4NCL – 2006–07

Nottinghamshire has two teams in Division 4 of the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL). Games are played on weekends throughout the season.

Full details of the 4NCL can be found at the 4NCL web site.

First weekend

Round 1: 23 September 2006

Addlestone1891Nottinghamshire 12066
1Marchant, Geoff20500 – 1Richmond, Robert J2229
2Albrecht, Theo20250 – 1Mercs, Peter J2066
3Klein, Cornelia (F)18850 – 1Levens, David2085
4Seale, Dennis18600 – 1Walker, Andrew N2060
5Davda, Rahil18550 – 1Lakhani, Kishan1977
6Shanahan, Piers16700 – 1Webster, Richard J1978
   0 – 6  

Nottinghamshire 21940Gloucestershire Gambits2046
1Wright, Antony J20201 – 0Hosken, Nigel2008
2Thompson, Brian2000½ – ½Ponter, Ian2048
3Kingston, Ian1965½ – ½Dodwell, Phil2065
4Hill, Maurice J1910½ – ½Martin, Peter2055
5Graham, Neil19150 – 1Meade, Philip J2050
6Lakhani, Anjali (F)18300 – 1Taylor, Geoffrey P2052
   2½ – 3½  

Round 2: 24 September 2006

Nottinghamshire 12065Athenaeum 11990
1Richmond, Robert J2229½ – ½Pedersen, Carsten2108
2Mercs, Peter J2066½ – ½Stevenson, James A B2089
3Levens, David2085½ – ½Kay, Jonathan2000
4Burke, Steven J2055½ – ½McAleenan, Charles1985
5Lakhani, Kishan1977½ – ½McLaughlin, Noel1955
6Webster, Richard J19781 – 0Default
   3½ – 2½  

London Masters and Others 21754Nottinghamshire 21946
1Walker, Samuel19100 – 1Wright, Antony J2020
2Kenyon, Scott J M17741 – 0Thompson, Brian2000
3Iyengar, Ilya18150 – 1Harrison, John2000
4Shaw, Dashiell1750½ – ½Hill, Maurice J1910
5Rigby-Zeglache, Elyes17050 – 1Graham, Neil1915
6Graham, Henry15700 – 1Lakhani, Anjali (F)1830
   1½ – 4½  

Second weekend

Round 3: 2 December 2006

Jutes of Kent2115Nottinghamshire 12058
1Naylor, John2227½ – ½Richmond, Robert J2229
2Mack, Andy2226½ – ½Mercs, Peter J2066
3Donovan, Nigel21190 – 1Walker, Andrew N2060
4Rice, Chris2110½ – ½Truman, Richard G2027
5Robertson, Mark21051 – 0Lakhani, Kishan1984
6Molineux, David19000 – 1Webster, Richard J1983
   2½ – 3½  

Nottinghamshire 21946Grendel’s Mother2063
1Wright, Antony J2020½ – ½Pugh, Derek C2155
2Thompson, Brian2000½ – ½Osborne, David C2135
3Harrison, John2000½ – ½Bass, John W2095
4Graham, Neil1915½ – ½Hardy, Roger2033
5Lakhani, Anjali (F)18300 – 1Hibbitt, Arthur M1895
6Hill, Maurice J19101 – 0Default
   3 – 3  

Round 4: 3 December 2006

Nottinghamshire 12057Monmouth2028
1Richmond, Robert J22291 – 0Sully, David2126
2Mercs, Peter J20661 – 0Waterfield, John2037
3Burke, Steven J20551 – 0Beveridge, Nigel K.2005
4Truman, Richard G2027½ – ½Smith, Richard W1995
5Lakhani, Kishan19841 – 0Davis, Lee2025
6Webster, Richard J1983½ – ½Thomas, Kevin1980
   5 – 1  

SCS 11736Nottinghamshire 21939
1Lutton, J. Arnold19010 – 1Wright, Antony J2020
2Scarry, Herbert18120 – 1Thompson, Brian2000
3Lowry-O’Reilly, Hannah (F)18300 – 1Kingston, Ian1965
4Clarke, Sean A18000 – 1Graham, Neil1915
5Plechaty, George16650 – 1Hill, Maurice J1910
6Lowry-O’Reilly, Johannah (F)14100 – 1Lakhani, Anjali (F)1830
   0 – 6  

