Oxford 4NCL 2022-23: statistics

Forty-eight of you took to the board at various times this season (including Mr D Fault who was unfortunately pressed into action in Rounds 9 & 10). Skip has compiled these stats that show players in descending score, then games, then alphabetical order.

Player G + = Sc %
Anand, Batsukh 9 7 1 1 83.33%
Zakarian, David 9 5 3 1 72.22%
Cole, Graham 11 3 6 2 6 54.55%
Rumsby, Stephen 11 5 2 4 6 54.55%
Pozimski, Szymon 9 5 2 2 6 66.67%
Claridge-Hansen, William 11 5 1 5 50.00%
Neatherway, A Philip 11 4 3 4 50.00%
Arora, Tashika 11 3 4 4 5 45.45%
Wilson, Edgar 8 4 2 2 5 62.50%
Terry, Sean 9 4 1 4 50.00%
Kocan, Barry A 8 4 1 3 56.25%
Staples, Neil 8 2 5 1 56.25%
Hobson, Kenneth 7 4 1 2 64.29%
Gerlagh, Joris 6 3 3 0 75.00%
Gurner, Jem 5 4 1 0 90.00%
Murawski, Jan 10 3 2 5 4 40.00%
Wedge, David C 8 4 0 4 4 50.00%
Hansen, Hans-Peter 6 3 2 1 4 66.67%
Manley, Jon P 6 3 2 1 4 66.67%
Blinov, Roman 5 3 2 0 4 80.00%
Zakarian, Dimitrios Levon 10 2 3 5 35.00%
Hariharan, Shambavi 6 2 3 1 58.33%
Phan, Stefanus Kf 6 3 1 2 58.33%
Powierski, Emil 6 2 3 1 58.33%
Curran, David P 7 2 2 3 3 42.86%
Beckett, Richard 5 2 2 1 3 60.00%
Dickinson, Tim R 3 3 0 0 3 100.00%
Brackmann, Hendrik 4 2 1 1 62.50%
Sivakumar, Ashvin 3 2 1 0 83.33%
Tringali, Alessandro 6 1 2 3 2 33.33%
Davis, Cameron 4 1 2 1 2 50.00%
Kovalyova, Taisiya 3 1 2 0 2 66.67%
Liu, Justin 2 2 0 0 2 100.00%
Foster, Cyril 5 1 1 3 30.00%
Jackson, Gary C 5 1 1 3 30.00%
Foster, Timothy 2 1 1 0 75.00%
Richardson, Ewan 3 1 0 2 1 33.33%
Bush, Ian 2 1 0 1 1 50.00%
Stephens, Graeme 2 1 0 1 1 50.00%
Dhoot, Rishit 1 1 0 0 1 100.00%
Hertog, Alexander 2 0 1 1 ½ 25.00%
Rudny, Tomasz 1 0 1 0 ½ 50.00%
Matilal, Tamal 4 0 0 4 0 0.00%
Cole, James 2 0 0 2 0 0.00%
Evans, Christopher J 2 0 0 2 0 0.00%
Manawadu, Dilhan 1 0 0 1 0 0.00%
Nayberg, Simona 1 0 0 1 0 0.00%
default 2 0 0 0 0 0.00%
268 110 71 85 69 54.29%

It turns out that Anand was an inspired mid-season signing, he leads the pack by score and number of wins. David Z had a good season on boards 2-4, only losing once.

Of players involved in 5 or more games, Joris, Jem and Roman were unbeaten all season, Jem posting 90%.

Juniors had quite a successful season, headed up by Anand of course but Tashika & Kenneth also did well in the firsts. 9 juniors played, 63 games split as +25 =19 -19 for a haul of 34½ points.

University players were well-represented. If we count Exeter man Cameron as a honorary Uni player, we had eight such players this season, 25 games, +13 =7 -5 for 16½ points. Two Uni players posted 100% scores: Justin & Rishit, albeit from only two / one games.

Drawmeisters were Graham (six) and Neil (five). David W was at the other end of that spectrum: when he lost a tricky B + 2 v oppB + N + 1 endgame in Round 11 he maintained his perfection in that regard. Will with five wins and five defeats to go with his one draw was the next-most cut-throat player.

