Scottish National Chess League, Round 7, March 24th 2019

SNCL (Scottish National Chess League) Round 7, Sun 24th March 2019, Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline. Report by Ray Noble

The competition for prizes, promotions and relegations reached a climax at this year’s final Round. Dundee City was represented this year by 4 teams. As in previous years the participation of our chess teams is a joint venture between Castlehill Chess Club, Dundee and Dundee Chess Club. Unfortunately for Dundee City teams we had a few call offs for Round 7. These were sufficiently serious that for the first time in 7 years we were only able to field 3 teams instead of 4. The effect of team changes and reorganisation significantly affected the strengths of 2 of the 3 teams. The Dundee City A team were unaffected and fielded an unchanged team as they attempted to defend their Championship title. Although the B team was weakened the greatest impact of the call offs was on the C team who were leading Division 4 by one point going into the last round. It was with great regret that we had to default Dundee City D. In Division 1, Dundee City A are the defending champions and were in top spot. They faced the very strong Edinburgh 1. After all the struggles and ups and downs to win their first title last year, Dundee City A made the title defence look easy after an emphatic win by 4.5 -0.5. Andrew Greet was held to a draw by FM Gheorghiu but the rest of the team all won their matches. This was a magnificent achievement and many congratulations should go to the team of Andrew Greet, David Findlay, Andrew Wright, Stephen Hogg and Declan Shafi.

In Division 2, Dundee City B were sitting mid-table and had had nothing to play for except their pride. Unfortunately they lost to probably the strongest team in the Division, Wandering Dragons A, led by IM Mark Orr, with only Alastair Dawson saving the whitewash! The score was Wandering Dragons 4½, Dundee City B ½. So it is another season ahead for Dundee City B in Division 2.

Division 4. Dundee City C were up against a strong Corstorphine and were handicapped by a much weaker side than normal. In one sense it proved too much in the end as they lost the match and the chance of finishing champions at the last hurdle! However, there was a twist in the tale because one of our promising Juniors, Max Whisson J13 (974), won his match against an 1188 on board 4. What a result Max! Then, Ray Noble (1482) on board 1 managed with the black pieces to get a draw against Alistair MacNaughton (1810). It was a fantastic result and huge congratulations should go to Max and Ray as well as the rest of the team (Ed Walton, Cameron Wilson and Ramit Kanodia). The effect of this loss by 1.5 – 3.5 was that the C team slipped down into 2nd place but results elsewhere meant that they stayed there once Round 7 was completed. This means that, against big odds, the Dundee City C team was now promoted to Division 3.

All in all this 2018-19 SNCL campaign went very well indeed. A big thank you to the SNCL organisers for a great tournament. Thank you to all our players, captains and parents for their support and last but my no means least, Alastair Dawson for all the hard work he has put in to make sure Dundee City teams (Castlehill Chess Club & Dundee Chess Club) turned up and could take on the other teams with a full complement of players.

Declan Shafi and David Findlay lead 2018-19 Dundee Club Championship after Round 4

Going into Round 5 Declan Shafi and David Findlay lead the Dundee Club Championship. A hard fought draw between them in Round 4 leaves them in joint lead on 3.5/4. Close behind on 3 points are Alastair and Euan Dawson who beat Alan Borwell and Ray Flood respectively. Murad Abdulla can join them on 3 points depending on the outcome of his game against Frank Stevenson. The above players are closely followed on 2.5 points by Jim Anderson after his win over Tommy Sutherland.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: MARCH 2019

Tuesday 5th March: Dundee D versus Newport Knights A

Tuesday 5th March: remaining Round 3 Club Championship matches

Sunday 10th March: Bridge of Allan, Blitz and Rapidplay Tournament (see CS homepage for details)

Thursday 14th March: TAFCA Team Knock-Out Final, Castlehill D versus Dundee A

Tuesday 19th March: Dundee A  versus Perth A

Tuesday 19th March: Dundee C versus Newport Knights B

Thursday 21st March: Castlehill D versus Dundee D

Thursday 21st March: Castlehill A versus Dundee A

Saturday 23rd March: Inverness Allegro 1-day Tournament (see CS homepage for details)

Sunday 24th March: SNCL Round 7, Dunfermline (+afternoon Ken Stewart Memorial Blitz/Lightning Championship)

Wednesday 27th March: TAFCA Allegro Championship, Round 6, Kirkcaldy (note new venue).

