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News Items From the 2017/18 Season

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CLUB NEWS

Tie at the top
31/05/18 Alan tied with Petru Floresc on 4/5 to share first place in the club's end of season rapidplay. Using cunning tactics they both lost in round 1 and weren't required to play each other in the remaining rounds. Full results under internal events.

Joy for Joe
28/05/18 Joe won his section at the Staffordshire Megafinals with a perfect 6. Well done.

Elimination loss
25/05/18 Newcastle lost their Perry Cup Final to Cheddleton on board elimination after wins from Joe and Brian resulted in a level score.

C Fall Away
25/05/18 Having been in contention for the title, the C team lost their final three games to come in third. The latest loss came against at Cheddleton E, with Nic winning and Richard drawing.

End of Season rapidplay
19/05/18 This year's end of season rapidplay takes place on Wed 30th May at the Bridge Club, 7.30 start. Usual five fifteen minute games.

B end on Bum Note
17/05/18 The B team lost their final match of the season, albeit narrowly with Alan winning and both Richard and Alberto getting draws.

Finishing draw for D
15/05/18 The D team finished their campaign with a draw at Cheddleton F on Friday, probably meaning they'll occupy the runners-up spot in division four. Pete won and John and Paul drew.

C Stay Still
11/05/18 The C team lost again on Wednesday, this time at home to Meir A, with Alan's draw and John's win being insufficient to earn a point on their own.

Perry Delay
05/05/18 Newcastle's Perry Cup Final match at home to Cheddleton has been postponed to 23rd May.

1½ to the Home Team
03/05/18 Newcastle played three matches last night, in every one of which the home team scored 1½ points. Luckily two of the matches were away despite it being our club night.

At home to Cheddleton A Reinhold, Barry and Alan all drew; at Crewe D in division four Nic and Jeff won and John drew for our D team whilst at Crewe F Pete and David provided the wins and Alberto the draw for the E team.

Win and Draw
26/04/18 The E team's good season continued with a win at home to Crewe F thanks to victories from Pete, David and Edward. It's looking very much as if the team will finish second in division five. Meanwhile the B team accrued a point with reinhold and Alberto winning and Hambel taking a draw.

C hit Turbulence
24/04/18 The C team's efforts to win division three suffered a setback as they went down at Fenton B last night, with Richard's win and Watson's draw being insufficient ot gain a point.

Good Loss
20/04/18 Outgraded by an average of 30 points a board the A team still came away from Cheddleton with three draws from Alan, Hambel and John.

Newcastle Edge Crewe double-header
19/04/18 Newcastle edged their 9 board showdown with Crewe by 5 to 4 last night at the Bridge Club. In the division two match against the visitors A team, all was drawn, with Barry, Alan, Hamble, Richard and Nic filling our B team boards. The clash of the Es saw more action, with Alberto and Joe winning and David getting the draw which saw the visitors slip to their first defeat of the season.

Two Firsts
16/04/18 Martyn won the Major section of the Mini congress outright, and Richard the top spot in the Intermediate section to bring some joy to the club.

Major silver
16/04/18 The Major Cup team lost their final on Friday despite draws from Alan, Alberto and Joe.

Inter Loss
12/04/18 The Intermediate Cup team lost their final to Crewe despite draws from Richard, Pete and Paul.

Withnall Progress
10/04/18 The club played their Withnall Cup semi-final against Fenton on Monday, coming out on top thanks to wins from Alberto and Nic, and a draw from Joe.

National club goes
10/04/18 Newcastle were unable to retain their National Club title over the weekend. Have to let others have a turn at winning.

B well off the pace
06/04/18 The B team slipped into the lower regions of division 2 as they suffered defeat at the hands of Cheddleton C on Wednesday. Alberto won, Alan drew and the rest didn't.

D Edge Forward
04/04/18 Pete won and Paul and Brian drew as the D team picked up a useful point at Crewe C tonight.

C confirm a medal
04/04/18 The C team's win at Alsager B last night ensured a top three finish, though they'll hope to be in the mix for the title. Alan and Richard won, supported by Nic and watson drawing.

Unhappy returns for B, E draw
28/03/18 The B teams return match with Cheddleton D went badly wrong, with only a draw from John preventing the whitewash. Mmeanwhile in the battle of the E teams at Crewe, the spoils were shared with Edward's win and draws from Alberto and Brian securing the point.

Point for B
25/03/18 The B team picked up a point at Cheddleton D on Friday, with paul's win being supported by draws from Alan, Alberto and Nic.

Hambel Swings It
22/03/18 Hambel's win was decisive for the C team at home to Crewe B last night, with Alan, John and Watson all drawing.

E pass 50%
21/03/18 The E team guaranteed an above average season by beating Cheddleton H tonight to move to 17 points. Pete and Edward got full points and David the critical draw.

Four New Dates
17/03/18 The B team home matches against Cheddleton B, Cheddleton D and Rooks have been rearranged for 16 May, 28 March and 25 April respectively, whilst the C team home match against Cheddleton E is now scheduled for 23 May.

