B team end with win
Wins for Tim, Nic and James enabled the B team to end on a high with a 3½ - 1½ win over Cheddleton C.
Cup success for U135 team
The Newcastle U135 team won their cup final against Macclesfield using the traditional formula of 'win with white, draw with black'. Diarmid, Michael and Watson were the players entrusted with the white pieces.
B and C anonymous
The C teams draw at Cheddleton C last night, on the back of wins for Pete and Watson, means that they will finish 5th in the second division, one place behind the b team whose final match is on Wednesday.
D off bottom
The D team raised themselves off the foot of the table in their last match winning 2½ - 1½ at Leek C on the back of personal victories for Paul and Derrick.
Depleted B lose
Despite wins for Tim and Martyn the depleted B team went down 2 - 3 at Leek A.
Two draws, no points
The D team went down 1 - 3 at Leek D last night when drawing he top two boards proved insufficient to get anything from the match.
Ralph tops quickplay
14 players turned up for the clubs end of season quickplay, which Ralph won with a score of 4½ points from 5 games. Full results on the internal competitions page.
The A teams top two boards, Ralph and Alan, were have been against each other in the clubs handicap event. The other semi-final is an all second division affair with Michael to take on the winner of the Diarmid/John ¼-final.
Wins for Watson, Pete and Paul helped Newcastle to victory in the U110 cup final. The team showed no favouratism, the final score of 3½ - 1½ giving the same margin of victory as in the wins over Creda and Fenton in the earlier rounds.
Tonights B team match at Leek has been postponed, and will now take place on 12th May. Thanks are due to Leek A who agreed to our request for postponement at short notice.
End of season quickplay
I am pencilling in May 3rd for the end of season quickplay, though it may need to be put back to the 10th if the B team fix up their last match for then.
Homes complete (nearly)
The club has completed its home fixture list for the season, with the exception of the B teams match against Cheddleton C, for which there is yet to be an agreed date.
The U135 team emulated their U110 counterparts by reaching the final of their cup competition, thanks to wins by Diarmid, Michael and late substitute Pete. A trip to Macclesfield awaits them. Not exactly a weekend in Paris, but worth having nevertheless.
As in near, not as in shut. The D team team went down 1½ - 2½ to Leek B, with the first two games to finish being Pauls draw and Geoff's win. Definitely made the opposition sweat.
No joy for D
Geoff's win was not enough to prevent the D team going down 1 - 3 at home to Leek C tonight.
A and C make progress
The A team moved into the top half of the table for the first time this season by winning their final match 3 - 2 at home to Rooks with the help of wins from Ralph and Barry.
The C team also gained a valuable point against Creda A, Pete and Geoff being the major contributors.
Newcastle contingent support home congress
Over half the club turned out in support of the mini congress held at the bridge club over the weekend. Allan managed a share of the spoils in the U165 section, with Alan grinding away to five draws. All five Newcastle competitors in the U120 scored at least 3/5, with John being joint section winner. Geoff made his over the board debut in the U90 section, finishing just ½ a point behind the joint winners.
Newcastle and Creda share spoils
Creda sent two teams to Newcastle tonight. The visitors A side beat the hosts B team with Tim's win being the only major obstruction. However the hosts D team gained their first win of the season thanks to individual victories by Paul and Derrick at the expense of Creda's C team.
C on the up
Francis, Watson and Peter gained the wins in the C teams 4 - 1 victory over Fenton A, enabling the C teams points haul to move into double figures for the season.
A hit five
The A team secured the clubs first clean sweep of the season in their visit to Holmes Chapel Knights last night.
The D team match against Creda C that was scheduled for last night will now take place next week (29th March).
Wednesday's D team match against Creda C is off as the visitors are unable to raise a team.
C one short
The C team travelled to Leek one player short of their full complement, and despite a top board win for Francis ended up a point short of their opponents in losing 2 - 3.
Little joy for B
James was the sole Newcastle winner as the B team went down At Broughton Arms.
D go down again
The D team fell 1 - 3 tonight to Kidsgrove A, though not before both Paul and Steve made their opponents sweat for draws.
More points for A
Barry and Allan led the A team to victory at Macclesfield with individual wins in a match in which no Newcastle player lost. The teams nightmare start of one point from 5 games is now well behind them, having lost just once in the last seven matches.
Paul won on his latest substitute outing for the C team, but unfortunately it was not enough to prevent the Newcastle side going down 2 - 3 in their delayed encounter against Cheddleton C.
The clubs U110 team reached their cup final with a 3½ - 1½ victory over Fenton tonight. Pete and James provided the wins, Watson, Nick and Paul the draws.
Point for B
Wins for Nick and James helped the B team gain a point at Cheddleton last night.
No draws on Cs coupon
Michael, John and Watson scored the wins that gave the C team a 3 - 2 victory over Broughton Arms tonight.
Paul keeps D on scorecard
It was Paul's turn to get the draw that prevented the D team being whitewashed in their visit to Leek E.
Uncomfortable win for A
In a match that felt at best more 2.55 - 2.45 than an outright win, the A team edged past Cheddleton B 3 - 2 thanks to wins from Alan and Chris.
Stephen spares the blushes
Stephen again stood in the way of a whitewash, this week holding firm for a draw against Kidsgroves A team.
More points for A team
Wins for Barry, Allan and Chris enabled the A team to beat Stafford A 3 - 2 at home tonight.
