Tuesday night saw the start of the sophomore season of 4NCL online.  Season one, for those who missed it, was a baptism of fire for Atticus A, who were drawn in a group where all the favourites seemed to congregate.  The draw, at least on paper, appears kinder this time around.

Wood Green Youth 1½-2½ Atticus A

When 4NCL stalwarts Wood Green sound the clarion, any number of titled players may answer the call.  No surprise then to find Wood Green Youth team was represented by the #1 and #2 under 16 players in the ECF list.

Ranesh Ratnesan v John Redmond

John and his opponent entered a sharply theoretical line in the Classical Nimzo, which had reached an equal rook and minor piece endgame when black found a nice tactic to win a pawn at the base of the queenside pawn chain to earn a protected passer on c4, albeit - with few good squares available - a4 was an awkward lodging for the dominated knight.  Living on increment, and with customary sang froid, John appeared close to the win, but a halved point was all the team needed to seal a fine win.


Charlie Kennaugh v Shreyas Royal

For a generation that grew up with Short, Speelman, Nunn, Adams, Sadler and latterly Jones and Howell, it is disconcerting to note that no English player is currently in the world top 100 juniors.  Yet peer a little further into the future and eleven year old Shreyas Royal - currently #10 in the world in his age category - may be a name to remember.  Already it appears the babe has been dangled in a deep theoretical font, and I wonder if Charlie’s enterprise and guile were best served by a Vienna Game structure which seemed an uncertain punt.  Still the position held until a hapless rook found supply lines cruelly severed.


Chirag Guha v Steven Kee

If chess is a battle of ideas, the game between Steve and the ironically handled “computermoves” pivoted when in a Benoni-like structure (emerging from a Leningrad Dutch) white vacated the choice e4 outpost and offered a trade of rooks for queen, at which point it was place-your-bets time.  Yet chess is a concrete game, and a kaleidoscopic sequence delivered a white knight to e6.  The so-called octopus was swiftly made risotto, causing heartburn in black’s position, yet while queen and bishop were debating how to capitalise, Steve’s rooks took advantage of the space left behind to settle the game.


David James v Stephen V Woodhouse

To say that Dave made light work of his opponent is a compliment, since in a Classical Dutch there were inaccuracies and mis-steps, but no single moment where you could say “There!  That’s where the game was lost!”, yet black was simply overpowered in 25 moves.  Fans of the internet server in question might care to note that Dave recorded no inaccuracies, no mistakes and no blunders.  Is a perfect game one where there are no mistakes?  In the words of Alexander Grischuk, “No, mistakes only by your opponent!”

Games can be followed live each Tuesday night starting at 7.30pm at https://lichess.org.  Simply search for the player’s online handle and navigate to the games tab.  Fixtures, results and details of player account names can be found on the 4NCL website an hour before games begin.

Congratulations to Sanjoy Banerjee for taking 2nd place in the Major (u2000) in the 2nd 4NCL Online Congress this weekend.

Full results can be found here


Round 1: Sanjoy Banerjee (136) 1-0 Mark Szymanski (147)


Round 2: Paul H Kenning (163) ½-½ Sanjoy Banerjee (136)


Round 3: Sanjoy Banerjee (136) ½-½ Graham L Cole (158)


Round 4: Paul D Doherty (144) 0-1 Sanjoy Banerjee (136)


Round 5: Sanjoy Banerjee (136) 1-0 Maxamillian John (115)

Happily, Atticus have been restored to Division One of the 4NCL Online (thanks tp the withdrawal of the Anglian Avengers.) Therefore, just as in Season 1, we will likely field two teams in the coming season - in Division One and Division Four.

  The 4NCL Online will be returning on a fortnightly basis from 25 August - 15 December for season 2. (A third season will start in the New Year.)

  After our exploits in the first season Atticus should be entitled to enter at least 2 teams (of 4) - one in Division 2 and one in Division 4. It would be very useful to see how much interest there is to play. Please send your thoughts to me about availability etc so I can start to gauge how many teams we can enter.



John Redmond (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

4NCL Online Rounds 9 and 10.

Both Atticus teams had a tough time in the 4NCL. For the individual player, the format requires considerable adjustment of mental and physical habits. After 10 rounds it was something of a relief that the whole thing was over. However, we enjoyed the challenge and we have not played our last match in the competition.

