SNCL Rounds 5 & 6

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Report: Scottish National Chess League (SNCL), Rounds 5 and 6, February 25th 2024

We are now past the half-way stage in this year’s SNCL tournament. When the players sat down to play Round 5 on Sunday morning, Dundee City A team were up against Stepps. On this occasion things did not go Dundee City’s way. A late slip in an ending by David Findlay against IM Douglas Bryson and losses also for Ed Spencer and Stephen Hogg resulted in an uncharacteristic 2-3 loss. In Division 2, wins for Andre Babin, Matthew Deighan and Joshua Crofts sealed a 3-2 victory over a tough East Kilbride team. In Division 3, Dundee City C were about to start a fantastic day of chess. A late call-off by Tom Wardlaw due to illness meant that the team was defaulting a point in each of the 2 rounds. In the morning round, however, against Forth Valley C wins for Alisdair McLeod, Ray Noble, Ana Seijas Otero plus a draw for Kan Wan resulted in a 3.5-1.5 victory.

Competition resumed in the afternoon. In Division 1, Dundee City were up against Hamilton A led by Tom Donohue (1934). There were wins this time from Andrew Wright and David Findlay. However, losses for Helge Magnussen and Stephen Hogg plus a draw from Ed Spencer resulted in a 2.5/2.5 draw. In Division 2, Dundee City B faced the highly-rated Dumfries and District team. This time, despite a loss for Alastair Dawson on Board 2, there were wins for Ian Sneddon and Joshua Crofts. These wins, plus draws for Andre Babin and Matthew Deighan resulted in the second 3-2 win of the day – a fantastic result despite being out-graded on the top 3 boards. In Division 3, our C team continued their sparkling form against Queens Park. While Dundee United were running out winners that afternoon against Queens Park in the Scottish football Championship, our Dundee City chess team ran out convincing winners over Queens Park with 4 wins from Alisdair McLeod, Kam Wan, Ray Noble and the fast-improving Ana Seijas Otero. With the defaulted Board 5, the match score was a 4-1 victory. To summarise, of the 8 matches played by the C-team on Sunday, they notched up 7 wins plus a draw – a remarkable achievement!

So where does this leave the 3 Dundee City teams? In Division 1, our A-team has now slipped into 4th place – and 3 points behind leaders Dunfermline Knights who are on 11 points. Rounds 7 and 8 represent crunch time for the A-team with a morning match against Edinburgh West and the present leaders, Dunfermline Knights in the afternoon. In Division 2, our B team has climbed the rankings with their two wins. They now sit in 2nd place on 10 points and 1 point behind tournament leaders Lenzie Basilisks. They are now due to play CSBOS2 in Round 7 and local rivals, Perth, in Round 8. In Division 3, our Dundee City C team has rapidly climbed the league table and now sits in 3rd place, 2 points behind the joint leaders Edinburgh West B and Inverclyde Phoenix. For the team pairings in Division C for Rounds 7 and 8, we will have to wait until March 17th to find out the next two opponents for our C-team. Good luck to all our teams for Rounds 7 and 8 on Sunday March 17th – with promotion places at a premium and a national title at stake, there is a lot to play for!

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