Scottish National Chess League 2023-24, Round 9 (21st April 2024): Report

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Scottish National Chess League 2023-24, Round 9 (21st April 2024): Report

The final Round of this season’s SNCL took place on Sunday 21st April. This season has been the first to be run over 9 Rounds instead of 7. It has been a long journey. Round 1 had started during a time of severe storms and rain with some teams unable to travel. Round 9 coincided with the final Round of the Candidates tournament in Toronto won in dramatic fashion by 17-year old Gukesh from India. The Candidates tournament had a direct impact on the running of Round 9 since our very own Arbiter, Andy Howie, was employed at the Candidates as Deputy Chief Arbiter. So it was without Andy but in the capable hands of Ruaraidh McKay, John McNicoll and Glynis Grant that Round 9 commenced. For the three Dundee City teams there was mostly pride to play for since nothing was at stake. The A-team knew that they were going to relinquish the National Title, the B-team knew that they had already been promoted to the top Division next season with a Round to spare. The C-team were sitting clearly mid-table in Division 3. Because of this we used the opportunity to give some young players a run-out in the C-team, in particular two of our promising young players Adam Clark (J-18) and Matthew Hunter (J-15).

In Division 1, Dundee City A took on Bon Accord. Following approval from Chess Scotland for fast-improving younger players to accelerate upwards the Board order, we were given permission to play Rishi Vijayakumar (J-12) on Board 1. Rishi set the ball rolling with a straightforward win over the very experienced Robert Lothian (2038). One of his teammates described his victory as Rishi being in ‘cruise control throughout’ – am I am sure that this will be the first of many wins that Rishi will have on Board 1 of the A-team. Another win followed from Stephen Hogg on Board 5 plus draws for David Findlay and Ed Spencer, thus earning the team a 3-2 victory over their talented opponents.

In Division 2, Dundee City B were playing Oban in the last round. On Board 1 Gary Weir gained a solid draw against Duncan Campbell. However, wins for Matthew Deighan and Ian Sneddon plus a draw for Joshua Crofts earned Dundee City B a win by 3-2.

In Division 3, our Dundee City C team also fared well against Edinburgh 3. Adam Clark picked up a draw on Board 1 against David Montgomery. Then Ana Seijas Otero capped a wonderful campaign with another nice win. There were wins also from Matthew Hunter and Daniel Coleman, the latter essaying the dangerous Jobava opening. So the final result against Edinburgh 3 was 3.5-1.5.

At the end of play, Round 9 finished with 3 wins for the Dundee City teams. In the final reckoning for the whole season of play, the A-team ended up in 3rd place behind Dunfermline Knights and Wandering Dragons. Dundee City B came 2nd in Division 2 behind runaway leaders Lenzie Basilisks. In Division 3, our Dundee City team ended up in a very creditable 7th place out of 16 teams. It has been a long season but a very rewarding one for Dundee City – roll on next season of the SNCL!

Alastair Dawson