4NCL Rounds 3 & 4, First Leg
Rounds 3 & 4 in divisions 3E and 4 were played on the weekend 7th & 8th of January 2023 at the Mercure Daventry Court Hotel and Spa. For divisions 1, 2 and 3W, rounds 3 & 4 are scheduled for the weekend 14th & 15th January. That meant the only Yorkshire-based team in action was Hull & East Riding Tigers, who were due to play Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg in round 3, then Poisoned Pawns in round 4. Other teams of course contain some Yorkshire players, in particular might be noted the Deaf England team whose player pool includes three players from Sheffield Deaf which plays in the Sheffield league.
Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg, pronounced vaguely like “hriveluir essihloog”, is the team whose player pool features mole-catcher (in S. Africa) turned university lecturer (in Huddersfield, later Aberystwyth), and past Huddersfield board 1, Rudy Van Kemenade - now president and match captain of Dyfed Chess Association. Rudy did not play in this match as things turned out. Rudy is short for Rudyard.
In case your Welsh language and history are a little rusty, rhyfelwyr (plural of rhyfelwr) means “warriors”, and Essyllwg is a variant of Seisyllwg which was a minor medieval Welsh kingdom (possibly once populated by the Silures as the Romans called them) known earlier as Ceredigion, which was the name resurrected for naming the district in modern Dyfed County, which district’s largest town is Aberystwyth. So, in effect, we end up with “Aberystwyth and District Warriors”.
Hull’s board 1, Andrey Churavin, is from the Ukraine. He played in the English Seniors 50+ Championship in May 2022, finishing 6th to 8th equal in a field of 22 players - not bad when you take into account the fact that 1st and 2nd places were taken by Mark Hebden and Keith Arkell respectively! 12/13-year-old Maksym Larchikov is of course from the Ukraine as well. He was one of the two players who beat John Cooper in a simultaneous display John gave at a Platinum Jubilee chess festival in Hull in June last year.
The Welsh team was outrated on all but the lowest board, so a win for Hull etc. might be expected. However, after one drawn game, Aberystwyth Warriors notched up a win on top board, and after two more draws, eventually after about five hours’ play they scored a match-winning victory on board 2. Joe Varley was still playing but could no longer affect the overall outcome.
Poisoned Pawns seems to be Cambridge-based. Paul Kemp is familiar to some for his long association with Nottingham congress and Nottingham Gambit Chess Club before he moved further south over 20 years ago.
First to finish in Hull’s 4th-round match was Eric Gardner, who drew. Considerably later, Joe Varley was second to finish, recording a draw. Soon after, Hull lost on top board but won on board 4, making it 2-2, and leaving the outcome solely in the hands of the bottom two boards, who, fortunately, had an edge rating-wise. Then came a draw on board 5. No result appeared on the 4NCL website for board 6 for a long time, but it was eventually recorded as a win for Hull & ERT.