4NCL Online Season 5 – Round 5 of 7 – Wessex Results and Game
With round 5 completed we will now move into the final two rounds with some promotion / relegation battles still raging.
At the start of the round 5 evening things looked tough, with our players out-graded on 24 boards out of the 32 – this, however, seemed to spur us on and we pretty much held our own with 14 wins, 3 draws and 15 losses – this translated in match terms as wins for the B & C teams, draws for the E, F & G teams and losses for the A, D & H teams.
The A team were out-graded on all boards and gradually succumbed to a very strong Blackthorne team. Gavin was our star player with an excellent win against a 2340 FM which is well worth a look and is annotated at the end of this report.
The A team are 5th in their group and looking likely to finish mid-table, already mathematically safe from relegation.
The B team were heavily out-graded on the top three boards yet through brilliant wins from Richard Allis & Dominic Tunks (who was making his season 5 debut) and a solid draw from Roger Marsh we took the match comfortably. A special vote of thanks has to go to Allan, who, yet again, took on the board one spot against very strong opposition (2380 this time after a 2208 & a 2213 in previous rounds)
Our B team now move to 6th place and are a point above the relegation zone so have a real chance of staying up.
Wessex C slightly out-graded their opponents and took full advantage of this to hammer them 4-0 (with one win unfortunately coming as a default)
Our win keeps us in 6th place (“safety”) in our group, 2 match points (and 7 game points) clear of 7thplace so looking good to stay up barring freak results (particularly given the 7th& 8th teams have both lost their last 3 matches)
Switching to Division 2, our Wessex D team were out-graded overall and lost 1 – 3.
Tim Jones yet again stopped a whitewash, this time with a win (as opposed to a draw last round).
Our D team remain 7th in their group so will need some good results to stay up – with only one point separating the bottom 4 and 2 staying up I suspect this one will go to the wire.
Switching to Division 4, our E team ran into a much higher graded Dundee City C and fought their way to a 2-2 draw, with a win from Ed Blanden and draws from Phil Pinto & Jamie Doyle (ending Jamie’s run of 4 wins)
I am delighted to point out we are the first team to take any points from Dundee who are firmly at the top of the group and looking certain to be promoted.
We remain in 2nd place with a great chance of promotion to Div 3.
Our F team also face strong opposition in the form of Hebden Bridge team but were up for a fight with all the games leading to decisive results. When the dust settled, we had secured an excellent 2-2 draw, with wins coming from Rob Davenport & Doug Blythe.
The F team currently sit in 5thplace in their group, although with only 1 point separating the teams in 2nd place & 5th place we still have a possibility of promotion.
Our G team, had the closest match on paper with only one grading point separating the team average grades! Weirdly white won on every board leading to a 2-2 draw.
We’re still in 3rdplace in our group with 2 games against bottom half teams to come , so fingers crossed for promotion.
Turning to Division 5, our H team ran into a tough Crowthorne B team and went down 3-1. Our win came from Florence Spirling against a player graded 421 points higher – an astonishing achievement.
We’ve dropped to 17th place (of 28 teams) and looking likely to have a mid-table finish.
And finally , a few stats from the first 5 rounds…
Jamie Doyle finally allowed an opponent a draw and still leads our high scorers with 4.5/5, now joined by Ed Blanden, also with 4.5/5.
Other high scorers are Gavin Lock (on board 1 in Division 1!) with 4/5 and Tim McCullagh with 4/4.
Grading-wise Gavin is tracking at a remarkable 2464 mark, with Richard Allis at 2229 and Will Lovell at 2216 also playing way above their grade.
Keith Gregory, 23rd March 2022
Below is Gavin Lock’s fascinating win against FM Laurence Webb. Laurence played a line where Black gives up a piece for two central pawns. Whilst objectively a bit dodgy, it leads to very rich play. As the game progressed it became increasingly more concrete in nature as Laurence tried to create active play. Gavin picked his way through the difficulties remarkably well, especially considering how low he was on time towards the end.
I try to annotate games with my human eyes and brain but of course always use an engine too. I was more than usually dependent on the engine for this one and spent a couple of hours poring over many fascinating lines, only a little of which I present here in the interests of readability. I hope you enjoy playing through it as much as I did watching it live!