Finally, five players were ever-present: Tashika, Will, Graham, Phil N, Steve; Jan & Dima each missed only one game.

4NCL 2022-23 Rounds 10-11: results

Oxford’s four teams recorded these results in the last two rounds of the final 4NCL weekend of 2022-23:

  • Oxford 1 beat The Rookies & SchachAttack 4½-3½;
  • Oxford 2 beat Barnet Knights B & MK Phoenix 2 4-2;
  • Oxford 3 lost 2½-3½ to Sussex Martlets 3 and 1-5 to Ashfield 2;
  • Oxford 4‘s 5-man team repeated Saturday’s 2½-2½ draw, this time with Cambridge University Y1, before a default penalty kicked in. We did not appear in Round 11.

Sunday saw Oxford 1 pull clear in 3rd place, one point ahead of Barbican and two up on fifth-placed SchachAttack, our Monday opponents. It became apparent that promotion would hang on not losing that match. 4-4 would be absolutely hunky-dory. Meanwhile Oxford 2 made sure of staying in Division 3, our eight match points being safe from teams mired on 5.

Monday saw Oxford 1 give your skip some palpitations. Having told the team “don’t lose 1-7, that will let SchachAttack pinch promotion if Barbican also lose“, he was alarmed to see us go 1-3 down by 2pm. Fortunately the next update was wins for Kenneth & Jon to make it 3-3 with Barbican also at 3-3, needing to win. Gulp. It was not until 16:15 that news filtered through that Hans had won and Tashika drawn, rendering the Barbican result academic. Hello again, Division 1, we’ve missed you. In fact with Alba losing to title-winners Barnet Knights A, Oxford 1 even overhauled them and finished proudly in second – a good outcome, considering that we lost both matches in Weekend One! (v Barnet & Barbican).

Hans adds “I was very concerned after a couple of hours as Will, Dima and Jan were all in difficulties but Kenneth and Jon (and of course Anand – he was very impressive all season!) played some great chess to win their games. It was actually rather pleasant for Tashika and me to try and win our endgames as we knew 4-4 would be enough to go up. I would have been a lot more nervous if this had been a must-win game!

Looking at the PGN it is clear that at 3-3 it was all over in reality, for both Hans and Tashika had no-lose positions and Tashika was confident enough in her position to decline a draw offer. In fact even at 1-3 we were not in any trouble at all, so skip need not have worried.

Oxford 2 and Oxford 3 both finished on ten points, mid-table respectability. Ashfield 2 took out some measure of revenge on Oxford 3 for their third team’s Saturday disaster against same oppo.

Top point-scorers over the weekend: Szymon 3/3, Anand 2½/3 (including being the “right side” of a 125-move draw!), Emil, Joris, Hans, skip (ahem), Jem, Justin all 2/2. Barry , Phil, Graham & Sean scored 2/3.

Now, top game? (part 2, because we’ve had part 1 on Saturday). Skip liked Hans‘s finish on Monday, Joris had a smooth French Winawer … err, win on Sunday in his last-ever (for now) outing for Oxford, and new Canadian recruit Justin again impressed, exploiting a sudden pin. Jem refuted his opponent’s enterprising … Ng3 sacrifice.

But top game goes to Oxford 4’s Richard who had an excellent attacking game in the style of the Danish / Goring Gambit. The bishops on c4 and b2 wreaked havoc in the vicinity of Black’s His Maj without moving from there, having arrived at move 10. Skip suspects it was regnal suicide to castle kingside at that point. Having won brilliantly, Richard then went home with the scoresheets!! (luxuriating in the game he’d just played, no doubt). Your skip had to grovel to the arbiters “but he won so spectacularly …” to reinstate his point.

4NCL 2022-23 Round 9: results

It was such a good Saturday that skip decided to make a separate post of it.

  • Oxford 1 beat Spirit of Atticus 7-1;
  • Oxford 2 whupped Shropshire 6-0;
  • Oxford 3 went even further, trouncing Ashfield 3 6 v -1 (default-related)
  • Oxford 4 were a board down on Saturday, drawing 2½-2½ over the board with SPTW Young Stars but losing via the board 6 loss/penalty.