Third weekend

Nottinghamshire 1

David Levens

After coaching our County Under 11s for an hour early on Saturday morning, Ian Kingston and I set off on a 3 hour drive to Sunningdale Park, near Ascot, in the Royal County of Berkshire. We took a brief rest at Toddington Services, where we bumped into out illustrious captain, Tony Wright, and other brave members of our two 4NCL teams. Problems with the way the RAC worded our directions and a typical motorway hold-up meant that we arrived a little late, and I found myself with 10 minutes on my clock, on Board 2, against the highest-rated player in the opposition side, Metropolitan! My opponent’s ELO was 2194. Nevertheless, I soon acquired a strong attack and, according to Fritz, the silicon monster, I held a winning position out of the opening (the new Grivas system in the Sicilian Defence). Unfortunately, at the critical point I missed the best move, as we all do at times, and a draw was agreed after the best part of 4 hours.

On average we were outgraded by 58 ELO points per board, except on Board 1 where Rob Richmond struggled in vain to get a much needed victory. Pete Mercs, with the black pieces on Board 3, had the worst of his game for some time and eventually went down to G. Dickson who, I believe, finished joint first in the British Seniors a couple of years ago. I confess that I didn’t see a lot of the other games, as I was too busy dealing with my own problems! The two Richards, Truman and Webster, drew on Boards 4 and 6 respectively, but, most unfortunately, Kishan Lakhani, who played superbly, blundered in time trouble in an overwhelmingly won position and we went down 2–4.

Surprisingly, dinner that night was a cheerful affair, considering the fact that we couldn’t muster up a single win between the twelve members of both teams!

After a lousy night’s sleep (caused by a hot room or too much wine – I know not), I took my old body for an early morning run in the hope of freshening up. It didn’t work. Although, once again, I obtained a distinct advantage from the opening (against a disgustingly young 167 from FCA Solutions 2 and, for the second time, the officially strongest player on the opposition side), I missed far too many things to deserve to win and resigned after 6 hours’ play. Meanwhile, Rob and Pete, sitting either side of me, were battling grimly away. Rob had an interesting game, one in which I was never sure who was winning, but it fizzled out in to a draw, while Pete went into his second ending of the weekend, which he determinedly and deservedly won. Richard Webster on Board 6 got on the wrong side of a Milner-Barry Gambit and lost fairly quickly. Richard Truman scored another draw, but Kishan this time crushed his opponent in short order. Result: 3–3 and a valuable point gained. I’m quite sure that had we played nearer to home, instead of having to travel so far, we would have done better, but we remain on target for promotion to Division 3, having already played most of the top sides.

Nottinghamshire 2

Ian Kingston

After the successes of the first two weekends in the Midlands, the lengthy away trip to Sunningdale was always likely to prove difficult. Not only were our teams missing a few regulars, but the southern teams, playing closer to home, were expected to be stronger, and so it proved. Notts 2 faced Conquistadors in Round 5, who had the luxury of moving their Board 3 player from Round 1 down to Board 6. My game was first to finish – a disappointing short draw in which I could find no sensible way to proceed after my opponent made the draw offer. Tony always seemed to have the draw in hand, but Maurice and Anjali both lost. I didn’t see how Neil’s draw came about, but with Brian struggling it looked like a heavy defeat. However, he hung on well and scrambled his way to a draw.

On Sunday we faced Halesowen, again slightly stronger than us on paper. Maurice bounced back with a win, while Anjali won the exchange and seemed to be winning. Tony held a small but solid plus on top board, but I managed to get my move order wrong on the Black side of the King’s Gambit and fell into serious trouble. Brian wasn’t doing too well either (possibly tired after Saturday’s very long game), and when he and Neil both lost defeat looked likely. Things got even worse when Anjali’s rook became trapped, but somehow it escaped. Meanwhile, I’d been feeding the dying embers of my position by throwing no fewer than three pawns on the fire and was quite lost – and an hour down on the clock. Luckily for me, my opponent got confused about which winning plan to follow and ended up having to take a perpetual. Anjali then lost confidence in her position and took a draw, and Tony’s good bishop vs. bad bishop position failed to yield anything significant, resulting in a narrow defeat for the team.

