Four Nations Chess League :: 1999/2000

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Basic data

Four Nations Chess League 1999/2000
(see all-time tournament summary)
Dates: October 1999 - May 2000
Cities: Rounds 1-11: Birmingham, Grand Moat House Hotel
Tournament Director: Mr. Chris Dunworth (ENG)
Chief Arbiter: IA Richard Furness (ENG)
Teams participating: Division 1: 12 (3 down)
Division 2: 18 (3 up; bottom 6 were relegated to the newly created Division 3)
BCM played under the brand of their sponsor The ADs.
Invicta Knights merged with Home House and played as Index-IT.
Players participating: Division 1: 175 (incl. 30 GMs, 31 IMs, 4 WGMs, 33 FMs, 4 WIMs and 3 WFMs)
Games played: Division 1: 528
Division 2: 792
Competition format: Division 1: Eight board round robin.
Division 2: Eight board eleven rounds (not Swiss!).
Final order decided by: 1. Match points; 2. Game points
Time control: 40 moves in 2 hours followed by 20 moves in 1 hour followed by 30 minutes to finish the game.
Website: 4NCL
Other websites: 4NCL Rules 1999/2000
Then online Web Site (cached)
BCM information site
TWIC detailed report from final weekend
Downloadable game file: Division 1:
Division 2:

Tournament review

THE SECOND session of this season's Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) took place last weekend at the Moat House Hotel in Birmingham. Now in its sixth year, the league has expanded to 30 teams, with 12 in the top division and 18 in the second, and as always there was keen competition in both.

Going into the weekend only two teams, Slough and my own club Wood Green, had a perfect 4/4 match points. Both won comfortably on Saturday (6-2 against Richmond and Bristol I respectively): but on Sunday, while Slough were cruising to a 7-1 victory against North West Eagles, we faced Bigwood I against whom, especially in their previous incarnation as Midland Monarchs, we have tended to do very badly.

Although the match started well for us, things changed in the scrambles before the first time control; and, by the time a car-load of us left at about 4pm after five hours' play, we feared the worst. But we rallied, notably owing to Alex Baburin's win in a tough rook ending against Jonathan Parker, for a final score of four all.

So Slough now lead with 8/8 match points and 24 game points ahead of Wood Green 7 (21.5), IKHH 7 (18.5); Bigwood and Richmond both 5 (17); Bristol 4 (14.5), Barbican 3 (16), Guildford-ADC 2 (15); Silvine White Rose and The AD's both 2 (12.5); North West Eagles 2 (12) and Wood Green 2nd Team 1 (11.5). In the second division South West Dragons are two points clear on 8 (21.5), ahead of Barbican II 6 (19) and Perceptron Youth 6 (17.5).

This brutally pretty game, played on Saturday, was shown to me by the loser David Norwood himself. Remarking (he writes in The Daily Telegraph on Saturdays) that "at least it's good for a chess column", he gallantly even encouraged me to publish it.

The idea of 7 ...d5! is known and indeed the new Fide world champion, Alexander Khalifman, used it a couple of years ago - but with the knight already on c3 and the bishop back on f1 - to defeat James Cobb in a European Club match.

9 f3 is natural but too optimistic - 9 f4 was correct. The vicious sacrifice 9 ...Nxg3! was very unpleasant. 11 Bf2 was better, though Bxb2 12 Nd2 Qe7+ is still strong for Black. As played, unfortunately Norwood's original intention of 13 Nd2 loses at once to 13 ...d4! If 22 Rxa1 Rxe3+! whereas 23 Bxc5 would run into Rac8 24 Bd4 Bxc3! 25 Bxc3 Re3+! 26 Kxe3 Qxg3+ etc.

/ GM Jon Speelman, "The Independent", November 24th, 1999 /