No joy in Major Final
Newcastle's team in the major cup came to grief in the final at Cheddleton last night, having no individual winners in the 1½ - 3½ defeat.
C for Champion
Wins by Robbie, John and Pete enabled the C team to defeat Cheddleton B last night, thereby securing the division 2 title. Well done guys.
Alex won the club's end of season quickplay with a score of 4½/5, with Ian a half point behind. A healthy 18 took part. Full results on the internal events page in the next day or two. (Results now up 12/05/11)
End of season Quickplay
The club's end of season quickplay will take place on Wed 11th May. Five fifteen minute games. As usual have invited a few outsiders who hopefully will add interest.
More points for C
The C team picked up another two points tonight by defeating Cheddleton C on the back of wins from Ian, Watson and Nic.
Default win for D
Alsager B defaulted their match against our D team tonight; I'm guessing that there is no plan to play the match at a later date.
Newcastle retain Perry
Newcastle retained the Minor Cup for the Perry Trophy last night, winning the final 3 - 1 at Holmes Chapel; Steven and Derrick producing wins on the night.
D are Xperts
The D team gained their 6th draw in 11 outings last night, this time at home to Cheddleton D with Pete being the sole Newcastle victor.
U150s into final
The club's u150 team reached their cup final by beating Fenton with the help of wins by Sam and Pete.
B end with win
The B team completed their season with a win against Rooks, with Martyn, Nic and Prabhath all contributing victories.
And finally, a win
The D team broke the club's bad run with a 3 - 1 win at Cheddleton D with the help of victories from Pete and Steve.
Bad run continues
Newcastle's bad run of results continued with the A team suffering a heavy defeat at home to Alsager A
Alex and Robbie won, but the C team were unable to prevent an unwanted Monday hattrick for the club when they went down at Macclesfield.
The D team came unstuck at Fenton B, with Francis' draw preventing a whitewash.
More bovver for B
The B team's bad run was extended further as they went down 2 - 3 at Meir A tonight despite Alan's win.
One from two
Newcastle picked up one point from the two matches they played tonight with the A team losing to Cheddleton A and the D team drawing with Kidsgrove A. Newcastle's individual winners were Ian (A team), Francis and Pete.
B fall away
Another loss for the B team sees them fall to mid-table anonymity, Sam's win not being enough for the team to pick up points at Cheddleton B.
C draw at Knights
The C team drew at Holmes Chapel Knights last night despite wins by Ian and John.
First to finish
The E team and Kidsgrove B became the first teams to complete their league fixtures tonight, though the E team had only a default win to show for their trip.
Alex leads from the top
Alex led the A team to a draw at Alsager A tonight, winning on top board.
Richard can't save D
Richard's win was not enough to prevent the D team going down at home to Stafford B last night.
The A team drew again against Stafford A, with wins for Alan and Martyn.
More points for C
Wins by Robbie, Watson and Pete ensured that the C team picked up two more points when they faced Rooks at home tonight.
Hamid best for E again
Hamid again proved to be the best source of points for the E team, but his win against Kidsgrove B was not enough to enable them to escape defeat.
Revenge for C
The C team got revenge for their defeat by Meir earlier in the season, running out 4 - 1 winners on the back of triumphs for Ian, Robbie and Pete.
The B team seem stuck in reverse gear, with Alan's win being insufficient to save the team on their visit to Macclesfield.
Geoff leads A to a point
Geoff's win enabled the A team to get a draw at Cheddleton A tonight.
Hamid prevents whitewash
The E team had only a draw from Hamid to show from their visit to Alsager last night.
Cs on top
The C teams of Cheddleton and Newcastle beat each others B team on a night featuring a 10.2 claim and an ineligible player. Newcastle winners were Barry, John, Pete and Sam.
E edge X
The E team got the better of Cheddleton X last night with the help of wins by Francis and Hamid.
The A team secured a point against Stafford A tonight with wins from Alex and Alan.
B back on winning trail
With wins from Alan, Martyn and Pete the B team returned to winning ways with a 3½ - 1½ victory over Knights.
Point at Pawns
Wins for Francis and Pete helped the D team gain a point at Homes Chapel Pawns on Monday.
