May 07, 2009 20:15

Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher new 4NCL champs

Last weekend Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher won the 2008-2009 Four Nations Chess League (the British team championship, also known as 4NCL). In a nail-biting finish, the team from the North London district Wood Green drew 4-4 with Guildford-A&DC and kept their two-point lead.

The final weekend of the 4NCL took place over the Bank Holiday weekend of 2-4 May in the De Vere Venues in Staverton near Daventry. The final round on Monday saw the dream match between leaders Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher (WGHK) 1 and reigning champions Guildford-A&DC 1. WGHK 1 had a two-point lead going into the last round but a minimal Guildford win would have given them the championship. In a nail-biting conclusion, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant beat British champion Stuart Conquest to secure WGHK 1 at least a 4-4 draw that they needed to wrest the title from Guildford-A&DC 1, regardless of the result of the last two games to finish (on boards one and three). As the cherry on the cake, WGHK's IM Stephen Gordon drew with GM Jon Speelman to complete the requirement for his final GM norm. Together with another young British IM, Lawrence Trent, Gordon features in A full English breakfast at the Chess.FM blog.

Games selection

In the 4NCL, each division’s fixtures are played over eleven rounds and over five weekends, with one round being played on Saturday and one round on Sunday. A third round is played on the Monday of designated Bank Holiday weekends. The two top divisions consist of 16 teams which start in two preliminary pools of eight for the first seven rounds. The top four and bottom four teams in each preliminary pool form two final championship/promotion and relegation pools respectively. In Division 1 each match shall is played over eight boards and each team must include at least one male and one female player. The rate of play is 40 moves in two hours, then 20 moves in one hour and an extra 30 minutes for each player to complete the game.

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Author: Peter Doggers
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