH44 4BT.


Many thanks to all attendees and to the kind messages. The chapel was packed with standing room only. A fitting tribute to a man who gave so much to UK chess and to the World of chess.


Obituaries: CAA website | FIDE Website | Alex McFarlane, Peter Purland & John Saunders

Weekend 1 - Divisions 3s & 4s [Maidenhead/Windsor], Division 3n [Doncaster]


Rnd 1 Saturday 9 November: 14.00

Division 3N

Division 3A

Division 4S


Division 3B


Rnd 2 Sunday 10 November: 11.00

Division 3N

Division 3A

Division 4S


Division 3B


All Tables 2019-20

 PGN & Replays








Photos from Division 3n by Jeannette Halsall

David Welch RIP


09.11.19 - It is with great sadness to report that FIDE Arbiter and Trainer David Welch passed away peacefully this morning. David's contribution to British and World chess is immeasurable. He will be sorely missed.


Funeral arrangements will be published as soon as they are determined.


Obituary on the Chess Arbiters Association Site.

Fantasy Football

02.8.19 - "These managers all know their onions and cut their cloth accordingly" - Mark Lawrenson. Yes, you too have the opportunity to mix your metaphors with the best of them by joining this year's Premier Chess Fantasy Football League - the biggest and best fantasy League for chess players!




The joining code for new players in 2019-20 is jgvncj. Regulars will be admitted automatically. Sole rule is no pseudonyms for managers please - real names only! - Neil Graham.

Telford, 22nd Congress Game Report

25.7.19 - GM Keith Arkell has provided a detailed annotated report of his game from rd4 of the FIDE Open.

End of Season Reports

11.5.19 - Many thanks to Jonathan Rogers for his extensive and excellent end of season 1c report and an additional report about 1d, 2018-19.

Winners & Losers 2018-19

Update: 27.5.19 - All the teams relegated from division two have now confirmed their intentions for next season, so we are in a position to publish the final list of promoted and relegated teams - Dave Thomas.


Division One:

1st: Guildford 1

2nd: Chess.com Manx Liberty 1

3rd: Cheddleton 1

Relegated from Division 1: Oxford 1, West is Best 1, North East England, Alba.


Division Two:

1st: Barbican 4NCL 2

2nd: Cambridge University 1

3rd: Spirit of Atticus A

Promoted from Division 2: Barbican 4NCL 2, Cambridge University 1, Spirit of Atticus A, Gonzaga.

Relegated from Division 2 to Division Three North: Manchester Manticores 1, Bradford DCA Knights A.

Relegated from Division Two to Division Three South: Wessex A, West is Best 2.


Division Three North:

1st: White Rose 2

2nd: Manchester Manticores 2

3rd: 3C's 2

Promoted from Division Three North: White Rose 2, Manchester Manticores 2.


Division Three South:

1st: Kings Head

2nd: Check Innmates 1

3rd: Fermented Sharks

Promoted from Division Three South: Kings Head, Check Innmates 1.

Relegated from Division Three South: CSC 2, Iceni 2, Leeds University Old Boys, Sussex Martlets 2.


Division Four:

1st: Crowthorne 1

2nd: Ashfield 1

3rd: Oxford 3

Promoted from Division Four: Crowthorne 1, Ashfield 1, Oxford 3 , Wessex B


Individual Honours:

GM norm: Matthew Wadsworth (Guildford)

IM norms: Adam C Taylor (Wood Green) and Ritvars Reimanis (Celtic Tigers).

Guildford 1 wins 4NCL by André Schulz

16.5.19 - Last week saw the finale of the 2018/19 season of the 4NCL in Great Britain. Guildford 1 was dominant and won all bouts during the season. Second was the new team from the Isle of Man: chess.com Manx Liberty, a team that two years ago left the German Bundesliga ("Buexit"?). | Photos: 4NCL


The 4NCL has been around for 20 years and the term "Four Nations" refers to the four countries of the United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland plus Ireland. Recently, however, there's a new team that plays under the flag of the Isle of Man. Unlike most other teams that are very British, "chess.com Manx Liberty" is largely international. Read more ...

Guildford extend unbeaten run to record 79 matches - Leonard Barden

10 May 2019


The Surrey club kept their monopoly on the 4NCL title by defeating an ambitious challenge from the Isle of Man.


There were no surprises at the 4NCL, then. Guildford maintained their stranglehold on the Four Nations Chess League by winning all 11 matches in the current season and taking their record unbeaten run to 77 wins and two draws spread over more than six years.


