The results for round 3 and the draw for round 4 of the Club Championship. Round 4 must be played by the 8th April 2020.
Scottish National Chess League, February 2nd, 2020 Rounds 3 & 4, Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline.
Dundee City had 20 players on hand to compete in Rounds 3 and 4 of this year’s SNCL. Competition was extremely tough as usual. When silence descended in the hall except for the shuffling of chess pieces, our A team embarked on a bruising encounter against Edinburgh West who were led by IM Craig Pritchett on Board 1 down to George Neave (2116) on Board 5. It was a great debut for Jacque Ophoff on Board 1 who defeated Craig Pritchett. This was followed by fine draws by David Findlay (vs Joe Redpath), Stephen Hogg (vs Neil Farrell) and Ed Spencer (vs George Neave). So a 2.5/2.5 draw against arguably the strongest Division 1 team. In Division 2, Dundee City B had on the face of it not too hard a match against Dumfries but the match ended up drawn. Full points were collected by Ben Volland and Robert Jackson on Boards 4 and 5, Alastair drew against Nikos Argyroudis to secure the draw. In reality, it was not so good however, since he (this author) inexplicably threw away a simple win in time trouble. In Division 3, Dundee City C lost 2-3 against a strong Perth team. The highlight of this match was a superb win on Board 1 by debut Michael Dugdale over Martin Gourlay. But a win on bottom board by Ed Walton was not enough to prevent the loss. In Division 5, Dundee City were up against it in an encounter against Edinburgh and Fife Red Bulls. The latter team was hugely strong and led by WFM Rhian Hughes ably supported on Board 2 by Lloyd Hughes. So out-gunned and out-manoeuvred the team went down 0-5.
And so to the afternoon. Nothing is easy in the SNCL and nowhere was this more the case than in Division 1 where the Dundee City A team were up against Bon Accord A. With FMs Murad Abdulla and Hamish Olsen on the top two boards and Daniel Maxwell, Euan Gray and Duncan Harwood on boards 3,4 and 5 this was not going to be easy. In a tense encounter between Murad and Jacques Ophoff and with both players having no more than a minute each left on their clocks it was Murad who came out on top. But this was countered by fine wins from Stephen Hogg and Ed Spencer and draws from Andrew Wright and David Findlay. Ed, in particular, starred in a difficult position where he pulled off a magical Q sacrifice with a smothered mate threat to win the game. So the A team ended up winning by 3-2. In Division 2 there was some trepidation since Dundee City B were up against a very strong Kilmarnock team with Jamie Malkin, Eliot Frew and Kenny Malkin on the top 3 boards. In the end Kilmarnock proved too strong with the only points on the team sheet coming from Alastair with a win over Kenny Malkin and a draw by Ben Volland against Douglas Hamilton. So the final result was 1.5-3.5 to Kilmarnock. In Division 3, Dundee City played well against Pentland Hills but suffered a 2-3 loss. Here, the top performance was a very good win by Keith Rose over Andrew Clark supported by draws from Jan Barron-Majerik and Ray Flood. In Division 5 things turned out well for Dundee City D against Hamilton B. Here, Marten Kats gained a convincing win on Board 2. And there were wins also for Max Whisson and our young talent Rishi Vijaykumar – so a great 3-2 win.
To sum up – after 4 rounds in Division 1, Edinburgh West are marginally ahead on 6 points with 3 chasing teams on 5 points – Dundee City A, Stepps and Bon Accord A. In Division 2 Dundee City B are sitting mid-table on 3 points. The clear leaders here are Thistles and Kilmarnock –each on 8 points. In Division 3, things are looking not so good for Dundee City C who presently sit bottom of the Division. But some good performances in Rounds 5 and 6 will help considerably. In Division 5, Dundee City D are presently in 6th place with 4 points. Our Juniors are doing well and gaining priceless experience with every match played. Next up is the 3rd match day on March 1st – good luck to all. Star performance of the day in this case needs to be shared between Michael Dugdale’s win over Martin Gourlay and Jacques Ophoff’s win over IM Craig Pritchett.