If we add the results for the top three teams, that’s 19-1 over the board, 19-0 if you count Ashfield 3’s default penalty. Have we ever had such a good day? The net result was to move Oxford 1 closer to promotion, ending the day in a 3-way tie for 3rd place (three go up) while Oxford 2 pulled away from the relegation area.

There was plenty of choice (20* wins!) on offer for skip when it came to picking a “top game”. Honourable mentions for Joris & Roman, and Jem‘s snap finish, but Gary‘s spectacular defeat of David Levens’ Dragon takes the plaudits. Admire the way the White bishop and h-pawn combine to utterly demolish the Black kingside.

* (including the two Oxford 4 wins, but not including Shambavi’s win by default. Her opponent appeared on Sunday, so one wonders if he mistakenly went to Milton Keynes? Certainly it is known that half the Watford B team did exactly that and found themselves in the wrong place. Oops.)

Hidden Resource

Cyril’s pawn endgame of last Sunday has got a few of you (ok, one) thinking. Here is the PGN, with the important variations added for playthrough.

The critical position arose after White played a4 and we replied … h4, missing a fleeting chance. At this point the White king can no longer catch the Black pawns, for we can arrange to promote on h1 if necessary. The Black king is within spitting distance of a8, though.

Key Position

This means Black has a hidden winning option: … Ke5 headed for c7 / b7 stopping the pawns. We can afford to do this because White can’t do likewise.

But you may say “White can block our king”. He can, but how? Moving to c5 steps into the firing line of g1 and we promote first with check. Moving to b5 allows … Kd6 and again White is in a quandary. He must go to b6 if he wants to promote, and we switch to running the pawns scoring a promotion at g1 with check.

Would we have spotted this? Skip: no. He was distracted by being mildly annoyed our king was on f4, meaning h2xg3 was check and we couldn’t then go h4-h3 as we would like.

4NCL 2022-23 Rounds 7-8: results II

Oxford’s lower teams conspired to produce these results last weekend:

  • Oxford 3 beat Anglian Avengers 4½-1½ then lost 2½-3½ to Wotton Hall;
  • Oxford 4 visited the holy Triangle and defeated Crowthorne B & Wessex B, 4-1½ & 3½-2½.

Top scorers: only Steve managed 2/2, with David C, Neil, Graham, Cyril and Barry logging 1½; Taisiya scored two draws.

Oxford 4 were in the Triangle for the second time this season. This was because our original oppo withdrew with three days to go. Tsk, squads are not supposed to do this. Kudos, or not(?) to Iceni 3 who manfully battled through despite being 3+2 players short and starting with a total of 4 penalty points!

Iceni 3 (Saturday)
Iceni 3 (Sunday)

There was a silver lining. Crowthorne B defaulted two boards on Saturday, one for each oppo, and found themselves lost in both matches as early as Saturday evening when they faced two deficits of -½ v 3. That was one match win in the bag, and another followed on Sunday when Richard, Barry and Steve upgraded a “half-time” 1½-1½ scoreline v Wessex B to 3½-2½.

Cyril had two pawn endgames. His Sunday game against young Daniel Shek finished in an undignified race to the queening square.

Shek, D v Foster, after 47. Kc5


Shek, D v Foster, after 56. a8=Q

Somewhere in the middle arrow a clear win was missed for someone. You may like to work out who had a chance for glory, and where (your skip didn’t spot it “live”. He was alerted to it by Cyril post-game.) (if you spot it, be honest. Would you have spotted it “live” during the adrenalin charge of the dash to a8/g1?).

After scoring a good win on Saturday, fuelled by a swashbuckling top-board win from David W, Oxford 3 were back in the promotion mix and promotion-chasing Wotton Hall stood in our way in Round 8. A valiant effort by all, especially board 2 Alex [who must have been smarting after his Saturday loss], resulted in a narrow defeat. This may be a good thing, skip opines. The top teams are getting to the point where they’ve met one another and seek oppo from lower down.

Top game? Neil‘s Sunday game was a candidate, as was Cyril‘s Saturday effort. Taisiya‘s entertaining battle with the youngest Deacon also deserved consideration, Black giving as good as he got. But in the end it was impossible to ignore David W‘s splendid attacking game on Sat.