Alan, Michael into semis
Alan and Michael reached the semi-finals of the clubs handicap KO tournament with wins over James and Nic respectively.
Stephen holds the fort
Stephen obtained the draw that put the D team on the scorecard against Kidsgrove B last night.
More joy for B
Wins for Diarmid, James and Martyn helped the B team to victory at Fenton B tonight.
Plenty of wins, but draws all round
Two matches, only one drawn game, but when the dust had settled both matches were drawn. Successful players tonight were Ralph and Barry for the A team against Kings and Paul and Stephen for the D team against Fenton C.
Michael earns point for C
Under pressure of being last to finish, Michael obtained the win that levelled the C teams match against Creda B last night.
D downed at Leek
The D team went down 1 - 3 at Leek B last night, with stephens win being the one bright spot.
Internal time handicap draw
The draw for the second round of the clubs Time Handicap competition has been made and can be seen on the internal competitions page.
Revenge for C
The C team got therie revenge on the B team when wins for Francis and Michael were answered only by one for James.
Barry spares A blushes
Barrys draw was all the A team had to show for their efforts at Cheddleton A last night.
B and D start solidly
Wins for Nic and James carried the B team to a 3½ - 1½ victory in their opening fixture of 2006 against Creda B, whilst the D team picked up their second point of the season thanks to wins by Paul and fit-again Derrick in their match against Stafford B.
D get their one and a half
The D team picked up their traditional one and a half points in their latest match at home to Kidsgrove B, Paul providing the win.
A night to forget
Pete was the only winner as both our second division teams went down at home.
D get their one and a half
For the sixth time in eight matches (including once against the now withdrawn Stafford C) the D team lost 1½ - 2½, this time at Fenton C. Sole winner was Mike.
Easy as a, b, c?
Another match win tonight, featuring individual wins for Allan, Barry and Chris helped boost the A teams confidence.
B go top
The B team went top of division 2 last night when wins for Nick and Martyn helped the team to a 3½ - 1½ win against previous leaders Creda B.
Am I boasting? No, more an effort to be speaking too soon. There are still plenty of matches left for other teams to save us from promotion. Please.
D for draw
The D team gained their first point of the season at fellow strugglers Creda C last night with Paul and Stephen getting wins.
Win with white, draw with black
Ralph. Barry and Allan were the owners of the white pieces as the A team remembered the proper way of scoring when they took on Cheddleton B.
D stay bottom
Mike's win was not enough to prevent the D team registering their fifth consecutive 1½ - 2½ defeat in their home match against Leek E.
C team go down fighting
As is so often the case, the final score fails to tell the full story as the C team went down 1½ - 3½ at Broughton Arms who had chosen this match to field one of their strong sides. Although missed a chance for glory in the time scramble and Watson had the better of a draw there is no doubt that the team can be proud of their efforts.
A team edge onto scoresheet
Wins for Barry and Allan enabled the A team to pick up their first point of the season when visiting Holmes Chapel to play the Rooks. Meanwhile, at the Bridge Club, Paul's win was not enough to prevent the D team going down 1½ - 2½ to division three leaders Fenton B.
B win at Creda
There were wins for Martyn and Diarmid as the B team won at Creda B without dropping a board.
Castle support county U150s
Four members of the club - Martyn, Diarmid, John and Pete - travelled to Leicester to play for the county U150 team, though of the four only Martyn managed a win in what turned out to be a losing cause.
Wait 'til mid-November ...
Then two turn up at once. Newcastle finally secured their first league wins of the season against other clubs tonight with the B and C teams both successful. Flash in the pan, or start of a new trend?
Allan was the only winner for the club tonight as the A and B teams went down to the A teams from Cheddleton and Leek respectively.
D downed again
The D team lost again tonight, the victorious visitors being Stafford C.
U135 team advance
Wins for Tim, Michael and John helped Newcastle's U135 cup team to victory in their first round match at Creda tonight.
A can't get started
Wins for Chris and Barry were not enough to prevent the A team suffering another loss, this time at the hands of Kings.
D team close to first point
Despite Mike winning and Stephen having the better of a draw the D team remained pointless after tonights encounter with Leek D.
C team open account
The C team earned their first point of the season at early leaders Creda A last night in a match in which both teams were missing two of their normal squad. Captains were to the fore as D team captain Paul joined C team captain John in getting a full point.
The Fenton C v Newcsatle D match has been moved again to make way for a postponed cup match. The latest date arranged is 12 December.
8 board team out
5 draws and three defeats were the results of the 8 board cup teams efforts at Holmes Chapel tonight. Time to concentrate on the league.
Victory at last
The clubs U110 team showed how things should be done by winning 3½ - 1½ in the first round on the back of wins for Watson, Pete and James.
Newcastles poor start to the season continued with losses tonight for the A and C teams. Twas not all bad though, for Barry won in his first game of the season, and Chris and Michael both got their second wins.
Derrick starred for the D team tonight, getting his first win for the club as the D team went down narrowly at Fenton B.
B sneak bragging rights
Wins for Martyn and Nick for the B team were answered only by Michaels first win for the club for the C team, thus allowing the B to win 3 - 2.
Newcastle players in County joy
John, Pete and Paul all won in the county U125 match against Shropshire on Saturday. Hope they continue their form throughout the season (though not tomorrow when they are due to feature in the C team against me and my pals in the B).