Despite the results, we all enjoyed the trip. Everyone on the team managed at least half a point. Tony Wright is to be congratulated on getting everything organised so efficiently and at the same time putting in such a solid top-board performance.

Round 5: 10 February 2007

Metropolitan2125Nottinghamshire 12058
1Noden, Nicolas2185½ – ½Richmond, Robert J2227
2Fogarasi, Norbert2194½ – ½Levens, David2085
3Dickson, George21741 – 0Mercs, Peter J2066
4Calvert, D Ian2066½ – ½Truman, Richard G2027
5Djabri, Zafer M20711 – 0Lakhani, Kishan1968
6Fegan, Chris2058½ – ½Webster, Richard J1976
   4 – 2  

Nottinghamshire 21940Conquistadors 11984
1Wright, Antony J2020½ – ½Prizant, Michael2140
2Thompson, Brian2000½ – ½Archer-Lock, Christopher2065
3Kingston, Ian1965½ – ½Foster, James C1914
4Graham, Neil1915½ – ½Lee, Jia Shen1930
5Hill, Maurice J19100 – 1Winchcombe, Andrew1895
6Lakhani, Anjali (F)18300 – 1Cork, David J1960
   2 – 4  

Round 6: 11 February 2007

Nottinghamshire 12058FCA Solutions 22052
1Richmond, Robert J2227½ – ½Fraser-Mitchell, Jeremy2073
2Levens, David20850 – 1Goldsworthy, Patrick2089
3Mercs, Peter J20661 – 0Kendall, Paul S N2080
4Truman, Richard G2027½ – ½Elwin, Adrian G2048
5Lakhani, Kishan19681 – 0Valentine, Brian J2010
6Webster, Richard J19760 – 1Majer, Chris E2012
   3 – 3  

Nottinghamshire 21940Halesowen1967
1Wright, Antony J2020½ – ½Walker, Nicholas A2115
2Kingston, Ian1965½ – ½Palmer, Ryan2010
3Thompson, Brian20000 – 1Doran, Michael J2005
4Hill, Maurice J19101 – 0Pugh, Glyn D2000
5Graham, Neil19150 – 1Lee, Darren1955
6Lakhani, Anjali (F)1830½ – ½Banks, Peter1715
   2½ – 3½  

Fourth weekend

David Levens

It is not often that I find myself sitting next to a team colleague who cannot help laughing evilly at my demise, but that is exactly what happened towards the end of Round 7. Having outplayed my opponent for the best part of 4 hours I fell into the most bizarre of traps, and was mated by a lone bishop! My only excuse was that I had been coaching for 3 hours and done 2 hours driving immediately before sitting down to play; my blunder, therefore, occurred at the end of 9 hours mental effort and while still coping with the remains of a bout of ’flu. Andy Walker, sitting next to me, could not help giggling at my expense, but, as he said, it was an amusing finish – at least it would have been if I hadn’t been on the wrong end of it!

This episode left me feeling very guilty, but fortunately Rob Richmond managed to turn a lost game into a win, allowing Notts 1 to draw the match. Of the rest, Pete Mercs also went down; Andy duly won his fourth board encounter, Steve Burke went down on board 5 and Richard Truman secured the draw with a fine win on Board 6.

With our two teams on different floors of the hotel it wasn’t easy to keep track of everything that went on; I spent a lot of time going up and down in the one working lift, trying to keep an eye on the second team. Here things were not so good. Notts 2 outgraded their opponents on both days, and by as much as 87 on the Saturday, but still managed to lose both 2–4. However, we were not helped by Kishan having a very bad weekend (he blundered a piece on both days) and by Neil Graham losing to Lateefah Messam-Sparks on Sunday, after winning a piece on about move 6. Only Anjali Lakhani had a plus score after two games – 1½. [David has kindly omitted to mention my own contribution: turning a won position into a dead loss in three moves – Ed.]

