Oxford scored these results in the second half of the 4NCL (split) weekend:
- Ox2 lost both matches by the same score, 2½-3 ½ to The Rookies and Kings Head;
- Ox3 drew 3-3 with Throw In The Tal and beat Shropshire 2 by 3 ½-2 ½;
- Ox4, like Ox2, lost both matches: 1 ½-4 ½ to Ashfield 2 and 2 ½-3 ½ to West Is Best 4.
The results leave Ox2 placed 5th in the Div 3s Championship Pool, a ridiculously tight affair. We’re two points off the lead shared by Check InnMates 1 (our next oppo) and Kings Head (our last oppo). As in Division One, I predict that eight points [ie: 4/6 in rounds 9-11] will be enough for promotion. Curiously, no match between Championship Pool teams have ended wider than 4-2.
Ox3 are joint-third in Division 4s but have yet to play both first- and second-placed teams Crowthorne 1, Ashfield 1. Skip’s crystal ball forecasts Ashfield 1 as our next opponents in Round Nine. The Saturday draw was our third straight 3-3 result, appropriately enough confirmed with a successful 3-fold repetition claim in the last game to finish.
Kudos are due to Sean and debutant Stuart for their 2/2 weekends achieved in wildly contrasting fashions. We need to watch out for Sean’s “Caro-Kann Attack” (his words!) from Sunday in the PGN file. As a dedicated Caro-Kanner himself, skip definitely needs to watch for it. Who plays 27. … 0-0 with a mate threat in the Caro-Kann? Kev, on his return to 4NCL action, scored 1 ½/2.
Other games to watch out for in the PGN: Panicker 0-1 Goodwin from Ox3 on Saturday, a wild game where White had a lot of pawns for a piece at one stage but Black mated him before they could count; Ralphs 0-1 Graham [RHY v SSX, not an Oxford game but skip wandered by and noticed Graham’s kingside had vanished early doors]; and another non-Oxford game, Weersing (A) 1-0 Ingram, a thirteen-year-old duffing up an eighty-year-old. I kept popping back to that one and was impressed by White’s control. She has an excellent score for the season in Poisoned Pawns Next Generation who are also joint-third in Division 4s, so this is a heads-up for Ox3 mid-board players!