 

SNCL REPORT, ROUNDS 5 AND 6, FEBRUARY 24TH 2019

Scottish National Chess League, Rounds 5 and 6, Dunfermline, February 24th 2019: Report by Ray Noble

After the festive break, battles resumed once again for our 4 teams in the penultimate day at the Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline. At present the A team is challenging for the national title, the B team is battling for promotion from Division 2 into Division 1, the C team presently in Division 4 is a contender for promotion to Division 3 while the D team, composed mostly of Juniors, is having its first year of competition. 

In the morning in Division One, Dundee City A started with a hard-fought draw against Edinburgh West (2½-2½) with remarkably all matches being drawm. It could have gone either way but the A team, consisting of Andrew Greet, David Findlay, Andrew Wright, Declan Shafi and Stephen Hogg, all performed excellently. In Division Two Dundee City B suffered against Forth Valley A losing 4½-½, with Ben Volland stopping the whitewash! In Division Four, by contrast, Dundee City C faced the league leaders, Dunfermline B and won convincingly. Paul Shafi on board 1 lost, but Keith Rose, Raymond Flood, Ray Noble and Ed Walton all won to give Dundee City C an excellent 4-1 win to go top of the league! In the same Division, Dundee Juniors + newbie Marten Kats won 3½-1½ against Hamilton B, but it was a disappointing match with Hamilton B defaulting on two boards causing Marten Kats and Krish Akula not to have a game. All teams that default boards in this way are fined by the organisers – it is always extremely disappointing when players make the effort to travel to the venue, sometimes from considerable distances away across the country, only to find out that some members of the opposing team have failed to arrive.

The afternoon matches in the afternoon Round 6 were also tightly contested. In Division 1, Dundee City A achieved a remarkable success after beating the highly-rated Bon Accord A by 4-1 to end the day in top spot (10 points) and 2 points ahead of their nearest rivals. With only one match left the ball is in their court to make it back to back national titles! They will face 3rd placed Edinburgh 1 in the last match. Edinburgh 1 are an exceptionally strong team and Dundee A will have to achieve at least a draw in this last match if they are to gain the national title. In Division Two, Dundee City B just did not have the best of days as they again lost, this time to Wandering Dragons B, 3½-1½. The “B” team were missing Alastair and Euan Dawson due to Euan turning 18 (Happy birthday Euan from all your chess friends and also well done in passing your driving test!) and having a family bash in St. Andrews! Even so it was a disappointing day and probably means that the B team next season is consigned to another year in the Second Division. They face league leaders Wandering Dragons A in their last match. Mathematically there are possibilities but…..

By contrast, the Dundee City C team excelled themselves in Division Four winning their 2nd match of the day against CS Bos 2 to guarantee top spot. The C team was helped by CS Boss 2 only having 4 players which meant Ed Walton missed out on a match. Ray Noble won his 2nd matchof the day to make it 2-0. All we needed was 1 point out of the remaining three matches. How hard could that be? Well Ray Flood lost to give CS Boss 2 some hope. At one point Paul Shafi on Board One seemed to be struggling and Keith Rose on Board 3 had a balanced position that could swing either way. Would he checkmate, or would his opponent promote his pawn? In a titanic struggle Keith Rose prevailed for Dundee City C in a nail-biting finish to not only secure the win for the team, but make sure we finished top of the Division by one point with one match left to play. Great play Keith – a Captain’s performance! In the end Paul lost his second match but this result did not matter. Division 4 champions and promotion are up for grabs on the last day of action on the 24th March! I do not know for sure but it looks like Dundee City C will face Corstorphine who sometimes turn up with the strongest side in the Division ( Board 1 1810; Board 2 1595 etc.) and other times not (e.g. Board 1 1596; Board 2 1222 etc.)! Let’s hope it’s the latter or we could have our work cut out! In the same Division, Dundee City Juniors fared less well in the 6th round losing 4½-½ to Dumfries & District B. Outgraded and outgunned they put up a fierce battle and the talented Rishabh Akula managed a great draw against a 1252! The experience gained by playing at this level will help all the Juniors develop their skills and will benefit them in the long run.