D is not for despondent despite the ½ - 3½ beating the D team took at Stafford B last night as the 40 grading points per board that they were giving away strongly suggests that the opponents are not long for division 3.
Tough start for A
Chris was the only winner as the A team went down in their opening match at Stafford.
Rooks v A put back a day
To avoid a clash with line dancing at Holmes Chapel the A teams's match away to Rooks has been put back from 22nd to 23rd November.
Chris and James led the way with wins in last nights friendly with Holmes Chapel which resulted in a 3 - 3 draw. Details here.
Holmes Chapel Friendly
A friendly against Holmes Chapel looks set to go ahead next week ay the Bridge Club. Team: Ralph, Chris, Steve, Tim, Nic and James.
A good turnout ignored the alternative attractions of international football on the box (apart from the treasurer who got a bit twitchy as the meeting stretched on longer than usual) to attend our rivetting annual event.
The usual suspects were elected unopposed to their positions, and the treasurer confirmed the club to be solvent and requiring no increase in fees.
A: Ralph, Alan (C), Barry, Allan and Chris.
B: Martyn, Diarmid, Tim, Nic (C) and James.
C: Francis, John (C), Michael, Watson and Pete.
D: Paul, Stephen, Mike, Derrick and Brian.
Michael has kindly donated three trophies to the club: large and small shields and a cup. It was decided to use the large shield to replace the 'clock' minor trophy which is awarded to one of the clubs lower graded players who has had an outstanding season. James became the first recipient of this on the back of raising his grade by 35 points.
The cup has been allocated as the trophy for the clubs June ½-hour event, but Chon was not present to receive it.
Chris became the first holder of the third trophy which has been allocated to the AGM quickplay, an event for which 11 members stayed to compete in this year. Details on the internal events page (previously summer events).
The club will run a time handicap KO event for its members during the year. All members of the club were included in the first round draw; those not wishing to play can simply concede there first round matches. More on internal events page.
Hot air helped fill more time, but eventually we got around to playing.
Only one Newcastle player has had their new grade altered in the recent update issued by the BCF, with Chons grade drifting down a single point to 172. Not a change to induce much loss of sleep.
Newcastle decline quickplay chance
We have decided not to enter the quickplay league this year as it is felt that entry would put a lot of pressure on the small D team squad who not only have an extensive third division fixture lists but are expected to provide reserves for two second division teams.
Date for diaries - Club AGM
The club AGM will take place on Wed 7th September at 7.30 pm, so if you want to overthrow the current regime start plotting now. As has become the habit in recent years this will be followed immediately by a 10 minute tournament, unless the business of the meeting drags on too long.
One of the most eagerly awaited moments of the chess year has arrived with the publication of the new grades. Below are the longplay grades of Newcastle players. Other information can be found from the BCF grades database which is commendably quick and easy to use.
Tuesdays friendly against Chester has been called off. It may be possible to play it in September as a pre-season match, so at this stage is postponed rather than cancelled.
Club still meeting
There were six members at the club on Wednesday, so it is still worth coming down if you are looking for a frindly game or chess related chat.
Chon on top
The clubs June ½-hour tournament was concluded tonight with Chon finishing top of the pile. Full results under competitions-summer
Newcastle play hosts
Newcastle hosted the National club semi-final match between Lancaster and Littlethorpe (Leics) on Saturday, with the former running out winners on board count.
The previous weekend teams from Greater Manchester and Warwickshire contested their semi-final in the inter-counties competition at the club, with Manchester running out comfortable winners.
June ½-hour continues
Alan and Tim were the main gainers from the middle installment of this competition, which concludes next week.
June ½-hour under way
The first two rounds were played tonight with eleven players in attendance including a first visit from Alastair and guest appearances from Andy Stott (Fenton) and Mick Andrews (Creda). Any new entrants next week can claim two ½-point byes for this weeks games. I have added a chart to show the progress of the competition to the competitions/summer events page.
Daniel (below) again performed wonders at the Leek rapidplay, following up his last years win in the bottom section by coming joint first in this years middle section with Dean Hartley from Amber Valley on a score of 7 out of 9.
In the top section Chon scored 5 points, three behind winner Malcolm Armstrong (Stafford). Stephen and Paul both played in the bottom section, but poor starts meant that neither was in a position to challenge the winners Martin Gee (Cheddleton) and David Dunne (Fiveways) for honours at the end of the event.
In February I reported that Suzy Blackburn (Holmes Chapel) would be representing Wales in the World Championships. Said event is now in progress, and after nine rounds Suzy was easily her teams top scorer. The Welsh Chess Union has a page where you can keep track of the Welsh ladies progress.
Simon Hood (Broughton Arms) won the North Wales Open title at Rhyl with a performance consisting of four wins and a half point bye. Congratulations to him. I knew the practice he has had at duffing me up would come in handy sooner or later.
Cheddleton have gained promotion from division four to three of the 4NCL. No mean feat given that many of the 32 teams competing in division four have been formed with the intention of reaching the upper echelons pretty quickly if not sooner.
A reminder that this years Leek Rapidplay is on Sunday 11th June.
Farewell Creda, long live Caverswall
Now that the season is over we must start getting used to the new name, Caverswall, of the club formerly known as Creda.