Draws not enough
Despite Francis, Richard and Derrick all drawing the E team went down by the narrowest margin at home to Fenton C tonight.
Anyone trying to predict the individual results after an hour or twos play would almost certainly have got it wrong as unexpected twists were commonplace on the night. The net result was that Alex' and Barry's wins for the C team outweighed Sam's for the B to lead to a 3 - 2 scoreline.
Newcastle into Perry Final
Newcastle swept into the Perry Trophy Final on the back of wins by Richard, Steve, Derrick and Hamid.
The A team gained revenge on Holmes Chapel Kings for the defeat earlier in the season by winning 3½ - 1½ on the back of individual victories for Alex and Barry.
Geoff bags a point for B
Geoff won to enable the B team to escape with a point at Cheddleton C tonight.
Steve delivers for D
Steve's win enabled the D team to share the spoils at Alsager B last night.
New year cheer for C
The C team started the new year with victory at Rooks, John and Barry getting wins in a match in which none of the Newcastle players lost.
The A team's trip to Stafford yesterday was called off after morning consultations between the clubs. Didn't feel there was time to organise anything special at the club, but half a dozen keen members turned up anyway, and helped demolish Paul's mince pies.
There is a move afoot to have a crazy chess night at the club on 22nd if the A team's match at Stafford is postponed or possibly on 29th. I'll email members if either date is to be so used.
C complete good week
Following on the back of the B and E team victories, the C team completed a good week for the club with Robbie, Watson and Pete scoring the individual wins that led to a 3½ - 1½ triumph over Holmes Chapel Knights.
B back to winning ways
Martyn, Geoff and Sam all won as the B team returned to winning ways with a 3½ - 1½ win at Holmes Chapel Rooks tonight.
Elation for E
Christmas almost came early for the E team as wins for Pete, Paul and Hamid helped them towards a 3½ - ½ win at Meir B.
The night proved to worse than the weather for Newcastle with the B and E team both losing by narrow margins despite wins for Martyn and Nic for the B team and Derrick for the E.
Tomorrow's home match for the D team against Cheddleton D has fallen victim to the weather. It has been rearranged for Wed 13th April 2011.
C lose despite Alex
Alex' win on top board was not enough to prevent the C team going down 2 - 3 at Cheddleton C on Friday.
Now B beat Macclesfield
The B team followes the C team's example by beating Macclesfield tonight, with the help of wins from Geoff and Alan.
Fenton too strong
Fenton C were too strong for our D team tonight, with Derrick's draw being our sole score.
No wins to report as Newcastle go out of the Open Cup at Alsager by 2½ - 5½.
Francis to the fore again
Francis again led from the front for the D team, getting the win that secured a team draw against Holmes Chapel Pawns.
Francis can't save D
Francis' win on top board was not enough to save the d team from defeat at Stafford B last night.
Meirly A Loss
Wins for Barry and Pete were not enough to save the C team at home to Meir A last night, the visitors running out 3 - 2 victors.
D win at Kidsgrove
Wins for Francis and Steve allowed the D team to edge passed Kidsgrove A last night.
Newcastle were dumped out of the Intermediate Cup by Cheddleton tonight with Paul providing our only bright spot with a win.
E team get a point
Hamid's first win for the club coupled to one by Derrick enabled the E team to pick up a point from their visit to Cheddleton X on Friday.
Good night for 'Castle
Wins for Martyn, Alan and Sam for the B team and Alex and Pete for the C team enabled our second division teams to record victories over Cheddleton B and Macclesfield respectively.
E extinquished by Meir B
The E team's hopes for a bright start to the season were extinquished 0 - 4 by a Meir team in top form.
B blast Knights
Wins by Geoff (luckily), Alan (doggedly), Sam (crushingly), Prabhath (carefully) and Martyn (simply by default) allowed the B team to put Knights to the sword tonight.
One Newcastle winner
Paul was the only Newcastle winner as the A team came unstuck against Holmes Chapel Kings and the D team drew with Fenton B tonight.
How to be top
Play the first match of the season!
The B and C teams started the league season off with a draw on the back of wins for Martyn and Sam (B team) and Alex and Paul for the C.
Francis has agreed to take on the captaincy of the D team to reduce the pressure on Paul who will be looking after the E team.