Atticus A 1½ - 2½ Sussex Social Isolators

Redmond, John P. 2327 e ½ - ½ Cumming, Rhys 2299
Kennaugh, Charles W f 2249 ½ - ½ Blake, J Morgan 2147 e
Kee, Steve 2155 e 0 - 1 Bucher, Grant W 2119
James, David J f 2147 e ½ - ½ Lunn, Matthew 2087 e
1½ - 2½

In Round 9 there was another narrow defeat for Atticus A. Meanwhile Atticus B did well to win what turned out to be their last match:

Atticus B  3-1  Harrow 3

Boumphrey, Luke S 2020 e 1 - 0 Manmay Chopra 1855 e
Rothwell, James P 1892 e 1 - 0 Stotz, Martin 1780 u
Banerjee, Sanjoy K 1720 e 0 - 1 O'Neill, Richard 1645 u
Blasczyk, Martin 1690 c 1 - 0 Stott, David A 1510 c
3 - 1  

The opponents of Atticus B, Surbiton, defaulted in the final round after a controversy related to cheating. Atticus A incurred a narrow defeat:

Gonzaga B Sharps  2½ - 1½  Atticus A

Kanyamarala, Trisha wi 2201 1 - 0 Redmond, John P. 2327 e
Miller, Ioana wf 2185 0 - 1 Kennaugh, Charles W f 2249
Moran, Stephen 2195 1 - 0 Kee, Steve 2155 e
Jackson, Carl 2021 ½ - ½ James, David J f 2147 e
2½ - 1½

You wait seven rounds for a victory, then two come along at once ...

Atticus A  3-1  West is Best 1

2327e John Redmond  1  0 IM Jack Rudd 2331
2249 FM Charlie Kennaugh  1  0 FM Jon Blackburn 2235
2155e Steve Kee  1  0 CM Tim Kett 2178
2147e FM Dave James  0  1 CM Alex Bullen 2116
 3  1    

Most of the players in this match knew each other well - the Atticus team contains past and present players for West is Best, as well as the team with they merged with some years ago, the South Wales Dragons. Meanwhile WIB fielded Jon Blackburn, a former Atticus player. Probably this shared history helped the Atticus players as, unlike in some other matches, we 'knew where we stood'. Dave James was a bit unlucky in his encounter with the WIB captain. He built up a nice classical advantage on the Q-side, targeting an isolated c-pawn, but then near the end of the session allowed a tragic fork. My own game say me depart unsuccesfully from theoretical paths and I could have been a good deal worse in the middlegame. Jack, who typically plays quickly and 'all-in', missed a strong continuation then turned down a repetition he should have taken. From that point on his attack on the K-side went rapidly backwards. Charlie and Steve had longer-lasting games which were good value for the spectators. Charlie seemed a bit worse out of the opening, but then Jon seemed to get carried away and, in time-pressue, appeared to sacrifice a Rook incorrectly. Charlie held his nerve to convert. Like me, Steve Kee had faced a perhaps overenthusiastic 'sacrifice' of Bishop and Knight for Rook and pawn and was always going to be better if he could securely anchor his minor pieces. Steve finished the game off with an elegant mating-attack. This confirmed our first match-win. 

Atticus B  3½-½  War & Piece

2020e Luke Boumphrey  ½   ½  James Ward 1742
1892e James Rothwell  1  0 Munroe Morrison 1717
1720e Sanjoy Banerjee  1  0 Stephen O'Neill 1457c
1660c Mark Wadsworth  1  0 Jimmy Blair 1375c

The second team also won. Luke had an interesting opposite-coloured Bishop ending where his opponent found the resource of going into a 'Bishop-plus-wrong-rook-pawn' ending. Sanjoy acquired a terrible pair of passed c- and d-pawns which ended up steamrollering his opponent. Mark went a few pawns up and converted in the ending. James was successful against the Scotch game, winning a miniature. So a successful night for the club in what has been a tough competition.

Although there were some bright spots, Round 7 was a tough experience for the Atticus teams again..

