4NCL OTB Weekend 1 Report
The first over the board 4NCL weekend was held in Milton Keynes on 20/21 November. It was great to get back to some normality with almost 200 players and 28 teams of 6 in the playing area and the buzz of playing “real” people in front of you.
Local players were well represented by Wessex Some Stars 3 teams with Kevin Goater, Christian Westrap and myself in the A team, Bill Adaway in B team and Graham Hillman and Larissa Cuthbert in the C team. Thanks must go to Bill’s wife Annie for organising the teams although unfortunately she could not be there.
For the first time ever Poole entered a team which was great to see.
The first round went very much to rating expectations with Wessex A and B winning with the C team coming second against much stronger opponents. Graham had an excellent result drawing with a 2056 player. Poole won their match against an underrated team ( especially on bottom 2 boards!).
The first evening was spent having a meal with most of the Wessex team in the hotel and awaiting the draw for next round. The draw came in around 9pm and Wessex A were drawn against Poole setting up a mouth watering local derby. The Wessex team were hoping that Poole would be out all night at the Curry house etc!
Sunday dawned and after an excellent breakfast battle was begun. The first blow was struck for Poole with John Weatherlake making an inspired sacrifice to force a win on board 2. Keith Gregory then won for Wessex on 6 and Kevin drew with Chip Stancui on 3. Christian played a strong game against Martin O’Neill to put Wessex ahead. The top board always looked likely to be drawn so was down to my match on 5 with Richie Smith. I was completely lost after being outplayed but hung in ( even using the old trick of knocking over the water cup! ) and somehow got back into the game and managed to win a rook and pawn endgame to clinch the match for Wessex A. The top board was still going late into afternoon but was eventually drawn by Michael Duggan.
The Wessex B team went down narrowly 3.5 to 2.5 to a stronger team and the C team won 5.5 to 0.5 including wins for Graham and Larissa.
Full results of weekend are here with some games to follow.
Ian Clark, November 2021