Season 4 of the 4NCL Online leagues commenced yesterday evening with eight Wessex Some Stars teams in action, all captained by Keith Gregory.
The format of the leagues is largely unchanged but there are fewer teams and divisions this season, perhaps reflecting the imminent return of face-to-face leagues. Divisions 1 to 4 each consist of 32 teams in 4 groups of 8. There are 7 rounds so it is all-play-all within the groups. The top and bottom two of each group get promoted and relegated. The top team in each group enters into two knock out rounds for the honour of finishing top of the division. Division 5 is one Swiss paired pool comprising 54 teams.
The Wessex teams are placed in the divisions thus:
• Division 1: A & B teams (in different groups)
• Division 2: C team
• Division 3: D team
• Division 4: No Wessex team
• Division 5: E, F, G and H teams.
Round 1 Results
Overall it was a good night for Wessex, with 5 matches won, 1 drawn and 2 lost. Results ranged from a 4-0 win to a 4-0 loss. From the top…
The A team won 2.5-1.5 thanks to a short sharp win by new recruit Roland Bezuidenhout and a nice positional win from Bill McDougal in a Catalan that turned into a Stonewall.
The B team was outrated but was doing OK for a while before going down 3-1.
The C team was also outrated but won 2.5-1.5. To my eyes the C team look good value for their ratings so we may see a few more positive upsets from them. They would be in my fantasy chess team at those ratings!
The D team had the edge on paper but delivered more than an edge in the result, a 4-0 win, aided by Martin Clancy’s opponent resigning in a drawn position.
The E team claimed victory 3-1, their three wins coming courtesy of endgame conversions.
The F team had the only drawn match of the evening but no drawn games! Once again Wessex’s wins came in the endgame. Notably, Gillian Moore had survived a shaky middlegame to reach an endgame where eventually she was a pawn down but completely winning due to good vs bad bishop and a better placed king.
The G team had a very large rating advantage and converted 3.5-0.5 whereas the H team had a large rating disadvantage and lost 4-0.
We can expect the E to H team results to settle down a bit as the Swiss pairings progress through the rounds.
Rather than a full game I am just going to show a couple of highlights this time.
Firstly Roland’s short win. Black has just played Ba6, not realising the danger his king is in.
Secondly, Gillian’s endgame win.