Atticus A  1½-2½  Wood Green Monarchs

2327e John Redmond  1  0 IM Joseph McPhillips 2425
2249 FM Charlie Kennaugh  0  1 IM David FItzsimons 2334
2155e Steve Kee  0  1 IM Jovanka Houska 2381
2147e FM David James ½ ½ FM Michael De Verdier 2302

In this match we were out-rated on every board, and facing a team of three IMs and one FM. Steve had a tough time in his favoured Bird's Opening - he managed to make progress on both wings but IM Houska - who is quite a classical player - made a more decisive breakthrough in the centre. Charlie had good chances to draw a Rook ending. According to him, he had "eight different moves" which drew, but instead played a ninth - which lost. Dave James had more success on the Black side of a Queen's Indian. White emerged from the opening with the two Bishops but Dave had a strong Knight on d4 and always looked actively-placed. In the end White decided to sac an exchange in order to force a draw. In my own game, my opponent went straight down a line where I have had a lot of success - the Delayed Exchange Variation of the King's Indian (I think I am 5-0 with this in 'serious' games.) This is a harmless line if Black is happy to draw, but if Black wants to win (and why else play the King's Indian?) it can be surprisingly harmful. Black went wrong early (arguably, after move 9, he was lost) and the game was over in 22 moves. 

Bon Accord B 3½-½ Atticus B

1872 Richard Jennings  1  0 Luke Boumphrey 2020e
1820 Theodoros Vasilidias  1  0 Steve Burge 1675c
1757c Ross Brennan  1  0 Mark Wadsworth 1660c
1757e Alisdair McLeod ½ ½ Jim Wiseman 1622e

I also did not see anything of the games in our Division 4 match. We had no success on Boards 1-3. Jim Wiseman felt he should have won his game and was a bit disappointed with his draw. 

Round 4:

Atticus A  2-2  Shropshire 1

  Atticus A 2219 Shropshire 1 2053
w Redmond, John P. 2327 e 0 - 1 Cooper, Gavyn 2230 e
b Kennaugh, Charles W f 2249 1 - 0 Zabrocki, Philip 1997 e
w Kee, Steve 2155 e 1 - 0 Gostelow, David W 1990 e
b James, David J f 2147 e 0 - 1 Archer, Richard 1997 e

Although we should probably have done better, in this match we did collect our first point of the competition. The format seems to induce odd opening-decisions and for no good reason I left my repertoire around move 7 - I ended up thinking for ages and then blundering in the tactical-exchanges. Steve and Charlie had nice voctories while Dave James's good run in the competition came to an end.

Atticus B  1-3  Battersea Howitzers.

  Atticus B 1776 Battersea Howitzers 1899
w Boumphrey, Luke S 2020 e 1 - 0 Buanne, Luca 1922 e
b Banerjee, Sanjoy K 1720 e 0 - 1 Kolani, Arjun 1937 e
w Burge, Steve J 1675 c 0 - 1 Dupuis, Denis K 1870 e
b Blasczyk, Martin 1690 c 0 - 1 Mellor, Jessica 1870 e


Atticus B were outgunned by the Howitzers.


Round 5:

Atticus A  1-3  Oxford

  Atticus A 2219 Oxford 1 2173
w Redmond, John P. 2327 e ½ - ½ Savage, Ben D M f 2273
b Kennaugh, Charles W f 2249 0 - 1 Cont, Arya 2147 e
w Kee, Steve 2155 e 0 - 1 Smallbone, Kieran D 2179
b James, David J f 2147 e ½ - ½ Nataraj, Nakul 2095 e

On paper, we were reasonably matched but got soundly beaten.


To Be Decided  4-0  Atticus B

  To Be Decided 1757 Atticus B 1776
w Gurner, Jem 1975 e 1 - 0 Boumphrey, Luke S 2020 e
b Chadha, Sambhav 1706 1 - 0 Banerjee, Sanjoy K 1720 e
w Vanjare, Aditya 1705 e 1 - 0 Blasczyk, Martin 1690 c
b Jaberansari, Daniel 1645 e 1 - 0 Burge, Steve J 1675 c

Again, on paper, this should have been an even contest. However, we got steamrollered.

Round 6:

Anglian Avengers 3-1  Atticus A

  Anglian Avengers 1 2240 Atticus A 2219
w Walker, Martin G f 2275 e ½ - ½ Redmond, John P. 2327 e
b Kanellopoulos, Panayotis 2265 ½ - ½ Kennaugh, Charles W f 2249
w Talsma, Paul 2177 e 1 - 0 Kee, Steve 2155 e
b Lewis, Andrew P f 2243 1 - 0 James, David J f 2147 e

We were a little out-rated in this match but could have hoped to do better.


