4NCL 2023-24 Rounds 3-4: Division 3B, 4 results

The lower three teams ventured forth to Telford for the second weekend of 4NCL OTB. Hold it, did skip say “three” teams? No, it was only two, as player availability (for many reasons!) meant only Oxford 2 and 3 braved the floods. Skip may be over-dramatic there, as the Friday rain had stopped by the Saturday.

  • Oxford 2 lost 1½-4½ to ex-Oxford skip Aidan’s team Greater Woodpushers* and ½-5½ to Warwickshire Select 2;
  • Oxford 3 lost 0-5½ to Crowthorne B and ½-5 to Ashfield 2;
  • Oxford 4 were not present.

* Skip hasn’t asked Aidan, but he suspects “Woodpushers” is a nod to Oxford 4NCL’s original founder Pete Harrison (d. 2005) who went by his nickname “Woody Woodpusher”.

So when will Oxford 4 appear? Skip has made it his objective to make sure the fourths appear in Weekend 3 at Warwick by hook or crook.

There was not much delight for our troops on Saturday, though David W scored a good win. It looked like he might be in the clubhouse by move 20 as Black’s king sallied out to f6 early doors, but David was last to finish in a technical Q, c7, h2 v Q endgame. Skip contributed our other half-point while feeling that he should have doubled said contribution after his opponent dropped a pawn near the time control. He’d missed 39. … Rf4. So had skip, he was banking on 39. … Rg3+ to collect Pg4 but had forgotten that 39. Be2 protected it, so 40. Kh2 was winning material. Luckily for skip he realised this in time in some mild time-trouble, 5 minutes to move 40. Phew. A lot of promoted-pawn ghosts appeared in the knight endgame and skip navigated safely to a draw rather than blow it completely.

Sunday wasn’t much better, but Phil N makes a strong case for Oxford “player of the weekend” by making his personal total 1½ and keeping the thirds in non-negative equity on his own. Mind you his win was assisted by White’s clock, for his opponent lost on time in a strong position. Oops. So instead of giving you that one as “top game”, skip will give David’s Saturday game. Sorry, Phil, but I’m sure you understand!