4NCL: 23-24 November 2002

Saturday 23 November

    WESSEX 1   v N.W. EAGLES 1  
1 w Poulton, James 2397 0 - 1 Shaw, John K.* 2484
2 b Webb, Richard M. 2372 1 - 0 Crouch, Colin S. 2388
3 w Corkett, Anthony R. 2313 - Horner, Jeff 2355
4 b Yeo, Michael J. 2224 0 - 1 Quillan, Gary 2305
5 w Simons, Martin J. 2262 1 - 0 Richards, Heather (F) 2264
6 b Upton, Ian J. 2224 - Littlewood, John E. 2292
7 w Neil, David R. 2204 0 - 1 Charleshouse, Glenn L. 2284
8 b Moore, Gillian A. (F) 1592 0 - 1 Hughes, Howard R. 2072
        3 - 5    

This was always going to be a tough start to the season, outgraded on all boards, up against opposition now stronger than half the teams in Division 1 following their rent-a-squad campaign. They were missing Craig Hanley at the World Youth Championships in Crete. We were missing Teresa for the same reason and Philip.

We were also nearly missing James and Ian. Having decided to travel from London by train, they discovered that it would take over 3 hours to get to Birmingham due to engineering works. I guess the return journey on Sunday would have been even worse. Plan B to switch to the road got off to a slow start as both their other halves had commandeered their cars. They eventually set off at 1145 with James under the mistaken impression that Birmingham was just an hour up the M40! Passing a sign with "Birmingham 75 miles" gave some urgency to their progress, as did the realisation that neither knew exactly where the Moat House was in relation to the motorway. They arrived at 1440 after a pleasant trip around the one-way system in West Bromwich. Hopefully, they will have identified where Telford is on the planet before January.

Ian was suffering from a headache exacerbated by his journey and agreed a quick draw despite being able to win a pawn in the final position. Richard went all last season without winning a game and must have decided that a change of tactics was necessary! On Board 8, we were fortunate to be able to replace Teresa with an ex-British Ladies Champion resident in the Wessex region. Despite a vast grading difference, Gillian caused a few problems but never quite had enough for her pawn sacrifice. James did get enough for his pawn, but had to make a large number of moves in two minutes, which eventually led to some mistakes. Martin played a Kings Indian attack which arrived long before black's queenside counterplay. My opponent played an interesting innovation against one of my favourite openings. I never got my pieces properly co-ordinated. Two moves before the time control Dave blundered in a drawn position, which meant that there was little point in Tony trying to squeeze a win from his (slightly) better ending.

The curry was an interesting experience - an indoor Balti barbeque!?

Sunday 24 November

1 w Jossien, Arnaud 2355 - Webb, Richard M. 2372
2 b Berry, Stephen H. 2335 0 - 1 Poulton, James 2397
3 w McMichael, Richard 2294 - Corkett, Anthony R. 2313
4 b Kwiatkowski, Feliks J. 2252 - Upton, Ian J. 2224
5 w Okike, David C. 2163 - Simons, Martin J. 2262
6 b Thomas, Richard H. 2204 - Yeo, Michael J. 2224
7 w Mackenzie, Colin 2155 1 - 0 Neil, David R. 2204
8 b default   0 - 1 Moore, Gillian A. (F) 1592

This was a much closer match than we have had in the past against Kings Head. We started 1-0 up on Board 8, as they were unable to find a replacement for their indisposed female player. I made a complete mess of my opening and was lost by move 14. Fortunately, my opponent played rather passively and then surprised me with a draw offer on move 20. Dave turned down a draw offer on move 16 as unusually, he was still following his preparation and white had lost 2 tempi. Martin also looked to be better so I went for a long walk, confident in the result.

Upon my return, I was dismayed to discover that Martin was a pawn down in an ending and Dave's game had become very random. Elsewhere, James' opponent had donated a piece, while Richard had had the better of a solid draw. Martin managed a cheapo in his time trouble, but Dave blundered. We needed 1 point from the last two games which was all they looked like producing.

Last modified: November 30, 2002

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