And one not so close
15/03/18 The team enjoyed themselves last night at home to Cheddleton I with Richard, Joe, Pete and Edward all winning.

Two close matches
15/03/18 Last nights matches with Crewe were both close run affairs, with home advantage telling in both cases. The B team lost at Crewe A despite Barry's win and draws from Reinhold and Nic, whilst Newcastle came out on top in the clash of the Ds thanks to Jeff's win, with John, Paul and Brian all drawing.

Joe Rules Blackpool
11/03/18 Joe scored a perfect 5 in winning the Standard section of the Blackpool Congress over the weekend.

Set back for E
11/03/18 The E team went down 1½ - 2½ at Cheddleton H on Friday despite a win from David and a draw from Pete.

Two Biggies
08/03/18 Reinhold drew and Barry, Alan, Hambel and John won as the A team proved unwanted guests for Stafford A, whilst the Perry Cup team of Pete, Paul, Brian and Jeff reached their final by whitewashing Crewe's A team at the Bridge Club.

Watson Secures the Draw
06/03/18 Watson's win, backed by draws from John and Richard secured a point for the C team at Kidsgrove last night.

All Off
03/03/18 All last week's Newcastle matches fell victims to the weather. Could well be a case of "What are you doing in May?"

B Back on the Scoreboard
24/02/18 Following two defeats, the B team picked up their first point of 2018 as wins from Richard and Nic backed by John's draw enabled them to draw their match at Cheddleton C last night.

Mixed Night For Newcastle
22/02/18 Joe, Pete and David all won as the E team ran out winners against Meir B last night, but draws from Reinhold, Barry, Alan and Hambel were not enough to prevent the A team slipping to a narrow defeat at the hands of Holmes Chapel A.

Stafford Open up Newcastle
14/02/18 Stafford dumped Newcastle out of the Open Cup last night, with John and Reinhold maintaining our respectability with a win and draw respectively.

Major Progress
09/02/18 Newcastle progressed to the Major Cup Final on Wednesday at the expense of Crewe with Alan and Hambel winning and John, Richard and Nic getting draws.

E move up
02/02/18 The E team moved up the fifth division table thanks to their victory over Meir C on Wednesday. Joe, Pete and David all won, with Alberto drawing on top board.

D Demolish Leaders
31/01/18 The D team beat fourth division leaders Stafford B with the help of wins from Paul and Jeff and draws from John and Richard.

Black Night for B
31/01/18 On a night of five black wins at Macclesfield on Monday the B team of course had three whites, as befits the away side. Alan and Alberto were the lucky holders of the dark pieces.

Good Week for E
27/01/18 Fixture rearrangements left the E team with two matches in a week, but having picked up four points from the two, the E team will hardly be complaining. The second match saw wins from Pete and Edward backed by draws from Alberto and Joe enable the team to emerge victorious from their visit to Cheddleton I.

E Engineer a Win
25/01/18 Victories by Joe, Pete and David gave the E team a home win against Alsager C last night.

More Points for C
24/01/18 The C team picked up two more points at Alsager A last night to keep them well in contention for the division three title. Wins from Hambel and John supported by draws from Richard and Watson did the damage.

Thivyaa does the High Jump
23/01/18 The January grades have just been published, with Thivyaa's leaping from 146 to 176, putting Joe's also impressive increase from 93 to 111 partly in the shade. Well done both.

Full list for the club, with changes from August:
Alex198+4
Reinhold184
Thivyaa176+30
Barry160
Martyn156+1
Alan153+4
Hambel131-5
John130+1
Richard125+4
Alberto112-5
Nic112-1
Joe111+18
Paul103-3
Jeff100+3
Watson95-3
Pete94-6
Brian88-6
Derrick71
Edward47-1
 

B Busted
18/01/18 Newcastle's weakest second division team for many years were no match for Fenton A last night, having just draws from Richard and Alberto to show for the evening's efforts. Many thanks to those who turned out despite there being none of last season's A team squad available to take the flak on the high boards.

A Postponed
15/01/18 The A team home match against Cheddleton A due to be played on 24th Jan has been postponed.

Point for E
15/01/18 The B team picked up a useful point on Friday against Cheddleton G, with Pete and Edward getting wins.

C Back to Winnning Ways
11/01/18 The C team got back to winning ways last night, with a convincing win over Fenton B thanks to wins from Barry, Richard and Watson and a draw by Nic.

D do the Business
09/01/18 The D team won at Fenton C last night, with wins from Pete and Brian backed up by draws from John and Paul.

B Off
06/01/18 The B team's home match against Cheddleton D due to be played Wednesday has been postponed at Cheddleton's request. Suspect it suits us too.

Inter progress
04/01/18 Nic, Paul and Joe all won as the Intermediate Cup team progressed at the expense of Alsager last night despite Richard and Alberto being unavailable.

