CSC/Kingston 1 suffer dual loss at 4NCL

The promotion push by CSC/Kingston’s first team suffers a double blow and the second team continue to struggle, but at least the unsung thirds are holding their own

Not the best of 4NCL rounds (held over two different weekends at two different venues) for the CSC/Kingston squad. The biggest sufferers were the first team, playing in Telford, who lost both their matches – by the same margin, 5-3 – to two strong fellow promotion-chasers in division 2, The Audible Checks and Barbican.

The final long weekend, on 4/5/6 May when the first team will be in Daventry, now promises to be very tense, with CSC/Kingston 1 third in the table (three go up to division 1) but with five other teams snapping at our heels. Barbican and Audible Checks, first and second in the table, look nailed on to get promoted.

We outrated Audible Checks, so to lose that match on Saturday was disappointing. IM Martin Jogstad’s loss to Steven Jones on board 1 was a key defeat. Martin has been the side’s talisman and performed brilliantly over the past couple of seasons. Losses for Peter Finn and Luca Buanne, who had been winning for much of the game, sealed our fate, though there were high spots, notably a win for David Maycock (pictured above) against FM Jonathan Blackburn and a draw for Helen Frostick against the highly rated Lewis Turner. Peter Lalić and Vladimir Li, two Kingston Chess Club stalwarts, also secured solid draws, as did Ewan Wilson on board 6.

The loss on Sunday to league leaders Barbican was less surprising. Barbican are a division 1 team in all but name. David Maycock got a draw with grandmaster Jonathan Parker on board 2; Helen Frostick had a good win on board 8 to complete an excellent weekend for her; Martin Jogstad drew with Black against strong IM Alan Merry on board 1; Peter Finn and Peter Lalić drew against strong opponents; but losses for Vladimir Li (who erred in a level endgame), Ewan Wilson and Luca Buanne meant a second 5-3 loss of the weekend. Now we have to prepare for epic battles in Daventry in the final round of matches.

The second team won on Saturday, beating Sussex Martlets 4-2, but an unfortunate 3.5-2.5 loss on Sunday to Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg leaves the team second from bottom in division 3 and facing the fight of their lives to avoid the drop to division 4. Plaudits, though, to Tom Farrand for winning both his games, and to Mike Cresswell, who stepped in as a reserve on Sunday and got a tremendous draw against a player rated 300 points above him. Surely one of the performances of the weekend.

Meanwhile, playing in Warwick on the previous weekend, the third team continues to chug along in mid-table, losing 3.5-2.5 to Oxford 3 on Saturday but bouncing back to beat She Plays to Win Uni on Sunday. I missed a clear win (in time trouble, he adds hurriedly) on Sunday against youngster Navieinaah Haridas, but, having been under intense bombardment earlier and only narrowly managing to survive, I can’t really complain. The 4NCL is tough, as the whole CSC/Kingston outfit continues to discover.

Stephen Moss