4NCL Rounds 7 and 8

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Hinckley Island played host to the fourth round of 4NCL matches on the weekend of 31st March – 1st April. All the teams from Divisions 1, 2 and 3 were present including the merger of Division 3 North and South for the final 5 rounds of the season.

Saturday 31st March 2012

White Rose 1 3½ – Guildford 2 4½

White Rose 1 3½-4½ Guildford 2
Peter Wells ½ – ½ Gediminas Sarakauskas
Richard Palliser ½ – ½ Jose Fernando Cuenca Jimenez
Colin McNab ½ – ½ Marcos Camacho Collados
Nicholas Croad 0 – 1 Gavin Wall
Jan Van de Greindt ½ – ½ Jesus Garrido Dominguez
Ian Gourlay ½ – ½ Peter Lalic
Paul Townsend 1 – 0 Marcus Osbourne
Lateefah Messam-Sparks 0 – 1 Zivile Sarakauskiene

White Rose's Jan Van De Griendt (far right) and Iain Gourlay (near right)

White Rose 1 went into their final match of the preliminary stages seeking to confirm their position in the Championship pool with a two point cushion ahead of Wood Green 2 and Jutes of Kent. Furthermore, they were facing Guildford 2, who were propping up the rest of the league. However, everybody was under no illusions that this was going to be a very tough contest as Guildford 2 had raised a very strong side for the weekend, in fact they even outrated White Rose 1!

As with all of White Rose’s games, the match went right down to the wire. Guildford had built up a 4-2 lead, but Paul Townsend and Jan Van de Greindt both had promising endgames. Paul showed excellent technique to win his rook and pawn ending to leave the scores at 4-3, Jan needing to win to secure White Rose’s place in the promotion pool. In a very complicated knight endgame, which turned into a queen and knight endgame, Jan was very short on time and offered his opponent a draw, unfortunately forgetting that the digital clock still owed him 30 minutes of time as they had passed the time control for move 60! So White Rose sadly fell to defeat, but the good news is that the other results went in the Yorkshire team’s favour, ensuring that they would be in the Championship Pool, and that this result would not carry over as Guildford were in the Demotion Pool.

Kings Head 2 – White Rose 2 6

Kings Head 2 – 6 White Rose 2
Richard McMichael 0 – 1 Jean-Luc Weller
Rik Thomas ½ – ½ Jonathan Arnott
Jochen Wittman ½ – ½ Peter Shaw
Ravi Haria 0 – 1 Jim Burnett
David Guthrie 0 – 1 Ihor Lewyk
Colin Mackenzie 0 – 1 Pierre Weller
James Stevenson 1 – 0 Richard Archer
Andrew Gilfillan 0 – 1 Farshad Ai

White Rose 2’s place in the Division 2 Promotion Pool was already guaranteed, but their game against King’s Head was still important as King’s Head were also Promotion Pool-bound, so this was in effect the first game of the Promotion Pool for both teams. White Rose 2 had a few missing players and were very grateful for the late additions of Farshad Ai who played on Saturday with Andrew Hards taking over for Sunday’s encounter. Jonathan Arnott kicked off the scoring with a quick draw, whilst Jim Burnett put White Rose firmly in the driving seat with a quick win. The two Weller brothers both played excellent games to further increase White Rose’s advantage. A draw from Peter Shaw accompanied by a bona fide swindle from Ihor Lewyk secured White Rose an excellent win against one of their main rivals. Farshad Ai certainly got his money’s worth and battled on to victory to complete the rout with a 6-2 victory.

Bradford DCA Knights A 3 – Poisoned Pawns 5

Bradford DCA Knights A 3 – 5 Poisoned Pawns
Adam Lang 0 – 1 Stephen Swanson
Winston Williams 0 – 1 Andrew Harley
Andrew Drabble ½ – ½ Paul Byway
Oskar Hackner ½ – ½ Daniel Rosen
Andrew Bak 1 – 0 Ola Winfridsson
Jim Nicholson 0 – 1 Ken McEwan
Roger Jennings 0 – 1 Martyn Goodger
Miles Edwards-Wright 1 – 0 David Redman

Bradford DCA A knew their fate was sealed in the Relegation Pool, but they were seeking to drag their opponents, Poisoned Pawns into the Relegation Pool with them and thus gain two extra points to carry forward. All the games very hard fought and through a mixture of complications, blunders and good technique, the scores were tied at 3-3 with Roger and Jim still playing. Unfortunately for Bradford, Roger’s position was looking pretty desperate and despite his best efforts to generate counterplay, he unfortunately succumbed to his opponent’s extra pawn and Bradford could no longer win the match, which made the result of Jim’s game irrelevant as a drawn match would make no difference to either side’s respective placings. Poisoned Pawns won the match 5-3.