Half for Hambel, Tough for Thivyaa
28/12/17 Hambel started her Hastings adventure with a draw, whilst Thivyaa, deciding to tough it out in the main event, came second in her first game. Nominally Thivyaa's game was on the live boards, but it appeared that a malfunction prevented all but the first few moves being broadcast live. Don't think she'll be on the live boards tomorrow, but fingers crossed she can get back onto them for at least one more game despite being one of the lowest seeds.

Hambel makes Hast(e) - ings
19/12/17 Hambel's name appears in the list of entrants for the Xmas pm tournament at the Hastings International Congress. Good luck; we'll be watching you - both a threat and a promise.

D Postpone
07/12/17 The D team have postponed their visit to Crewe D as travelling condtions are uncertain.

C come a cropper at Crewe
07/12/17 The C team lost at Crewe B last night despite Richard's win and Hambel's draw.

B Bash Rooks
01/12/17 A B team of Barry, Martyn, Alan, Hambel and Alberto enjoyed themselves at a noisy Holmes Chapel last night, with Barry drawing and the rest winning.

C Draw Short
29/11/17 It was the C team's turn to find themselves a draw short, with half points from Richard, Paul and Watson not being enough to get their side anything from the home match with Alsager B.

Alberto's Allegro
24/11/17 A reminder that Alberto is running a quickplay tournie at the club on Wed 6th Dec. The only excuse for not supporting him is that you're involved in the C team match at Crewe.

Not Enough Draws
23/11/17 Three draws, from John, Paul and Jeff, were not enough to gain a point for the D team at home to Cheddleton F last night.

Postponement
22/11/17 The E team's home match against Cheddleton I due to be played next week has been postponed. New date to follow.

Newcastle win battle of Bs
18/11/17 Wins from Alan, Alberto and Nic enabled the B team to secure a narrow victory at Cheddleton B last night.

Withnall
16/11/17 Newcastle's team of Alberto, Joe, Paul and Jeff progressed in the Withnall cup at Meir's expense last night, with Paul's draw sparing the opposition from suffering a whitewash.

Deja Vu
15/11/17 The E team drew at Meir again on Monday, this time with Pete and Jeff getting the wins against the host's C team.

C Chuffed
15/11/17 The C team were pleased with their excellent win at Cheddleton E on Friday, with Alan, Alberto and Nic all winning, and John taking a draw.

Just enough
09/11/17 The Open Cup team of Reinhold, Barry, Martyn, Alan, Hambel and Richard had just enough to beat Macclesfield in the first round with Alan winning and everyone else sharing the spoils on their board.

All White on the Night
08/11/17 Tne E team's visit to Meir B on Monday resulted in 4 wins for white. Alberto and Brian were the Newcastle players blessed with the pale pieces.

Another Open 50
06/11/17 Thivyaa scored another 50% in an open tournament, this time the 4NCL congress at Coventry. Her efforts deservedly gained her a rating prize.

A Struggle
03/11/17 The A team struggled at Holmes Chapel last night. Lots of long games with our heroes in with chances, but when the fat lady sang there were just Martyn's win and Hambel's draw on the board.

Withnall
03/11/17 Newcastle will entertain Meir in the County Withnall Cup on 15th November.

Another Pair
02/11/17 The 18th October saw two wins for the club, the 25th two draws. This week it was two losses as the D and E teams went down visiting Stafford B and entertaining Cheddleton G respectively. For the D team Jeff won and Brian drew, whilst for the E team Joe won and Pete drew.

Points Shared
26/10/17 The A and D teams both shared points with their opponents Stafford A and Fenton C respectively last night. For the A team Martyn and Alan won, Hambel drew, whilst for the D team Paul's default win was backed up by draws from Brian and Jeff.

First to five
19/10/17 Hambel became the first North Staffs player to reach 5 games played, with Alberto and Crewe members Doug Barnett and Amy Lovatt currently one short of that landmark.

B And D don't make BAD
19/10/17 Newcastle chalked up two more wins last night, courtesy of the B and D teams. Wins by Reinhold and Nic, backed by draws from Alan and Hambel, secured the B team two points against Macclesfield, whilst at Crewe C John and Pete provided the wins and Paul and Jeff the draws.

C Continue good start
16/10/17 The C team made it a hattrick of wins, coming away with the spoils from their visit to Meir thanks to Hambel, Richard and Watson all coming first in their games. Or next to last as I believe it is sometimes known.

Five go to Crewe
16/10/17 Thivyaa, Martyn, Hambel, Alberto and Nic spent the weekend playing the Crewe Congress. Thivyaa braved the Open section and was rewarded with a 50% score for a 190+ performance. As is so often the case Martyn forgot the bit about draws, achieving four wins for a share of second place in the major section. Hambel also played in th major achieving 50% despite being one of the lower seeds. Alberto and Nic both played in the intermediate, scoring 3½ and 2½ respectively, so none of our contingent needed to feel sorry for themselves.