Trophy for Pete
Pete was awarded the club's minor player of the year trophy at last night's AGM for his performances leading to a 15 point season on season grade increase.
Other AGM matters
Committee re-elected unopposed.
Alex to captain A, C and open cup teams, Martyn B team, with John, Nic and Paul looking after the major, intermediate and minor cup teams respectively. No teams in the county cups this year.
Fees unchanged again.
Secretary to look into purchase of second set of digital clocks.
Martyn too quick
Martyn won the AGM rapidplay with a score of 4/5.
Newcastle at Leek
Alex, Martyn, Pete, Paul and Derrick all commuted to Leek over the weekend to play in the congress. Alex recovered from a first round loss to the top seed to reach 50%, and Martyn reached 3 after a double duck start. Paul matched Martyn's score via a different route, Pete failed to draw, and Derrick reaquainted himself with a chess board, having apparently gone into the summer equivalent of hibernation over the last few months.
The B v C match that starts the season has been moved forward a week to 22nd September, and the B team's match at Fenton has been pulled forward a day to Monday 8th November.
The final version of the grades to be used for the coming season are out and for Newcastle show just two small changes from the provisional ones with Geoff and Alex moving to 153 and 182 respectively.
The date for this year's club AGM is Wed 15th September. As usual the meeting will be followed by a quickplay tournament.
4½/6 proved to be good enough for each of Alex, Malcolm and Stephane to be in the three way tie for first place in this year's summer half-hour.
Stephane will enter the final week of the summer half-hour with a narrow ½ point lead over 4 players following tonights games.
Provisional grades for the coming season are now available. Newcastle's are
No doubt there will be some (small) changes made before the definitive grades are published later.
Neither Chris nor William played enough games to be included in the published list. Former members listed include
| Paul Wallace (Lichfield, 207)
| Andrej Furjel (Weymouth, 189)
| Richard Lee (Cambridge Uni, 172)
| Geoff Marchant (Wallington, 171)
| Mark Handley (Meir, 156)
| Dave Cork (Crawley, 156)
| Nick Lowe (Altrincham, 148)
| Derek Northage (Kidsgrove, 136)
| Catherine Hiley nee Ashton (Rugeley, 132)
| James Rothwell (Ormskirk, 130)
| Robert West (Fenton, 101)
Ian Jamieson from Exmouth who visited the club several times earlier in the summer is 171.
Those wondering whether they are playing too much might like to know that 11 of the 11000+ players listed played over 150 longplay games last year, headed by Brendan O'Gorman and Richard Desmedt whose respective 204 and 212 game totals were topped by Alan Fraser with 241. Needless to say all three are well known on the congress circuit.
Starter for thirteen
Thirteen players played in the first two rounds of the summer half-hour. Any others joining in next week will receive two half-point byes for the rounds they missed. Progress can be followed on the internal events page.
Alex wins Leek
Alex won the top section at the Leek Rapidplay Congress on Sunday with an impressive 5½/6 for which he also gets the Alan Wilshaw Memorial Rosebowl as the best placed NSDCA player. Pete, Paul and Steve all competed in the lower section, with Pete showing best with a score of four.
as at 06/06/11
|H C Bishops||Holmes Chapel
The final performance tables for the season are now up on the performances page.
Alan Thomason has taken over and completely redesigned the Alsager Chess Club website. The club will also be changing venue for next season to Alsager Leisure Centre, and probably their match night, though I don't know when these changes will first take effect.
Whilst thanking the Radway Club for hosting them, Alan added "So for those who are fed up with the Radway Club Karaoke scene, clubs visiting Alsager next season will be able to enjoy a healthy and life-inspiring experience at the leisure centre - with time for a swim if the clock is on their side."
The finals of the county cups were played on Wednesday. Cheddleton won the Hickman (Open), though the county site is keeping their opponents a secret. Other sources reveal the vanquished to be Lichfield. Warley Quinborne beat Cheddleton in the Gothard (U161), Stafford beat Rushall in the Jackson (U141) and Rushall beat Fenton in the Withnall (U121). More on this, plus pictures from all sections can be found on the Stafford site.