Broughton Edge South
Broughton Arms are also on the move. They are changing their name to Alsager and moving to the Lodge Inn in that village. Should revive memories of trips to Electra.
Final performance chart
I have updated the performances chart for (probably) the final time this season. The Broughton Arms v Creda B second division match is still unplayed as far as I know, and appears likely to remain so as far as I can ascertain.
Macclesfield have completed the season as the only club not to default a board in any league or cup match. Several league teams completed their season without default: Cheddleton A and C, Creda A, Holmes Chapel Kings, Kidsgrove A, Leek A, B and D, and Newcastle A.
Creda and Holmes Chapel have been confirmed as joint rapidplay winners, with Cheddleton choosing to withdraw rather than create an artificial situation by playing just a few matches.
All games in the rapidplay competition jave now been played with the exception of those involving Cheddleton. Although they may yet play some games to get experience of the format, I have jumped the gun and declared Holmes Chapel and Creda joint winners on the basis of the matches played so far.
The last fixture featured Stafford and Creda. Typifying the friendly spirit in which the competition was played, Creda lent Stafford a player for the night when they only turned up with three of their own even though this arguably cost Creda outright first place.
Stafford prevent Southern Whitewash
Stafford defeated Walsall Kipping 4 - 2 in the Hickman Cup to be declared county champions. In the other county competitions Cheddleton and Fenton each lost by the odd board in five to Rushall in respectively the Gothard (U151) and Withnall (U101) cups, whilst the Jackson (U121) was an all southern affair in which Lichfield defeated Boldmere St Michaels on board count.
Staffs Mega Final
Approximately 150 boys and girls decided on Leek today to contest the Staffordshire mega Final of the UK Land chess challenge, competing in age groups from under 7 upto under 18. The leading boy and girl from each age group qualify for the giga final, together with several others who scored at least 4 out of 6 in todays competition.
All over bar the postponements
Last night was the last scheduled night of the season, but postponements mean that there are still several issues to be decided.
Penultimate performance update
I've updated the performances page again for the last time before the end of season calculations.
Another board count
Board count was needed to separate the finalists in the 8 board cup, the tie-breaking mechanism awarding the win to Cheddleton over Holmes Chapel.
The Macclesfield v Newcastle U135 cup final has been arranged for 22nd May.
Div 1 complete
In the final match of the division one season champions Cheddleton A won 3 - 2 at Stafford to take themselves 5 points clear at the top of the table.
Newcastle completed the list of cup finalists when they defeated Cheddleton to reach the final in the U135 competition in which they will play Macclesfield.
Another Performance update
I've just completed an update to the performances page to include all games played upto Easter, including those at the Newcastle mini-congress.
Finally got round to stringing a few words together and cropping some pictures to create a 'report' on the 2006 mini congress. Follow the congresses - Newcastle Mini link below.
Last Chance Rescues 35
This years Last Chance Tournament organised by Traci Whitfield has enabled a further 35 pupils from age 6 to 17 to qualify for the Megafinals of the UK Land Chess Challenge.
Rapidplay Complete - ish
The last scheduled fixture in the rapidplay league was played on Wednesday between Kidsgrove and Stafford. That just leaves the postponements to be sorted.
Macclesfield reached the final of the U135 cup with a board count victory over Fenton. In the final they will entertain either Newcastle or Cheddleton.
Consolation came Fenton's way in the shape of a 4 - 1 victory over Creda to reach the final of the Withnall Cup (County U101).
With all sections resulting in ties for first place, seven people can claim to be winners: Steve Hill (Creda), Simon Edwards (Cheddleton), Allan Drost and John Day (both Newcastle), Andy Stott and Kamal Kabiri (both Fenton) and Robert Brock (Kidsgrove). Conrad Green (unattached) won the junior prize. In due course I hope to produce a fuller report under the Congresses - Newcastle Mini link.
Cup Final Dates
The U110 cup final between Holmes Chapel and Newcastle will take place on Wednesday 26th April; the 8 board final between Holmes Chapel and Cheddleton on Wednesday 3rd May.
The U135 competition is still at semi-final stage, with the Newcastle - Cheddleton match now scheduled for Wednesday 19th April.
Last Chance Tournie
Traci is organising a Last Chance Tournament for Juniors wishing to qualify for the megafinal of theis years UK Land chess Challenge. An entry form in word format can be downloaded here.
From the beginning of April Creda will be based at Caverswall cricket club - I have changed their page accordingly. A name change for next year is still under discussion. Perhaps Creda and Caverswall Chess Players would serve to intimidate the opposition.
Roy Pitcher became the 200th player to participate in the Associations long play events this year when he turned out for Broughton Arms in their 8 board cup defeat by Holmes Chapel, who will now face Cheddleton in the final.
Performances page has ben updated to include matches played up to the Ides of March.
One less reason to avoid county cups
The regionalisation of the county cups in recent years has in some quarters created a 'why play when you'll be drawn against teams you play anyway' mentality. Certainly the semi-finals have not been (fully?) regionalised this year as the Gothard (U151) semi-final victory for Cheddleton over Boldmere St Michaels (Sutton Coldfield) shows.
Staffs in Minor Counties ¼-Finals
Despite winning only one qualifying match Staffordshire have accepted an invitation to play Surrey in the ECF minor counties quarter finals on 20th May.
