Welsh Chess Premier League 2006-7
As the South Wales Premier League had been running smoothly, admittedly with the occasional hiccup but smoothly enough, for two seasons it was expanded, when our friends from the North joined us, and renamed the Welsh Chess Premier League. At the same time the WCU decided to award one of the two places in the European Club Championships to the winner of the WCPL so it was expected that Nidum, Cwmbran, Monmouth, and Cardiff, all of whom had experience, and wanted more of it, of playing in the new-format week-long event should take this league more seriously, if possible, than they did before.
Round 1 kicked off with a draw between Cwmbran and Monmouth. Monmouth, the defending champions, managed to win on the top two boards in spite of being very much out-rated by the Cwmbran team. Nidum and Cardiff both won their matches, against Cardigan and Wrexham respectively, but neither of these was as one-sided as the score lines might have suggested.
Cwmbran 2Ѕ - 2Ѕ Monmouth
Cardiff 4.0 - 1.0 Wrexham
Cardigan 1Ѕ - 3Ѕ Nidum
What the top teams like to regard as normal service continued in round 2 although Cardiff had a rather stressful evening in Monmouth. James Cobb's problems in finding the venue, together with two early Cardiff losses, left Cardiff very relieved to win the match, by any margin! Cwmbran also won their match against Wrexham. Meanwhile Nidum had a rest while Cardigan welcomed newcomers Barry to the deep end of Welsh Chess with a smooth victory.
Monmouth 2.0 - 3.0 Cardiff
Cardigan 3Ѕ - 1Ѕ Barry
Wrexham 1Ѕ - 3Ѕ Cwmbran
Round 3 saw the clash between the two teams who, no doubt, like to consider themselves favourites for the top spot. Cardiff's two IMs were both beaten by Nidum's top players although Cardiff's lower boards, after long struggles, managed to hold the match. Meanwhile, while Monmouth rested, Cardigan seriously dented Cwmbran's hopes and Wrexham won their first match in this event.
Cardiff 2Ѕ - 2Ѕ Nidum
Cwmbran 1Ѕ - 3Ѕ Cardigan
Barry 0Ѕ - 4Ѕ Wrexham
Most of the surprises happened in round 4. Anybody who expected Cardiff to beat Cardigan was obviously unaware that Cardiff had always lost, in the past, to Cardigan in the SWPL. Cwmbran also demonstrated that, although some previous matches had not gone well, they were determined to recover some lost ground and indeed repaired some of the damage with a draw against Nidum. Barry won their first match in this event, defeating Monmouth.
Cardigan 1Ѕ - 3Ѕ Cardiff
Monmouth 2.0 - 3.0 Barry
Nidum 2Ѕ - 2Ѕ Cwmbran
Round 5 started with Wrexham and Monmouth dividing the spoils from their match. Cwmbran, now with little chance of winning the league themselves, continued their recovery with a draw with Cardiff. With the championship looking more and more likely to be determined by game points Nidum further dented Cardiff's hopes, on the very next day, with a 5-0 demolition of Barry.
Wrexham 2Ѕ - 2Ѕ Monmouth
Cardiff 2Ѕ - 2Ѕ Cwmbran
Barry 0.0 - 5.0 Nidum
Barry bounced back immediately in round 6 with a win over Cwmbran. Cardigan also ensured a finish in the top half of the table with a win over Wrexham. Cardiff, with a rest in this round, could only watch helplessly as Nidum pulled ahead further with another big victory, this time over Monmouth.
Cwmbran 2.0 - 3.0 Barry
Cardigan 3Ѕ - 1Ѕ Wrexham
Nidum 4.0 - 1.0 Monmouth
In the final round Cardiff kept up the necessary pressure on Nidum with a win over Barry. Monmouth, the defending champions, and now unable to avoid a relatively low finishing position, were also unable to raise a team to play Cardigan and defaulted the match. The title now rested on Nidum's ability to win, against Wrexham, in the last match of the season. They went to Llandrindod Wells armed to the teeth and produced a result which only emphasised their dominance this season.
