4NCL-O Season 6 Round 4: results

Onliners, we recorded these results tonight:

Our games are available for persual/analysis here.

Ox1: Jan sent his king up for the endgame prontissimo. His Maj executed two Black pawns for nothing more than being there. K won, after a bit of heavy breathing in a game skip didn’t understand. As usual. Kenneth won efficiently, but his game caused skip some concern as he had not watched moves 12, 13. “He’s a pawn down. Why is he swapping everything off?” It was only when three minor pieces each were on the board that it occurred to skip to count those pieces. One more for Kenneth, as of move 13. Aha. Understanding dawns.

Ox2: Graham drew with Julien Shepley as our first result of the evening. Probably Julien was relieved to escape unscathed from a second meeting with Oxford troops after Shambavi’s demolition last round! Phil, in his first game of the season, picked up a free bishop after Black forked himself. Neil won an exchange & change with 26. Nxd5, a manoeuvre that reminds skip of his similar OTB tactic at the weekend. Skip’s trick was only for a pawn, though. Note to self: must learn how to make these tricks more effective. But hey, Oxford 2 beat Guildford 1! Enjoy it while it last, troops.

Ox3: Andrey’s opponent slipped up with the unnatural 15. … Rxc5. That had a flaw exploited by Andrey, who picked up an exchange. Kev (B) lost an exchange but his Q-side counterplay caused White’s Maj to evacuate to the kingside. While Operation King was in progress White’s knight found itself stranded offside. More (mis)adventures later led to an endgame where Kev was sunk, but White was blissfully unaware of this fact and contented himself with a perpetual. Phew!

All in all, a good round for Oxford – two match wins, one draw.

Oops, skip pressed the wrong button in the Ox2 result. It should be 2.5-1.5:

4NCL-O Season 6 Round 3: results

Onliners, we recorded these results tonight:

Our games are available for persual/analysis here.

Ox1: James held a difficult rook endgame. Skip thought Tomasz was doing well, a pawn up for a bit of suffering, but maybe skip was over-optimistic? The suffering was too much in the end and a rook dropped.

Ox2: No luck tonight as Ox2 were almost wiped out by a strong Barnet A team. Hopefully Ox1 will gain revenge in eleven days’ time in real life! I liked the pairing Brozel v Staples – two super-nice chaps, but unfortunalely Sacha is also super-strong. Where did it go wrong for Neil? I suspect 18. … 0-0 which Sacha jumped on immediately with a quick king-side attack – by move 22 there were holes everywhere.

Still, at move 25 the opp skip opined “your guy’s defending pretty well.” And Sacha lost the thread of it somewhere, by move 31 it was Neil who held all the chips despite his king wandering around in no man’s land and it was all over at move 41, as the king was back safe at home. What a game, Neil.

Ox3: No sooner had skip settled down to watch our games than Alex had won, a King’s Gambit via Caro-Kann gone very, very wrong for White. Simon scored his first win after Black shut the door on his own bishop. Shambavi picked up an exchange – was it sacrificed rather than lose Pa7 at move 17? Later, she found Bxc5 Bxc5 b4 to hoover the c8 bishop and that was 3-0! Andrey dropped a piece to a (near-)Excelsior pawn which was only halted at h7 having gone f2-f4-f5-fxg6-gxh7+. Some chaos later saw White return the piece leaving Andrey well on top and he converted – 4-0! Well done, third-teamers!

4NCL-O Season 6 Round 2: results

Onliners, we recorded these results tonight:

Our games are available for persual/analysis here.


Tashika potted an enemy rook in an early endgame. 

Jan’s other kibitzer opined “38. Ke4 would have won”, but skip is sure Jan saw a potential counter involving 38. … f5+? That said, he doesn’t lmow what it was. Black dropped the exchange later and he had to win R+g v B+h, later R v B. Technical. The defending king dived into the right corner and a win was not to be. Theoretically.
While Jan tackled R v B, 

David defended Q+R v Q+B! Is that drawn? Your skip does not know. They liquidated to R v B momentarily before the bishop skewered the king and rook. Back in the Jan endgame, Black found a faux pas at move 97 conceding the game immediately – and the match. This is Ox1’s THIRTEENTH win by 2½-1½, would you believe it?

Ox2: Dimi salvaged a potentially-lost rook endgame with the power of doubled-rooks on 7th. (his oppo DI Hulme – not a police title! – is well-known to skip, he was around at OxUni in the early 1990s. Skip is astonished he is only ~1840 FIDE, he was much stronger at that time.) When skip glanced at Graham’s late R+3 v R position I forgot he was Black and thought his pawns were on b6, c7, h7 not g3, f2, a2! He dodged a late stalemate trick with the flashy f2xe1=N+. With Asif demolishing his opponent on 4 that added up to a well-earned match win.

Ox3: it came down to Alex to save the team from a whitewash, being somewhat outgunned on rating across the board. He generously gave David Flynn a draw in a better R+P endgame – hey, another ex-OxUni player from skip’s 1990’s time! Nostalgia, begor.

4NCL-O Season 6 Round 1: results

Onliners, we recorded these results tonight:

Our games are available for persual/analysis here. Skip commentary* with some general impressions for each team from seeing Round 1 team line-ups:

Ox1: as skip surmised, Hackney Heffalumps & Charlton Cobras A are the teams to beat, and they met in Round 1 – a title decider, so early? Tomasz’s game never got going, quickly exchanging into a drawn rook endgame. Tashika’s game almost went awry but she bailed out into a drawn opposite-bishop endgame. Jan competently held a R+P endgame a pawn down. Sadly Edgar’s king perished in the late middlegame.

Ox2: It looks likely Ox2 can expect mid-table, but Barnet Knights A can be far stronger than their R1 line-up suggests. An exchange sac didn’t work for Chris’s opponent. The dreaded double-rooks on the seventh polished things off. Neil & Grahamgrabbed draws to open Ox2’s account with a honourable 1 match point.

Ox3: Our Pool looks difficult from R1 pairings: skip reckons it will be a good season if we avoid relegation. Shambavi’sopponent ran out of ideas at move 23, shuffling his rook between c2 and c1. I liked her extra space on the queenside but making progress was tricky. By move 40 complete and utter Black world domination had been achieved, but there was still no way to break through due to the lack of open files. Drawn. Alex grabbed a mildly warm pawn on c2 and regretted it (skip is a “grabber” but this one felt wayyy too warm for him!).

* (remember he hates watching games with the engine on, so his impressions of your games may be well off the mark …)

4NCL 2021-22 Rounds 7-9: results

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.

Individual Performances

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.]

Round 10-11

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!