Whilst North Staffs was suffering an attack of winter and Creda's interest in the 8 board cup was terminated by Cheddleton I was enjoying myself down in Exeter. Plenty of sunshine and starry nights, but my chess was not far enough above average to warrant front page news.
AGM and cup finals
The NSDCA AGM has been put back a week to the 12th July so as not to clash with the World Cup.
As Creda are losing their current premises at the end of March they will not be able to host the cup finals. These will now revert to playing at separate clubs as previously.
Newcastle beat Fenton to reach the final of the U110 cup, where they will meet Holmes Chapel whose semi-final opponents Stafford were unable to raise a team.
Creda were beaten on board count by Lichfield in the Jackson cup (County U121) last night.
Allan Drost is playing in the Warwickshire Open congress this weekend and has space to give others a lift if required. If anyone wants to catch a ride, they should feel free to ring - telephone 01782631488 (home), 07886755387 (mobile) - or email him.
Welsh Suzy for Italy
Suzy Blackburn (Holmes Chapel) has been selected for the Womens Welsh Olympiad team that will be competing in Italy in May this year. We wish her an enjoyable and successful time, except of course if she gets to play our mob! Nationalistic? Me?
Third division backlog shrinks
The backlog of postponed matches in the third division has shrunk to just four, having reached double figures early in the new year. Well done all those captains who have fitted the matches in now rather than leaving them to be tagged on to the end of the season.
County cup action
Despite their low profile, the county cups do still exist, and the north of the county saw some action on Friday with Fenton edging past Cheddleton & Leek 3 - 2 in the Withnall cup (U101).
The U135 cup semi-final between Newcastle and Cheddleton will now be played on Friday 10th March (at Newcastle).
Or not. The Kidsgrove site seems to have been reclaimed by the hosting company and used for advertising.
The Cheddleton site at http://www.cheddletonandleekchess.co.uk/ is nearing the completion of a much needed overhaul to bring it back up to date. Meanwhile their site at http://members.lycos.co.uk/cheddletonchess/ has continued to provide a results service throughout the season.
Performances page now based on all results I've seen upto lunchtime today.
Staffs U125 lose Midlands semi-final
Despite wins for Newcastles Pete Shaw and Fentons Andy Stott, the county U125 team went down 7 - 9 to Nottinghamshire in the Midlands semi-final. However as the area is entitled to three teams in the national stages, the team still go through to these.
Proposal for Change
I am submitting a proposal to the committee suggesting a change from a league format to a set of separate competitions. The proposal itself together with comments is available as a Word document on the fixtures download page.
Creda in venue hunt
News that the Creda Sports and Social Club is closimg from the beginning of April has sparked a venue hunt for Creda chess club. Presumably we shall also need a new venue for the cup-finals, and for the May committee meeting. Fortunately it has already been decided to hold this years AGM at Kidsgrove, though as the chosen date clashes with the second semifinal of the world cup I suspect it will be moved.
Site pauses for Hartlepool
There were no updates over the weekend as I decided to play in Hartlepool, putting in an anonymous slightly above average performance.
The division 3 match Stafford B v Creda C has been rearranged for 8th Feb., Fenton v Macclesfield in the U135 cup is now scheduled for 3rd April, the U110 cup match Holmes Chapel v Stafford has been put back a day to 2nd March, and the Holmes Chapel - Broughton Arms semi-final of the 8 board cup is also being rearranged, probably to 23rd March.
Staffs B go close
The Staffs U100 B team went close against Shropshire at the Bridge Club today, going down 5 - 7 in a match with its fair share of 'if onlys'.
The third division match between Fenton C and Creda C which was due to be played on 2nd January will be played this coming Monday, the 16th.
The U135 cup semi-final between Fenton and Macclesfield has been put back to Monday April 3rd.
James Rothwell joined Bill Armstrong and myself as selectors at the latest batch of County junior trials organised by Traci and played at Hassell Street today. Participants will learn by post whether they have been selected.
The Frodsham Congress, which replaces the Crewe in the chess calendar, features 10 am starts on both Saturday and Sunday mornings so that commuting by car should be easy from the North Staffs area. Frodsham, which is just south of Runcorn, is a little under 30 miles by the proverbial crows transport from Newcastle. The event takes place on the weekend of 10 to 12 February, and consists of three sections - U170, U130 and U90. There is no Open section.
The Creda C v Leek B match postponed before Xmas has been rearranged for 27 Feb. With postponements piling up this season, particularly in division 3, it is good to hear of a new date being sorted.
As I hoped I have found time to adjust the performances page in the light of this weeks matches. It should now be up-to-date for Xmas.
I have updated the misc-performances page to show grading performances for the season so far. Hopefully I shall adjust it next week to reflect any games played then.
Newcastle Mini II
I am vaguely considering running another Newcastle mini-congress and have the dates 1st and 2nd April in mind. Nag me to go ahead if you like the idea.
County U125 reach Midlands Semi
Staffordshires U125 team have reached the Midlands semi-finals of their inter-county event despite losing their last qualifying match against Warwickshire at the beginning of the month. Their next opponents are the Nottingshire A team, with the match to be played at a neutral venue at the end of January.
Newcastles John Day, Pete Shaw and Paul Clapham together with Andy Stott from Fenton have been the norths representatives in the team so far, though the captain Geoff Rosser is still on the search for other interested players.
