The Gonzaga team in the Four Nations Chess League celebatrted St Patrrick's Day in style today. They made an important step towards qualifying for the top division in the 2019/2020 by winning their round 8 match 5.5-2.5 against the seniors team Spirit of Atticus A.
In rounds 1-7 the teams in Division 2 play separate pools supposedly of equal strength. Then in rounds 8-11 the top four in A meet the top four in B with scores against teams already played carried forward.
Things didn't look so good yesterday when, in round 7 of Pool B, Gonzaga were beaten by Cambridge University but it turned out that this was just good enough for them to finish fourth in their pool and so qualify for Pool C (which fights for promotion) rather than Pool D (which decides relegation).
As it happens, Gonzaga had beaten one of the teams ahead of them and today they beat the team that had headed Pool A. So they have two wins and two losses going forward.
In fact today all the teams that came from Pool B defeated their opponents from the former Pool A, in which Spirit of Atticus had been convincing winners. This suggests that the initial pools were not so balanced after all. Gonzaga will have a good chance of winning their last three matches on the May bank holiday weekend to get promoted, but of course all teams are likely to bring their maximum squads for those final rounds so it will be down to good play when it matters. If they do get promoted, Gonzaga will need to include a female player in all rounds next season; in Division 2 it's either a female or an under-18 player required.
Results are at http://www.4nclresults.co.uk/2018-19/4ncl/8/2c/export/
The team this weekend was headed by IM Gavin Wall and FMs Conor O'Donnell and Henry Li, also with two former Trinity captains, Colin Menzies and Anthony Bourached. The others playing this weekend were Killian Delaney, Gordon Freeman and Peter Carroll (who drew with veteran WGM Sheila Jackson today).