C continue on winning track
11/10/17 The C team entertained Alsager A on Wednesday, and following quick wins from Hambel and Richard, Alan secured the draw that ensured the match win.

Full Set in Three
05/10/17 With captain Richard unavailable, Alberto was was roped into the C team to play Kidsgrove for his third game in as many days, gaining the win that gave him a full set of results. John also won, so Watson's draw was enough to secure the match victory.

E show how to do it
04/10/17 Wins from Pete, Brian and Edward backed up by a draw from Alberto gave the E team a winning start at Alsager C last night.

Room for Improvement
03/10/17 The B team massaged down any expectations for the season by losing at Fenton A with Barry's win being the sole bright spot.

Winning Start
18/09/17 Thivyaa, our resident globetrotter (if thats not a contradiction in terms) is currently in Montevideo, Uruguay, playing in the U14 girls section of the world youth championships. She won her first game yesterday, and is due on board 5 today. As chessbomb showed 6 boards from this section yesterday there seems a good chance that we'll be able to watch her round two game live at 9.30 local time, which is GMT-3, though of course we are currently BST which is ... . Today there are two rounds, though most days there are only one. Except for the rest day. Simple.

Fixture change
08/09/17 The E team's vist to Crewe F has bee moved from 20th Dec to 2nd May.

Martyn Masters AGM Quickplay
08/09/17 Martyn slimed his way out of a number of dubious or downright lost positions to achieve 100% in the AGM quickplay. Full results on the internal events page.

Earlier in the only slightly significant development Alberto replaced Martyn as club chairman, being too young to realise that at such meetings the words "if no-one else will" are tountamount to an acceptance speech.

English Thivyaa
03/09/17 Thivyaa played in the English Womens Championship over the weekend, with the competition including several full England Women Internationals. Hence her score of 50% was creditable and enabled her to gain several rating points.

AGM and Quickplay
28/08/17 Club AGM followed by a quickplay tournie will be on Wed 6th Sept.

Jonathan completes a sweep
28/08/17 Jonathan Blackburn won the summer half-hour with a perfect score of 6. Full scores on internal events page.

Quick and Friendly
19/08/17 Simon Edwards organised a five round quickplay friendly in which each member of a Cheddleton A team played each of the Newcastle A reps. 25 games in all, with no draws. Alex and Reinhold gave Newcastle a good start with 5 wins apiece, supported by Alberto on 3, Barry on two and Martyn on 1 as Newcastle ran out 16 - 9 winners. A fun evening of entertaining games which one might have liked to spend more time on, except of course the interesting positions wouldn't have arisen had we had more time to spend on them.

Newcastle Anonymous
17/08/17 Newcastle lost their final South Cheshire Shield match to return to 50%. John won and Brian drew as the team fell against Crewe A

Blackburn pulls clear
09/08/17 Jonathan Blackburn pulled well clear in the summer half-hour, reaching 4/4 as his potential main rivals dropped points.

Half-hour Starts
02/08/17 Ten players turned out for the first pair of games in the Summer Half-Hour last night; we're anticipating several more next week. Early leaders are Jonathan Blackburn and Martyn who both won their games. no prizes for guessing one of the pairings in round 3. Progress can be monitored on the internal events page.

Provisional Grades Published
27/07/17 The first draft of grades for the coming season has been released. Changes shown in the table below are relative to last August's rather than the January list. Don't be too surprised if there are changes to these before the season starts.
Alex194+4
Reinhold184+9
Barry160+3
Martyn155-4
Alan149+3
Thivyaa146+15
John D129+7
Richard121+6
Alberto117-4
Nic113-5
Paul106-16
Pete100-9
Watson98-15
Jeff97+6
Brian94-10
Derrick71+3
Edward48+2
 

Former members listed include
Paul Wallace (Lichfield)213
Richard Lee (Cambridge Uni)197
Ian Jamieson (Newport)178
Andrej Furjel (Weymouth)171
Geoff Marchant (Malvern)167
Daniel Sullivan (Sheffield)167
Dave Cork (Crawley)156
James Rothwell (Ormskirk)156
Simon Maydew (Newport)151
Glyn Valentine (Fenton)148
Catherine Hiley nee Ashton (Rugeley)138
Nick Lowe (Altrincham)124
Derek Northage (Kidsgrove)113
Robert West (Fenton)95
Ivan Prikazchikov93

Shield Team Edge Forward
27/07/17 A win for Brian backed by draws from John and Nic gave our Shield team another point against Alsager last night.

Thivyaa Drawn Out
27/07/17 Thivyaa's record in the Robinson was played five, drawn five. Perfection of sorts!

International Thivyaa
25/07/17 Thivyaa is currently playing for England in Cardiff in the Robinson section (U14s) of the Glorney Gilbert International, competing against teams from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France.

Summer Half Hour
22/07/17 This year's summer half-hour for members and invited guests will take place ove Weds 2nd, 9th and 23rd of August. Two half-hour games per night, you don't need to attend every night.

