Three Suffolk-based 4NCL teams were in action this weekend in Rounds 3 and 4. The excellent new venue (for this season) was the Radisson Park Inn, Telford (see photo above).
In Division 3 South, Anglian Avengers 2 faced probably their strongest opponents in Round 3, West is Best 1 (average rating 2134) and lost 1½-4½ despite an excellent win by their captain, Ian Wallis. In their second match they faced Welsh team Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg (which means 'heavy infantry from Monmouthshire') and lost again, this time 2 - 4.
Over the two matches, Suffolk players scored:
Tim Lunn - 0
Ian Wallis - 1
Martin Fogg - ½
Richard Lamont - ½
Keith Woodcock - ½
In Division 4, the two Iceni teams were in action. Iceni 1 and Iceni 2 won both their matches. Iceni 1 won 3½-2½ against Ashfield-Breadsall 2, and by 5½ - minus ½ against Cambridge University 3. More on this strange result below.
Paul Botham - 2
John Feavyour - ½ (from one game)
Iceni 2 won 4 - 2 against Barnet Knights 1 and by 3½ - 2½ against Shropshire 2. The average rating of both their opponents was 100 points higher, so these were excellent results.
Suffolk scores (including former Suffolk players)
Somton Ukken - ½
Bob Jones - 1 (two draws)
Steve Lovell - 1½
Laurie Pott - 1 (two draws)
Anita Somton - 2
In the Division 4 league table only one team (Sussex Martlets) have won all four matches. Three teams are on six points (three wins), including both Iceni teams.
Anita is ridiculously under-rated at 1488. This is a legacy of her first rating from a couple of years ago, when she was only 9. Since then she has not played many FIDE-rated games. Meanwhile her ECF grade has improved to 148 and is likely to be in the region of 160 when the new grades are published soon. There is a strong case for a radical revision - perhaps to about 1900 - but I don't think FIDE allow this sort of thing.
Now about that strange result, when Iceni 1's opponents Cambridge University 3 recorded a 'minus ½' score. This is because they defaulted on two boards, resulting in the penalty of the loss of one point. Their four remaining players scored just half a point between them, so when the penalty is deducted, the minus score results.
This is far from the first time that Iceni teams have suffered from defaulting opponents. Last season it happened on a number of occasions. When it takes more than three hours for some players to travel to Telford, it is galling when opponents default without notice. In today's incident, the opponents were not known until late on Saturday evening, when the pairings were made. So it was impossible to prevent two of Iceni's players from spending a lot of money on travel, accommodation and food. Captain John Feavyour nobly stood down to allow other team members to play, but he shouldn't have had to do that.
There's a strong case to increase the penalties for defaults, and for financial compensation to be paid to the offended team(s). Also, perhaps, teams with two or more defaults should not be allowed to compete in that round. If you have any thoughts on this issue, please respond via 'comments'.