January grades on the way
Prompted no doubt by some vociferous people who think that more frequently published grades will in some sense be superior to the current yearly system, the ECF are to start calculating longplay grades for publication in January as well as July/August. As ever when dealing with the ECF, not everyone is convinced that the alleged benefits will outweigh the problems created for those on the ground.
And the winners are ...
With the top three divisions being decided this week, the list of competition winners is nearing completion:
|Division 1||Stafford A ||H C Kings
|Division 2||Newcastle C ||Cheddleton C
|Division 3||Cheddleton D ||Stafford B|
|Division 4||Fenton C ||Alsager C
|Division 5||Cheddleton G||Meir C|
|Minor Cup |
for Perry Trophy
Apologies for being a little dilatory in sorting this out - I've chosen Tuesday 7th June for the Rapidplay Jamboree. Venue: Newcastle Bridge Club, with 7.30 start. Entries required in advance.
Forward to the past
Starting on the 9th May Fenton Chess Club will be reverting to Monday for their meetings.
There appears only to be lukewarm interest in a rapidplay league this year, so I'll sort out a jamboree instead. I'm thinking of a Tuesday late June or early July. I'll confirm exact date shortly.
Another fortnight or so of matches now included in the performance tables.
Cheddleton took the Open cup last night thanks to a 4½ - 3½ win over Stafford.
Cheddleton take Inter Cup
The first cup final of the season was played last night, with Cheddleton running out 3½ - 1½ winners at Meir in the Intermediate event.
Performances page now updated to include matches upto and including Fri 25th March.
Cheddleton v Newcastle C will now be played on 15th April,
Fenton D v Cheddleton H on 26th April,
Newcastle C v Cheddleton C on 27th April.
I've sent out requests for entries for this year's rapidplay league to club contacts. Nag them to get your club entered.
Rob Shaw won the fourth GP blitz event at Newcastle last night, and with it secured the series win too. Full results on the GP page.
Fenton retain division 4
Fenton C's win at Alsager last night enabled them to retain the divisional title for the club.
A miniature report, with pictures, on the Newcastle Mini Congress can be found here.
North Staffs Varsity
The recent Oxford v Cambridge eight board university match featured eleven overseas students and a Scotsman. This still left room for Yangshan Yu (ex-Cheddleton, and now known as Susan) in the Oxford team, and Richard Lee (ex-Newcastle) on the Cambridge side. Further, Oxford's non-playing captain was Yangshi Yu.
Simon Edwards, Stephane Pedder and Alex Richardson made up the 1-2-3 in the open section of the Newcastle mini-congress. Steve Hill and John Day shared top spot in the U160 ahead of James Rothwell. Karol Grzybowski was the clear winner in the U130 section, chased by Sandra Blackburn, Peter Shaw and Stuart Hull. The U100 was the largest section, won Richard Martin ahead of Jacob Boswell, with Carl Mustafa and Derek Whitehurst tied third. Jacob Cartlidge and Daniel Holland won respectively the junior and Kangaroo prizes. A fuller report will appear later.
Now with Leek
The performances page has been updated not only to include matches upto and including 25th Feb, but also Leek Congress games. With thanks to Roger Edwards who provided the necessary information about the Leek congress (and for the Frodsham congress too).
The Major Cup semi-final between Fenton and Newcastle that depended on an earlier postponed match will now be played on Mon 11th April.
Now including Frodsham
My performances tables have now been updated to include the results of local players at the Frodsham Congress.
This year's Open Cup Final will be contested by Stafford and Cheddleton.
Terriers just miss again
The Terriers went down 5½ - 6½ in their latest MCCU U120 match over the weekend. The team seem masters of the narrow defeat.
Two cup final line-ups known
Following results this week we now know that the final of the Intermediate Cup will be contested by Meir and Cheddleton, and the Minor Cup for the Perry Trophy by Holmes Chapel and Newcastle.
Performances page now based on games upto and including 1st Feb.
Remove the spot
Steve Emmerton has shortened the url of his information and results service, now to be found at http://www.northstaffschess.com
The third event in the strong player's GP ended in a three way tie between Rob Shaw, Jonathan Blackburn and Alex Richardson.
