All, we had a mixed bag of results highlighted by the terrific performance of our firsts:
- Oxford 1 won all three matches, 5-3 v Sharks 2 + 4½-3½ v Manchester Manticores in the Triangle, then squeezed past Sussex Martlets 4½-3½;
- Oxford 2 lost(!) 1-3 to Oxford 3, then defeated Wood Green Monarchs 4-2 and Oxford 4 4½-½;
- Oxford 3 beat Oxford 2 3-1 (ruffling feathers!) & Ashfield 2 4½-1½, then lost 2½-3½ to promotion-chasing Warks Select 2;
- Oxford 4 had a difficult weekend, beating Deaf England 4½-1½ then imploding: -1½-6 to the Welsh and ½-4½ to Oxford 2.
It was a difficult weekend personnel-wise and we were short on Saturday and Monday. We did at least put out four teams [four other teams in Div 3C didn’t turn up], for which your skip appreciates all of you who turned out (especially 13 with us all three days: Will, Hans, Edgar, Tashika, Szymon*, Sean, Chris F, Stefanus, Phil N, Alex T, Alex H, Steve R, Shambavi)..
* doubly-especially thanks to Szymon, travelling all the way from Belgium! Skip hopes he’s had a smooth journey home.
We must salute our first team who CHARGED up the Division 1 table. We are seeded 25/28 and right now occupy a Division 1 spot (top 12 to qualify). The obligatory nail-biting was inflicted on us v Sussex Martlets. Ox1 debutant Chris F showed how to defend opposite-bishop endgames a pawn down (or was it two?), and James closed out the match by doing the exact same. Earlier Emil & Filip navigated tactics on boards 2 & 3 to bring in the winning points.
No-one managed perfection over the weekend (do Tom, Filip, Ian, Seb count with 1/1?) but four of you scored 2½: Tashika, Stefanus, Alex T and Phil N, who is notable for appearing in each of our three Div 3C teams Ox2, 3, 4 over the weekend.
Skip was pleased that Tashika bounced back from a traumatic Rounds 5-6, turning over a 2200 number on Sunday and drawing with the experienced DB Graham on Monday. [Skip remembers meeting him in ~1997, parking bishops on c4 and f4 in the early middlegame and him replying Re4 to collect one of them. Oops.]
Ox1 already have enough points on the board to qualify for Division 2 in 4NCL Season 2022-23. Skip judges that 2 more points = one match win in Rounds 10-11 is “hello, Division One next season”. One more point is unlikely to be enough, as our goal-difference is not that strong compared to others who – if they win twice – will overtake us on that score. Mind you, skip is quite happy to be proved wrong!