4NCL: 9-10 October 1999 (Ian Upton)

With a slightly changed squad, but full of confidence, our team rolled up to Birmingham ...

So, what DID happen to Wessex in the first 4NCL weekend of the current season? I suspect the easy answer is that various of our players were a little rusty! Let's have a look at the matches ...

Saturday 9th October

  Wessex                              IKHH 2 
1 w Philip Rossiter        2369  1-0  Lyndon Gurr            2048 
2 b Martin Simons          2264  -  Gavin Lock             2103 
3 w Michael Yeo            2201  -  Natalie Mills          2010 
4 b David Neil             2244  -  Alex Stille            1768 
5 w Ian Upton              2238  1-0  Agreed Default         ---- 
6 b Allan Pleasants        2072  0-1  Sumeet Ghasi           1640 
7 w Graham White           2048  1-0  S Barraclough (F)      1160 
8 b Emily Howard (F)       2037  -  Mario Houska           1560 

Our opposition had to draft three players in at short notice, in addition to defaulting one board. The strength of the opposition lulled our team into a slight sense of over-confidence, resulting in one or two worrying moments in the match. This wasn't helped by major sporting events (both Rugby and Football) taking place that afternoon; Martin and Dave were both missing for large chunks of the afternoon whilst spectating.

The games themselves went well. We won one game by default, and graham White quickly polished off his opponent. Emily's game was dead early on, so she agreed a draw. Already 2.5-0.5 up, and we were only an hour in. And we outrated the opposition on the remaining boards. Hurrah!

After two hours the match began to look slightly less comfortable. Mike's position was begin to look shaky; Philip was trying to grind down his opponent; Dave's game vacillated from win to draw and back; Martin's game was difficult to assess; Allan's position had started to look uncomfortable.

Philip delivered the goods, thankfully. Dave's win-draw see-saw ended in the draw rather than win phase. Mike took a perpetual after ensuring Martin's draw offer had been accepted. Allan went down, and we managed to win the match.

Sunday 10th October

  South Wales Dragons                 Wessex
1 W James Cobb             2349  1-0  Philip Rossiter        2369
2 B John Cooper            2344  -  Martin Simons          2264
3 W David James            2252  -  Ian Upton              2238
4 B John Saunders          2200  0-1  Michael Yeo            2201
5 W David Roberts          2167  1-0  David Neil             2244
6 b Michael Binks          2118  1-0  Emily Howard (F)       2037
7 w Abigail Cast (F)       2119  -  Graham White           2048
8 b Jason Cast             1848  -  Allan Pleasants        2072

Oops! This was definitely a match of two halves.

First Half

Graham drew quickly, and my game was also agreed drawn after checking the other boards. Both Dave and Emily looked to be going poorly. On the other hand, Philip had an excellent position, Allan was a pawn up, Mike looked like he had his determined cap on, and Martin's position was fine. I thought we would win 4.5-3.5, and felt pretty confident.

Second half

Emily and Dave lost at the start of the half. Still, we were pressing. Three hours in, Philip was winning, Martin decided to unbalance the position, a fine decision. Mike looked ever more steely, and Allan looked as if he was ready to penetrate (ooh-er). But...

In the fourth hour Philip, in his habitual time-trouble, faced 12 moves in less than two minutes. He kept glancing, worriedly, at his clock. He said afterwards he was calculating well, but lack of play meant his time-addict technique was rusty. More panic, then he blundered (See game link below).Ouch! Alan's position starts to look less comfortable. Still, Martin's position looked good, and Mike was beginning to circle around his opponent's position, scenting blood.

Unfortunately, only Mike's game ended with the desired result. Have a look at some of the games to see the key moments. Still, well done to the Dragons!

For annotated games from Saturday/Sunday, click on the links below

Philip Rossiter

Martin Simons

Michael Yeo

Graham White

Allan Pleasants


Last modified: May 8, 2000

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