Atticus had a tough opening match in the fourth season of the 4NCL Online which began on Monday. Steve Kee had a tremendous battle with IM Wadsworth and was winning for most of the time before - presumably in time-pressure - he repeated moves in a winning position. I had a good opening against GM Hebden but got ground down in a position where I just needed to 'do nothing' (and do it well). Steve Burge had some attack whilst a pawn down in a Fantasy Caro-Kann but missed some equalising shots in the middlegame. James Rothwell also had chances and was better in a double-rook endgame before time-pressure got the better of him. So - a creditable start to the new season despite the lop-sided look of the score!
Atticus A ½-3½ Brentwood A, Division One 4NCL Online, March 9th 2021
IM Richard Pert
FM Charlie Kennaugh
FM David Haydon
FM Dave James
In this match we were facing higher-rated opposition. Charlie faced a dark-square clamp on the Black side of the Reti, missing one or two tactical opportunities to free himself. Steve Kee also conceded space in the opening and was unable to 'break out'. Dave described his game as being messy before it got away from him near the end. I got a level-ish position in the Anglo-Catalan until I unwittingly disimproved on theory. Still my position was compact even after I won a pawn and gave it back and so my opponent offered a relatively early draw.
Atticus B ½-3½ MCS Oxford A, Division Three 4NCL Online, March 9th 2021
Hou Ning Zhou
While John Lawton managed a creditable draw we had difficulties on the other boards. Typical hard going in the 4NCL!
Last season Hertford 1 won the 4NCL Division 4 Group C (6 wins, 1 draw, 0 loss) and was promoted to 4NCL Division 3. This season Hertford 1 is the strongest team in our division and they may aim to win the league again. Atticus B was largely outrated on all boards and at the end the result is a good one for us.
I want to draw your attention to the game FM Byway, Paul -v- Burge, Steve, board 3. Steve sacrificed his f-pawn, then his whole queen side, exchanged his attacking rook against a knight and an even stronger attack against the white king. White tried to make the best of this bad job but there was no place to hide, his position was doomed. Congratulations to Steve for this phantastic win.