Notts 1, outgraded by 60 points a board against Celtic Tigers on Sunday, played above themselves and scored a superb 4–2 win. After my debacle of the previous day I was determined to make amends. My opponent played the Fort Knox variation of the French, and although rated 2137 Elo he didn’t really seem to know what he was doing and I duly notched up the point when still about an hour ahead on the clock. Kishan then lost and the remaining four games all looked in the melting pot. Rob had a complicated game against someone rated 2330; Tim Walker on Board 3 had a difficult position; Richard Truman had a typical Sicilian Najdorf and I wasn’t sure who was winning; and Steve Burke, on Board 5, was a piece down in a Blackmar-Diemer, but with the normal fierce attack. Anxious about the overall result I hung around for as long as possible and by the time I left Steve had won very nicely, but Tim had succumbed – 2–2. However, so far as I could see Rob was now definitely winning and Richard was the exchange up; by the end of the weekend we were in equal second place with excellent chances of earning promotion to Division 3 next season.

Round 7: 24 March 2007

Hillsmark Coventry2056Nottinghamshire 12087
1Tavoularis, Nicholas22650 – 1Richmond, Robert J2227
2Briscoe, Christopher21211 – 0Mercs, Peter J2066
3Stinton-Brownbridge, Michael20251 – 0Levens, David2085
4Forman, Karl L20350 – 1Walker, Andrew N2060
5Goodwin, Ed19851 – 0Burke, Steven J2055
6Foord, Dominic19050 – 1Truman, Richard G2027
   3 – 3  

Weald Collective 21873Nottinghamshire 21960
1Bayliss, Lyall C P20000 – 1Webster, Richard J1976
2Lunn, Matt1865½ – ½Lakhani, Kishan1968
3Jones, William18651 – 0Wright, Antony J2020
4Jones, Victor18301 – 0Thompson, Brian2000
5Galliano, Alex18851 – 0Kingston, Ian1965
6Maguire, Robert1795½ – ½Lakhani, Anjali (F)1830
   4 – 2  

Round 8: 25 March 2007

Nottinghamshire 12075FCA Solutions 22135
1Richmond, Robert J22271 – 0Hoffmann, Hendrik2330
2Walker, Tim D20850 – 1Kemp, Peter D2192
3Levens, David20851 – 0Thomas, Robert K2137
4Truman, Richard G20271 – 0Haldane, Robin2122
5Burke, Steven J20551 – 0French, Angus2105
6Lakhani, Kishan19680 – 1Fathallah, Joe1922
   4 – 2  

Oxford 31928Nottinghamshire 21942
1Morris, Graham20351 – 0Webster, Richard J1976
2Terry, Sean2040½ – ½Harrison, John2000
3Levicki, Jeffrey1950½ – ½Wright, Antony J2020
4Messam-Sparkes, Lateefah (F)18551 – 0Graham, Neil1915
5Zhang, Marco18901 – 0Hill, Maurice J1910
6Henbest, Kevin B18000 – 1Lakhani, Anjali (F)1830
   4 – 2  

Fifth weekend

Nottinghamshire 1

Although I hate losing, I doubt if anyone would call me a bad loser. Indeed, after the most recent 4NCL weekend I think I could call myself a very good loser! I certainly had plenty of practice, managing to lose all three of my games in Rounds 9, 10 and 11. My first loss I can fairly put down to arriving with 35 minutes on my clock, due to bad traffic hold-ups on all routes. My second loss was probably due to tiredness that seemed to affect the whole team, and we crashed 1–5 to Cambridge University, one of our main rivals for promotion. We now had to win our last match to have any chance of promotion. On the Monday I sat down determined to redeem myself. But it was not to be. Facing a variation of the Trompovsky, which I knew little about, I was mated in 16 moves!