Many of you will have noticed that Mark Whitby's league site disappeared a month or two before Christmas. Steve Emmerton has created an information and results service that can be found at http://www.northstaffschess.blogspot.com
Terriers close again
The Staffordshire Terriers extended their habit of the last season or so of being pipped in their matches, going down 5½ - 6½ at home to Warwickshire last weekend.
New link for Stafford
The Stafford Chess Club website can now be found at http://www.staffordchessclub.co.uk
The division four match Fenton C v Alsager C has been brought forward one day to Mon 21st February.
Another new cup date
The Fenton v Holmes Chapel semi-final of the Minor Cup for the Perry Trophy has been moved to 1st February.
New cup date
The major cup match between Fenton and Holmes Chapel which was a victim of the weather before Christmas will now be played on Monday 24th January.
The estimated grade for Neal Davies (Fenton) has been adjusted to 108 for forthcoming matches.
The performances page has again been updated, though the weather has ensured that fewer matches than normal have been completed.
GP2 attracts eight
The second in the series of the Stoke League blitz GP took place tonight at Newcastle Bridge Club, with 8 players plus controller braving the weather to participate. Craig Whitfield and Dave Buxton were joint winners with 3½/5. Full results can be found on the GP page.
First sight of performances
So far 40 something players have played the requisite 5+ games to have the results of performances calculations shown on the performances page.
The County Open team crushed Greater Manchester 13½ - 2½ on Saturday, the Mancunians not helping their cause (or the reputation of county chess) by turning up 4 players short.
Cheddleton & Leek Chess Club have moved to larger premises at Westwood College New Hall, Westwood Park Avenue, Leek, ST13 8LU. This is close to the venues for the Leek Congresses, but not the same place as either.
New Fenton Dates
Fenton C have new dates for their two postponed fixtures. They will now entertain Kidsgrove B on Mon 10th January and visit Alsager C on Thu 17th March.
Holmes Chapel site
Point your browsers here for Holmes Chapel Chess Club's site. Within the site is their blog giving news of their 4NCL team as well as Stockport and North Staffs league sides.
Fenton A withdraw
Fenton A have withdrawn from division 2 due to loss of or limited availability of many of last season's leading players.
The Meir A v H C Knights match postponed from the 4th October will now take place on 28th Feb 2011.
The lack of updates to this site over the weekend can be blamed on my attendance at Scarborough. Not that I was the only one there - Alex also played, as did a sizeable contingent from Cheddleton: Rob Shaw, Simon Edwards (plus son), Vlade Luzajic and Carl Gartside.
U160s start with win
The Staffordshire U160 team started their season with a 10½ - 5½ win over Leicestershire at Newcastle Bridge Club today.
Suzie the tops for Wales
Suzie Blackburn top scored for the Wales Ladies Team at the recent Olympiad with a score of 5½/10, playing mostly on board 2, but with one outing on 1. Well done Suzie.
Sent to Siberia
Old news for many perhaps, but two players well known locally are in Siberia at the moment with the chess Olympiad being played there. Lawrence Cooper is captaining the England men's team, and Suzie Blackburn is playing for the Wales ladies side.
Return of the Rook
Having endured the summer equivalent of hibernation, Rambling Rook is back in action, and updating his diary again.
For the collector
Lisborn Place Retirement Complex have a Chinese themed chess set available, to be sold in aid of Help the Heroes. Click on the picture for more pictures and information.
You owe the NSDCA ...
A file detailing the fees due from each club for the coming season is available here.
New venue for Macclesfield
Macclesfield chess club will now meet at the New Liberal Club, Boden St, Maccs, SK11 6LL in a function room on the top floor. The club night remains Monday. I have added directions to the Macclesfield page, with a map to follow shortly.
First GP event
The first of the Grand Prix events aimed at stronger players and organised by Alex Richardson was held at Newcastle tonight. Sixteen first division standard players turned out for a five round rapidplay won by Jonathan Blackburn. Details can be found under competitions-Grand Prix (link now on yellow section of navigation bar below).
Fenton C v Kidsgrove B moved
The Fenton C v Kidsgrove B fourth division fixture has been moved forward one day to Monday 11th October.
Div 5 fixture moved
Because of a clash with half-term the Cheddleton H match against Meir C has been moved from Oct 29th to Nov 12th.
Stafford on the net
Ken McNulty has uploaded a nicely designed site for Stafford Chess Club. It can be found here.
