4NCL Match Report - 20th October

Last Tuesday in the 4NCL there was some close matches, back-and-forth games, and plenty of surprises.
The 1st team were up against Chessmates, who we strongly outgraded. Things appeared to be going smoothly with Nick and I wrapping up quick wins on the bottom boards, only for the top two to go down in tricky, time-pressured, tactical positions to leave us with a 2-2 draw.

The 2nd team were up against Redbridge All Sorts, who entered the 4NCL late, but would give the 1st team a good match. Despite being heavily outgraded all the games were close affairs. John proved the maxim that “you don’t improve your position by resigning” by remarkably turning his game around for a dramatic win. Sadly, luck was not with everyone else with the team going down 1-3.

The 3rd team were up against Farnham B, only an average of 35 ECF points higher graded. Mishap struck early with one player unable to get their internet working and Monika stepping in at the 11th hour to play. Misfortune then piled on mishap as Harry managed to start with the wrong time control. The 4NCL rules state a game played with the incorrect time control does not count so I was a bit concerned at first as I could not get through to him. However, contact was eventually established, and the game restarted with the correct time control.
After all the mayhem Sam on board 4 was the first to finish. He played the London system and entered into an equal middlegame. After a few exchanges Sam’s opponent managed to get a bishop against knight, with an extra pawn. This extra pawn looked ominous, but Sam kept his cool to find a pretty checkmate with his remaining queen and knight.
Next to finish on board 3 was Chris his Caro-Kann transposed into a sort of Semi-Slav defence. After missing a long range bishop he was down an exchange early on. The rest of the game was a high-quality affair, but unfortunately his opponent converted the material advantage into a win.
The following game to finish was Harry on board 2. Their game was an exchange variation of the Caro-Kann. It was a game with a lot of tension underneath the surface, but neither player put a foot wrong and a draw was agreed on move 32.
This left the match finely poised at 1.5-1.5 with Monika still playing on board 1. The opening was an anti-fried liver defence and Monika played it well to go into the middlegame with a slight edge. She then turned her better position into a dynamic attack. Her opponent kept their cool to repel the attack, and when the dust settled they were up a piece. With accurate play her opponent then ground out a win in the endgame despite some strong defending.
Full credit to Horsham 3 who were unlucky to lose 1.5-2.5 against a stronger team.

You can see the full table by going on the link below. Horsham 1 is in the 3rd Division group D and Horsham 2 and 3 are in the 6th division.