Club Venue: Ducklington Village Hall, OX29 7UX



Chess Association




Witney Chess Club is

not responsible for

the content of external internet sites.



Cumnor and Witney win the Junior 4NCL - report by Andrew Varney and Catriona Hauer

7th March 2012

An outstanding performance from all our players this weekend, and a thoroughly deserved victory at the top of division 2 ahead of the very strong Yateley Manor A team.


Who would have thought as we headed up to Hinckley Island for that first weekend of the three in November that the team would be claiming the trophy and top prize money just a few months later? Over the three weekends we've had four Witney and four Cumnor juniors taking part in the team, and with all eight of them available on the final day we even ended up with an A and a B team, both of which went undefeated!



On Saturday the team was formed from Daniel Varney, Joost Hoppe, Isabel and Marianne Hauer and Jakob Holton, with one player taking a turn on a mixed reserves team each round. This worked well and gave everyone the chance to play a variety of opponents at different levels.


Following the pattern from previous weekends we won the first two games (against Manchester Boys and Northampton Chess Juniors) then suffered a bit of a dip in the third round (also the norm!) to lose to the Gloucester Giants 4-0. The opposition were clearly the strongest team in the tournament, having joined the league just for the final weekend.


Joost Hoppe fought well to stay fairly equal on board 1, but eventually crumbled to a strong attack by 149-graded Michael Ashworth. On board 2, Daniel Varney was winning at first, but missed the right move in a complex position arising in the middle game from his opponent’s Traxler Counterattack in the Two Knights and then made a series of blunders as tiredness affected his concentration. On the other boards we were significantly outgraded and sadly there were no surprises - although we had a very long wait for Jake who kept fighting right up until dinnertime. Meanwhile Isabel had escaped facing the Gloucester Giants, but instead found herself on board 2 against Yateley Manor A as a reserve and playing Chris Perryman for the fourth time in the overall event - they had divided honours evenly thus far but he finally got the better of her!


Despite everyone from the team finishing the day with a a loss, spirits remained high and Jake and Daniel paired up for the evening's Exchange Chess event, while Marianne teamed up with Eva Ressel from Northampton to be the best girls team.


So on Sunday morning reinforcements in the shape of Zoe Varney and Joseph Truran arrived in time to play the key game of the tournament against Yateley Manor A. After thirteen matches representing up to over one hundred hours cumulative playing time, who won the league division 2 title came down to this one match! Yateley Manor A had previously drawn with the Gloucester Giants thanks to Harry Grieve’s victory over Michael Ashworth. This meant that Yateley Manor A were one match point ahead (though further ahead on game points). Realistically, the only way we could win would be to beat them in this match and win our last match also (which was very likely since we’d already played the strongest teams). Zoe was the first to finish, losing to the strong Harry Grieve, and at that point it looked as if only Joost was in complete control of his game, being a pawn up with a stronger position. Joseph had a slight edge, but one slip against a very much in form Chris Perryman would have been enough to lose it. Daniel was a piece for a pawn down.




Venue: Barcelo Hinckley Island [more photos from weekend 3]

In fact, there was no need to worry. Daniel was in fact next to finish, seemingly turning the game around to force a pawn promotion. However, on looking through his game afterwards Andrew realised that he was only ever superficially worse off, and that he had deliberately sacrificed the piece for an attack with a better end game as the result.


Joost meanwhile calmly converted his advantage step by step for a smooth win. Only Joseph’s game was left, which he had to win or draw for the match (and hence probably the top prize) to go to the Cumnor and Witney team. Joseph was getting a little low on time, but after a long attritional battle in an Advance French he got down to a good vs bad bishop ending and a likely win.


In the event, however, since he was short of time and well aware of the team’s position, he offered a draw which was accepted. There was a slight glitch in the final round against Manchester Girls when one of the games was surprisingly lost, but the other three recorded easy wins so it did not matter to the final result.


The newly formed B team - Isabel, Marianne, Jake and six year-old Callaghan McCarty-Snead (who was also being coached as an England Junior that weekend) - had their first match against Yateley Manor C, who had also entered Division 2 for the first time. Our experience showed here as we won 4-0. The last round saw them pitched against third placed Yateley Manor B - a team we had drawn against in a previous weekend. To avoid playing the same opposition for a second time they swapped board orders a bit and Marianne took on board 1 where she got a draw. Jake was unlucky this time, and Isabel had her longest match (watching her opponent take half an hour over his final, losing move) and Callaghan his shortest (out in about five minutes with a victory!).


Isabel was top team scorer from the weekend with 4/5 points each. On another weekend this might have been enough for an individual medal, but not with the Gloucester Giants on such strong form.


It’s been great to see how much our players have improved over these months, partly due to the great coaching by the likes of Andrew Martin, Nick Pert and Sabrina Chevannes, but also from playing strong opposition in concentrated periods. Just how strong our squad had become was highlighted on the last day, when we had all eight players in two successful teams. Overall what has served us so well is the depth of ability in our team together with their hard work and ability to learn from mistakes. Whereas some of the other teams have had their top stars, the difference was our strength in depth in both teams, with a much smaller gap in ability between our top players and our lower boards than was the case with most of our competitors. TRULY A TEAM EFFORT.


Andrew Varney and Catriona Hauer

March 2012





© SC


© 2015 Witney Chess Club