New constitution for county
Staffordshire acquired a new constitution designed to give the leagues a more transparent influence over county affairs at the special general meeting in Stafford on Tuesday night.
Lift off for county Open
The County Open team achieved lift off with a thumping 11½ - 4½ victory over Worcesterhire (details on county page), helping to make up for an earlier poorer showing against Leicestershire. However Diarmid whilst setting things up had to survive being trapped for 20 minutes in a lift before getting someone to notice the alarm. Lift off indeed!
Last nights draw in which Creda C and Newcastle D each got their first point of the season means that all the league teams have avoided the possibility of a 0% season.
For Crewe read Frodsham
What has hitherto been the Crewe Congress will this year be the Frodsham Congress, being held in the Community Centre there. The dates are 10th to 12th Feb 2006.
Stafford C withdraw
Due to a combination of factors, including illness, Stafford are no longer in a position to field two third division teams. Consequently they have withdrawn their C team. The committee has agreed that they may transfer any available C team players to the B team, with Peter Evans captaining. C team games already played will of course be graded, but the results will not count in the league table.
County U100 B secure a draw
The Traci Select XII, also know as Staffordhire U100 B, picked up a draw in only their second fixture when they entertained Worcestershire at Newcastle Bridge Club today. The team featured players from Broughton Arms, Cheddleton, Kidsgrove and Newcastle as well as the county secretary Andrew Davies who came up from Brewood to spectate but found himself playing when one player failed to show. Full result and short report on the county page.
8 board first round complete
Broughton Arms won the delayed final match of the first round of the 8 board cup against Fenton last night, leading to semi-finals of Holmes Chapel v Broughton Arms and Cheddleton v Creda due to be played at the beginning of March.
Rapidplay league starts
The first matches in the associations new Rapidplay league will be played in the coming week, with Creda entertaining Holmes Chapel on Monday and Fenton visiting Kidsgrove on Wednesday.
New date, new venue
The postponed Broughton Arms v Fenton 8 board cup match will take place on Monday 14th November at Fenton.
U135 cup on schedule
All first round matches of the U135 cup have been completed, leading to a semi-final draw of Fenton v Macclesfield and Newcastle v Cheddleton.
County U125 progress
The county U125 team assured themselves a place in the Midlands semifinals of the competition with one match to spare. They need to avoid defeat against Warwickshire to top the Western section. Newcastles John Day and Pete Shaw have been joined by Andy Stott (Fenton) as the minority northern presence in the team.
The Knights - Rooks fixture scheduled for 30 November has been rearranged for 8th February.
U110 cup round 1 complete
The first round fixtures in the U110 cup have been completed on time, leading to semi-finals of Fenton v Newcastle and Holmes Chapel v Stafford.
Holmes Chapel advance on two fronts
Two cup victories for Holmes Chapel this week, their 8 board team overcoming Newcastle without dropping a board and the U110 side sneaking past last years finalists, Kidsgrove, on elimination in a drawn match with equal board count.
First outing for County B
The U100 Staffordshire B team had their first outing of the season, going down 4½ - 7½ to the A team. The B team is primarily designed to give more playing opportunities to juniors, though the top boards also featured more experienced players so as to protect the juniors from the full wrath of the enemy big guns. Full result appears at the bottom of the county page.
Next weeks 8 board cup match between Broughton Arms and Fenton has been postponed.
There was an increased turnout for this years county junior congress held at Hassell Street. main results are on the junior page.
Apologies for the slight delay in updating the site this weekend - I have been enjoying an 80% weekend in Weymouth.
Is it broke?
Can our system of promotion and relegation hold up in the face of objections to promotion? Should we look for another way of organising our chess? I have written an article which can be found at misc-is it broke commenting on the present system and suggesting an alternative structure for the associations league events. At the end is a further link to a public forum on John Amisons Fenton site where you can express your views and reactions.
A reminder to those who have downloaded the league fixtures but allowed the cups to slip their mind - the first round matches in the U110 and 8 board cups are in the week 17 - 21 October. The U135 first round matches are a fortnight later.
As suspected the Fenton C v Newcastle D third division match has indeed been further moved and will now take place on 14th November.
I have been told that the Fenton C v Newcastle D third division match has been put back a fortnight to 17th October. However as this the date of Newcastle's U110 cup first round match I suspect the league fixture will either be de-rearranged or re-rearranged.
Holmes Chapel have put back their rapidplay home fixtures by a day (Fenton match TBC) so that they too can avoid the alternative distractions now taking place on Tuesdays at their venue.
As anticipated Holmes Chapel Knights have also changed their home night to Wednesday, so all their home matches have been put back one night from their original dates. I have (I hope) updated all the relevant pages and download files to reflect the Knights and Rooks night change and the withdrawal of Cheddleton D, though the new Knights v Stafford Wednesday date I have indicated as 'to be confirmed' as it may need to be moved further.
I have no news on changes to the Holmes Chapel rapidplay league fixtures - I suspect they have been too busy worrying about the main league and cup ones.
No Cheddleton D
I have received confirmatiom that there will be no Cheddleton D team this season, so the second division will now consist of 8 teams.
All Rooks home matches moved
As expected all Rooks home matches have been moved, mostly to Wednesdays. First round U110 and U135 cup matches have also been moved to Wednesday. All the visiting teams have been notified. I shall change the download files in a few days time.