John Prevents Whitewash
19/07/17 Johns win was all the Shield team had to show for their visit to Crewe last night, with the host's A team denting our title aspirations.

More Points
12/07/17 The South Cheshire Shield won their return fixture with Crewe B thanks to wins by Nic and Brian and a draw from John.

Point for Shield Team
06/07/17 A win by John backed by draws from Alberto and Nic gained our South Cheshire Shield team a point at Crewe B last night.

Winning Start to Shield Campaign
28/06/17 The started their South Cheshire Shield season with a win at Alsager, with Nic and Brian contributing full points and Alberto and John halves.

Jamboree Capers
21/06/17 Newcastle had three teams in the Jamboree last night, with each side including a guest. The open team in which Steve Hill supported Reinhold, Alan and Barry finished as joint winners. In the U130 our South Team of Pete, Paul and Derrick and guest Pete Windows came second, two places above our North quartet of John, Richard, Nic and Julian Hawthorne. Full details here.

Close
15/06/17 John, Alberto, Richard, Paul and Nic represented the club in the final of the Jackson Cup against Lichfield at Stafford last night. Despite being outgraded on every board by an average of over 10 points Alberto won and John and Paul both drew leaving us on the wrong end of a narrow 2 - 3 scoreline. Indeed an extra half-point on any board would have given us the cup on board count. So close.


OTHER NEWS

Honours List
25/05/18 Time to start listing all the honours for the season. I'll keep this list at the top of the column until complete, when I'll date it (done) and allow it to sink with the rest of the news.
WinnersRunners up
Division 1H Chapel ACheddleton A
Division 2Fenton AMacclesfield
Division 3Crewe BFenton B
Division 4Cheddleton FNewcastle D
Division 5Crewe ENewcastle E
Open CupCheddletonStafford
Major CupCheddletonNewcastle
Inter CupCreweNewcastle
Minor CupCheddletonNewcastle

Rhyl
15/05/18 I've spotted seven names familiar to North Staffs players competing in the Rhyl Congress over the weekend. In the Major section Jon Blackburn scored 3, with wife Sandra and Michael Lee on 2½ and Rich Wiltshir on an unusually modest 2. Chris Rhodes and Julian Hawthorne were just outside the medals in the Minor section with scores of 3½, with Les Hall on 2.

Nottingham
30/04/18 Julian Hawthorne and Joe Hirst both finished on 50% in the Intermediate section of last weekend's Nottingham Congress despite being seeded in the bottom half.

Not at the Mini
24/04/18 Craig Whitfield was not at the Newcastle Mini congress, being engaged instaed in coming joint second in the Open Section of the 18th 4NCL Congress with ascore of 4/5. Thivyaa Rahulan found the going in this section rather tougher, whilst Sam Parry scored 50% in the Minor.

Fenton take two
17/04/18 Fenton A secured the division two title last night with their narrow victory over Cheddleton B.

Mini results
16/04/18 The 14th Newcastle Mini congress was the first run by Alberto Gissi. Martyn Harris (Newcastle, now Kendal) won the Major section with 4½, a point clear of Glyn Valentine (Fenton) and Michael Lee (Holmes Chapel). In the Intermediate section Richard Cantliff (Newcastle) and Simon Layhe (Crewe) tied for first on 3½, whilst the Minor was won by Harry Gardiner (Crewe) with 5 points, with Steve Szwajkun (Newport) second on 3½. Philip Wright (Crewe) picked up the Kangaroo prize. Hopefully I shall get around to a fuller report in due course.

Easter Exploits
03/04/18 A few players from the NSDCA found a better way of entertaining themselves than munching through a pile of chocolate egges over Easter. At Bolton Jacob Boswell scored 2½/5 in the Open, Sam Parry 2 in the Major and Julian Hawthorne 3 in the Knights section whilst Malcolm Roberts had his usual Easter sojurn at Exmouth scoring 3/7 in the FIDE graded major.

Plenty go to Blackpool
11/03/18 There was plenty of North Staffs representation at the Blackpool Congress over the weekend. Best scorers were Joe Hirst in the Standard Section with 5, Andy Raeburn in the Intermediate with 4 and Sam Parry and Chris Rhodes with 3½ in the Minor and Standard respectively. Dave Price beat par with 3, whilst Jacob Boswell, Mick Renshaw and Jon and Sandra Blackburn all reached 50%. Also spotted were Ken McNulty, Malcolm Roberts, Michael Lee, Les Hall, Simon Layhe, Philip Wright and Angie Renshaw.

Kidsgrove CC at Kidsgrove CC
08/02/18 Kidsgrove Chess Club have found a new home at the Kidsgrove Cricket Club, Kinnersley Ground, Clough Hall Road, Kidsgrove, ST7 1AN. They will continue to meet on Tuesdays except for the last one of each month. I have added a map to their club page.

First, Second and Supporting Acts
05/02/18 Several of the leagues players saw congress action over the weekend.

Rich Wiltshir took a bye during the Kidlington congress, meaning that he went into the final round a half-point off the lead held by his opponent on 4/4. Rich duly beat him to end up outright winner of the U145 section there.

