Division 3n, Weekend 3, Mercure Georgian Hotel, Bolton, 10-11 Feb 2018 by Andy Mort




This was the final weekend in which the draw was based on the principle of trying to avoid the stronger teams meeting each other before the closing two weekends. Buoyed up by our previous weekend, in which we achieved maximum points, we had confidently decided that we were one of the stronger teams, and obviously under-seeded - which did not prevent the controllers from offering us a tasty pairing against 3Cs 2 (on maximum points at this stage) on the Sunday. This was a slight dent to our self-esteem, though justified by the outcome.


Our warm-up for this challenging encounter was a match v 3Cs 3 on the Saturday, one which we were favourites to win comfortably, not least because several late withdrawals had constrained our opponents to avail themselves of several ‘wild cards’. Thus we comfortably out-rated our opponents.


The match very much followed expectations. I won quickly against an inexperienced opponent. When I returned from the gym an hour later, there was only one game still in progress, and that was John’s, by then a won ending in which he had an extra piece following his opponent’s unsound sacrifice in the middle game. Colm had won two pieces for a rook and pawn, and his three minor pieces combined effectively to create a mating net. Tom had opened the centre to devastating effect on his opponent’s un-castled king, and Mike had utilised an old ‘trick’ to win a pawn and shatter his opponent’s centre, and then king-side.




Rounds 5 & 6, Weekend 3, 2018

On Board 1, Mike Taylor, a ‘wild card’ from Stockport displaying no obvious signs of wildness, had restored some pride for 3C’s by drawing with Dave Phillips after a complex middle-game arising from the Budapest Counter, in which the latter refrained from tempting but unsound sacrifices. So much for the chess, which had very much gone to plan, but one of the great joys of the 4NCL is the continuing potential for aged players, of which we are many, to meet acquaintances from the past. I was a teaching colleague of Mike more than 40 years ago, and had not met him since!


Sod’s Law remains a potent principle, and because we had been unable to reserve a table no earlier than 8-30, naturally all games finished early. Our meal in the vibrant Cherry Tree was as enjoyable as ever, but we are becoming creatures of habit, and there may be curry in the air at the next 4NCL weekend.




Just as Saturday’s match had conformed to expectations, so did Sunday’s, and we were convincingly beaten, though to achieve three draws was quite creditable. Mike’s usually dependable French Defence was blown away by his young opponent Robert Mc Lean, who had inflicted similar punishment on Colm some years ago before losing his way and conceding the draw. John Cooper attacked his opponent’s French defence with vigour, but Black’s defence held firm and, after further manoeuvring, a draw was agreed on the basis of balanced positional strengths and weaknesses.


I ultimately succeeded in holding a difficult minor piece middle-game in which my opponent had a dangerous queenside pawn majority, and Colm agreed a draw after a fairly tame encounter when the match had been lost. On Board 1, John Hall managed to get a piece trapped on the edge of the board. Although he generated aggressive counter-play, this led to other positional concessions that ultimately proved fatal. Tom attacked his opponent’s English Opening aggressively, but, following the exchange of queens, was left with a rather passive position which led to devastating rook infiltration on the queenside by his opponent.



We still occupy an elevated position in the table, and it is probably fair to say that - unusually - we have played to our potential so far. There are different views about what the “spirit” in The Spirit of Atticus really means.


Robbo’s visceral view that it entails sacrificing your health, regular meals - your family if necessary - to grinding out results for hours on end, but some of us are too old and socially inclined for that to be an inflexible mantra. At the team’s inception, however, an important focus was the Saturday meal and related pre-and post-prandial activities. With only three people attending the meal this weekend, is it time, one wonders, to base team selection on criteria other than pure chess playing ability? Some would argue that such a policy is partly in place, which is why I continue to book tables at restaurants, collect money, and write frivolous reports.




Team B

| Rd5 results | Rd6 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

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