None of the sections at the Leek Congress held over the weekend were won by North Staffs players. A brief report is available here.
Fenton A v Meir A in division two has been postponed from 28th Sept and will now take place on Mon 29th Nov.
Hassell out of cups
Hassell are withdrawing from this years cup competitions as they are not confident of being able to raise teams.
More or less for four
Cheddleton have entered a team into division 4, resulting in more variety but fewer fixtures for the other teams there as they now play each onther just twice. The files on the downloads page have been altered to reflect this change.
H for Hassell
Hassell will be known as Cheddleton H this seasom, but will continue to play home matches at Newcastle Bridge Club. To accommodate this the team previously known as Cheddleton H have been rechristened Cheddleton I. The files on the downloads page have been altered to reflect this change.
Fixtures for the coming season are now available from the downloads page.
Fenton to Tuesday
In order to make best use of their venue Fenton have now alighted upon Tuesday as their club night, starting from 31st August.
Quick and strong
Alex Richardson is putting together a series of four competitions on a variation of quickplay for strong players to be held at Newcastle on Mondays through the season. Declarations of interest have already reached double figures. If you are, have been or soon will be graded 160+ ish, and think you would like to be involved, Alex would love to hear from you.
Cheddleton are now in a position to increase their highly provisional original five team entry to the league to a probable eight. I have adjusted the table in my AGM report lower down the page accordingly.
Division four looks as if it will again have five teams in it, so I shall write fixtures for the teams to play each other three times - I heard no complaints about this arrangement last year.
Double change for Fenton
Fenton have decided to revert to their 2009/10 distribution of teams, with one in division two and only one in five. I have changed the table of entries lower down the page to reflect this.
Fenton will also be changing their club night from Monday to Wednesday as from 23rd August.
The recent northern Giga-final in UK Chess Challenge featured success for North Staffordshire based Jacob Boswell (U8 boys section A winner), Skye Wiggins (joint first U9 girls), Alex Cartlidge (joint 2nd U13 boys) and Craig Whitfield (joint first U15 boys).
Several others scored at least 50% in their sections: Aum Choudhary, Amil Mohammed, Rhys Owens, Daniel Holland, Andrei Mihai, Harsh Ojha, Edina Hassell, Jack Healings, Jacob Cartlidge, Emma Crick, Rory Knipe, Ben Scattergood, Samuel Beardomre, Candice Griffiths, Liam Dimmick, Danny Graham, Joshua Hollins and Joe Jackson.
Results of last night's rapidplay jamboree can now be found on the usual rapidplay pages.
A Rapid Comment on the Rapidplay
I shall add fuller details about this evening's rapidplay jamboree on the rapidplay page later. For now:
The Open section was won by Cheddleton A with 7/8 ahead of Stafford on 5½. 8 teams entered.
The U130 section was won by Stafford on 6/8 ahead of Newcastle on 4½, six teams entering.
Particular thanks to Matthew Carr from Cannock who came up to help run the event, and to Traci who presented the trophies.
New Chief Terrier
Steve Emmerton has taken over the captaincy of the Staffordshire Terriers and would be pleased to hear from anyone interested in playing in the Inter-Counties U120 competition. He can be contacted by phone 01283 517569 or 07850 185536, or by email.
09/07/10, updated 10/07/10
Entries for the Jamboree on Tuesday close on Sunday. We are unable to accept later entries. Current entry list:
Open: Alsager, Cheddleton x 2, Fenton Kids, Holmes Chapel Jacks, Macclesfield, Newcastle, Stafford.
U130: Cheddleton x 3, Holmes Chapel, Newcastle, Stafford.
A couple of clubs reported that they were still actively seeking to create teams. The capacity of the venue is 16 teams.
The true record of last night's NSDCA AGM will of course appear in the minutes; what follows is my unofficial version. Sections in italics are additional comments not necessarily made at the meeting.
Just under 20 people attended the meeting hosted by Alsager Chess Club at their Radway Green Sports and Social Club venue, with county secretary Andrew Davies present alongside representatives of all North Staffs clubs bar Meir. Roger Edwards controlled proceedings with his usual good humour, not that much control was needed as no discussion ever threatened to become unpleasant.
