Division 1a, Weekend 3, Park inn Northampton, 10-11 Feb 2018 by John Carleton




Round 5 saw us paired with White Rose 1 who, lying comfortably in our pool at the start of play, surprised us by fielding their strongest line-up of the season to date. Despite this reckless, even, some would feel, un-Yorkshire-like behaviour, we remain friends with the White Rose clan or will do as soon as we start talking to them again.


We had not expected to have any realistic chance of a positive result with regard to the match result before play began but had hopes of picking up some bits and pieces in individual games.


The course of the match never threatened to upset the odds and we were unable to match even our modest hopes. One or two of our players were upset by their individual performance but in the main we were able to accept that without being too far from our best, we had been outplayed by our polished rivals. Not quite all was doom and gloom as Martin Mitchell on board 3 delivered a draw with the black pieces against GM Colin McNab. Martin played an effective blend of solidity and aggression which saw a repetition completed on move 29. This 7- reverse is our record defeat in the 4NCL although we came close to that score on a couple of occasions in our previous visit to the top flight.



Captain: John Carleton

And so to our evening meal in Northampton ... this did not start auspiciously with neither table to meet our arrival nor sign of one being made available. This is the first time in this our eighth season of 4NCL competition that Grubmeister Dave Robertson's thorough planning had met with such inadequacy. Prompt action on the WAGS network [Fran C and Jeannie L in attendance at the meal linking with Laura R in Liverpool] saw us furnished with documentary evidence of the booking although it was actually never needed as the restaurant recognised its inadequacies and promised us a free drink once we were seated. Some forty minutes later we began to order and to assuage our thirst with the promised drink. An enjoyable meal followed and additional drink flowed freely. A further surprise, pleasant in this case followed when we came to pay the bill and found that all alcoholic drinks were free. This set us on our way with a spring in our step back to the hotel.


Rounds 5 & 6, Weekend 3, 2018

Round 6 is the time for "basement battles" across divisions. 1[a], 2[a] and 3[a] when the two lowest seeds are paired together. For very good reasons related to the pairings in round 8 the bottom seeds meet in round 5 in divisions 1[b], 2[b] and 3[b]. [Note to editor before he puts a note to me: No, O.K., I don't actually get it. You could ask Natasha Regan]. Thus we, as 8th seeds were to play 7th seeds The ADs. They had gained promotion with us last season beating us in our tense individual encounter by a single point.




In round 5 they had fielded, in the words of their player-manager, Ian Snape, their "strongest team". That team was very much beefed up from last year but still contained 5 of the team who had beaten us and they opened their match-points tally with a hard-fought draw with Grantham Sharks in Saturday's game. Our team was virtually unchanged with 7 of our line-up from our previous match. Overnight, however, something changed and a substitute was introduced into their ranks.


And so battle commenced with a flying start for us; Peter Ackley on board 8 winning a piece and the game early on against substitute [and mother of Amardip, who was playing on board 6 for The ADs] Balvinder Atluwalia. Alas for us, our lead did not last long as I played what I felt was my worst ever 4NCL game against John Pigott. It was here that I found the team support invaluable to help lift my depression, many of them saying that I should not worry and that I had played lots of games just as bad if not worse than this one.


There followed two relatively early draws: on board 6 Sheila playing the black pieces against Amardip saw an early swap into a flat queenless ending which soon led to the point being split. On board 5 Nick Ivell with white against Darren Wheeler saw an understandable reluctance by either player to disturb the safety of their king by trying to engineer a pawn break and a draw was the natural outcome. So 2-2 was the score with 4 games in play. A big result for us was a draw on board 4 between Glenn House and Ian Snape.


Ian had slowly built up pressure through a gradual advance of his pawns towards the black king. Glenn kept calm, at least outwardly, and despite time pressure and gave up a pawn for some freedom . The draw was agreed when Glenn was about to regain his sacrificed pawn. Then, with the tension really cranking up, there followed a decisive result for each side. Firstly Martin on board 3 unleashed a series of pawn sacrifices to rip open the cover around John Richardson's king and then moved in for a mating attack against the hapless monarch in the centre of the board . This was a very entertaining game and a strong candidate already for the Spirit of Atticus game of the season. Also impressive was the win on board 2 by the ADs young star in the making, Ashley Stewart, who outmanoeuvred Brett Lund, who had looked comfortable for a good while. After protracted probing Ashley finished with a snappy and direct attack on the king. There was just one game in progress now and it was the board 7 encounter between Dave Latham and Jana Bellin. Jana had to really dig in to hold this endgame which was uncomfortable for her despite the reduced material. The game was duly drawn as the spectators anticipated, even though the Atticus camp dared to dream of victory. So 4-4 with each side wondering what might have been.


Division 1a after round 6

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 GP Pts
1 Guildford 1 7-1 7-1 7- 7-   7-1 8-0 44 12
2 White Rose 1 1-7   5-2 5-2 7- 6-2 5-2 31 10
3 Oxford 1 1-7   3-4 4-3 5-3 5-2 6-1 26 8
4 Grantham Sharks 1 -7 2-5 4-3 4-4 5-2   4-4 21 6
5 3Cs 1 -7 2-5 3-4 4-4 6-1 6-2   23 5
6 Spirit of Atticus A   -7 3-5 2-5 1-6 4-3 4-4 16 3
7 Barbican 4NCL 2 1-7 2-6 2-5   2-6 3-4 5-2 16 2
8 The ADs 0-8 2-5 1-6 4-4   4-4 2-5 14 2


The next round sees an encounter against Guildford 1 who reached the milestone of 50 consecutive wins in round 6. Well done Guildford 1 indeed!This will be a dead fixture for both sides so I have taken the initiative and offered Guildford supremo, Roger Emerson, the chance to gives his boys [and girl] a well-earned rest in round 7 with 8 quick draws. Obviously, the outcome of discussions is not confirmed but I can only echo the thoughts of David Davis in his recent negotiations about how well his matters are going. Then, round 8 sees us resume in earnest as we begin our fight for first division survival and earnest we will be.


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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