In summary, it was a day of mixed fortunes with Dundee City B having a nightmare experience and Dundee Juniors having an up and down day. Both have nothing to play for but pride in the last match left, or maybe not in the “B” team’s case? But the day belongs to the wonderful achievement of Dundee City A team and, in particular, the barn-storming performance of Dundee City C. Once again thank you to all the organisers of the SNCL for a great day’s chess! Without your dedication and support these matches would not take place. For all the results, tables and individual player performances visit the SNCL website at: http://snclchess.co.uk/

PERTH CHESS CONGRESS 8-10th FEBRUARY, 2019: REPORT

Chess players from the two chess clubs in Dundee City – Castlehill Chess Club and Dundee Chess Club – took part in the Perth Chess Congress that was held this weekend, 8-10th February 2019, at the Salutation Hotel, Perth. It was a wonderful event, a great playing hall with sufficient playing space, good hotel hospitality, an excellent atmosphere and a packed room full of chess players. Perth is well-known for being one of the best Congresses on the Scottish Chess circuit and it was no surprise therefore that there were a high number of entries. The event was superbly managed by David Congalton and his team of arbiters – and credit is due to them (Andy Howie, Alastair Maxwell, Steve Nicoll) – apologies if we have missed anyone – without them there would be no Congress. In total there were 37 competitors in the prestigious Open, 51 in the Major, 43 in the Minor and an additional 18 in the separate Junior Tournament that took place throughout Saturday – a total entry of almost 150 players. There were a significant number of Dundee players competing in the various events. Back home, a commentary on Facebook of events in the tournament hall was provided by Keith Rose – and we are very grateful to Keith for all his help with this (indeed the pairings and results listed below are borrowed from Keith’s posts) – it is so valuable to those not present (parents, friends, families and the wider international chess audience) to keep track of individual player performances. The results lists below are those provided by Keith with additional comments given.

On the Friday evening and Round 1, many players took byes but the core of the tournament players were at their seats when play began at 6.30 pm.

Round 1 results: Open- Alastair Dawson (1792) ½ – ½ Willie Rutherford (1961) Euan Dawson (1762) 0 – 1 Rob Colston (1915) Andre Babin, Stephen Hogg and Ben Volland byes Major- Ray Noble (1482) 0 – 1 David Harvey (1728) Ray Flood (1649) ½ – ½ Ian Washington (1434) Subhayu Banerjee (1403) 0 – 1 Joseph Watson-McFie (1600) Marten Kats (1114) 0 – 1 Andy McCallum (865) Cameron Wilson, Colin Young & Jan Barron-Majerik = byes Minor- Charvi Kanodia (701) 1 – 0 William Reid (1174) Rishabh Akula (608) 1 – 0 Daniel Boyle (1128) Ramit Kanodia (757) 0 – 1 Angus Ruthven (1188) Krish Akula (488) 0 – 1 Andy McCulloch (1108) Lisa Paton & Robbie MacLeod byes.

On Saturday the tournament hall was filled further by the Juniors who played a separate Allegro tournament in an adjacent room. After 7 gruelling rounds for the players but probably more so the parents, Ramit Kanodia emerged in 2nd= place on 5/7 – a wonderful performance. A few places behind in 9th= place on 3.5/7 was Max Jednaszewski, a score that could have been higher had he not arrived late and missed the first 2 rounds! Junior Tournament Scores (from 7 rounds of play) Ramit Kanodia – 2nd=, 5/7  (tournament performance 538,) Max Jednaszewski – 9th=, 3½, (977) Krish Akula 12th=, (346),  Rishi Vijayakumar 12th=, (475), Alexander Barron-Majerik 16th=, (232), Rishabh Anthuvan 16th =, (529).