The various officers had their two minutes of fame giving their reports. The General Secretary's plea wearing his grading officer hat that he be given full information about players to aid identification and the Treasurer's thanks for receiving all monies by Nov 1st were the more noteworthy statements. Fred Spicer (Results Secretary) was absent, as was Mark Whitby (Publicity/Website). The former had provided no report, the latter had provided a short statement which Robert read out explaining why Mark would be unavailable to fulfil any NSDCA duties over the coming year or so.
Andrew reported that the ECF are taking steps to pull back from the brink of financial disaster. The government via the DCMS acts as a significant source of income for the ECF through an annual grant of £60,000. Earlier in the season the DCMS put a stop on this grant as the ECF had no finance director nor credible plan as to how to make ends meet. The appointment of a competent finance director and presentation of a credible plan has resulted in an unfreezing of this grant. However it has already been announced that the grant is now to be cut to £45,000 and it seems distinctly possible that this will be cut further or even discontinued. Clearly there is pressure for the ECF to live within its means. Headcount at the ECF office is to be reduced, and communications will be electronic rather than snail mail based. This last might not sound much, but Council is a large body to keep in contact with. The latest accounts I have seen budgeted for £6000 for printing, photocopying and postage in 2009/10, which figure is already known to be an underestimate of these costs. I suspect that Andrew Farthing who has completed a review of the work of the ECF office may also have further recommendations for cost-cutting which are not yet generally known.
The ECF also seem to have some unrealistic expectations that their Chess for Schools scheme will bring in significant income. This admittedly cynical observer suspects that they will be lucky to cover any set-up and ongoing running costs.
On MCCU matters there seemed doubt that the MCCU does anything other than administer the Union stage of the inter-counties competition. Could this single task be performed without the existence of the Union?
Officers and Committee were re-elected unopposed except that the post of publicity/website was left unfilled. Steve Emmerton will approached to see whether he would be willing to take on Mark's League rep to county committee role. In effect Mark is a sleeping member of the committee as we hope he will be able to return in future. On the website I hope that Mark will display some message explaining what is going on rather than simply leaving the site to become more and more out-of-date.
The President declared a short break for attendees to replenish glasses and partake of the sandwiches that Alan Thomason had arranged. It is always a good idea to partake of liquid refreshment if provided on-site - not only does it ease the strain of talking but it increases the chance of the venue welcoming us at any future time.
Bill Armstrong's proposal to alter the minimum counting grade on bottom board in division two drew little enthusiasm and was duly defeated.
The discussion drew a variety of comments about the main problem being lack of teams in division one. Unfortunately with a limited number of strong players in the area it is not possible to have a division 1 that is both large and Open. The other divisions are spaced out at 15 point intervals with respect to the average grade limit. This would suggest a team limit of 800 for division one, yet all four teams competing last year exceeded this in at least some of their games, making it more of a division 0. Indeed Cheddleton and Holmes Chapel sometimes topped 875 making them on those occasions division -1 teams. It is perhaps not surprising that there is not a queue of other sides wanting to join the top division. Alsager's decision to do so is welcome, though as Alan Thomason pointed out may well not have been made had Bill's proposal been passed.
A full set of trophies was available for presentation though it had not been assembled in time to arrange for the engraving of this year's winners to be added. It is planned to do two years at once next year, at the same time replacing the title panels to properly reflect the current competitions.
Looking forward on the financial front the meeting was happy to endorse the treasurer's proposal that fees be frozen for a year which will probably result in a small reduction in reserves. This proposal did however come with a warning that fees will need to increase the following season.
The discounted rates (for payment before Nov 1st) are thus £7 for Open cup, £4 for other cups. In the league 5 board teams will cost £10 plus £2.50 per fixture and 4 board teams £8 plus £2 per fixture. Participants in the rapidplay jamboree will be charged £2 per team and this will be collected alongside the fees above.
Those paying after the end of the discount period will have to find an extra £4 for each main league entry, £1 for other competitions.
The Association likes to support chess beyond the competitions it organises. A proposal that financial support be given to an individual player was clearly unexpected in some quarters, but was passed in due course. In general the Association is willing to make small donations to those chosen to represent their countries yet expected to meet (some) costs out of their own pockets. Obviously it can only do this if the players participation is drawn to the attention of the committee or AGM. The Association also supports local congresses, though the existence of these is known. The Newcastle Mini that I run is one such event, and it was a pleasant surprise when it was first proposed that this be included in the list of donations.