Feeling as guilty as hell I now had to endure for several hours more, as my colleagues battled to secure the much-needed victory. Richard Webster soon agreed a draw in a position with seemingly a lot of play remaining. That left Rob Richmond with slightly the worst of it on Board 1; Pete Mercs struggling to survive on Board 2 – his lone rook seemed to have little chance against his opponent’s two bishops; Richard Truman looked much better on Board 5; and Steve Burke looked to be heading for a certain draw.

Chess, however, is never as straightforward as it looks. Steve’s opponent, playing optimistically for a win that wasn’t there, dropped a pawn and, in due time, Steve collected an invaluable point. Robert’s opponent contrived to find the only way to lose, exchanging off bishops to find himself in a lost king and pawn ending. Now we appeared to be heading for victory after all! Richard Truman still looked safe and Pete’s heroic defending garnered another important half point. All we needed now was Richard to draw his rook and pawn ending – a certainty we thought – and promotion was ours. Unfortunately, Richard went wrong after several hours of tiring play and we remain in Division 4 for another season.

Rob Richmond, on board 1, has been outstanding. He scored 6 wins and 5 draws and is now unbeaten in his last 16 4NCL games! Our fullest thanks go to Tony Wright’s excellent captaincy.

Though very disappointed with my own lack-lustre performance, this remains an enjoyable event and the trips away allow us all to socialise happily at the end of the day – I’d recommend it to all.

Nottinghamshire 2

Ian Kingston

After a run of poor results, Nottinghamshire 2 faced a tricky first match against Conquistadors 2, a team with several juniors whose ratings might not tell the whole truth about them. First to finish was Maurice Hill, whose queenside pawn roller swept him to victory on the two-hour mark. Neil Graham finished shortly afterwards, his opponent’s Vienna Game leading to rather dull equality and a safe draw.

Brian Thompson was having a hard time on Board 2 after losing a piece for a couple of pawns and no real compensation. He fought hard, but was never able to create the sort of complications that might have turned things round.

The remaining three games looked very promising. Anjali Lakhani won the exchange, Tony Wright was nursing a space advantage into the endgame, and my early pawn sacrifice had given me a big positional clamp. In the event, I was next to finish after a complex tactical interlude ending with my opponent resigning in the face of inevitable mate. However, Anjali’s advantage had gone, and her game was drawn moments later.

With the score at 3–2, it was left for the captain to bring home the win. A draw would have sufficed, but his position was such that he was able to play for a win without risking defeat. He duly converted his advantage by squeezing his opponent off the board.

Sunday dawned grey, cold and wet. Our opponents were Pontypridd, and the average ratings of the teams suggested that we were favourites. However, a very weak bottom board for the Welsh team disguised the fact that the other five boards were fairly well matched.

Things went wrong early on for Bob Taylor (replacing Anjali) when he picked up a rook and suddenly realised that his intended move was a blunder. Unfortunately, all the alternatives were also bad, and he resigned a move later. Neil soon brought the scores level. Despite a poor start, once he levelled the game his opponent collapsed quickly.

Elsewhere, I won a pawn with an opening trap, but Maurice was struggling to hold things together and was forced to bail out into an endgame the exchange down. Tony and Brian had impenetrable but roughly level positions, although time was running a little short for both them and their opponents.

My game was next to finish. I’d been slowly exchanging material and advancing my extra pawn, and found a way to force the last pair of rooks off by means of a mate threat. My opponent was kind enough to miss the latter (particularly kind, since my clever idea actually had a flaw in it that might have thrown away a large chunk of my advantage), cutting short a possibly lengthy endgame.

Brian drew shortly afterwards, while Maurice proved unable to hold his position. Again the result hung on Tony’s game, but sadly he went wrong near the time control and lost. Final score: 3½–2½ to Pontypridd.

Our final opponents (on an even greyer, colder and wetter Monday) were Weald Collective 1. Given our dismal showing against Weald Collective 2 in Round 7 this might have seemed an ominous pairing, but there appears to be little pattern to the Weald Collective teams, and on this occasion the WC1 average rating was lower than the WC2 rating in the earlier match. Neil got us off to a good start by establishing a winning position, whereupon his opponent blundered away his queen. Not long afterwards, I received a similar (if less generous) gift. With an absolutely drawn opposite-coloured bishops endgame only a couple of moves away, my opponent hastened to exchange off the last pair of rooks, overlooking that his bishop was en prise – 2–0. And then, on the three-hour mark, Maurice wrapped up a comfortable win to take us to the verge of victory.