The Surrey club win many matches by 7-1 or more and even single defeats are rare. This season its players lost one game out of 88, when the former British champion Jonathan Hawkins scored for Cheddleton against Laurent Fressinet.


Guildford’s backbone is a mix of English and French Olympiad grandmasters whose long experience gives them an edge in team strategy, as was demonstrated in last weekend’s final round.


Read more ...

Spring Bank Holiday 4NCL Congress


Friday 24 - Monday 27 May 2019, Basingstoke Country Hotel, Basingstoke.


There were 4 sections; FIDE Open, U2050, U1825 and U120.


Results: Open | U2050 | U1825 | U120 | Games | Prizewinners | Entries | More here


Winners - Open: 1st GM Mark Hebden 6/7, 2nd IM Alan Merry 5½. U2050 FIDE: Chris Fegan & Bela Botlik 6/7; U1825 FIDE: Russell Robert Goodfellow 6½/7, 2nd= Kevin Winter, Peter J Horlock 5½; U120 ECF: Tomy Joseph, Steven M Ashworth & Aneesh Sagar 5½. All scores here. A full list of prizewinners is here.

4NCL Anti-Cheating Regulations

FIDE's Anti-Cheating Commission have set out regulations that will shortly come into force.


In anticipation of this, the 4NCL have been required to slightly amend its procedures and hope that these changes can be introduced with a minimum of inconvenience to all involved with the League. Consequently, the following regulations shall be in force during the 4NCL.

Stevenage Congress Report

25.4.19 - GM Danny Gormally has published a detailed annotated report with video, of two fascinating games, played in rounds 4 and 5 of the FIDE Open.

Celtic Tigers Newletters

08.3.19 - All their newsletters can be viewed here - with particular thanks to Chris Skulte.

4NCL Privacy Notice

17.11.18 - For players, team managers and officials. We are committed to respecting your privacy. We explain the use of personal information collected before, during and after [your membership] with us. The privacy notice also explains how we comply with the law | Full privacy notice

Main Rules

22.7.18 - Available here together with a copy of the tracked changes. There are several amends from last season and Captains and Managers are asked to make themselves and their team colleagues familiar with them as soon as possible - particular thanks to Dave Thomas, the Arbiter team and Mike Truran.

Weekend 4 - Divisions 3S & 4S Daventry


Pairings, Rd7, Sat 13 April, 14.00

Division 3a

Division 3b

Division 4s


Pairings, Rd8, Sun 14 April, 11.00

Division 3c

Division 3d

Division 4s





Division 3sa

Division 3sb

Division 3sc

Division 3sd

Division 4s


All Tables after Weekend 4


Hotel website | NN11 0SG

Junior 4NCL, Weekend 3

04.3.19 - The final 18-19 weekend took place Sat 2 & Sun 3 March at Mercure Daventry Court. Click for links to the pairings, results and tables.


Also available:

Information & entry | Competition rules | Tie-break regulations | Online entry | List of teams | Dates 18-19


Note: This was the 3rd & final weekend of the J4NCL season.

Weekend 3 - Divs 1 & 2 Telford, Divs 3S & 4S Daventry, Div 3N Bolton


Results, Round 5, Sat 9 Feb


Division 1 Pool A

Division 2 Pool A

Division 3N

Division 3A

Division 4S

Division 1 Pool B

Division 2 Pool B

Division 3B

Results, Round 6, Sun 10 Feb


Division 1 Pool A

Division 2 Pool A

Division 3N

Division 3A

Division 4S

Division 1 Pool B

Division 2 Pool B

Division 3B







All crosstables after Weekend 3

Arbiter Application

28.12.18 - The 4NCL is seeking arbiters to work at the Easter 2019 FIDE Rated Congress 19-22 April in support of the Chief Arbiter. The Congress will provide an opportunity to achieve arbiter norms or give established arbiters an opportunity to increase their current portfolio of events.


Further details here. Please note applications closed on Monday 4 February 2019.

Registrations 18-19

Nov 2018 - The new registrations are here with bookmarked links to squads or teams - with thanks to Dave Thomas, Chief Arbiter.

Weekend 1 - Divisions 3s & 4s - Mercure Daventry Court


Rnd 1 Saturday 17 November: 14.00


Division 3A

Division 4S

Division 3B

Rnd 2 Sunday 18 November: 11.00


Division 3A

Division 4S

Division 3B



All crosstables after Weekend 1



You might need to refresh your display to view updated results (press F5).