Creda pot South Pot. Pot
The second annual South Potteries Chess Challenge between Fenton and Creda took place on Monday, with Creda edging through 5½ - 4½. Fenton have had a busy pre-season, having already taken on Kidsgrove in a friendly.
Line Dancing Problems
Line dancers have muscled in on Tuesdays quiet at Holmes Chapel, so it is likely that some Holmes Chapel home fixtures will be moved to Wednesday. Affected visiting teams will be informed properly.
2005 Leek Congress
The prize list for this years Leek Congress played over the weekend featured players from a large number of clubs. Details can be found under Congresses - Leek (the obvious place I hope).
Staffords share spoils
Because of their commitments to other leagues Stafford teams often have to start their fixtures early, and this year is no different. The two Stafford third division teams started the season yesterday with a draw. Hope they can stand the pressure of jointly leading the promotion race!
Fenton website move
John Amison's newly designed Fenton website can be found at http://www.fentonchessclub.co.uk/.
This years Staffordshire Junior Chess Congress will be held at Hassell Street, Newcastle on Saturday 8th October. Hopefully the venue will ensure a good turnout from the north of the county. An entry form can be downloaded here.
The county are running teams in the Open, U175, U150, U125 and U100 sections of the inter-counties events. I have put this years fixtures on the county page. Most captains will be pleased to hear from anyone interested in playing in their team. If you fancy the occasional Saturday game, don't be shy - put your name forward.
The Terafinal (the grand final) and Challengers (for those not quite making the Terafinal) stages of the UK Land Chess Challenge have just been held with five local players claiming varying degrees of success. Craig Whitfield came 7th overall with 12 points (total original entry a mere 72000), winning the under 11 trophy plus a useful cheque. Molly Moruzzi was also well placed with 9 points.
Moving to the Challengers Suzy Blackburn came third in one section, with Megan Moruzzi also in the prizes.
John Blackburn also came third in his section. No, he didn't have to wear short trousers to compete - his was the section put on to occupy parents and other supporters.
Leek Congress Reminder
This years Leek congress is now little more than a fortnight away. Get those entries in to take advantage of an excellent opportunity to remove any rustiness from your game before the league season starts.
The BCF have updated the new grades on their site so that they now show the official grades to be used for the coming season (as opposed to provisional ones). The grades of about half a dozen of the 200 local players have been affected.
Welcome Leek E
Leek E intend to make up the numbers in division 3 to a round dozen. I have updated the download files and relevant pages to show their fixtures.
A transcription error has resulted in Rooks appearing to play two games in a week. Their home match against Cheddleton B (fixture 136) should be played on 21st March, not 24th Jan as originally published.
Solving another problem before publication has led me to inadvertently give Cheddleton D two fixtures in a week. To cure this their fixture away to Creda A (236) moves from 16th to 9th January, with the Creda derby (234) moving to 28th Nov to accommodate this.
Apologies for not spotting these errors earlier. All the download files have been corrected in line with the above.
Creda C confirm
I have received confirmation that Creda will have a C team this year. Should help to keep division 3 diaries full. As I had included them in the published fixtures, no changes are needed.
All fixture files up
Today I added the summary document (all fixtures on one sheet) to the downloads page, thus completing all the files i wish to put up. Hopefully this isn't a cue for late entries and withdrawals.
No haste at Newcastle
Newcastle have decided not to take part in the rapidplay league this year. The fixtures for the 6 teams entered can be viewed on the rapidplay page or downloaded from the downloads page.
Details of this years leek Congress are now to hand, so I have updated the Congresses-Leek page accordingly. This year there is no separate open section - all players will be placed into graded sections with an overall congress grade limit of U210.
Fixtures are available for download by competition (except for rapidplay league) from the downloads page. For the more patient I shall shortly add files giving fixtures by club by team, and also a summary of all fixtures.
The constraints seemed to bite harder this year so that the resulting fixtures are even uglier than usual.
U100 players wanted
I'm sure that as chessplayers you will read that headline correctly. Traci Whitfield has persuaded the county to enter a second team in the inter-counties U100 competition with her as captain. Primarily aimed at giving juniors opportunities to play graded games she is also looking for adult players who wish (or are willing) to play, not merely to make up the numbers (12 board teams), but also to provide the juniors some protection by manning the higher boards. Matches are played on Saturdays. So if you fancy getting both a game and the warm glow that goes with supporting juniors, let Traci know. Alternatively tell me and I will pass the message on. Contact from people who fear they may be available for only one game is as welcome as that from those available throughout the season.
I have just received written confirmation from Fred Spicer that the Blind Social Club chess club is closing and so will not be playing in division three next season. Fred himself intends to continue for the time being as the associations results secretary.
Fenton have asked to be allowed to enter a third team for the coming season as the popularity of the club continues to grow. Potentially this takes the size of division 3 to 12 teams, so this is a good point to ask about the progress of the 'maybe' teams entered at the AGM.
Newcastle have reached a stage where they can say their D team will exist unless there are some unexpected departures (several expected ones are already accounted for) over the coming weeks.
Creda still hope to enter a C team. Like Newcastle they have several players graded sufficiently under 100 as to gain little benefit from a full season in division 2.
The Blind Social Club have many problems to overcome: a shortage of players, transport and possibly equipment and uncertainty over venue. This could go three ways:
Everything is sorted in time for them to enjoy a full season - the ideal outcome,
They realise that things won't come together in time to allow their remaining members to find other clubs - perhaps the realistic outcome,
they continue on the basis that things will sort themselves out only to find partway through the season that continuation is no longer viable - the undesirable outcome.