Meanwhile at Frodsham Jacob Boswell shared second place in the Open section with a score of 3½. Chris Rhodes and Joe Hirst achieved the same score, this time in the U120 section, but it left them outside the main prize list, as did the 3s of Karl Lockett in the U160 and Julian Hawthorne in the U120.

More modest success pointswise was achieved by Andrew Raeburn, Doug Barnett, Sam parry, Michael Lee, Les Hall and Philip Wright, though their personal views of their performances will doubtless vary according to expectations based on their current grades.

Kidsgrove Homeless
31/01/18 Kidsgrove have been turfed out of their venue to make way for a restaurant conversion. Hopefully it won't be too long before they find another home.

N Staffs in Zomerzet
15/01/18 Julian Hawthorne scored 3/5 in the minor section at the Somerset New Year Congress in Clevedon over the weekend, leaving him just short of the prize list. Rich Wiltshir amassed 4 points in the intermediate section, leaving him in a tie for first and a few shekels better off, whilst yours truely slimed his way to 3½ in the major for a share of third prize.

Christmas Performances
20/12/17 I've updated the performances page to include results of all games played up to and including 19th Dec - I believe that there are no more matches to be played before the new year.

Spotted at Northwick
19/12/17 The Northwick Park (between London and Watford) Open featured not only Jacob Boswell who seems to get almost everywhere, but also a certain Malcolm J Armstrong displaying no club affiliation.

Update Gap
17/12/17 Sorry for the gap in updates folks. However I seem to be up and running internetwise in my new abode in Kendal, so I should now be able to make a reasonable attempt at keeping abreast of matters.

Ladies First
02/12/17 The latest performances chart shows that Sandra Blackburn and Hambel Willow are currently the leagues most active players, with 11 games each, ahead of Jon Blackburn on 10.

Preston Pleasure
28/11/17 This year's Preston Congress saw North Staffs success, with Julian Hawthorne winning the Standard Section outright with 4½/5 and Jon Blackburn being in a four way tie at the top of the Minor with 4/5, with Rich Wiltshir on 3½ and Sandra Blackburn and Sam Parry on 3.

The Major was a North Staffs free zone, whilst in the Open Jonathan Blackburn scored 3 as did Newcastle old boy Daniel Sullivan, now fighting out of Sheffield, and lowly seeded Thivyaa Rahulan reached 2.

Performances
23/11/17 I've put up my first chart of performances for the season. Already 151 players have participated in league and/or cup, with 46 of them having fitted in the minimum of 5 games necessary for me to give them a performance grading.

Switching Horses
22/11/17 Having played twice for Crewe at the beginning of the season Michael Williams has, with the blessing of the league secretary, switched allegiance to Alsager.

Julian sent to Coventry?
06/11/17 Or did he go of his own accord? Kidsgrove's Julian Hawthorne spent the weekend at the 4NCL Congress in Coventry, finishing anonymously in the middle of his section.

Rich and Steve Bury Their Troubles
31/10/17 Rich Wiltshir and Steve Emmerton played in the intermediate section of the Bury St Edmunds Congress over the weekend to good effect. Rich came top, and Steve has doubtless been told several times already not to spend his one-tenth share of third prize all at once.

Crewe Congress
16/10/17 There was plenty of local interest at the Crewe Congress played over the weekend, making up about one-third of the roughly 110 entry. Playing conditions were very comfortable, and a team of volunteers supported chief arbiter Matthew Carr.

The Open was shared by occasional Holmes Chapel players Jonathan Blackburn and Stuart Clarke on 4/5, Jacob Boswell and Thivyaa Rahulan scored 2½ and Craigg Whitfield 2.

In the major Martyn Harris' 4 was only worth a share of second, Hambel Willow and Neville Layhe scored 2½ with Geoff Laurence, Karl Lockett, Rich Wiltshir and Jon Blackbun on 2.

Lukasz Holcman and Chris Rhodes did the host club proud by being in a four way tie for first on 4 points in the intermediate, with Alberto Gissi a half-point behind. Doug Barnett, Mick Renshaw and Sam Parry all reached 3, with Rick Renegade, Dave Price, Roger Walker, Julian Hawthorne and Nic Wright all reaching 2½. Ernie Wilkinson, Simon Layhe, Stuart Hull and Martin Gill found the going a little tougher.

Nigel Gardner was the best placed local in the minor, scoring 3 points, with Angie Renshaw amongst those on 2½, with Philip Wright, Dick Martin, Harry Gardiner and Patrick Curr close on their heels.

Numbers Crunched
01/10/17 I've crunched some numbers about the teams and players fielded last year. The results can be found lurking in the miscellaneous section here.

Blackburns on Man
29/09/17 Whilst the very heavy brigade are strutting themselves in the Isle of Man Open, Sandra and Jon Blackburn are also there participating in what are somewhat unkindly referred to as the side events. But they'll be back for the star of the season.

