Here is my debut game in the 4NCL which is being played this weekend in Daventry. I was playing on board 2 for Banbury Bulldogs in the third division. The standard is still pretty good even in the lower sections and time controls are 40 moves in 2 hours then 20 moves in one hour with a 30 minute each finish (i.e. potentially a 7 hour match!).
This game lasted just short of 2.5 hours for the 25 moves. I was pleased to get my feet under the table in this tournament as this sort of lengthy time control is new to me.
The venue, the Barcelo Hotel in Daventry, is an excellent venue for playing chess and everything ran very smoothly. Analysis rooms were laid on and I was fortunate enough to be able to have a good chat with my opponent afterwards as he is involved with the chess in schools and communities initiative (http://www.chessinschools.co.uk/) John is a fellow coach and it was good to speak with him and get some good post game analysis.
Unfortunately, I wasn't really brave enough to try and press on to win this game which is unlike me as I don't normally like taking draws especially if I think I have an edge in a game, which I felt I had in this one. However, I am forgiving myself on this occasion since it was my debut game. It will be business as usual in the rest of the games (there's another round tomorrow and then several more weekends throughout the rest of the season). The 4 Nations Chess League website can be found here: http://www.4ncl.co.uk/ and this is a really big event with some of the country's top players competing. So big is the event that the division one and two matches were held in a different hotel, just down the road from Daventry in Staverton.
I am really looking forward to more of these weekends. Although it wasn't what I would call "perfect" chess, there were no out and out blunders in the game. I hadn't faced a caro-kann for many years and it seems the two knights variation still holds up to some scrutiny.