SNCL Report 5th November

Scottish National Chess League: 2018-19 – Rounds 1 and 2, November 4th, 2018, Dunfermline

The new 2018-19 SNCL chess season kicked off in Dunfermline yesterday. Dundee City have 4 teams registered this year. The A team start as reigning champions; the B team seeking promotion to Division 1 having come so close last season; the C team is trying to gain promotion to Division 3 while we have a new Junior team, also in Division 4.

Round 1 started with a surprise for the A team. Up against Stepps they suffered a loss when Andrew Greet lost to Douglas Bryson. But with Stephen Hogg winning well on Board 5 and draws from David Findlay, Declan and Andrew Wright, the match was drawn 2.5/2.5. In the afternoon, the A-team came into their own with a 4.5/0.5 win over Hamilton. Wins from Andrew, David, Declan and Stephen supplemented with a draw from Andrew led to a very convincing performance and a step towards their title defence. Special mention should go to Stephen for two straight wins.

In Division 2, the Dundee City B team started their campaign with a thumping win 5-0 over Dumfries and District A. The team has changed slightly from last year. Andrew Babin now takes up Board 2 with Carey Groves moving down to Board 4. Strength in depth is a feature of the team now, not only with Carey on Board 4 but also with Ben Volland on Board 3 and Euan Dawson on Board 5. The impressive nature of the 5-0 win was highlighted by Sam Gregory’s win on Board 1 over Michael Green (2076). The afternoon match proved to be much tougher. The team was up against Dunfermline Knights led by Ian Robertson (2045). Unfortunately both Sam and Andre lost their games but this was countered by win by Ben and Euan on Boards 3 and 5. A draw from Carey led to the match being drawn 2.5/2.5. Deserved credit goes to both Ben and Euan for winning both their matches.

There were both new and old faces in the Dundee City C team in Division 4 now composed of Alastair Dawson, Paul Shafi, Ray Flood, Keith Rose and Ed Walton. The first match was a whitewash 5-0 over Hidden Dragons. Special mention goes to Ray Flood who crushed his opponent in only 13 moves. Whereas the opponents in Round 1 were relatively inexperienced, the match in the afternoon was very much more difficult against Dumfries and District B. Again the team completed a 5-0 whitewash win with, again, Ray Flood being first to finish after only 35 minutes of play. Some of the matches were very tight indeed, particularly those of Alastair and Keith. Overall a great start to the promotion push and a rare 10-0 score for the day.

The first SNCL tournament day of the 2018-19 season was most special, however, for our Dundee City Junior (D) team. For all of them it was their second outing in weekend chess following the highly successful Dundee Congress in October. The prime objective for them all is to have fun and enjoy their chess and also gain valuable experience. In the morning they were hugely out graded against Corstorphine, typically in excess of a 500 point difference. There were losses on all boards except that of Rishabh Akula (608) who pulled off an amazing win over Angus Ruthven (1188) – a brilliant performance. So the match result was 1-4. In the afternoon the Junior team were again heavily out graded against CS BOS2. This time the grading differences were individually between 500-700 points and this time there was a 0-5 loss. The Junior team players performed exceptionally well during both the morning and afternoon sessions. In fact they played two of the strongest teams in the group and they surely will relish playing some of less strong teams in Rounds 3 and 4 on November 25th.

Undoubtedly, the performance of the day has to go to Rishabh Akula while special mention should also go to Stephen Hogg, Ben Volland and Euan Dawson in the A and B teams for 100% game scores.

For a complete list of results click here.

Alastair Dawson
5th November 2018