This report includes comments on the Gilbert (U18 girls), Robinson (U14) and Stokes (U12) Cups. The event was held at Daventry Court Hotel which is one of the Puma Hotels chain and the venue for some of the 4NCL events. The venue was definitely hailed as the best in 20 years and if we have to go back to student accommodation it will be. Playing conditions were spacious and quiet, rooms were very comfortable and the food was good and at sensible prices. Unfortunately England is the only country with more than three of this chain and where they are only in the main cities they tend to be considerably more expensive. However, we can but hope for the future!
Now to the chess –
This year the competition proved much closer with England certainly not having everything their own way, although at the end of day two they were leading in three of the four tournaments. In the Glorney the first round saw 3-2 wins for England and Scotland but in round two England defeated Scotland 4-1 whilst Ireland accounted for Wales 3½ – 1½. On the second day Wales defeated Scotland 3½ – 1½ whilst England got a whitewash against Ireland. The second day saw the first of the reverse games with Scotland and Wales doing better but going down 3-2 to England and Ireland respectively. This left England on 15 points, Wales on 9, Ireland 8½ and Scotland 7½. In the Gilbert we have had a lot of draws with 13/24 games ending even. Again things are fairly tight with England leading on 8, Scotland on 6½, Ireland on 5 and Wales on 4½.
The Robinson Cup is even closer. On day one Wales defeated England 4½ – 1½ and Ireland 4-2 but did not keep this pace up drawing with Scotland and losing 2-4 to Ireland. Scotland meanwhile lost 2½ – 3½ to England in their first meeting but gained revenge by the same margin in the return. They also won 5-1 against Ireland whilst England beat Ireland 3½ – 2½. This left Scotland leading narrowly with 14 points from Wales 13½, England on 11 and Ireland on 9½. The Stokes Cup is looking like an English victory although their total of 16½ is only 5 ahead of Ireland with Scotland a further point behind and Wales on 9½. Again almost all the games have been close with England’s 5-1 win in round 4 pushing them well ahead.
To date the tournament has been played in a friendly, sporting manner and we look forward to some exciting chess in the final two rounds.