The ¼ final of this year’s Richardson Cup was held at the Inchture Hotel on Saturday January 18th. The format of Richardson Cup matches consists of teams of 8 players and a playing session of 40 moves in 2 hours plus 30 minutes each in addition once the time control has been reached. This year Dundee were strengthened by our new Board 1, Jacques Ophoff – giving a team of Jacques, David Findlay, Andrew Wright, Ed Spencer, Stephen Hogg, Gary Weir, Alan Borwell and Euan Dawson – this is by any standard a very strong team but it could be argued that Edinburgh were even stronger, perhaps one of the top two teams in Scotland and led on Board 1 by FM Neil Berry.
All of the matches were lengthy and extremely tight. First to finish was Stephen Hogg who lost a very tight match as Black against Andrew Green. There followed several draws. Alan Borwell drew his match against the high-graded Hugh Brechin. Jacques used a Slav Defence to obtain equality against Neil Berry and eventually a draw was agreed in an evenly balanced and Queenless middlegame. Then, Euan Dawson reached a drawn R and P endgame against the highly-rated Raj Bhopal. But then a couple of reverses. Ed Spencer found it tough going against Adam Bremner in a Sicilian Morra Gambit and eventually resigned. Then Andrew Wright and Petros Walden on Board 3 reached a time scramble leading up the time control. Such was the speed of play by both as the time control approached that the game moves had to be reconstructed – and at that point it was found that Andrew has lost on time with his opponent only having himself 5 seconds left on his clock.
Shortly afterwards David Findlay and Calum MacQueen agreed a draw on Board 2. Which left Gary Weir up against Graeme Kafka on Board 6. Gary has not played much chess in the last 2 years but the standard of his play did not reflect that. He entered the middle-game a pawn up with Graeme struggling to hold a fragile position. But hang on Graeme did, and with the match already decided, a draw was agreed between the two players. The final result was 5.5 – 2.5 in favour of Edinburgh. Dundee should be proud of drawing 5 of the matches against higher-grade opposition. But at the end of the day, the strength in depth of the Edinburgh was probably the telling factor that enabled them to secure a place in the semi-finals. Overall it was an enthralling afternoon of high-quality chess and Dundee Chess Club should be proud of having put up such a fighting performance.
Hope you’ve all had a good Christmas and a Happy New Year. The club championship still has 6 matches to be played. This has to be done by the 31st January. There are 2 matches this Tuesday the 14th January. Dundee A versus Castlehill C and Dundee C versus Castlehill E. The club also has a Richardson Cup match against Edinburgh. This is being played at Inchture Hotel on Saturday 18th January.
The club was host to two knockout matches this week. The B team played Newport Knights A. In the first round Jim Anderson had a good win against Lloyd Hughes. Gordon Robertson then beat Douglas Cairns. Next Alan Woodcock lost to Simon Markham and finally Laurenziu Archip beat Marcus Wylie Giving the B team a 3 – 1 lead. In round 2 Jim drew with Lloyd then Alan beat Simon. This gave the B team the win. The final 2 games were a win for Gordon and a loss for Laurenziu. This gave the B team a win of 5½ – 2½.
The other Knockout match was Dundee C versus Kirkcaldy. In the first round Max Whisson lost to Peter Selbie. Norrie Carrol lost to Aaron Owens, Thibault Rosazza lost to Kam Wan and Andres Aguila beat John Christie giving the score as 1 – 3 to Kirkcaldy. In round 2 Max got a nice draw against Peter, then Norrie lost to Aaron , Thibault beat Kam and Andres beat John giving the final score as 3½ – 4½.
There was also a Club championship match played between Robert Burnett and John Robertson Jnr. See game below. Also below is an earlier Round 2 Club Championship match between Trevor Harley and Jim Anderson.
