Division 3n, Weekend 1, Holiday Inn, Doncaster, 11-12 Nov 2017 by Andy Mort




Holiday Inn, Doncaster

Enhanced by unseasonably fine weather and the proximity of the characterful Warmsworth Hall, its interior less ‘tired’ than some of the other hotels in which we have previously been based, the Holiday Inn proved a very attractive venue. The playing area is suitably spacious, staff are efficient and friendly, and it was a boon to be able to access rooms immediately upon arrival.


Although the league is still somewhat dominated in terms of numbers by Manchester and Bradford teams, it welcomed this weekend new entrants in the form of Warwickshire Select 2, two Shropshire teams, and Castleford Roses, a team whose origins are shrouded in mystery. Every year now the league becomes increasingly competitive, and Shropshire 1 in particular made an immediate impact by winning both their matches by crushing margins.


Our round 1 pairing against the young Irish team, Gonzaga (who beat us comfortably last year), could hardly have been tougher, as they are one of the main promotion candidates. Their team is remarkable for having emerged from the same class at school. They must have had some coach!


Gonzaga ‘bat deep’, and it was, perhaps, little surprise that our Boards 5 and 6 were easily outmanoeuvred in Sicilian Defences. On the higher boards, however, we put up stiffer resistance. It is fair to say that Tom, on Board 2, was our only player to have a winning position at any stage in the match, but he couldn’t find the correct route through the complications, his kingside attack was repulsed, and he finally blundered the exchange away. On Boards 1 and 2, Peter, utilising his thorough preparation against the Catalan, and Mike, using his considerable experience of playing the French Defence, both defended stoutly and achieved creditable draws against highly rated opponents. Finally, David Phillips secured a comfortable draw with White in a game in which neither side seemed to have any marked advantage during the long battle.


Rounds 1 & 2, Weekend 1, 2017



Regular readers of this column will be aware that our team is at least as committed to carousing and feasting as to practising the noble art, and Saturday was one of the rare occasions in recent years that all the team have dined together. It was also one of the rare occasions when our regular devotees of attritional chess have finished in time to enable us to arrive at the restaurant comfortably in time. Now that Peter has ‘upped sticks’ to become an honorary Northerner, we have local knowledge to guide us, and his choice of The Earl of Strafford pub as our dining venue was an excellent one.


The substantial Black Pudding Stack starter was a justifiably popular choice before the serious business began. It did not take long to establish that this particular hostelry is not committed to helping solve the nation’s obesity problem. Peter and David Hulme opened the bidding with the choice of Mixed Grill, which Peter brushed off like a fly; the latter appeared to have engaged in an act of particularly rash bravado. But this was only the start.




Piece of cod with a squirrel's head?!

Not to be outdone, Mike found the option of Giant Cod Almighty on the Specials menu, and was unable to resist the opportunity to steal a march on his gluttonous rivals. It is a cliché these days to describe large pieces of battered fish as ‘whales’, but I swear that this beast was, in reality, a school of whales stitched together: it was absolutely enormous and could have fed at least half the team. Our over-confident hero, however, failed the challenge after a determined struggle – but managed a pudding, like his aforementioned competitors.


On Sunday we were paired against one of the weaker teams, Shropshire 2, whom we comfortably out-graded, especially on the lower boards. After the setback of suffering an unexpected default on Board 6, we achieved a rare ‘thumping’ victory, winning four of the remaining games and drawing Board 1, by a range of methods. My opponent blundered a piece early on; Tom conjured up a typically energetic kingside attack from a calm position and pursued a successful king hunt, and David, after seeming worse in the late middle-game with knight v his opponent’s bishop, was able to force the exchange of the minor pieces and win the king and pawn ending.


Dieticians might like to note the potential evidence that fish is good for the brain had they watched Mike ‘steamroller’ his opponent with a central pawns mass before winning material - and that an excess of meat may render the brain sluggish, as Peter failed to pursue a seemingly unstoppable mating attack accurately.


On a personal note, my win was not at all memorable, except that it formally established my record of having played the largest number of games without a win for Spirit of Atticus. John Carleton will know whether a previous record I held for the longest sequence of games without defeat also still stands; somehow I doubt it.


Our chess results were no more or less than what we had expected beforehand; our calorie intake was decidedly greater than we might have imagined beforehand. In good spirits, and a little bloated, we move on to Bolton in the New Year with likely changes of personnel.


Team B

| Rd1 results | Rd2 results | Division 3n Score Table | All Division 3n Games in PGN |


© 4NCL | Steve Connor



Engine Analysis

In the above games you can activate the engine analysis board by clicking the E8 (assuming White on bottom, D1 otherwise) shortcut square on the main chessboard.


User commands for the engine analysis board:

  • explore variations by clicking the from and to squares for the intended move

  • click the arrow buttons to move back/forth through the variation being analyzed

  • click the plus button at the right of the arrow buttons to force the engine analysis board to auto update following the position of the main chessboard; this is useful for instance when following a live broadcast; limitations: some pages might not offer this functionality and some browsers do not support this functionality

  • click on the side to move indicator to switch the side to move; this is useful to check for threats in the given position

  • click on the principal variation to execute its first move on the engine analysis board

  • click on the evaluation mark to activate/deactivate the engine



© 4NCL

Four Nations Chess League

top ^