4NCL: 5-7 May 2007

Saturday 5 May

1 w Dearing, Eddie 2384 0 - 1 Poulton, James 2368
2 b Rajlich, Iweta (F) * 2392 1 - 0 Corkett, Anthony R 2335
3 w Pinter, Gabor 2366 - Upton, Ian J 2266
4 b Mah, Karl C C 2418 - Allicock, Rawle A 2304
5 w Bekker-Jensen, David 2299 1 - 0 Webb, Richard M 2279
6 b Moskovic, David M 2286 - Simons, Martin J 2224
7 w Pickard, Charles 2160 1 - 0 Yeo, Michael J 2147
8 b Eckersley-Waites, Adam 2159 1 - 0 Khoo, Selina (F) 1995

Appropriately for our strongest ever opposition in Division 2, we managed to reassemble our strongest team since 2004, the year we last gained promotion. In fact this team is identical to that one, except for the change in our Board 8's christian name! Unfortunately, we aren't playing as well as we did then, with the honourable exception of Jim. I was a bit concerned that he might have needed an extra file (i?) in which to park his queen, but she survived her hideout on h6 before re-emerging with devastating effect. Ian was the last to finish having been pressing for several hours, but otherwise the score was a fair reflection. A predictable end to our fleeting promotion hopes.

My promotion to the role of team chauffeur meant that I travelled home every night, so I have unfortunately missed out on the usual scandalous tales over dinner, but Richard and Rawle trekking over 2 miles to the pub deserves to be recorded!

Sunday 6 May

1 w Poulton, James 2368 1 - 0 Povah, Nigel E 2360
2 b Allicock, Rawle A 2304 0 - 1 Muir, Andrew J 2350
3 w Upton, Ian J 2266 0 - 1 Buckley, Graeme 2390
4 b Corkett, Anthony R 2335 0 - 1 Richardson, Keith B 2236
5 w Webb, Richard M 2279 0 - 1 Tymrakiewicz, Rafal 2238
6 b Simons, Martin J 2224 - Anderton, Matthew N 2225
7 w Yeo, Michael J 2147 0 - 1 Horton, Justin 2140
8 b Khoo, Selina (F) 1995 - Morris, Claire H (F) 1880
        2 - 6    

A very disappointing result with only Jim winning, again. He won a pawn early on and always looked like winning thereafter. In time-trouble (in fact, almost all the games had severe time scrambles) Selina allowed a threefold repetition in a position where she was a bit better. Martin was the last to finish saving a R+P ending which looked very loseable. Richard had a theoretically good position ( after move 10) but his 12th move was a blunder.

The most extreme time scramble was on Board 4. Having earlier had the advantage Tony was considerably worse approaching the time control. His opponent had 15 seconds to make his 40th move. Rather than 40.Ne7 which delivers mate in 2, he used 14 seconds before attempting to play 40.Nf4. In so doing, he knocked over both his knight and one of the pawns. With just one second left, he understandably gave priority to pressing his clock rather than replacing the pieces on their correct squares. This job was left to Tony who had 10 seconds in which to replace the pieces and make his move in time, and he failed in the latter task. However, his opponent then played his 41st move and pressed his clock before claiming the win on time. The controller ruled that the game should continue and Tony duly lost.

Rule 7.3 states: "If a player displaces one or more pieces, he shall re-establish the correct position on his own time. If necessary, either the player or his opponent shall stop the clocks and ask for the arbiter`s assistance. The arbiter may penalise the player who displaced the pieces." I guess what Tony could have done was stop the clocks and ask the controller how his opponent was going to replace the pieces with only one second left!

Monday 7 May

1 w Markos, Jan 2534 1 - 0 Upton, Ian J 2266
2 b Cech, Pavel 2403 - Allicock, Rawle A 2304
3 w Wall, Gavin 2324 1 - 0 Corkett, Anthony R 2335
4 b Bates, Richard A 2374 - Webb, Richard M 2279
5 w Osborne, Marcus E 2253 - Simons, Martin J 2224
6 b Franklin, Michael J 2215 - Lock, Gavin R 2212
7 w Meyer, Gordon 2177 1 - 0 Tunks, Dominic 2115
8 b Chevannes, Sabrina (F) 2080 1 - 0 Moore, Gillian A (F) 1915
        6 - 2    

With nothing to play for in the first team and the second team still in some danger of relegation, Ian Clark was given the option of having either me or Dominic in the second team. Despite my two losses over the weekend, I was deemed a better bet than a man with a record of /8 so far this season. For most of the match Dominic looked like at least doubling his score until yet again making a mess of things in time trouble. Richard spoiled a very promising position by playing his moves in the wrong order. From my distant vantage, Ian's game looked the most entertaining, but he found himself in a difficult ending that he eventually lost. I resisted the temptation to ask whether his opponent could find Richmond on a map!

