Scottish National Chess League, March 1st 2020, Rounds 5 and 6: Report

Dundee City prepared for play in Rounds 5 and 6 knowing that the outcomes of the various matches would go a long way to determine promotions, relegations and, of course, the national championship itself. The A team faced Stepps in the morning. It proved to be successful with a hard-fought drawn match. Jacques Ophoff drew with IM Doug Bryson on top board. There followed draws for Andrew Wright and Andre Babin and a win for Ed Spencer. In Division 2 a big setback took place an hour prior to the match with the late call-off by Gary Weir as a result of sickness. With the adjustment of board order Euan Dawson assumed the role of being top board. It worked – with him gaining a nice win over John Smith, On Board 2 Alastair secured a second game point but losses on Boards 3 and 4 resulted in a 2-2 draw but a 2-3 match loss owing to a default on Board 5. In the 3rd division, our C team was up against it. With losses on the top three boards, two wins from Ed Walton and Cameron Wilson were insufficient overall, the team losing 2-3. In Division 5, Dundee City D team gained the result of the morning. On Board 1, Max Whisson notched up a nice win and Rishabh Akula did likewise on Board 3. Krish Akula gained a comfortable draw – and this time, it was their opponents who were a player short and had to default on Board 5. The net effect was a 3.5 – 1.5 win.

 

In the afternoon Dundee City A faced a strong Hamilton team led by IM Andrew Muir. Once again, Jacque Ophoff excelled and gained a draw through a perpetual check sequence. There were draws also from Stephen Hogg and Andrew Wright. But the match was won on Boards 4 and 5 through victories from both Ed Spencer and Andre Babin. There was drama for our B team who faced a very strong Giffnock team led by FM Phil Giulian. Having lost in the morning, it was going to be a very tough task to get anything from this match. But then on Board 1, Euan’s game was first to finish with a remarkable win, his first against a Fide Master. Alastair drew with Neil Thomson on Board 2 and there were losses on Boards 3 and 4. On Board 5, Ray Noble arrived to replace Gary Weir for the afternoon match. Not only did he win well, but his win brought the match to a draw. So one point gained against such a strong team – an amazing result! The same was not true for our C team in Division 3 – they crashed horribly to a much stronger Wandering Dragons team – enough said! And the same was the case for Dundee City D team who also had an afternoon nightmare – a whitewash loss 0-5.

 

So at the end of Round 6 and with just the final round left, Dundee City A team is tied in 3rd place with 4 game pts and 17 match pts and 8 match pts. Above them are Bon Accord A on 17.5 pts also on 8 match points and Stepps in 1st place with the same 8 match points and 18.5 game pts. In the last round they face Edinburgh 1 – the final round will be a very tense affair! In Division 2, our B team sit in 4th place on 4 match pts and 14 game pts. Beneath them lie Giffnock also on 4 match pts but with 12 game pts, Further below are Edinburgh 2 also on 4 match points and 12 game pts. Dumfries and District A then sit 2nd bottom on 3 match points and 10 game pts. At the bottom Forth Valley A prop up the division with 2 match pts and 10.5 game points. Any permutation is possible from Round 7 – when the team faces Thistles led by IM Roddy Mackay – hopefully safety and steering clear of relagation can be managed – we shall see. For Dundee C there is certain relegation to Division 4 – not good but I am sure the players will live to fight another day. Lastly, in Division 5, our D team are safe on 6 match points – all our young players have performed well and have gained a lot of valuable playing experience over the course of the season – well done to you all.

For performances of the day there are two. One would be that of Ed Spencer on 2/2 who was in overdrive in Division 1 crushing opponents with apparent ease. The second was from Euan Dawson who not only scored 2/2 on top Board in Division 2 but beat an Fide Master in the process – well done Euan!

  • – Alastair Dawson