4NCL – Poole Weekend 1

Our Captain, and the driver behind the idea of creating an 4NCL Team for Poole Chess Club, Mr John Weatherlake, flew in to Milton Keynes on his private jet on Saturday morning, hotfoot from his debute on the international chess scene. Resplendent in his mirrored sunglasses, he dashed elegantly across the runway, brushing the autograph hunter aside, whilst simultaneously analysing in his head that tricky line against the Petroff that Gawain Jones suggests in his new book. And so the Poole Chess Club 4NCL Team was fully assembled.

Mike, Martin, John, Chip, Richie and myself.

I jest of course, there wasn’t an autograph hunter at all. And besides we are all seriously very proud (and bloody jealous) of John and his exploits in the European Chess Championships. Some excellent play not fully rewarded with points. How cool is it watching ones of your mates play live in another part of the world against IM/GMs. Allan also had some good results as well of course.

Checking in to the hotel was fine except for a worrying moment on my part, when it transpired that a room had not been allocated to me. The only recourse seemed to be to share a twin room with Chip and John, until an angel behind the counter found me one of my own. Phew.

Round 1…

Back to the 4NCL, and after a slightly naff lunch, our first pairing was against Celtic Tigers 3, which, to be honest, at first sight looked a bit of a ‘just turn up job’. But not at all. And they were a very nice bunch of lads as well. Mike on top board had an opponent 1800 ish, down to myself playing a suspiciously reasonable 1150.

Now you may laugh, but I spent 35 moves as Black trying to equalise without any discernable errors on my opponents part (ok, it was me). When I looked up everyone else had finished and were in the bar. The scoresheet showed a win for Poole and my opponent, Nadim, was happy to accept my draw offer. I of course demanded an urgent meeting with the handicap secretary.

What had passed during that time was…

Mike (B1), as White, had a nice steady Kingside crush then mating attack.

Martin (B2) played a topsy turvy KID which should have been losing, then was winning, and then Martin wasn’t able to checkmate with K+N vs K (not a typo, a sort of a joke).

Chip’s opponent (B3) was 30 minutes late and soon was getting hacked big time. (Ed: are you sure that was Chip? DF: yes! I saw it with my own eyes! He pushed ‘harry’ TWO squares!). I think that recent draw against Martin Simons has had a profound effect. Bish bosh indeed.

John (B4) commented that his game again his 1650 opponent was very high quality on both sides before a small error allowed a winning tactic for himself. A bit more refined, as you might expect.

Richie (B5) was very unlucky in dominating a game in a similar manner to Mike but missed a check late in the game that reversed the result. I do wonder if we are not used to the longer time limits than the local leagues and fatigue sets in. I certainly felt that. Bad luck Richie.

Round 1: win 4-2.

Round 1 Results Link

A quick pint led to frantic discussion as to where to eat. An Indian restuarant was selected and we then set out on a pitch black 25min walk through Milton Keynes parkland with only Google maps to rely on. Chip reiterated his new bullish character by asking the waiter to ‘bring me something nice’. Food, beer and company was great. Photo to follow. We might have accidentally had a couple more in the hotel bar on the way back.

Round 2…

Some were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning. Some were not and had interesting angular hairstyles. Think The Double Take Brothers. Still nothing that an all you can eat breakfast can’t solve. And another couple of hours in bed.

Would you believe it but in Round 2 we were paired with Wessex Some Stars 1. As one of our opponents quiped ‘I have driven 150 bloody miles to play… Poole’, ha ha. A tough pairing for Poole.

I didn’t see much of Mike’s game (B1, B) against Jaimie, but I was informed that it was a tough struggle with Mike under some pressure, having a slight edge, but short on time. A draw was agreed, possibly after the result had been decided.

John (B2) was first to finish and won an excellent game against his tough opponent, Rolandus. Again I didn’t see much (I had my own problems) but Chip next door thought it a stylish effort.

Chip (B3) vs Kevin, like B1 saw a tough game with few exchanges and Chip showing more of his newfound expansive attitude. A draw ensued which at the time looked positive for a good Poole result.

Martin (B4) vs Christian also saw Martin in positive mood, saccing pawns for an attack which, unfortunately for Poole, stumbled on the rocky ground of Christian’s excellent defence.

Richie (B5) played an excellent Two Knights Defence vs Ian and held a good advantage at the back end of the middle game, rightly turning down a draw offer. But Ian is a tricky… person. Richie deserved more from the game but was mugged for the point.

Lastly myself (B6) against Keith. In a quick post mortem after the game Keith admitted that I surprised him in the opening and soon had an advantage. Things got very messy and I was pleased with a Knight sac to stick the Black King in the centre. A string of accurate moves required to press the attack (helpfully suggested by the computer) were not forthcoming and Keith stabalised matters for the win. Well played Keith. As you said, you dont mind so much losing an interesting game like that.

So that was the local derby and a close result that really could have gone both ways. Congratulations to WSS-1.

Round 2: Loss 2 – 4

Round 2 Results Link

Summary of the first weekend? Well… Won one, lost one, which was better than we expected although I am not sure what we did expect, if you see what I mean. The top boards did the business. Our Captain led from the front with 2 of 2. Richie and I on the bottom two took scant reward from good play and perhaps suffered a bit from tiredness. All of our opponents were very pleasant. Thr curry was hot. The beer was cold.

And we are very proud that Poole is now represented in the 4NCL.

Looking forward to Weekend 2.


David Fuller
November 21, 2021