Meanwhile in the tournament hall there were some amazing results coming through in Round 2. In the Open, Ben Volland, who had a bye on the Friday evening, pulled off a great win over Raymond Wynarczyk while Stephen Hogg who also took a bye in Round 1 overcame Alan Jelfs. In the Major, old adversaries Ray Noble and Subhayu Banerjee faced each other this time the result being in favour of the latter. In the Major, Colin Young moved up the field with a nice win over Seigrun McGilchrist while Jan Barron-Majerik converted another fine win to move up the table.

Round 2 results – Open- Alastair Dawson(1792) ½ – ½ Chris James (1891) Euan Dawson (1762) ½ – ½ Michael Ridge (1886) Andre Babin (1844) ½ – ½ Euan Gray (2013) Ben Volland (1795) 1 – 0 Raymond Wynarczyk (1904) Alan Jelfs ( 1852) 0-1 Stephen Hogg (2009) Major- Ray Noble (1482) 0 – 1 Subhayu (1403) Ray Flood (1649) ½ – ½ Ritvik Maheshwari (1424) Cameron Wilson (1302) 0 – 1 Jonathan Mckay (1540) Colin Young (1360) 1 – 0 Siegrun Macgilchrist (1607) Jan Barron-Majerik (1629) 1 – 0 Steve Sawaryn (1422) Minor- Charvi Kanodia (701) 0 – 1 Alan Buchan (1252) Marten Kats (1114) 0 – 1 Iwo Labuda (0) Lisa Paton (926) 1 – 0 Munshi Aryan(475) Robbie MacLeod (952) 0 – 1 David Newton (653)

Saturday afternoon and Round 3 and the competition was hotting up. Tournament favourite in the Open, Hamish Olsen, moved up to top with a perfect 3/3. Elsewhere Andre Babin notched up a fine win over David Robertson while Ben Volland and Stephen Hogg fought out a tough draw. In the Major there was a fine win for Cameron Wilson over Seigrun McGilchrist. Notable in the Minor was a win for Marten Kats.

Round 3 results – Open- Ben Volland (1795) ½ – ½ Steve Hogg (2009) Andre Babin (1844) 1 – 0 David A Robertson (1960) Euan Dawson (1762) ½ – ½ Douglas Will (1886) Alastair Dawson (1792) ½ – ½ Raymond Wynarczyk (1904) Major- Ray Noble (1482) 0 – 1 George R McRobert (1373) Ray Flood (1649) 0 – 1 Michael McRobert (1469) Cameron Wilson (1302) 1 – 0 Siegrun Macgilchrist (1607) Colin Young (1360) 0 – 1 Jonathan Mckay (1540) Jan Barron-Majerik (1629) ½ – ½ Craig Fay (1350) Subhayu Banerjee (1403) 0 – 1 David Burke (1570) Minor- Charvi Kanodia (701) 0 – 1 Andy McCulloch (1108) Marten Kats (1114) 1 – 0 William Reid (1174) Lisa Paton (926) – Ross Blackford (612) Robbie MacLeod (952) ½ – ½ Athol Macgilchrist (1088)

And so we move into Sunday morning and Round 4. In the Open, Hamish Olsen continued his fine form as favourite for the event to move onto 4/4. Elsewhere Ben Volland overcame Stephen McQuillan in a King and Pawn ending, Stephen Hogg beat Andre Babin with the Black pieces while Alastair Dawson with a draw against CM Paul Roberts kept up his run of drawing every game in the tournament. In the Major, Ray Noble started to find some form to beat Donald Wilson very quickly (He had more time on his clock than he started with!), Colin Young battled out a draw against Keith Atchinson and Jan Barron-Majerik drew his match against Kalyan Kante.