Another season of mid-table mediocrity, with a disappointing final weekend against some very strong teams. I'll leave the performance table to Neville again.

Saturday 5 May

1 w Lock, Gavin R 2212 - Trevelyan, John 2205
2 b Jenks, Bruce 2127 1 - 0 van Kemenade, Rudy (res) 2026
3 w Rutter, Nicholas 2177 1 - 0 Powell, Lloyd 2166
4 b Pleasants, Allan J 2083 1 - 0 Morris, Gareth L 2132
5 w Pym, Thomas W 2059 - Brown, Alan M 2127
6 b Clark, Ian C 2124 - Burton, Graham P 2115
7 w Gregory, Keith D 2079 1 - 0 Bennion, David A 2106
8 b Moore, Gillian A (F) 1915 - van Kemenade, Julie (F) 1925
        6 - 2    

Ian Clark reports:

We began the weekend believing that 2 wins would be good enough to stay up. Our first match was against South Wales Dragons who slightly outgraded us ( but when they had to replace board 2 with a reserve it was very even ).

I was first to finish with a draw when I had been worse for most of the game ( a recurring theme!). Tom also held on for a draw. Keith was all over his opponent and finished off nicely with mating attack. Nick and Allan both had excellent wins and I particularily liked Nick’s move 29 putting both rooks en-prise from opponent's knight. Gavin playing his first game for us on top board had a solid draw against Trevelyan and Gillian also hung on for a draw.

Bruce was quite a bit worse but turned his game around ( another recurring theme !) to finish off a tremendous 6-2 win. This was probably a shock to SWD and they were drawn into a real dogfight for relegation as Mindsports had brought in a GM & IM to come from 3rd bottom with 3 wins over the weekend.

Sunday 6 May

1 w Shepley, Julien M 2114 0 - 1 Lock, Gavin R 2212
2 b Dekker, Alain 2137 - Jenks, Bruce 2127
3 w Punnett, Alan K 2123 0 - 1 Rutter, Nicholas 2177
4 b Stimpson, Philip M 2097 0 - 1 Pleasants, Allan J 2083
5 w Sen, Subin 2016 1 - 0 Pym, Thomas W 2059
6 b Dreczkowski, Ryszard 2065 1 - 0 Clark, Ian C 2124
7 w Gibbs, Daniel 1985 - Gregory, Keith D 2079
8 b Hale, Stephanie (F) 1625 0 - 1 Moore, Gillian A (F) 1915
        3 - 5    

Ian Clark reports:

The match against Guildford ADC 4 was expected to be the easiest of the weekend as they had lost all their matches up tilll now. This as ever was not to be the case.

Tom & myself played awful and lost fairly early on. Gillian was always winning although her opponent made her find mate with Q & K against K! Keith had a solid draw. Again Nick and Allan came to our rescue with wins on 3&4 and Bruce somehow drew his game despite being 2/3 pawns down. This left Gavin needing to draw to win the match but he had a strong endgame position and forced through for a win and a 5-3 win.

Incredibly despite being on 11 points and 50% even if we lost our last match we were still not absolutely safe from relegation. We would go down if SWD, Mindsports and Slough Sharks 3 ( who we were to play ) won and we lost 6-2.

Monday 7 May

1 w Yeo, Michael J 2147 - Armstrong, Malcolm 2117
2 b Jenks, Bruce 2127 1 - 0 Purton, Ben J 2112
3 w Rutter, Nicholas 2177 0 - 1 Linford, Charles 2141
4 b Pleasants, Allan J 2083 0 - 1 Foster, James J 2067
5 w Pym, Thomas W 2059 1 - 0 Varnam, Liam D 2042
6 b Clark, Ian C 2124 - Edgell, Ben P 2060
7 w Gregory, Keith D 2079 1 - 0 Makepeace, Philip J 1965
8 b default   0 -1 ?  
        4 -4    

(Ed : The "official" results on the 4NCL website at the time of writing show the result on Board 8 as a win for Slough Sharks 3 by Katie Martin. An explanation of the question mark above may be necessary.

