Scottish National Chess League 2022-23: Dundee City Report for Rounds 3 and 4, 26th February 2023.
With the 2022-23 chess season, Day 2 of the Scottish National Chess League (SNCL) came hard on the heels of Day 1. Four teams from Dundee City are represented in this competition. For this national event, players from both Castlehill Chess Club and Dundee Chess Club join forces to create the ‘Dundee City’ teams. With Rounds 1 and 2 still fresh in the memory, our players embarked on another gruelling day of chess competition.
Round three thus took place on the morning of Sunday February 26th. For our C team it was not the start that they wanted – going down by 1.5-3.5 to CSBOS2. Even at this stage, the latter team look like promotion contenders and only a default for us on Board 5 plus a draw from Ray Flood was all that was to show for our efforts. Our D team put up a stronger fight but faltered against Corstorphine going down by 2-3. Here, the two wins came on Boards 4 and 5 from Daniel Coleman and Afshin Alijani -it was Afshin’s first win in SNCL competition so many congratulations to him but commiserations to the D team. In Division 2, our B-team put on the afterburners and put Perth to the sword with a whitewash 5-0. That said, none of the matches were easy with Perth fighting tooth and nail – so many congratulations to Andre, Rishi, Alastair, Keith and Iain. In the top Division, our A team were up against a strong Edinburgh West with IM Craig Pritchett on top board. But after a tough contest, our A team came out on top by 3-2. On this occasion the points were brought home after wins from Stephen Hogg and Ed Spencer plus draws from Andrew Wright and David Findlay – a very good result indeed.
In the afternoon Round 4, things did not go so well for our C and D teams. The C team went down to a strong Forth Valley B side by 1-4, the only points coming from draws secured by Joshua Crofts and Ray Noble. For Dundee City D the fight was much closer against CSBOS2 with our players going down by the close margin of 2-3. For Dundee the winners were Tom Wardlaw and Bruce Wallace. That said, CSBOS2 out-graded the D-team players on all boards. In Division 2, our B team was up against the other promotion contender – CSBOS2. Out graded on all boards, a fierce set of chess battles ensued but, in the end, the greater strength of our opponents showed, and our team went down by 1.5-3.5. On this occasion, three draws from Alastair Dawson, Keith Emery and Iain Sneddon were as much as we could achieve. In the top Division, a huge battle took place between our A team and another of the title contenders, Bon Accord. The result, after several hours of tough chess was a 2.5-2.5 draw. On this occasion, Andrew Wright and Stephen Hogg were the points winners, supplemented by a draw from David Findlay on Board 1. The enormity of the competition was illustrated by Andrew Wright’s game that was the last to finish in the tournament venue sometime after dark around 6.45 pm.
To summarise then after 4 Rounds having been completed, our C team are sitting in 5th place out of 8 just slightly below mid-table. Our D team, at the moment, is positioned perilously close to the bottom in 7th place. For the C team, the top performers are Ray Noble with 3.5/4 and Joshua Crofts on 2/4. For the D team both Daniel Coleman and Tom Wardlaw have a creditable 2/4. In Division 2, the B team is sitting mid-table in 4th place out of 8. For this team Alastair has 3/4 while Rishi Vijaykumar, Iain Sneddon and Keith Emery are all on 2.5/4. But top performers by some distance are our A team who sit top of Division 1 on 7 points but closely followed by Bon Accord and Edinburgh 1 who are both on 6 points. For the A team the star player so far is Stephen Hogg with a perfect 4/4! He is closely followed by Andrew Wright on 3.5/4 and Ed Spencer on 2.5/4.
So it is all to play for in Rounds 5 and 6 on Sunday 19th March and good luck to all of our 4 teams!