Fixture Summary
23/09/17 I have added an all fixtures on one sheet pdf file to those available from the fixtures downloads page.

Grades Booklet
22/09/17 I have compiled a North Staffs grade booklet in pdf format which can be downloaded from the fixture downloads page. Print pages back to back, fold, and you are in business.

Leek results leaked
18/09/17 Jonathan Blackburn, Craig Whitfield and Jacob Boswell were amongst the joint winners on 3½/5 of the Open Section of the Staffordshire Congress at Leek with Rob Shaw a half-point further back.

The Major title was shared by Jon Blackburn and Doug Barnett on 4. Rich wiltshir finished strongly to reach 3½ whilst Jacob Cartlidge reached 3. The pile-up on 50% included Alex Cartlidge, Richard Cantliff and Caroline Mountford, whilst Sandra Blackburn, Rick Renegade and Sam Parry all had quieter events.

Julian Hawthorne was clear winner of the minor section with 4½, with Ron Harrison and Joe Alcock in close attendance on 4. Martin Gill and Paul Shelley were amongst those on 3½ and Alberto Gissi, Joe Hirst, Roger Walker and Les Hall featured within the 3 bracket. With more modest scores I recognise the names Joshua Brown, Martin Chadwick, Philip Wright and Jasmine and Jamie Jones.

Nearly Local Simul
Those who enjoy testing themselves against a Grandmaster have the opportunity to face Danny Gormally at Malpas on October 8th provided there is sufficient interest.

Charles Higgie informs me that top English Grandmaster, Danny Gormally has offered to visit Malpas and play a simul here in Malpas on Sunday October 8, 11am start. Would anyone be interested? Cost is 20 for adults, 10 for juniors (under 18 and full time students studying for first degree, if they have proof).

Hopefully use of Jubilee Hall for playing and Gemma Charlotte Moon's The Old School Tea Rooms for refeshments, analysis etc.

Daniel W. Gormally (born 4 May 1976) is an English chess Grandmaster. His peak rating is 2573, achieved in the January 2006 rating list. He shared first place at the Politiken Cup in 1998 and in 2003, won the Challengers tournament of the 78th Hastings International Chess Congress. In 2015 he tied for the second place with David Howell and Nicholas Pert in the 102nd British Championship and eventually finished fourth on tiebreak. Also in 2015, he appeared as a contestant in three episodes of the television quiz Fifteen To One and in one episode of The Chase. Gormally played for the English national team in the 2005 European Team Chess Championship and 2006 Chess Olympiad.

If interested contact Charles through his facebook page Charles Lowick Higgie or by email higgiecharles@gmail.com .

Fixtures update
A couple of division 5 fixture changes to report: Crewe E v Cheddleton I moving from 20th Dec to 1st Nov and Crewe F v Newcastle E from 20th Dec to 2nd May.

Fixtures published
28/08/17 I've uploaded fixture files to my fixture downloads page. Inevitably they are uglier than I would like.

I spy Malcolm
28/08/17 Malcolm Armstrong played in the recent Abu Dhabi Masters. First time I've spotted his name since a quickplay in Hong Kong I think last year.

Cup draws
17/08/17 Dave Hulme and myself made the draws for the cups at Newcastle last night:
Open
Cheddleton v H Chapel
Crewe v Fenton
Stafford bye
Newcastle v Macclesfield
Major
Fenton v Cheddleton
Alsager v H Chapel
Crewe bye
Newcastle bye
Inter
Newcastle v Alsager
Crewe v Cheddleton
Minor
Newcastle bye
Crewe PA v Alsager
Cheddleton v Fenton
Crewe PB v Meir
In each competition the semi-finals are winner of first match v winner of second, and winner of third v winner of fourth, with the winning team from the top half of the draw being at home in the final, except that Inter starts at semi-final stage.

New Season Entries
as at 16/08/17 I'll be writing fixtures on the basis of the entries below:
Div 1Div 2Div 3Div 4Div 5
Alsager x 2Alsager
CheddletonCheddleton x 3CheddletonCheddletonCheddleton x 3
CreweCreweCrewe x 2Crewe x 2
FentonFentonFenton
H ChapelH ChapelKidsgrove
MacclesfieldMeirMeir x 2
NewcastleNewcastleNewcastle NewcastleNewcastle
StaffordStafford


Cups
OpenMajorInterMinor
AlsagerAlsagerAlsager
CheddletonCheddletonCheddletonCheddleton
CreweCreweCreweCrewe x 2
FentonFentonFenton
H ChapelH Chapel
MacclesfieldMeir
NewcastleNewcastleNewcastleNewcastle
Stafford


Thursday/Friday at the British
05/08/17 Alex has got back up to 50% with a draw and a win, whilst the North Staffs contingent managed 5 draws and a loss betweeen them in their two games each in the Major open.

Jacob Boswell won on Thursday in the U16's, Sam Parry drew on friday in the U12s.