The position of Newcastle in the rapidplay is still unclear, but the other six clubs who showed an interest - Cheddleton, Creda, Fenton, Holmes Chapel, Kidsgrove and Stafford - all appear certain starters.
Craig hits six
Craig finished on six in the U10 boys world championship finishing tied 36th in a field of 120+. Hope he remembers that it is good manners to lose gracefully to his elders when he gets back.
More from France
Craig continyes to move up the rankings, now having a score of 5½ from 9 games, so he is guaranteed at least 50%. Meanwhile a look at the charts rather than the pairings reveals that the strong player on 0 points has actually played 0 games! Would have expected him to have been removed from the pairings list earlier.
Kidsgrove out, but in
Following their club AGM Kidsgrove have decided not to participate in this years 8 board cup, but to play in the U135 cup instead. Consequently Creda get a bye in the first round of the 8 board, and Fenton will visit Kidsgrove in round one of the U135 instead of having a bye.
Craig has now reached 3½ out of 6 as the world U10 championships pass the halfway stage. There are still two players on 0, one of whom has a reported grade of 2157. Methinks some grades are more accurate than others.
Broughton Arms in U135 cup
Broughton Arms have now entered the U135 cup, taking the place of one of the byes in the original draw. They will play Macclesfield in the first round. Full draws of all the cup competitions are now on the cups page, with last years results and cup-final photos transferred to the archive.
World Youth championships
These are taking place in Belfort, France. Craig Whitfield is representing England in the U10 boys. After 3 of the 11 rounds he has a complete set of results so is on 1½. Two of the 123 competitors in his section are graded over 2200 with 4 more over 2000 so the going is likely to be tough.
The northern giga final of the UK Land Chess Challemge was played over the weekend. Staffordshire qualifiers to the terfinal are Ravi Patel (U8B), Craig Whitfield (U10B) and Molly Moruzzi (U15G), whilst Neha Patel (U12G), Megan Moruzzi (U13G) and Suzy Blackburn (U18G) qualified for the challengers event. Congratulations to all.
Holmes Chapel confirm Rapidplay entry
Headline says it all - Holmes Chapel have confirmed they are to play in the NSDCA Rapidplay league this coming season.
Writing my memoirs?
Not quite. But I have compiled my memories of what happened at the league AGM last night. Hopefully they are a reasonable approximation to what actually happened. They can be found here.
Trials for the county U13 and U15 teams were organised by Traci and held at Hassell Street on Saturday, with Lawrence Cooper, Malcolm Armstrong, Chris Simpson and myself casting our selectorial eyes over the talent.
10 minutes to spare?
All welcome at the 10 minute tournament (5 rounds) to be held at Cheddleton Chess Club this Friday evening (1st July).
The league AGM will take place at Creda on Wed 6th July. A copy of the agenda and of the minutes of last years meeting can be found here. Trophy holders should arrange for the trophies to be available for presentation.
New url, new provocation
Having dragged you across to my new lair I guess I ought to reward you with something amazing, amusing or annoying. I have no store of astounding tales to relate and I don't do humour, so be prepared to switch into Victor Meldrew mode.
The leagues current reserving rules derive from the assumption that teams should be distinct, this ideal being blurred by the pragmatic need to limit defaults.
Suppose we abandon the above assumption. We could have a rule like "Once a player has played twice on the top three boards of a team (s)he may not play for any lower team." Yes, that does mean that subject to the given constraint you may reserve as often as you like in whichever direction you like.
A keen player can get more games by playing regularly for more than one team.
If a club has enough such keen players they may field extra "overlapping" teams, reducing the ability gradient from bottom to top of the league structure.
No more problems for clubs having too many members for say 2 teams, not enough for 3. Field 3 overlapping teams.
A player leaves part way through the season? Just make extra use of a keen reserve or move a player up.
New player turns out stronger than originally thought? You can move them up during the season.
Those reading this with a growing sense of "You can't do that" will be able to quote chapter and verse as to the problems it would create. To the rest of you I leave the deciding of disadvantages (and other advantages) as an exercise.
League site move
The league site can now be found at http://www.northstaffschess.co.uk/.
Creda site moves again
The Creda website can now be found on 50megs. Hopefully they will find this a more satisfactory service than the one they had in their brief flirtation with t35.
League AGM is scheduled to take place on Wed 6th July at Creda. The best way to make sure your opinions are known is to be there.
Blind at the New Penny?
The latest rumour about the Blind SC is that they will be based at the New Penny (Fenton's venue) next season, though will continue to operate as a separate club.
Cheddleton go close
The last three rounds of matches in the 4NCL division 4 were played over the bank holiday weekend. Despite winning two of these three matches, including inflicting the only defeat on champions Slough, Cheddleton finished just outside the promotion places. Hilsmark Coventry, another of Cheddletons victims earlier in the season, took the second promotion place.
The 4NCL is played out over five weekends at central venues and attracts teams from all over the country. The Cheddleton team consists of a core of players from the Cheddleton club augmented by ones from the wider NSDCA area. For example this year Cheddleton provided opportunities to players from Newcastle, Macclesfield, Stafford and Holmes Chapel to gain 4NCL experience.