Round 4 results – Open- Ben Volland (1795) 1 – 0 Stephen McQuillan (1984) Andre (1844) 0 – 1 Steve Hogg (2009) Euan (1762) ½ – ½ Keith Emery (1874) Alastair (1792) ½ – ½ Paul Roberts (2142) Major- Ray Noble (1482) 1 – 0 Donald Wilson (1420) Ray Flood (1649) 0 – 1 Subhayu (1403) Cameron Wilson (1302) 0 – 1 Richard Dowling (1596) Colin Young (1360) ½ – ½ A Keith Aitchison (1667) Jan Barron-Majerlik (1629) ½ – ½ Kalyan Kante (1511) Minor- Charvi Kanodia(701) 0 – 1 Thor Saemundsson (1098) Marten Kats (1114) ½ – ½ Vundi Karthekeya (857) Lisa (926) 0 – 1 Ishan Kumar (862) Robbie (952) 1 – 0 Krish (488) Rishabh (608) ½ – ½ Andy McCulloch (1108) Ramit (757) 0 – 1 Athol Macgilchrist (1088)

And so to the final Round 5 matches on Sunday afternoon and a large number of chess players near the point of exhaustion! There was a surprise in the Open, where Hamish Olson who had been leading the tournament was beaten by Chinese player Xian Junhao, the latter winning the tournament outright on 4.5/5. Ben Volland faltered in the final round against Helge Magnussen, Euan Dawson finished the tournament in style with a fine win over Alan Jelfs, Alastair Dawson made it 5 draws in a row but perhaps most credit should go to Stephen Hogg who beat Duncan Campbell to reach 4/5 and share 2nd place in the Open – well done Stephen. Ben Volland finished the tournament with the U-1850 grading prize, Jan Barron-Majerik excelled with a share (among 6 players) of 1st place in the Major on 4/5. Colin Young won the U1380 grading prize, Robbie MacLeod won the U1100 grading prize while Ramit Kanodia shared 2nd place in the Junior tournament with 5/7.

Overall, in terms of grading performances, the most notable grading results were: for the OPEN: Stephen Hogg (Dundee) +121 points, Ben Volland (Castlehill) +230, Alastair Dawson (Dundee) +202, Euan Dawson (Castlehill) +39, Andre Babin (Castlehill) +24. In the MAJOR it was, Jan Barron-Majerik (Castlehill) +145, Subhayu Banerjee (Castlehill) +248, Colin Young (Castlehill) +279, Cameron Wilson (Castlehill) +78. In the MINOR the best performances were, Robbie MacLeod (Castlehill) +2, Rishabh Akula (Castlehill) +400, Ramit Kanodia (Castlehill) +72 and Charvi Kanodia (Castlehill)+ 158. It is particularly nice to see so many junior players doing well and progressing so fast. We follow Keith’s excellent commentary on Facebook in leaving out above those individuals whose grading performances required the minus button!

Round 5 results – Open- Ben Volland (1795) 0 – 1 Helge Magnussen (2045) Andre Babin (1844) 0 – 1 Paul Roberts (2142) Euan Dawson (1762) 1 – 0 Alan Jelfs (1852) Alastair Dawson (1792) ½ – ½ Jake Sanger (1888) Stephen Hogg (2009) 1-0 Duncan Campbell (1924) Major- Ray Noble (1482) 0 – 1 Perter Doris (1477) Ray Flood (1649) 0 – 1 George R McRobert (1373) Cameron Wilson (1302) 0 – 1 Frankie Murray (1729) Colin Young (1360) 1 – 0 William Harkins (1438) Jan Barron-Majerlik (1629) 1 – 0 Jim Robertson (1595) Subhayu Banerjee (1403) 1 – 0 William Clinton (1682) Minor- Charvi Kanodia (701) 0 – 1 Walter Pearson (1334) Marten Kats (1114) 1 – 0 William Walker (827) Lisa Paton (926) 0 – 1 Mark smith (1210) Robbie MacLeod (952) 1 – 0 David Fowler (1104) Rishabh Akula (608) 0 – 1 Iain Hope (1355) Krish Akula (488) 0 – 1 Ramit Kanodia (757)

Alastair Dawson 11th February 2019.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: FEBRUARY 2019

Thurs. February 7th: Castlehill E vs Dundee C

Thurs. February 7th: Castlehill C vs Dundee A

Friday February 8th-10th: Perth Weekend Congress, Salutation Hotel, Perth

Tues. February 12th: Dundee vs Kirkcaldy B

Sunday February 24th: Scottish National Chess League Rounds 5 and 6, Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline.

Tues. February 26th: 4th TAFCA Allegro, Dundee Chess Club