Division 3n, Weekend 2, Mercure Georgian Hotel, Bolton, 13-14 Jan 2018 by Andy Mort




The controllers’ strategy this year is to avoid pairing strong teams against each other until the Swiss System kicks in, with the intention of making final rounds more dramatic. This has meant that in each of the first two weekends we have been matched against one relatively weak and one relatively strong team.


On Saturday, we out-rated Bradford C, and anticipated a fairly comfortable win. Having been rotated, a not too painful experience, I was sitting out the match and arrived after about 2 hours’ play, at which point our theoretical superiority was not that evident, though we were ahead on Boards 1 and 6. First to finish, surprisingly, was Tom on Board 2, downed abruptly by Robert Dean, a thorn in our side on previous occasions, after Tom had failed to follow up accurately what the post-mortem showed to be a superior position. Richard agreed a draw as Black in a sterile London System middle-game shortly after. By now John had exploited his space advantage in the form of control of the d-file and advanced kingside pawn phalanx, and he won a piece to convert to an easily won ending.


Having left the room for ten minutes with Lloyd a comfortable piece to two pawns up, I returned to find that his opponent had ‘thrown the kitchen sink’ at his king; a rook up, he nevertheless had pieces and pawns menacing his king. With precise defence Lloyd repulsed the attack, however, and his extra material soon forced resignation. The position of Colm, our ‘Mr. Reliable’, was difficult to assess, in that he appeared to have a bad bishop versus a monstrous knight on e5. Ultimately, however, the knight was not influential, whereas the bishop raked his opponent’s defences. A doubling of rooks on the b file led to penetration on the first rank, and a decisive attack on White’s king.


Rounds 3 & 4, Weekend 2, 2018



At this point we had won the match, and had only one player in action, and if I say that he was the last in the room to finish (not for the first, or probably even the second time), and describe the progress of our Board 4’s game, few regular 4NCL North players will be in doubt about his identity. As White, he achieved no more than a minimal edge in the opening, deliberately ceded the two bishops, and converted to a rook and pawn ending which spectators thought was clearly drawn.


Our player’s dogged determination was rewarded when after about six hours’ play he squeezed out a win, sadly not witnessed by his team mates, who had abandoned him for the restaurant with instructions to book his own taxi. There are times when tough love is necessary. This scenario is not unusual, and, of course no satirical observations were made about the side-effects of his tenacity for the rest of the evening, his team-mates being a sensitive bunch.




Having enjoyed our meal at The Cherry Tree gastropub last year, we repeated our visit to this deservedly busy pub, and were rewarded by good real ale, excellent food, and friendly service.


An efficient job done on Saturday, but Cheddleton 2 would be more of a challenge on Sunday, if possibly vulnerable on the lower boards.


The balance was tipped in our favour when the controllers informed us that our opponents would have to field a reserve on Board 3, but we took no delight in this development, as Simon Edwards, one of our longest standing 4NCL friends, had spent most of the previous evening in A & E with a very painful back. On asking his father about Simon’s indisposition, however, we were relieved to hear that he was O.K. At least that was what I inferred from Roger’s “He had better be in work on Monday”!


We achieved a position of superiority when John won a piece with a tactic after an opening that had not seemed to yield him much advantage. I won an inaccurately played game when my opponent lost on time when the exchange down but still with counter-play. Richard worked to exploit his opponent’s isolated Q pawn and won two pieces for a rook but was constrained to agree a draw in the light of his opponent’s aggressively placed pieces. On Board 1, Lloyd faced a strong opponent apparently well prepared as the Black side of a Catalan. Though he had material parity, Lloyd‘s doubled e pawn shut his g2 bishop out of the game and his opponent capitalised on his queen-side majority by promoting a strong passed pawn, finishing the game with clinical precision when his king was beginning to be opened up.



Meanwhile, our resident time-trouble addict had taken about half an hour on half a dozen opening moves in a line he knows well, eventually to play Russian Roulette with his clock. By forceful play he won a central pawn, but for the last quarter of the game was surviving on sub-one minute increments. Having conceded two pieces for a rook, he eventually drew a rook and pawn ending. On this occasion his captain felt that he needed to offer some friendly advice, which might have been harsher if he hadn’t needed a lift home from the unidentified miscreant.


The match now looked to be heading for a draw, as Tom, following a game of complex manoeuvres, lost the exchange and faced a threatening passed pawn on the b file. In addition, he had little piece harmony. In an act of supreme resilience against an opponent more than 50+ years his junior, he succeeding in winning the passed pawn, went on the offensive, and, with both players having little time on the clock, he eventually pinned his opponent’s queen against his exposed king.


4-2 was a satisfying result, and The Allerton Archivist will tell us when we last won two games in a weekend. Sorry to disappoint Spirit of Atticus groupies, but there are no prizes for identifying our socially problematic ‘grinder’. Should you need a clue, he is a good friend and club-mate of mine, and I am, in reality, jealous of his powers of concentration. But brinkmanship has its perils … positioned where we are, we will face at least one top seed in the next weekend, but we have riches in personnel.


Team B

| Rd3 results | Rd4 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



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Four Nations Chess League

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