Weekend 1 - Divisions 1 & 2 - Staverton Estate & Division 3n - Mercure Bolton


Rnd 1 Saturday 10 November: 14.00


Division 1 Pool A

Division 2 Pool A

Division 3N

Division 1 Pool B

Division 2 Pool B

Rnd 2 Sunday 11 November: 11.00


Division 1 Pool A

Division 2 Pool A

Division 3N

Division 1 Pool B

Division 2 Pool B

Tables after Weekend 1


Division 1 Pool A

Division 2 Pool A

Division 3N


Division 1 Pool B

Division 2 Pool B




Refresh your display to view updated results (press F5).

Pairings 18-19

26.10.18 - The pairings for the all-play-all rounds (1-7) are published for Div 1 & 2, 3a & 3b. 3n and 4s are available. More information here.


Note: Owing to an unfortunate error the Div 1 pairings published today were incorrect. Contrary to the rules Wood Green Monarchs had been placed in the same pool as Wood Green 1. The pairings have now been corrected. Apologies to affected captains - Dave Thomas, Chief Arbiter.

Friends of Chess

02.11.18 - We are very grateful for a recent contribution to the 4NCL from the Friends of Chess.


The Friends of Chess was founded in 1969 with the express objective to provide funds to aid and initiate chess enterprises in ways which are perceived as making a difference. Given the wide-ranging objects there is no limit on the type of chess-related activity that can be supported. However, the majority of grants awarded in recent years have fallen into one of the following four categories; support for individuals seeking titles, support for events offering norm or rating opportunities, support for teams and support for players with disabilities.


If you are interested in becoming a Friend or finding out more, please contact the Treasurer, Simon Brown - .

4NCL International Congress - to celebrate 25 years of the 4NCL

This took place Wed 31 Oct - Sun 4 Nov 2018 at the Park Inn, Telford.


Results: Open | U2050 | U1825 | U1600 | Games | Prizewinners | Entries | Info


Congratulations to British KO qualifiers: GM Simon Williams & GM Matthew Turner.

06.11.18 - During a routine Anti-Cheating check by the arbiting team during the 1st 4NCL International, a player was found to have used electronic means to assist them with their games.


After further investigation, that player was subsequently disqualified from the tournament. The details have been forwarded to the FIDE Fair Play Commission, and consequently it is not possible to comment further on the case at this time.


We have received a number of questions about the scores of the players in the tournament. Page 13 of the FIDE Anti-Cheating Guidelines, which are binding on us given the tournament is FIDE-rated, say the following:


“In an individual Open tournament, the offender shall be excluded from the final ranking. Each of the offender’s games shall be considered a loss, but the score for the opponent shall remain unchanged. All games shall be reported as unplayed.”


None of the 8 games played by the player have been submitted for FIDE rating, and they will not be submitted for ECF grading.


Alex Holowczak - Chief Arbiter, 1st 4NCL International

Runners & Riders

07.10.18 - The list of teams entered is complete. Thank you to captains, team managers and helpers for providing the required information & fees. Player registration lists will follow in a few weeks.

Junior 4NCL, Weekend 1

30.9.18 - The first 2018-19 weekend took place Sat 29 & Sun 30 Sept at the Mercure Daventry Court. You can find all the pairings and links to the results and final tables here | 5-Round Schedule | Report YBK


Also available:

Information & entry | Competition rules | Tie-break regulations | Online entry | List of teams | Dates 18-19

20th 4NCL FIDE Rated Congress

Results: Open | Major | Minor | Games | Prizewinners | Entries | Photos - with thanks to Brendan O'Gorman.

Entry Guidelines

12.7.18 - With fees due and important dates for the new season.

Fantasy Football

06.8.18 - Managers who consider they're more Unai Emery than Dick Emery are welcome to join at Premier Chess Fantasy Football League.


The joining code is 652881-143616 for new managers. Just one team please per manager and no pseudonyms! - Neil Graham.

Arbiter Application

15.6.18 - The 4NCL is seeking arbiters to work at the 4NCL International Congress, 31 October - 4 November at Park Inn Telford, Forgegate. The Congress will provide an opportunity for established arbiters to increase their current portfolio of events.


Further details here. Please note applications closed on Monday 2 July.

Report on Divisions 3 and 4, Weekend 5

04.6.18 - A report round-up about Weekend 5 at De Vere Wokefield Estate including a deeply annotated 'Star Game' is now available - with many thanks again to Steve Burke.

Page 2 | 1 | 3  

© 4NCL

Four Nations Chess League

top ^