4NCL Online – A game of snakes and ladders !

There were two more matches for Crewe in season 2 of 4NCL this week, with our AOL team facing 100% high-flyers Kent Kestrels, and the BOL team against Ashby Ivanhoe.

Starting with the good news, the BOL team were inspired as they turned in the club’s best ever result in 4NCL with a 4-0 demolition. The first two games were over in very quick time as Lee Tilton and Kobus Nienaber were just too strong, and the match was soon in the bag as Lukasz Michalek kept up his outstanding record of being unbeaten as he overturned the grades on board 1 to make it 3-0. Meanwhile Adam Fields used all of his time to get the upper hand in a clever ending with good Knight vs bad bishop when it was looking pretty grim at one stage. After a 2 hour battle, Adam emerged victorious to put the icing on the cake. The BOL team have climbed up the ladder to 38th position, with a 50% score from 6 matches.

Meanwhile the AOL team were sliding down their table as they fell to the table-topping Kent outfit. The captain David Hulme set the tone with a “shocker” on board 2, allowing his Queen to get trapped early on, having to give up a Bishop or knight to save the lady. As his opponent went to capture the knight with the h pawn, there was a mouse slip as the h pawn moved on to h4 instead of capture on g4. Good sportsmanship prevailed as David permitted a “take-back” and resigned a few moves later in a hopeless position after dropping a 2nd piece ! Harry Gardiner got the team off the mark with a draw, before Kent won the board 1 game to secure the points. Neville Layhe again put up a solid performance on bd 4 to gain a comfortable draw. So after 6 rounds, the AOL team sit one place above the relegation zone but in a perilous position as the Warwick Bears team in 7th have a guarantee 4-0 win coming in the final round. The AOL team play Morriston Alekhine in the last round in the knoweledge that a win secures division 3 status, a loss means relegation, but a draw could mean either depending on other results. It was thought a draw would leave us safe, but the game pts previously used in the league tables do not apply ! This was only acknowledged by the League Controller after our captain had requested clarity on the tie-break rules, which had not been properly reflected in the tables published.

Also taking place this week was our Monthly Challenge Night, which featured our 2nd Chess960 competition. Unfortunately we only had 7 members participate mainly because so many had played 4NCL the previous night. This competition was won by Martin Frisher who scored a perfect 5/5 despite being up against our best 960 players.

Next week it is time for Round 3 of the NSDCA’s Online Rapid-play where our stars from Crewe 3 play Holmes Chapel in the top of the table clash; with Crewe 1 against Cheddleton and Crewe 2 vs Newcastle.