Scottish National Chess League 2017-18, Dundee City, Rounds 1 and 2, October 29th, 2017 - Report

Chess players in Scotland met on Sunday for Rounds 1 and 2 of the Scottish National Chess League, held at the Carnegie Conference Centre in Dunfermline. In Division 1, the Dundee City A is once again hoping to contend for the National Championship that they have so narrowly missed time and again in recent years. In Division 2, the Dundee City B team is hoping for a successful season and contending for promotion. The Dundee City team in Division 4 is also overdue promotion to Division 4 – although the competing teams hold a different viewpoint! This season, the sense is that Dundee City although having the same A team as last season, has more strength in depth in its B and C teams and could do well. So the scene was set. In Round 1 in Division 1, the A team overcame Inverclyde in convincing fashion by 4.5-0.5 with wins from Andrew Greet, Ed Spencer, Declan Shafi and Stephen Hogg and a draw from David Findlay. In the afternoon, the Round 2 match against Thistles was always going to be much tougher facing IM Roddy McKay, Alan Grant, Sai Kong Tsang, Alastair Maxwell and Ian Marks. As it turned out, wins from Andrew, Ed and Declan and a draw from David Findlay sealed the win with 3.5-1.5. In sum, a very promising start with 100% match points but with some very tough matches still to come.

In Division 2, Dundee City B team opened their account facing IPCC led by Elliot Frew. It was not going to be easy but wins from Sam Gregory and Ben Volland supplemented by draws from Alastair Dawson, Euan Dawson and Carey Groves gave the B team a 3.5-1.5 win. Sam’s win over Gary McPheator was particularly elegant with a nice exchange sacrifice than led to a completely winning endgame. In the afternoon, the B team had a much more difficult encounter against Dumfries and District A. There was a lesson also to be learned in not paying attention to ratings. For example, Alastair’s opponent was showing as having a grade of 1310 but it later transpired that the has an English ECF rating of 165 that coverts to around 1830. The afternoon again went well with wins from Sam, Alastair and Ben plus draws from Euan and Carey giving us a very nice 4-1 victory.

In Division 4 the day started well in the morning with a 3.5 – 1.5 win over Forth Valley B. The team of Joshua Crofts, Robert Jackson (the latter two making their SNCL debuts) , Keith Rose, Agnijo Banerjee and Ray Flood is a strong one and will do well this season. Against Forth Valley B, there were wins from Joshua, Keith and Ray plus a draw from Agnijo – so a great start to the campaign. In Round 2, the C team crushed Bon Accord B. There were wins from Robert, Keith and Agnijo while Ray continued to make mincemeat out of his Board 5 opponents! A draw from Joshua completed the match.

So at the end of the day, the Dundee City C team sit equal first with Oban but half a point behind in game points. In Division 2, Dundee City B team sit equal first with a very strong Bon Accord A team but behind them by 1.5 game points. But pride of place after Round 2 goes to Dundee City A team who are in first place and half a game point ahead of Edinburgh 1 and 1.5 game points ahead of Stepps Warriors. I cannot remember, although I may be mistaken, a previous occasion when all three Dundee City teams on an SNCL day won all their matches with 6/6 – so well done to all.