Barry 1.0 - 4.0 Cardiff
Monmouth 0.0 - 5.0 Cardigan
Wrexham 1.0 - 4.0 Nidum
Final League Table
Nidum: RS Jones 6/6 LWilliams 4Ѕ/5 ABennett 4Ѕ/6 AYoung 2Ѕ/3 RSaunders 2Ѕ/6 AGibbons 1Ѕ/4
Cardiff: ASpice 5Ѕ/6 JTrevelyan 4/6 TKett 3Ѕ/4 JCobb 2/4 KThompson 2/5 TBrown 1/1 MAdams 1/2 GPinter 0Ѕ/2
Cardigan: ICJones 4Ѕ/6 GHeap 4/5 AHaigh 4/6 RvanKemenade 3Ѕ/6 AHWilliams 2Ѕ/4 SCunnane 0/1 JvanKemenade 0/1 RSpencer 0/1
Cwmbran: JGilbert 3Ѕ/4 DRobinson 2Ѕ/5 GRees 2Ѕ/6 DPerrett 2/4 JDThornton 1Ѕ/3 IRees 1/4 PTew 0Ѕ/1 CDixon 0Ѕ/1 PVarley 0Ѕ/2
Barry: AStClair 3/6 LDavis 2/5 NRalphs 1Ѕ/6 ADavis 1/1 SCunliffe 1/6 PWatkins 0Ѕ/1 DParsons 0/1 Default 0/4
Wrexham: RDineley 2Ѕ/5 RHolland 2Ѕ/6 EJCanham 2Ѕ/4 CMorris 2/6 PFisher 1Ѕ/4 DSimpson 0Ѕ/3 GBDavies 0Ѕ/1 WCDavies 0/1
Monmouth: DJTurner 2/2 JWaterfield 2/3 JoseffThomas 1/3 KThomas 1/2 DRoberts 1/2 JacThomas 1/1 RSmith 0Ѕ/1 RMiles 0Ѕ/3 NBeveridge 0Ѕ/2 RDodington 0Ѕ/4 ZAllford 0/2 Default 0/5
Congratulations to Nidum on their victory - well deserved with three of the league's top four scorers in their team. Cardiff's three of the top six is not quite as good! Congratulations especially to Richard Jones, who won all six of his games.
My thanks go to all of the captains who continue to make mine a relatively easy job.
Some games :
Richard S Jones (Nidum) 2302 James Cobb (Cardiff) 2376
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 Bg4 9.h3 Bh5 10.d3 Qd7 11.a4 Rb8 12.Nbd2 g5 13.axb5 axb5 14.Bd5 g4 15.hxg4 Bxg4 16.d4 exd4 17.Bxc6 Qxc6 18.e5 dxe5 19.Nxe5 Qe6 20.f3 dxc3 21.Nb3 cxb2 22.Bxb2 Qb6+ 23.Bd4 c5 24.Nxc5 1-0.
John Waterfield (Monmouth) 1991 Mark Adams (Cardiff) 2053
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.0-0 Be7 9.f4 Qb6 10.Be3 Qb7 11.e5 Ne4 12.Qg4 g6 13.Nxe4 Qxe4 14.Bf2 dxe5 15.Rae1 Qxf4 16.Qd1 Bb7 17.g3 Qh6 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Bxe6 Rf8 20.Rxe5 Rf6 21.Be3 Rxe6 22.Rxe6 Qh3 23.Rxe7+ Kxe7 24.Bc5+ 1-0.
Ioan Rees (Cwmbran) 2257 Leighton Williams (Nidum) 2359
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.f4 Qc7 9.g4 b5 10.g5 Nfd7 11.a3 Nc6 12.f5 Nde5 13.fxe6 fxe6 14.0-0 Nf7 15.Ncxb5 axb5 16.Bxb5 Nfe5 17.Qh5+ Kd8 18.Nxc6+ Nxc6 19.Rf7 Rb8 20.a4 Ne5 21.Rxg7 Qxc2 22.Rxe7 Kxe7 23.g6 Rxb5 24.Qg5+ Kd7 25. Qf6 Rg8 0-1.
Nigel Ralphs (Barry) 2053 Tim Kett (Cardiff) 2213
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 f5 3.Bxg8 Rxg8 4.Qh5+ g6 5.Qxh7 Rg7 6.Qh8 Nc6 7.Ne2 fxe4 8.b3 d5 9.Ba3 Rf7 10.Nbc3 Be6 11.0-0-0 Qf6 0-1.