Bradford DCA Knights B 3 – Gloucestershire Gambits 3

Bradford DCA Knights B 3 – 3 Gloucestershire Gambits
Tony Slinger ½ – ½ Nigel Hosken
Mike Bramson ½ – ½ Peter Martin
Mitchell Burke 1 – 0 John Waterfield
David Patrick 0 – 1 Daniel Lambourne
Christopher Dossett ½ – ½ Geoffrey Taylor
Nicholas Mahoney ½ – ½ Phil Dodwell

Bradford’s B team faced Southern opposition for the first time in the form of Gloucestershire Gambits. A rather generous opponent gifted Mitchell Burke a couple of pieces in the early going which made his task rather simple. He was supported by four draws from Tony Slinger, Mike Bramson, Chris Dossett and debutant Nicholas Mahoney to secure a satisfying 3-3 draw.

Leeds University Old Boys 4½ – Fermented Sharks 1½

Leeds University Old Boys 4½ – 1½ Fermented Sharks
John Hall ½ – ½ Pall Thorarinsson
Hubert Mossong 1 – 0 Toni Johansson
Mark Taylor 1 – 0 Geoff Hermes
Simon Deighton 1 – 0 Kevin Millward
Mark Birkin 0 – 1 Jonathan Kay
Iain Bourne 1 – 0 Charles McAleenan

Mark Birkin (right), captain of Leeds University Old Boys

Leeds University Old Boys were also in Division 3 action, looking to try and chase the leaders for one of the four promotion spots against Fermented Sharks. The Old Boys started the weekend strongly with a convincing victory that projected them right into the Division 3 promotion mix.  Mark Taylor, Iain Bourne and Hubert Mossong all delivered smooth wins; Simon Deighton something a little more gritty.  Only the captain let the side down with an outrageous blunder.

Sunday 1st April 2012

Wood Green Hilsmark 1 4½ – White Rose 1 3½

Wood Green Hilsmark 1 4½-3½ White Rose 1
Jonathan Rowson ½ – ½ Peter Wells
Nicholas Pert ½ – ½ Richard Palliser
Stephen Gordon ½ – ½ Colin McNab
Jon Speelman 1 – 0 Nicholas Croad
John Emms ½ – ½ Jan Van de Greindt
Chris Ward ½ – ½ Ian Gourlay
Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant 0 – 1 Paul Townsend
Bogdan Lalic 1 – 0 Lateefah Messam-Sparks

Paul Townsend scored a fantasic scalp against GM Arakhmia-Grant

White Rose 1 were rewarded for their passage into the Championship Pool with a match against the previously unbeaten Wood Green Hilsmark 1. Although WGHK 1 did not have Michael Adams, Luke McShane or David Howell playing for them, they still had Grandmasters on all 8 boards and were the clear favourites.

White Rose showed some typical Yorkshire grit and gave the Championship Pool leaders a huge scare. Paul Townsend scored a fantastic win against Scottish GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant whilst Peter Wells, Richard Palliser, Colin McNab, Jan Van de Greindt and Ian Gourlay all secured draws against significantly higher-rated opponents. Unfortunately White Rose lost the other two boards, although Lateefah Messam-Sparks took GM Bogdan Lalic into an ending and the game was much closer than the 500-point rating difference might have suggested! So White Rose went down fighting 4.5-3.5. Believe it or not, this is their sixth consecutive match that has finished 4.5-3.5, White Rose seem to always be involved in tight contests! The result leaves White Rose 1 tied with 3 other teams in joint 5th place with 2 match points, 3 points behind Guildford 1 and Barbican 1.

White Rose 2 2 – South Wales Dragons 6

White Rose 2 2 – 6 South Wales Dragons
Jean-Luc Weller 0 – 1 John Cooper
Jonathan Arnott 0 – 1 Sven Zeidler
Peter Shaw ½ – ½ John Redmond
Jim Burnett 0 – 1 David James
Pierre Weller ½ – ½ Charles Morris
Ihor Lewyk ½ – ½ Jeff Smith
Richard Archer ½ – ½ David Jameson
Andrew Hards ½ – ½ Alex Bullen

White Rose 2 were looking to get their promotion hopes off to a good start against South Wales Dragons. However, sadly White Rose 2’s 14-match unbeaten streak came to an end with a 6-2 defeat, Peter Shaw, Pierre Weller, Ihor Lewyk and Richard Archer securing draws to salvage some Yorkshire Pride. White Rose are still in a great position to make it two teams in Division 1, they currently occupy the fourth promotion spot. However, things are very tight, AMCA Dragons have a big cushion with 8/8 points, but the rest of the teams are separated by just 4 match points.

