4NCL: 5, 6 & 7 May 2001
Saturday 5 May
|1||w||Lalic, Susan (F)||2328||0 - 1||Poulton, James||2391|
|2||b||Tarifa, Alket||2200||0 - 1||Rossiter, Philip||2361|
|3||w||Tucker, Alex E.||2204||½ - ½||Corkett, Tony||2287|
|4||b||Richmond, Robert||2193||1 - 0||Simons, Martin||2226|
|5||w||Armstrong, Malcolm||2119||0 - 1||Upton, Ian J.||2258|
|6||b||Nicholas, Koichi||2108||½ - ½||Yeo, Michael||2207|
|7||w||de Coverly, Roger||2093||0 - 1||Willmoth, Robert||2236|
|8||b||Jeffries, Majid||2008||½ - ½||Howard, Emily (F)||2031|
A reasonably comfortable victory as we had hoped since we outgraded them on every board. My game was the first to finish after I miscalculated and had to repeat moves. Unfortunately, this means that the usual eyewitness account of the team's performance is lacking as I disappeared to sulk.
Sunday 6 May
|WITNEY & SWINDON||WESSEX|
|1||w||Headlong, Timothy||2248||0 - 1||Poulton, James||2391|
|2||b||Haydon, Richard||2191||½ - ½||Rossiter, Philip||2361|
|3||w||Lappage, Jonathan||2227||½ - ½||Yeo, Michael||2207|
|4||b||Cooksey, Paul||2205||½ - ½||Corkett, Tony||2287|
|5||w||Churm, Rohan||2140||½ - ½||Upton, Ian J.||2258|
|6||b||Dickinson, Tim R.||2140||1 - 0||Willmoth, Robert||2236|
|7||w||Bourne, Johnathan||2024||½ - ½||Simons, Martin J.||2226|
|8||b||Headlong, Fenella (F)||1720||½ - ½||Howard, Emily (F)||2031|
|4 - 4|
A very tense match against our rivals for 4th place. At one stage it looked as though all eight games might be drawn. Yet again, my game was the first to finish -this time in only half an hour. Having transposed into a 4 Knights, my opponent then played an extremely boring line removing all the knights. I subsequently discovered that Tarrasch and Steinitz amongst others had had lower rated players attempt unsuccessfully to draw with them using the same line, but as the only outrated player in our team I decided to take the queens off as well which killed the game.
Philip seemed somewhat distracted by the fortunes of Portsmouth football club in avoiding relegation (Jim had thoughtfully brought along his radio and headphones to help keep him in touch). Shortly after his heroes had secured safety, he agreed a draw, which meant he would have to win his last game to get his final IM norm. Ian seemed to have reasonable chances despite being a pawn down for much of the time, but missed a chance so allowed his opponent to swap down to a draw. Rob on the other hand seemed to have absolutely no compensation for the pawn he donated on move 4. Somehow, he won it back, but then lost it again which proved ultimately fatal in a knight ending. Emily played a poor move after the opening (and was roundly chastised afterwards by a spectating Nigel Short) but then seemed to have chances to win on time when her opponent had about 3 minutes for 18 moves. Somehow they managed a repetition of moves with the flag extremely horizontal. Martin tried unsuccessfully to generate complications in a B v N ending.
At 4-3 down, it was extremely frustrating to discover that a miracle result we had wanted had happened, with NW Eagles losing to Slough 2. This meant that with NW Eagles facing a strong Wood Green 2 team in the last round, the winner of our match would have very good chances of promotion. Unfortunately, Jim was by now in a drawn R + P ending. Somehow after seven hours he managed to generate chances and his opponent went wrong in the blitz finish.
At dinner that night I originally thought our chances of promotion were about 10-1. I then rapidly reduced the price on offer to 5-1 as I realised that with Bristol 1 promoted and Bristol 2 relegated, the Bristol 2 team might be able to be a bit stronger for their final match against Witney (very prophetic!). Martin took me up with a bet which would mean that he would win the amount of his petrol money if we got promoted. For this to happen, Wood Green 2 would have to beat NW Eagles (quite likely given the strength of Wood Green 1), we would have to beat King's Head and score at least 2 more points than NW Eagles (the win was quite probable but I was concerned about us scoring enough points) and Witney would have to fail to beat Bristol 2 (still not very likely I thought as Witney had played consistently above their ratings whereas Bristol 2 had usually underperformed).
