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17-03-2019, 17:21   #1
 
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Gonzaga in 4NCL 2018/2019

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).
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07-05-2019, 23:29   #2
prey
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promotion confirmed over the weekend, an Irish side in division 1 next season
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14-05-2019, 16:58   #3
 
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promotion confirmed over the weekend, an Irish side in division 1 next season
Now Gonzaga have to find at least one high-rated female player for each match. Could this be a problem?
Also will Sam Collins, and other Irish players who have been on other teams, play for them in the 4NCL next year?
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14-05-2019, 17:51   #4
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Fiona Steil-Antoni has played with them a little bit lately. At 2205, she mayn't count as "high rated" though.
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14-05-2019, 18:19   #5
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Good news for Gonzaga alright but probably not so great for our weekend tournaments.
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14-05-2019, 18:45   #6
 
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Fiona Steil-Antoni has played with them a little bit lately. At 2205, she mayn't count as "high rated" though.
Fiona is probably still the captain of the Cheddleton team (which finished third this season) and so I doubt she will be making herself available.
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14-05-2019, 20:05   #7
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Fiona Steil-Antoni has played with them a little bit lately. At 2205, she mayn't count as "high rated" though.
She captains Cheddleton. 2205 would be plenty high!

Only clashes next season are with the ECC (round may move) and Malahide :/
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14-05-2019, 20:48   #8
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Wasn't sure of the 4NCL standard is all! Playing two FMs on board 5 of the ECC - so probably not a full team, and they were mid-table 4NCL sides I think - is my only real knowledge of it.
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14-05-2019, 21:02   #9
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Wasn't sure of the 4NCL standard is all! Playing two FMs on board 5 of the ECC - so probably not a full team, and they were mid-table 4NCL sides I think - is my only real knowledge of it.
Excluding the top 4 (although Manx field a low rated player on board 8), the average rating of board 8 isn’t quite 2100.

16 teams in two pools (1a and 1b); after 7 rounds - the top 4 from each pool then form the 1C section and fight for the title, playing the 4 teams they haven’t already played (ie the top four from the other pool). The bottom 4 in each fight for survival in 1d with 4 going down. Bottom 9 teams average rating was about 2200-2350 over the season.
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15-05-2019, 02:14   #10
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https://www.theguardian.com/sport/20...-to-77-matches

One of Alba’s replacements in 2019-20 will be Dublin-based Gonzaga, the first all-Ireland based team to play in the 4NCL.

Gonzaga squeaked into the fourth and final promotion place, and the prognosis for their championship debut is pessimistic. Alba and Gonzaga have the same basic problem. Their teams are expert level with a sprinkling of international masters, but this is inadequate for consistent survival in the top division.

Their situation would be far more hopeful, and would also boost the 4NCL as a truly national league, if Alba and Gonzaga could recruit more of the best GMs and IMs from their countries. As it is, the Fide-rated No 1 players for both Scotland and Ireland already compete in the 4NCL top division-but both represent a rival team, Barbican.
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15-05-2019, 09:36   #11
 
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https://www.theguardian.com/sport/20...-to-77-matches

One of Alba’s replacements in 2019-20 will be Dublin-based Gonzaga, the first all-Ireland based team to play in the 4NCL.

Gonzaga squeaked into the fourth and final promotion place, and the prognosis for their championship debut is pessimistic. Alba and Gonzaga have the same basic problem. Their teams are expert level with a sprinkling of international masters, but this is inadequate for consistent survival in the top division.

Their situation would be far more hopeful, and would also boost the 4NCL as a truly national league, if Alba and Gonzaga could recruit more of the best GMs and IMs from their countries. As it is, the Fide-rated No 1 players for both Scotland and Ireland already compete in the 4NCL top division-but both represent a rival team, Barbican.
Maybe Prey should have clarified that all the text after the link was actually quoted from Leonard Barden's article?

As Alex Lopez plays for Cheddleton and David Fitzsimons for Wood Green, they are unlikely to move but maybe the Barbican players (Sam Collins and Ryan Rhys Griffiths) might switch. Leonard is probably unaware that Sam is a long-time Gonzaga member.
Stephen Jessel and Gavin Wall played the final weekend for Gonzaga along with an Icelandic FM who has been a regular. But I agree with Leonard that they are going to find it tough next season unless they recruit from the continent (or more from Iceland). Their regular Armstrong players won't get many games if they hope to survive.
In the early phase they will meet at least one of the super-teams where the aim will just be to try to get a few draws to boost the game point count. Scoring at least one win against the other three weaker teams in their initial section will be important as these matches will count at the end.
Maybe the best strategy in the first half of the season is to give games for experience to their best juniors like Henry Li, backed up by a couple of friendly GMs and a WIM/WGM from somewhere, but presumably Gonzaga don't have the budget to bring in hired guns like the top teams.
They are pretty sure to find themselves in the relegation group and have to win end-season matches. So the final weekend will be the time to put out a maximum squad.
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15-05-2019, 10:18   #12
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Originally Posted by Tim Harding View Post
Maybe Prey should have clarified that all the text after the link was actually quoted from Leonard Barden's article?

As Alex Lopez plays for Cheddleton and David Fitzsimons for Wood Green, they are unlikely to move but maybe the Barbican players (Sam Collins and Ryan Rhys Griffiths) might switch. Leonard is probably unaware that Sam is a long-time Gonzaga member.
Stephen Jessel and Gavin Wall played the final weekend for Gonzaga along with an Icelandic FM who has been a regular. But I agree with Leonard that they are going to find it tough next season unless they recruit from the continent (or more from Iceland). Their regular Armstrong players won't get many games if they hope to survive.
In the early phase they will meet at least one of the super-teams where the aim will just be to try to get a few draws to boost the game point count. Scoring at least one win against the other three weaker teams in their initial section will be important as these matches will count at the end.
Maybe the best strategy in the first half of the season is to give games for experience to their best juniors like Henry Li, backed up by a couple of friendly GMs and a WIM/WGM from somewhere, but presumably Gonzaga don't have the budget to bring in hired guns like the top teams.
They are pretty sure to find themselves in the relegation group and have to win end-season matches. So the final weekend will be the time to put out a maximum squad.
A lot depends on the initial pools. There are 7 good teams who should make the top section - that means one group will only have 3 good teams or possibly even less. Blackthorne only scored 5/14 to get into the top section; unlikely to happen again but there's an argument that you target the earlier (1-7) rather than the last weekend (9-11) to ensure survival - if you get the right group that is. But its obviously easier to target the last weekend than the first 3-4 weekends.
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