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.