SNCL  19/3/23

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Scottish National Chess League, Rounds 5 and 6, 19th March 2023

Report

This season, rounds 5 and 6 turned out to coincide with Mothers’ Day. As a result, our Dundee City teams experienced a number of call-offs and consequently it was an extremely difficult task to find enough players to make up our 4 teams. The result was that by a day or so prior to the event, our Dundee City D team only had 1 player. Then, thanks mainly to the efforts of Ray Noble we got the help of two players from Kirkcaldy (Peter Selbie and Kam Wan) as well as two stands – by Dunfermline players (Wull Swales and Melinda Kindeur) giving us a near-complete team of 4 players rather than the 5 that is normal.

And so started Round 5! Our D team faced Forth Valley B in the morning, and we were overwhelmed against a much stronger team on paper. Credit must go to Tom Wardlaw who made a very creditable draw against a 1711 player from Forth Valley – but overall the team went down by 0.5 – 4.5. Life is never easy in Division 3! In the afternoon there was an equally challenging match against Hamilton B. Again, Tom Wardlaw performed heroics with a draw against Robert Montgomery (1685). Kam Wan also earned a nice win but the result overall was a 1.5-3.5 loss. Our Dundee City C team also found the morning round tough going against Corstorphine but performed wonderfully. This time, against a much stronger team with a 1922 player on top board (where we lost), valiant draws were secured by Ray Noble, Ray Flood, Bruce Wallace and Peter Selbie. The loss, therefore, of 2-3 does not truly reflect a wonderful team effort. Special thanks this time go to Peter Selbie who had stepped in at last moment to complete the team numbers. The shift became even harder in the afternoon when the C team was paired against a very strong Oban team led by Duncan Campbell (1837). This time it was losses on all boards except Board 5 where Peter Selbie capped a fantastic day with a hard-fought win (the result was thus 1-4).

In Division 2, our Dundee City B were without young Rishi. The loss on the day of such a talent probably told in the end in our match against Lenzie Basilisks. Our heroes of the morning were Keith Emery with a win as well as Ian Sneddon and Leyton Hackney both with draws. Alastair suffered a defeat with his favourite Caro Kann while Andre Babin lost to the ever-impressive Jake Sanger. The result therefore was 2-3 loss, not what we had hoped for at the start of the day. In the afternoon, our B team faced Edinburgh 2. This time there were great wins from Keith Emery (2/2 on the day) and Leyton Hackney as well as draws from Ian Sneddon and Andre Babin. The result, therefore, was a fine 3-2 win.

In Division 1, our A team continued to perform really well. In the morning they ground out a 3-2 win against Stepps with wins from Andrew Wright and Ed Spencer supplemented with draws from David Findlay and Helge Magnussen. This run of fine form continued into the afternoon when the team convincingly beat Hamilton A by 3.5-1.5. This time the wins came from Helge Magnussen and Ed Spencer supported by draws from the remaining three boards.

In summary, after 6 rounds, Dundee City D are favourites to be relegated and yet to score a point. Above them in 6th place are Dundee City D on 3 points and, it would appear, in relative safety. In the second Division, Dundee City B are now sitting in 3rd place with 6 points but they are a long way behind the top two teams ( CSBOS1 and Forth Valley A) who play each other in the final round. In the top Division, however, in the chase for the National Title, our A team is presently sitting in top spot on 11 points and closely followed by Bon Accord on 10 points. In the final round our A team will face Edinburgh 1 while Bon Accord are up against Hamilton A. So, it is all to play for – come on Dundee A! In terms of individual performances, Andrew Wright leads the way for the A team with 5/6 – an excellent performance. In the second Division Keith Emery is storming ahead with 4.5/6. For the C team the best performance by far is that of Ray Noble on 4/6 while for the D team Tom Wardlaw leads the way with 3/6. Roll on Round 7 on May 7th.

Alastair Dawson