The 4NCL is the leading team contest in the United Kingdom, and is open to all teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. From modest beginnings in 1993 with the contribution of only six teams, the league has grown from strength to power in its short history, and now boasts three divisions in which no fewer than 75 teams play together with a newly inaugurated junior Four Nations Chess League which already consists of 18 teams and also an annual team and individual rapid play championship.
The league’s format has altered on a number of occasions over its first two decades of existence, but for the last few years seems to have settled down into a stable format. The top two divisions comprise 16 teams of eight players, divided into two pools of eight teams of approximately equal strength for the first seven rounds. The third division, played with six players per team according to a Swiss competition format and presently comprising 43 teams in total, is split regionally between north and south for the first six rounds.
In Division 1a Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher 1 and Guildford 1 definite their qualification for the Championship Pool. WGHK fielded Michael Adams for the first time this season and he scored 2/2 as they beat Barbican 2 7-1 and Blackthorne Russia 6-2 to maintain their one hundred per cent record to lead the group with twelve match points. On Sunday they fielded eight grandmasters having made do with just seven and IM Lawrence Trent on Saturday.
The ADs had beaten Blackthorne Russia on Saturday to end the latter’s hopes of qualifying. Anglian Avengers got off the mark with a 5.5-2.5 victory against e2e4 and a 4-4 draw with Bristol, whilst both Blackthorne and Bristol are on two points so all three teams will finish the term in the demotion pool.