I shall update these as changes occur. In particular with Meir's plans unknown we felt unable to do other than put them down for the same as last year. The number of Cheddleton league teams is also likely to increase, and changes in general made in the light of the grades when published. As I normally write fixtures early to mid-August any changes made before about a week into that month can be accommodated in the fixture lists without causing problems.
Provisional entries for league: (updated 20/07/10, 10/08/10, 08/09/10)
|Div 1||Div 2||Div 3||Div 4||Div 5
|Cheddleton||Cheddleton x2||Cheddleton||Cheddleton||Cheddleton x4
|H Chapel||H Chapel x2||H Chapel||
|Newcastle||Newcastle x 2||Newcastle||Newcastle||
Under AOB Robert paid tribute to the late John Donaldson, record of which will find a permanent home in the minutes.
I reminded people to email match results to me, particularly important now that Mark will not be collecting scores in his now abandooned role as publicity/website.
John Amison brought up the desirability of continuing with the mobile phone automatic default rule. A few comments were made, but unless a proposal is put to the meeting to effect a change nothing will happen. Such proposals cannot be made under AOB but have to be made in advance so that they can be circulated with the AGM papers.
The date for the next AGM has provisionally been set as Tue 12th July at Fenton.
Reminder that league AGM is Thu 8th July at Alsager, 7.30 start. Besides the usual business there is just one proposal for debate:
In division 2, the minimum counting grade for board five players and for a default on that board should be reduced from 120 to 100.
Open run ends
Staffordshire's run in the Open section of the inter-counties came to end at the hands of Sussex at the semi-final stage, the southerners running out 9 - 7 winners.
Latest plans for the rapidplay jamboree are for it to be held at Newcastle on Tues 13th July. Two thirty minute games, teams of four, with open and U130 sections. Badger some friends to make up a team.
Sixty three players turned out for the 6 round Leek Rapidplay on Sunday. The 29 player Cheddleton Section (U200) was won by Newcastle's Alex Richardson with a score of 5½, a point clear of Craig Whitfield (Cheddleton), Oliver Jackson (Poynton) and Ryszard Maciol (West Bromwich). Dave Buxton secured the slow starter prize.
The St Edward's section for those graded U145 attracted 34 entrants and was won by Philip Zabrocki of Shrewsbury whose perfect 6 gave him a full point lead over Vlade Luzajic (Cheddleton) and Michael Lally (Sheffield). The slow starter prize was shared by Angelica Dean (3Cs, Oldham), and Ashwin Kalyana (Solihul Checkmate).
Staffs Mega Final
Over 140 pupils from roughly 40 schools competed in the Staffs Mega final held at Leek towards the end of May. Amongst the qualifiers for the Giga final were the following local players:
U17B: Joe Jackson (W)
U15B: Craig Whitfield (N)
U14B: Joshua Hollins (C)
U13B: Liam Dimmick (E), Alex Cartlidge (J), Danny Graham (E),
U12G: Candice Griffiths (E)
U12B: Rory Knipe (E), George Hamilton (E), David Kay (E), Samuel Beardmore (C), Daniel Washington (Y)
U11G: Emma Crick (H)
U11B: Jacob Cartlidge (V), Jack Healings (V)
U10B: Andrei Mihai (E), Kieran Smith (E), Daniel Holland (H)
U9G: Skye Wiggins (V)
U9B: Aum Choudhary (N), Rhys Owens (N), Amil Mohammed (A), Joshua Carroll (V)
U8B: Jacob Boswell (T), Jacob Preston (S)
U8G: Edina Hassell (V)
U7B: Ted Murray (V)
U6G: Victoria Holland (H)
Key: A: Ash Green, C: Clayton, E: St Edward's, H: Hassell, J: St Joseph's, N: Newcastle School/Orme House, S: Seabridge, T: St Thomas, V: St Wulstans, W: Westwood, Y: Hayward Coll
Summary information about the strength of teams and boards fielded through the season can be found under misc - 09/10 in figures