The observant will have noticed that Miss Martin was actually playing for Slough Sharks 1 on the day in question. I cannot find the rule that specifically prohibits someone playing for two teams at once, but it seems to be generally accepted that this is not allowed. If Miss Martin was not the victor on Board 8, the question therefore arises as to who was? The original Slough Sharks team lists had an ineligible male playing for Slough Sharks 1, with Miss Martin playing for Slough Sharks 3. There is a relevant precedent strangely also involving a Wessex team. However, the relevant rule only mentions "Known defaults must be on the lowest board of the lowest team". It makes no mention of ineligible players. It appears that the Slough Sharks manager had asked the Chief Arbiter (David Welch) whether he would be allowed to play his two females in their second and third teams and an ineligible player in their first team and was told that he would. Following a barrage of protests from other teams after the team lists were published on the Monday, it seems that David Welch changed his mind. Matters were not helped by the absence of the Slough Sharks manager, rumoured to still be in bed. Katie Martin was moved to the first team and one might therefore assume that the ineligible player moved to the third team and that the game for match purposes would be scored as a double default. Unfortunately, things are not that simple!

My game was the last to finish. While in time trouble near the second time control, I asked David Welch if he could tell me what was happening regarding the result on Board 8. The team sheet was still showing this as a win for Katie Martin which I knew could not be the case as she couldn't be in two places at once. My main concern was trying to find out whether I could afford to play for a win and risk losing the game and the match. David reacted as though he thought it was an unreasonable question for me to ask and said that he would determine the result once all the facts were known. Had I lost, and if Wessex 2 were to be deducted a match point for a third default, then with a win on Board 8 for Slough Sharks 3, they would have stayed up and Wessex 2 would have been relegated. Fortunately, I was able to bail out safely for a draw.

The complication is that the Slough Sharks manager says that he had another female player available that he would have brought in had his team lists not been allowed. One might wonder why she had not played in the other matches during the weekend - apparently she doesn't like playing and losing to opponents that far outgrade her (I know the feeling!) It seems as though Slough Sharks 3 have therefore been awarded a win on Board 8 by a player who wasn't even present at the venue!

I am told that the rules will be clarified for next season.)

Captain Ian with his take on events:

The Slough Sharks match began on the Sunday evening as I enquired as to whether they would have a board 8 ( as they had had an ineligible player in rounds 9 & 10). Their captain said they would ( but that is only half the story – see above ). I also found out that our board 8 could not play and that I had no other reserve available. I should have told David Welch but I did not and that caused difficult problems the next day. When the team lists went up on Monday I realised that we would start 1 down and that the match was going to be difficult although we outgraded our opponents on all boards. I did not realise until the match had started how devious our opponents had been with the female player rule.

Getting back to the chess Tom quickly overcome his opponent to equal the default and then I managed to draw my game despite for the third time being much worse after 10 moves ( but very difficult to concentrate with everything else going on ). Keith was also in control of his game and finished off his opponent to give us the lead.

Unfortunately Nick and Allan were having their worst games of the weekend. Nick sacrificed some pawns but could not force a winning attack and eventually went down after trying perpetual against King and 2 Queens. Allan had a very dodgy King but got through the worst. However he used up so much time that he was left with 30 seconds for his last 10 moves and could not make it ( although he might have been winning at this stage).

This left us at 3 to 2 down. Bruce was playing the SS3 captain who was displaying his normal manners ( hr late, 3 pints beside the board and tossing his pieces on to their side). [Ed: The individual concerned has complained to me about the inaccuracy of this report - apparently it was 5 pints, not 3]

I did forcibly point out his behaviour which did not go down well!! Anyway Bruce kept his concentration and crushed his opponent.

This left us at 3 each and Michael ( making his debut for the 2nd team ) needing a draw to secure Div 3 status.(Mindsports and SWD had both won their matches to keep up the pressure ) He always looked better and won a pawn and everybody thought there was no problem. He was going to be last to finish by some way so we all left assuming all would be OK. Fortunately he did draw but see above for comments on extra pressure he was under. I found out about 9.30 pm that we were safe.

I would say that we had an excellent season again winning matches when outgraded and only losing to the top 2 teams and NW Eagles. Allan came back refreshed from the States and had 6/8 ( only losing to a GM ) before the last round. See you all next season.

Last modified: May 15, 2007

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