The 4NCL Online league re-started with Season # 7 on 24th January 2023 with our eight Wessex teams going into battle across all five divisions. Even with OTB chess now fully back to normal, the 4NCL Online league still seems to be thriving with 99 teams involved (up from 98 last season).
I’m delighted to report our Wessex squad remain enthusiastic and I’m optimistic we can sustain our 8 teams for the foreseeable future.
To cover the 32 boards, we currently have a squad of 51 players, many of whom are happy to play as required so it works out “about right” and everyone “Keen to play” usually gets 6 or even 7 games during the 7 round season.
Our players ages range from 14 to 80+, illustrating that you are never too young or too old to enjoy the lure of the virtual chessboard 😊
The 4NCL Online league continues as 4 divisions of 16 teams, split into 2 sections of 8 teams which will be all-play-all followed by a play-off for the two section winners.
The remaining 35 teams are playing in Division 5 which is being run on a Swiss basis – with players in round 1 ranging from 810 to 1900 the Swiss system will hopefully ensure everyone gets some competitive matches after a couple of rounds of “sorting out”
So to the round 1 matches….
We played all 32 boards, with no defaults given or received, despite a couple of “near-misses” 😊
For the 32 games played, we scored 16 wins, 6 draws and 10 losses. This translated in matches into 4 match wins, 2 draws and just 2 losses so a good evening at the office.
Our A team faced a lower graded team and won 4-0 to get off to a flying start.
Our B team edged a tight match (e.g. Richard’s opponent blundered in an equal rook endgame) by 2.5-1.5
A tight match also for our C team, with Simon Redmill making his debut. A win from Mike and draws from Roger & Raj saw us draw the match.
Our D team were out-graded on the top two boards and higher graded on the lower two boards, although not by huge margins. Despite this, and somewhat unusually, every game went with the higher grade so we ended up in a 2-2 draw.
Our E team were out-graded by a strong Dundee City C team and went down to a narrow 2.5 –1.5 loss with a win coming from Jamie Doyle and a draw from Tim Jones.
Our F team had a tight match on paper, being out-graded on the top 3 boards, however wins from Frank, Robert & Graham plus a draw from Phil saw us romp to a comfortable 3.5 –0.5 victory.
Our G team looked strong favourites to win and duly did so, 3-1, with wins from Ashraf, Manuel & Tim. Andrea lost a lively tactical bloodbath which he found highly enjoyable! I’m slightly twitchy that his opponent, whilst ECF registered, does not appear to have played any OTB or Online games before yet looked pretty useful – one to watch…
Our H team were out-graded on every board and succumbed 3.5 –0.5; our highlight was Larissa drawing (and very nearly beating) with a much higher rated opponent.
So …overall, a promising start – all will become clearer after Round 2 when the promotion & relegation battles will start to emerge!
Keith Gregory, 27th January 2023