Brown Jack 3½ – Bradford DCA Knights A 4½

Brown Jack 3½ – 4½ Bradford DCA Knights A
Paul Girdlestone ½ – ½ Adam Lang
Peter Richmond 1 – 0 Winston Williams
Daniel Hall ½ – ½ Andrew Drabble
Timothy Headlong ½ – ½ Oskar Hackner
Jane Richmond ½ – ½ Andrew Bak
Jonathan Bourne 0 – 1 Jim Nicholson
Lewis Martin 0 – 1 Roger Jennings
Richard Haydon ½ – ½ Miles Edwards-Wright

Bradford DCA A were looking to rebound from yesterday’s tough defeat in their first game of the Relegation Pool by taking on the basement side, Brown Jack. Brown Jack had been extremely unfortunate victims of their performances in the preliminary stages; they had secured 5 match points, but all against teams who went into the Promotion Pool, meaning that they had 0 points at the start of the Relegation Pool, while Bradford carried 3 points forward.

Bradford DCA's Roger Jennings (near right) and Jim Nicholson (far right)

Quick draws by Adam Lang, Andrew Drabble and Miles Edwards-Wright combined with a win for Brown Jack’s Peter Richmond ensured that Brown Jack held a half-time advantage. Roger Jennings’ seemingly endless supply of minor pieces soon equalised to make the scores 2.5-2.5 with 3 games left. Jim Nicholson converted his extra exchange into the full point when his opponent charitably blundered a mate in one, although it was clear that Jim was making great progress anyway. Andrew Bak managed to recover from an early blunder of an exchange to create some counterplay and force a draw by repetition in the time scramble to make the scores 4-3 with Oskar’s game still to finish. Oskar was in a complicated endgame with two pieces and a pawn for a rook, although his opponent had a passed pawn on the seventh which could force the win of a piece at any time. As we were all watching nervously, Oskar sacrificed his rook for two pawns to reach an ending with knight and 3 pawns against rook and 1 pawn. Oskar duly created a fortress and a draw was agreed securing the win for Bradford A. The result leaves Bradford in 4th place on 5 points tied with Atticus in 3rd place, and only one point ahead of 3Cs 1 and Cambridge University 2 on 4 points each. FCA solutions on 1 point and Brown Jack on 0 points look to be in deep trouble.

Fermented Sharks 3 – Bradford DCA Knights B 3

Fermented Sharks 3 – 3 Bradford DCA Knights B
Pall Thorarinsson ½ – ½ Tony Slinger
Toni Johansson 1 – 0 Mike Bramson
Geoff Hermes ½ – ½ Mitchell Burke
Kevin Millward 0 – 1 David Patrick
Jonathan Kay ½ – ½ Christopher Dossett
Charles McAleenan ½ – ½ Nicholas Mahoney

In Division 3, Bradford B once again drew against stronger opposition with Dave Patrick picking up the victory to complement draws by Tony Slinger, Mitchell Burke, Chris Dossett and Nick Mahoney.

Bradford's captain Dave Patrick huffing...

... and puffing his way to victory

Cheddleton 2 4½ – Leeds University Old Boys 1½

Cheddleton 2 4½ – 1½ Leeds University Old Boys
Paul Wallace ½ – ½ John Hall
Alex Richardson 1 – 0 Hubert Mossong
Gerald Acey 1 – 0 Mark Taylor
Simon Gilmore 1 – 0 Simon Deighton
Malcom Armstrong 0 – 1 Mark Birkin
Simon Edwards 1 – 0 Iain Bourne

Leeds University Old Boys’ campaign encountered Division 3 North opposition for the first time taking on Cheddleton 2. Unfortunately as Saturday was impressive, so Sunday was disappointing.  The team never seemed to have this crucial match under control, and after Hubert let a promising position slip, Simon also lost pressing too hard for the full point.  Mark Birkin converted from an interesting game that was scant consolation for an opportunity missed. The matches showed an unusual symmetry.  John Hall drew both games on Board 1; Mark Birkin lost on 5 on Saturday, and won on 5 on Sunday.  Boards 2, 3, 4 & 6 all won on the first day; the same players all lost on day two!

The results leave both Bradford and Leeds University Old Boys in joint 9th on 10 points, 4 points behind joint-leaders KCJA Kings and North East England, but only 2 points behind the teams in tying for the final promotion spot.

Other Yorkshire-based players at the 4NCL included David Grant, who scored 2/2, Kevin Winter (1/2), Peter Mulleady (1/2) and Mark Szymanski (0.5/2).

All the league tables can be found at the official 4NCL site.

Also, you can download all the weekend’s games here, it is well worth checking out Paul Townsend’s victory in Round 8 in Division 1c and also take a look at David Grant’s spectacular victory in Division 3 Round 8!

The final round of fixtures takes place over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend at Hinckley Island, with three games on 5th, 6th and 7th May 2012.

Report by Andy Bak and Mark Birkin

Bradford B's Chris Dossett

Pete Shaw (left) fights against John Redmond

Features editor for the Yorkshire Chess website. I collate and write atricles about all the latest chess activities in Yorkshire and beyond. I've also been known to shove some pieces myself from time to time!


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