Division 1a/d, Weekend 4, De Vere Wokefield Estate, 17-18 March 2018 by John Carleton




De Vere Wokefield Estate

It did not require a Mystic Meg to predict the result of our round 7 encounter with the all conquering Guildford 1. We had hopes of stealing a crumb or two from the champion's table but recent results made even that limited aspiration unlikely [round 4: Guildford 1, 7-1 White Rose 1; round 5: White Rose 1, 7- Spirit of Atticus A]. We had "lost" a player during the week, and try as we may, we could not arrange a replacement and thus had to concede a board and a half point penalty, our first ever default by absence in the history of the A team. This could not be regarded as actually downgrading our prospects to any significant extent.


The opening phase of the match saw us reasonably placed in most of the games but the dreaded outcome duly happened, but not quickly, with a clean sweep for Guildford. We entertained hopes on a few boards but gradually class won out. The closest to earning a half point was Sheila Jackson on board 5, our last to lose, who stood toe to toe against GM Nick Pert and missed an opportunity to slip in to a theoretical draw after over 50 moves of battling chess. Watching via the internet, my on-line analyst and technical adviser rated Brett Lund's performance as the best for the team. Indeed his opponent GM Laurent Fressinet told Brett after the game that he did not believe he could have broken through without the error 37/... Kf8 [my additional observation, not Laurent's: induced by the cunning 37. Kf1] which ultimately allowed the breaking open of Brett's kingside. Brett registered our penultimate defeat. And so, for the second Saturday in a row, we set a new unenviable record defeat, the new mark being set at 8 to -.



Captain: John Carleton

Rounds 7 & 8, Weekend 4, 2018

The evening meal saw us visit the relatively local Red Lion Restaurant and the evening just melted away as we dismissed negative thoughts of the afternoon and indeed put thoughts of the challenges ahead to one side to enjoy the Italian fare placed before us. Some of our number chose to take a nightcap in the hotel bar where we discussed some issues of the day with other Northern folk. Many chess related topics arose but it was the inflated cost of food, drink, particularly drink as I recall, petrol and taxis in this Southern paradise that struck a chord before we retired to bed.


And so Sunday arrived and with it life in the demotion pool. We were somewhat dismayed by the snow that had descended overnight but cheered by the fact that our numbers were up to 8 with the heroic arrival of Dave Latham who finished work in Chesterfield[ where they do have really deep snow] at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday evening and arrived at the venue around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Dave was gobsmacked [Editor's note: colloquial, particularly Northern England, "rather surprised".] that some players had failed to arrive from London. Dave did admit that his journey had been rather tricky, and indeed for the first time ever he had failed to arrive before his SAT-NAVs estimate. Dave put this down to there being too many vehicles on the road suggesting that only chess players and emergency services should be allowed on motorways during inclement 4NCL weekends.




Our round 8 pairing was against Alba who were all-conquering in last year's 2nd division scoring 100% including a 5-3 victory over us at this very venue. The early stages of the match saw the Alba team gaining the initiative in each of their white games with no corresponding advantage for us in our whites and this largely set the pattern of the match.


Thus the results that arrived with the approach or arrival of the time control saw draws for David Phillips on board 8 against Ali Roy and for Dave Latham on board 6 against Declan Shafi. My loss on board 3 against Roddy McKay was the logical outcome of my passive performance. Sheila, had prepared an improvement for her game against David Findlay on board 5 but the Alba player got his improvement in first and try as she may, Sheila could not resist successfully in the lost ending that arose.


The remaining two games with the white pieces saw Glen House on board 4 gain an initiative from a level position when opponent Neil Berry gradually let matters slip under time pressure. Glenn soon gained our first, and as it transpired, only win of the weekend.


This win was matched by Clement Sreeves on board 2 for Alba against Brett after the opening saw perhaps a marginal edge for our man. Clement gradually improved the activity of his pieces, gaining a pawn, and then unleashing a snap combination to seal the win. We thus remained 2 down with 2 games remaining. Martin Mitchell on board 1 against Andrew Greet successfully completed a long rear-guard action to hold the draw, which left Peter Ackley in play against Stuart White on board 7. Peter's pawns were somewhat messily placed and this allowed Stuart to probe. Peter seemed to have solved the main problems of the position but, with pawn moves in hand, Stuart could manoeuvre for hours should he be inclined. He appeared to be so inclined but the imminent departure of the Glasgow plane meant a draw offer appeared after six and a quarter hours the match concluded with Alba, never seriously threatened it must be admitted, winning 5-3 as they had in our previous encounter.


Division 1d after round 8

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 GP Pts
1 3Cs 1       6-2 6-1 6-1 5-3 24 8
2 Blackthorne Russia   5-3 6-2     4-4 5-2 20 7
3 Alba   3-5 3-5   5-3   5-3 16 4
4 West is Best 1   2-6 5-3 3-4     5-3 15 4
5 Barbican 4NCL 2 2-6     4-3 3-4 5-2   15 4
6 Spirit of Atticus A 1-6   3-5   4-3 4-4   13 3
7 The ADs 1-6 4-4     2-5 4-4   12 2
8 Cambridge University 1 3-5 2-5 3-5 3-5       11 0


And what of the final stages of our campaign? If you want a sober well-rounded assessment, you are probably reading the wrong article. [May I suggest Rhys Cumming for such an assessment].


We will fight to retain our first division status, we will fight against "achieving" any more negative records [notably my losing streak which is by far the longest of any Spirit of Atticus player in any team, in any of the 8 years of our existence] and we will enjoy the final weekend, come what may, as we enjoyed this weekend.


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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