Over 850 players and £10,000 in cash prizes make this the most prestigious team chess event held in the United Kingdom. It takes place over various weekends from October to May 2013/14, in several venues.
This time, the big final show was held between the 3rd and the 5th of may 2014 and the fight for the title between Guilford and Wood Green was really exiting till the very end with big names, great fighting spirit and big clashes on all boards.
So the denouement, and the showdown between the holders Guildford 1 and Wood Green 1. The one personnel change to the two line-ups subsequent to round ten was the inclusion of Luke McShane in the Wood Green team in place of Nick Pert, with some adjustments made to board order. Guildford’s average rating was 2656 and Wood Green’s 2647, with Guildford players out-rating their opponents on five of the eight boards (by as much as 61 points in the case of Giri and McShane). Remember also that a 4-4 draw would be good enough for Guildford to take the championship on tie-break. Nine nations were represented amongst the 16 GMs on both sides: there were six Englishmen, two Frenchmen, two Dutchmen, one player from each of the Czech Republic, Scotland, Norway and Latvia, plus women players from Bulgaria and Sweden.
The big guns game under way
The final score between these two big teams was Wood Green 2-6 Guildford : the scoreline suggests an overwhelming win for the champions but it did look fairly close.
Of the six English players involved in the match, Gawain Jones was the only one to record a win. Nigel Short and David Howell played out a tense draw, with the older player pressing a little harder for much of its duration. Luke McShane was perhaps Wood Green’s best hope of a win but his edge gradually dissipated and was turned round completely by Anish Giri. Mickey Adams was also ground down by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who is becoming stronger and stronger all the time, comparable to a young Adams, or Petrosian in his prime. The other games were drawn, leaving Guildford the winners by a comfortable margin.
The final standings engendred after this 4 NCL Week end are :