Monday 7 May
|1||w||Poulton, James||2391||½ - ½||Jossian, Arnaud||2319|
|2||b||Corkett, Tony||2287||½ - ½||Berry, Stephen H.||2279|
|3||w||Rossiter, Philip||2361||1 - 0||Thomas, Richard H.||2272|
|4||b||Upton, Ian J.||2258||½ - ½||McMichael, Richard J.||2261|
|5||w||Yeo, Michael||2207||1 - 0||O'Shaughnessy, Conor||2214|
|6||b||Willmoth, Robert||2236||1 - 0||Pearce, Robin J.||2161|
|7||w||Simons, Martin J.||2226||½ - ½||Mackenzie, Colin||2187|
|8||b||Howard, Emily (F)||2031||1 - 0||Kelly, Alexandra (F)||1672|
|6 - 2|
(You can read what the opposition reporter thought of this match on the King's Head website.)
A day that will live long in the memories of the Wessex team.
Amazingly, after 2½ hours, we were 3-0 up! Rob's opponent overlooked the devastating effect of an opposition horse landing on f2. Emily's Caro-Kann for once survived the early assault relatively unscathed and she took rapid advantage of some weakening moves by her opponent around her king. In a theoretical Najdorf which usually ends in a quick draw, my opponent produced an unsound novelty which allowed me to reach a pleasing ending with R +6Ps v R + N + P.
This meant that we could coast home with draws on the other boards to reach our target of 5½ points. One by one they did although Ian and Martin could under more pressing circumstances have played on. After the first time control we were 5-2 ahead with Philip needing to win for his final IM norm. This he achieved nearly three hours later some time after the events described below. I will eventually produce a performance table which will show just how well he did compared with the rest of the team. Typically, it transpires that Philip hasn't got his norm after all. The "culprit" was his Slough opponent in Round 9 above whose 2200 rating turns out to have been of the unofficial variety. For norm purposes he counts as 2000 instead which reduces his average opponent rating to 2248, 3 less than the 2251 needed for a 7/9 IM performance!
Early finishes meant that most of the team had ample opportunity to see how the other matches were going. As suspected, Wood Green 2 were proving much too strong for NW Eagles. Although a lot of the games reached the second session, it never looked as though NW Eagles would muster more than 3 points, and they eventually lost 6-2. Most of our attention was on the Bristol 2 - Witney match. As we had hoped, the Bristol 2 team had been strengthened, and despite a blunder by the Bristol player on Board 6, they still had good chances at 3-2 down. They won Board 5, but then the Bristol Board 3 resigned an opposite colours bishop ending that he had misplayed but could probably still have drawn in the final position. This didn't matter (so we thought) as Dave Collier on Board 4 won in spectacular fashion to tie the match, give us promotion and let Martin Simons off paying any petrol money.
In our state of euphoria, we started revising our plans for next season. Now we might be able to run a second team. But where would we find another female player? Did we want to strengthen the first team and if so with whom? Unfortunately, after about half an hour Peter Richmond spotted something amiss with the Bristol board order. Bristol 1 had lost a player from the previous matches. James Sherwin, who I thought was retired, had had to go back to work (Wall Street did not have a Bank Holiday). John Richards (the Bristol manager) brought in Jack Rudd from the third team correctly thinking that he would have good chances against the Guildford 2 Board 7. He was going to leave Nick Jakubovics on Board1 of Bristol 2, but as he had had a hard game the previous day decided to put him on Board 6 of the first team and drop Robert Macfarland to Board 1 of the second team. He (and everyone else) hadn't spotted that the grading difference between board 7 of the first team and board 1 of the second team was now 93 , over the maximum permitted 80.
Regrettably, but inevitably, the matter became the subject of an appeal. The 4NCL Board eventually ruled in favour of Wessex. I'll spare you all the arguments for and against. It has been a most unsatisfactory way to end the season, except of course for Martin who now finds he had a free ride to and from Birmingham after all!
|4NCL Division 2, 2000/1||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||12||P||W||D||L||GPts||MPts|
|1||Wood Green 2||x||4||5||6||7||5½||5||6||4½||4½||6½||5½||11||10||1||0||59½||21|
|4||N West Eagles||2||2½||4½||x||5||4½||5½||2½||4½||4||3½||6||11||6||1||4||44½||13|
|5||Witney & Swindon||1||3||4||3||x||4½||4½||5||4||6||4||4½||11||5||3||3||43½||13|
|7||Levy Gee 3Cs||3||2||2||2½||3½||4||x||5½||4½||5||6||5||11||5||1||5||43||11|
Last modified: July 5, 2001