In an early fixture of the 2019-20 TAFCA League, Dundee A the current title-holders faced a very strong University of St Andrews team on Thursday November 7th. In the end the score was a 2-2 draw. There was only one winner for Dundee on the evening with Ed Spencer beating Daniel Chambers. A loss from Stephen Hogg against his highly-rated opponent plus draws from David Findlay on Board 1 and Alastair Dawson on 4 was sufficient to earn the draw.
SNCL 2019-20, Sunday November 3rd: Report of rounds 1 and 2.
And so that new 2019-20 Scottish National Chess League started at the Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline, yesterday. The SNCL is one of the premier chess events in Scotland and this year no less than 40+ teams and over 200 players competed across five Divisions. In the top division our Dundee City A team embarked on the defence of their Championship title; in division 2 our B team embarked on a new battle to maintain their place against some formidable opposition; in division 3 our newly-promoted C team faces a series of strong opponents and in Division 5 our Junior team, relegated from Division 4 last season, should gain valuable experience playing against a range of difficult opponents.
In a packed conference centre in the morning the A team got off to a good start with a convincing win against Dunfermline Knights 3.5-1.5. With Andrew Greet playing in the Hull 4NCL Masters tournament and with Declan now at University, the A team welcomed Andre Babin onto Board 5. And it proved to be a great start for Andre with a win over John McBride. Another win for Ed Spencer and draws on the remaining boards signified a solid start to the title defence. In Division 2, Dundee City B were up against Forth Valley A. Here convincing wins by Euan Dawson over Douglas Will and Ben Volland over Stephen Smith plus draws on the remaining boards was enough to give a 3.5-1.5 win. In Division 3, it was going to be a tough call for Dundee C. A whitewash was avoided against East Kilbride A through a fine effort from Subhayu Banerjee who earned a creditable draw with the black pieces against Tom Brisbane – the team result ending 0.5-4.5. In division 5, our Junior team started their campaign against Lathallan Community Chess. There was a star performance on Board 1 from Max Whisson who beat Duncan Lyall (1437 rating) and another great performance on Board 5 from young Rishi Vijaykumar whose rating of 482 is no indication of his talent at the tender age of 8. The result of the match was a 2-3 loss but nevertheless a good start for our young players and huge amounts of experience gained.
In the afternoon, Dundee City A were up against a powerful Wandering Dragons A team. Andre Babin continued his good form with a draw on Board 5 while Andrew Wright earned a very good win against Candidate Master Andrew Dunn (2104). But it was not to be – with a draw by David Findlay on Board 1 not enough to prevent a 2-3 loss. In division 2 Dundee City were also up against a very strong CSBOS1 team. Outgraded on all boards, a fine win by Ben Volland over Nigel Chapman plus draws from Alastair Dawson and Sam Gregory were not enough to prevent a 2-3 defeat. In division 3 Dundee City faced an exceptionally strong Lenzie side led by Mark Sanger and the very-talented Jake Sanger. Despite a good win for Cameron Wilson on Board 5 plus another battling draw from Subhayu Banerjee the team went down to a 1.5-3.5 defeat. In the bottom division, our Dundee City D Juniors turned out to be the only team winners of the afternoon. Up against Silly Sicilians there were wins on the top three boards. Max Whisson starred again on Board 1 and was ably supported with wins from Ramit Kanodia and Rishabh Akula – so a 3-2 win and a great afternoon for our young team.
So all in all not a bad start. Star player of the day has to be young Max Whisson leading the Junior team on Board 1 with 2 straight wins – a fine performance. Special mention should also go to Andre Babin scoring 1.5/2 on his debut on Board 5 in the A team. Not to be forgotten also are the two fine draws gained by Subhayu Banerjee for our C team. It is very obvious from looking at the strength of the teams in Division 3 that Dundee City are going to face very strong opposition in all 7 matches throughout the season – hence Subhayu’s performance is all the more creditable. Lastly one must not forget the excellent win by Andrew Wright against a Candidate Master in the afternoon. Well done everyone and we look forward to 2020 and Rounds 3 and 4 on Sunday February 2nd.
November 4th 2019.