Atticus B  2-2  Phone Pals

  Atticus B 1798 Phones Pals 1586
421 w Boumphrey, Luke S 2020 e 0 - 1 Bozinakis, Pavlos 2216
422 b Rothwell, James P 1892 e 0 - 1 Shah, Dipen 1501 o
423 w Wadsworth, Mark S 1660 c 1 - 0 Narang, Vishal 1487 o
424 b Wiseman, Jim K 1622 e 1 - 0 Sharan, Kartike 1140 o

Atticus B finally got themselves a match-point. This was mainly thanks to Jim Wiseman's timely debut and Mark's return. Luke had a challenging assignment on Board 1 and came off second-best. James Rothwell appeared well-placed in a closed position but then fell victim to a tricky Queen-trap. Mark had a fairly wild-looking game where he held his nerve to bring home the victory. Jim won a piece relatively early and duly converted.




Round 2:

Atticus A 1-3 Gonzaga

w John Redmond  2327 e 0 - 1  IM Sam Collins  2457
b Charlie Kennaugh 2249 0 - 1  FM T Kanyamarala 2384
w Steve Kee 2155 e ½ - ½  FM Killian Delaney  2303
b Dave James 2147 e ½ - ½  Stephen Moran 2195
1 - 3  

In the First Division we had another tough match, this time against the second-seeded team. Gonzaga are an Irish side (loosely based around past-pupils of a famous Dublin school) and they have made big inroads into the 4NCL proper. I foolishly tried to improvise in the opening against Sam Collins (who has several GM-norms) and got a bad position quickly. Charlie had chances in his game but unfortunately lost. Steve Kee (who had seemed to be a goner) managed a resilient save in a Rook ending. Dave James continued his good record, drawing with a higher-rated player.

Attius B 1½ - 2½ Catford Cosmonauts

w James Rothwell  1892 e ½ - ½ Stakhey Sedykh 1772 e
b Sanjoy Banerjee 1720 e 0 - 1 Cem Oyvat 1667 c
w Steve Burge  1675 c 1 - 0 Anthony Foreman 1532 c
b Mark Wadsworth 1660 c 0 - 1 Cristiano Marchettini 1382 c
1½ - 2½  

This was a match where - on paper - we might have expected to do better. Steve Burge showed his prowess in attack as White. Sanjoy went into a Rook-ending from a Qc2 Nimzo which he might have held, but went wrong on the 40th move. James played a Ruy Lopez where he was always a bit better but without getting the full point, Playing sharply in the Sveshnikov Sicilian, Mark got cut down by his opponent's vigorous attack.  

Round 3:

Surbiton 1 3-1 Atticus A

w FM Koby Kalavannan 2324 ½ - ½ John Redmond 2327 e
b Ranesh Ratnesan 2258 1 - 0 Charlie Kennaugh 2249
w Mark Josse 2235 1 - 0 Steve Kee 2155 e
b Tim Seymour 2119 ½ - ½ David James 2147 e
3 - 1  

Not such a good result for us. I was a bit better from the opening against my opponent (who had beaten GM Maze in Round 1.) Charlie had a tough loss. Steve Kee got a bad Marcozy ending as Black and always seemed to be on the back foot. Dave James earned another solid draw.

Manchester Juniors A 2½ - 1½ Atticus B

w Ben Clissold, 2135 1 - 0 Luke Boumphrey 2020 e
b Sam Parry 1812 1 - 0 James Rothwell 1892 e
w Julian Clissold 1795 c 0 - 1 Martin Blasczyk 1690 c
b Ethan Gardiner 1795 e ½ - ½ Steve Burge 1675 c
2½ - 1½  

This was always going to be difficult. I didn't see Luke's game but he did report that he "played like a lemon." James got edged out in a theoretical and complicated Sicilian Dragon. Martin recorded our best reult of the evening with an excellent win. Steve Burge continued his solid start to the competition with a useful draw.

So we remain in pursuit of match-points. Hopefully, we can open our account(s) in Round 4.

We had a tough time in the latest round.

Atticus A 1 - 3 Gonzaga

  John Redmond 0 1 IM Sam Collins  
  Charlie Kennaugh 0 1 FM Tarunkanyamarala  
  Steve Kee ½ ½ FM Killian Delaney  
  Dave James ½ ½ Stepen Moran  
    1 3    

Our second team also had a tough time.

Atticus B 1½-2½ Catford Cosmonauts 3

1892e James Rothwell ½ ½ Stakhey Sedykh 1772e
1720e Sanjoy Banerjee 0 1 Cem Oyvat 1667c
1675c Steve Burge 1 0 Anthony Foreman 1532c
1660c Mark Wadsworth 0 1 Cristiano Marchettini 1382c


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