The midweek competitions came to their conclusions, with Les Hall being our star, a further two wins taking him to second place in the U120 section with a score of 4/5. Somewhat perversely he could only reach 2½ in the U100s. Julian Hawthorne recorded four wins over the two days to reach 3/5 in both the U140 and U120 sections. Joe Hirst had a win in each of his two sections to reach 2½ in the U120 and 3½ in the U100 section. The latter was enough for a share of 4th place. Malcolm Roberts and Sam Parry had late consolation wins in the U140 section. A good learning experience for Sam in a section in which Malcolm and Michael Lee ended with modest totals.

Wednesday Winners
03/08/17 North Staffs winners in their games at the British yesterday were Simon Edwards and Jacob Boswell in the Major Open, Michael Lee in the U140, and Les Hall in the U120. Throw in eight draws and it was a much better day than Tuesday.

Tuesday at the British
02/08/17 A bad day for North Staffs at the British - six draws and eight losses, with a solitary win from Joe Hirst in the U100s.

Monday at the British
01/08/17 Alex Richardson got his first win of the championships to return to 50%, alongside amongst others a couple of GMs. Only Jacob Boswell with a draw will be happy with me mentioning the Major Open today.

In the juniors Jacob drew in the U16s and Sam Parry won in the U12s.

Malcolm Roberts' half point bye was the North Staffs highlight in the U140/1750 section. The madness of trying to convert between FIDE ratings and ECF grades especially for juniors was highlighted by Julian Hawthorne's opponent being rated 1272 and graded 145. Les Hall started both his U120 and U100 campaigns with wins, Julian had a default win in the U120s, and Joe Hirst, who we hope will be a future member at Newcastle gained a point in the U100s and a half in the u120s.

First Sunday at Llandudno
31/07/17 Alex Richardson got off the mark with a draw in round 2, so should be safe from a forced bye for a few rounds. Simon Edwards is one of 6 players on 2/2 in the major open, though both Colin Davison and Jacob Boswell picked up blobs to leave them off the early pace.

In the weekender Julian Hawthorne, Martin Gill and Les Hall finished respectively with scores of 3½, 3, and 2½.

Jacob Boswell won his first round U16 game, whilst Sam Parry started with a draw in the U12s.

The midweek competitions are grading/rating restricted, with ratings taking precedence, which results in one or two sharks playing in unreasonably low sections due to a low rating. The U140/1750 will be played in the afternoons and features Malcolm Roberts (claiming a round one bye), Michael Lee, Julian Hawthorne and Sam Parry. Amongst the sharks you are allowed to boo are Robert Clegg and Brendan O'Gorman. U140? You jest. Julian Hawthorne is well into this congress lark, playing also the U120/1600, which conveniently is scheduled for mornings. He may trip over Les Hall who is also lurking in the field for this event, but who in the afternoons will be playing in the U100/1450.

Good luck to all.

And They're Off
30/07/17 The ECF's annual Summer Congress is up and running, this year at Llandudno, with a smattering of local interest. In the British Championship Alex Richardson started with a loss against IM James Adair. Easily done. Today he has black against Brian Hewson. In the Major Open Simon Edwards and Colin Davison both won, Jacob Boswell drew. Both the Championship and Major Open last until next Sunday, playing one game a day.

Into the juniors. Jacob Boswell kicks off his U16 campaign today as the sixth seed. No pressure. Still with a seven round morning event and 9 round afternoon one to keep him busy he'll have no time to ponder what he is upto. Sam Parry starts off as an anonymously middling seed in the U12, another 7 day event.

First weekend events include the Yates in which after three rounds Julian Hawthorne and Martin Gill are on 2, and Les Hall on one. The parents of one of the competitors couldn't resist the temptation to name their offspring Atticus Fear. Could you?

Sheffield Pile-up
04/07/17 Roger Walker and Sam Parry were involved in a seven way tie for first on 4/5 in the Minor Section of the Sheffield Congress played on the last weekend of June. Well done both.

Jamboree
21/06/17 A lower than normal eleven teams rolled up for this year's jamboree. The Open section was a close affair with Stafford and Newcastle tieing on 5½, just clear of Cheddleton A on 5. At half time the u130 section looked likely to equally close, but a storming 4/4 by Crewe in the second games left them clear winners on 6½, ahead of Newcastle South on 5 and Fenton on 4½. Full details here.

South Cheshire Shield
07/06/17 I've somewhat belatedly got around to resetting my South Cheshire Shield page ready for this years action.

Five go to the Lakes
07/06/17 Jacob Boswell, Rich Wiltshir, Malcolm Roberts, Julian Hawthorne and myself all sampled the South Lakes congress at its new venue in Kendal over the weekend. Although Rich, Malcolm and myself all featured on high boards at some stage, none of us had the staying power to reach the prize list. The playing area was a rather echoey (is there such a word?) sports hall which with approx 140 players was only half filled, but Kendal is pleasanter/more fun to explore than other places one could mention with leisure centres, so I intend to return.


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