In the other three games, Tony looked level and Brian and Bob both had the advantage. Brian seemed to over-reach and appeared to be about to lose at least a pawn, but at that point it also looked to me as though Bob might soon pick up an exchange, and I wandered off to check on the first team. When I came back, some 20 minutes later, everything had changed. Now Bob was two pawns down, but Brian had reached a winning endgame. Tony had lost the exchange.

I don’t know the details of how the games finished, since Maurice and I decided to make an early getaway, but Brian obviously converted his position to win the match (4–2) while the other two were unable to defend successfully.

Overall, the second team performed much better than the 22nd place finish suggests. A score of 35 points from a maximum of 66 might easily have earned more match points and a higher finish. Nevertheless, it was a satisfactory collective performance. Tony Wright deserves our thanks for running the whole show so efficiently, not least for his efforts to field full teams for the whole of the final weekend – more than one team failed to do that.

Round 9: 26 May 2007

Nottinghamshire 12063Conquistadors 12093
1Richmond, Robert J22291 – 0Prizant, Michael2159
2Mercs, Peter J20781 – 0Atako, Chino2174
3Levens, David20850 – 1Turner, Caius2110
4Truman, Richard G2030½ – ½Ynojosa, Felix J2100
5Webster, Richard J1984½ – ½Archer-Lock, Christopher2065
6Lakhani, Kishan19700 – 1Foster, James C1950
   3 – 3  

Nottinghamshire 21940Conquistadors 21845
1Wright, Antony J20201 – 0Cork, David J1960
2Thompson, Brian20000 – 1Auckland, Elliott1879
3Kingston, Ian19651 – 0Winchcombe, Andrew1895
4Graham, Neil1915½ – ½Ynojosa, Angelica M1825
5Hill, Maurice J19101 – 0Archer-Lock, Adrian1760
6Lakhani, Anjali (F)1830½ – ½Sathiraju, Vijay1750
   4 – 2  

Round 10: 27 May 2007

Cambridge University 22077Nottinghamshire 12077
1Pickard, Charles2160½ – ½Richmond, Robert J2229
2Churm, Rohan M21851 – 0Mercs, Peter J2078
3Cooley, Oliver20901 – 0Levens, David2085
4Spencer, Carl20301 – 0Truman, Richard G2030
5Gooding, Ian1994½ – ½Webster, Richard J1984
6Gallagher, Ian G20051 – 0Burke, Steven J2055
   5 – 1  

Nottinghamshire 21969Pontypridd1899
1Wright, Antony J20200 – 1Perrett, David 2072
2Thompson, Brian2000½ – ½Davies, Peter L1993
3Kingston, Ian19651 – 0James, Dai1994
4Taylor, Robert P20030 – 1Robinson, David1973
5Hill, Maurice J19100 – 1StClair, Allan1826
6Graham, Neil19151 – 0Davis, Ashley1535
   2½ – 3½  

Round 11: 28 May 2007

Anglian Avengers2139Nottinghamshire 12077
1Player, Edmund C21500 – 1Richmond, Robert J2229
2Talsma, Paul A2180½ – ½Mercs, Peter J2078
3Munson, Shaun D21961 – 0Levens, David2085
4Gregory, Stephen J21391 – 0Truman, Richard G2030
5Wallis, Ian2075½ – ½Webster, Richard J1984
6Gray, Mark S20950 – 1Burke, Steven J2055
   3 – 3  

Weald Collective 11806Nottinghamshire 21969
1Fryer, David W20761 – 0Wright, Antony J2020
2Grant, David19140 – 1Thompson, Brian2000
3Fisher, Robert18550 – 1Kingston, Ian1965
4Salimbeni, George18901 – 0Taylor, Robert P 2003
5Squibbs, Adam16350 – 1Hill, Maurice J1910
6Fryer, Keiran14650 – 1Graham, Neil1915
   2 – 4