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News Items From the 2008/09 Season

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More wins for Derrick
27/05/09 Derrick again starred picking up two wins as the for the U130 rapidplay team as they took three match points from Holmes Chapel.

Champions league clash
20/05/09 Newcastle's rapidplay matches with Stafford (open division) have been put back to 10th June to avoid clashing with Champions League final. Don't blame me, I'm not a Utd supporter.

Open team make rapid debut
20/05/09 The Open team made a good start to their campaign with a double victory at Kidsgrove. Alan, Martyn, Pete and Richard all recorded at least one win.

A nice finish
19/05/09 The a team had a nice finish to their season with a 4 - 1 win at Cheddleton A. Alex, Barry and Martyn all won.

A starter for one
19/05/09 Newcastle's u130 rapidplay team started with a loss and a draw at Fenton last night despite Derrick winning both of his games.

Bottom boards star for D
17/05/09 Paul and Steve both won as the D team rounded off their season with a 2½ - 1½ win at Alsager B.

C draw
17/05/09 The C team drew their final match of the season at Cheddleton E on the back of a win by Francis.

Quick Alex
13/05/09 Alex won the club's end of season rapidplay with 4½/5 ahead of guests Malcolm Armstrong and Gerald Acey. Hassell's Matthew Kelly also starred with his 3/5 score leaving him ahead of Alan and Martyn amongst others.

Just three seconds
12/05/09 No, not a promise to be quick, but a summary of the club's season, with the A and C teams being runners-up in divisions 1 and 3 respectively and the U135 team beaten finalists in their cup.

More points for C
28/04/09 The C team picked up two more points last night by defeating HC Pawns with the help of wins by Francis and John.

E end with a loss
25/04/09 Derrick was Newcastle's only winner as the E team went down 1½ - 2½ at Cheddleton J in their last match of the season.

U135 team lose final
22/04/09 The U135 team only had draws from John and Pete to show for their efforts against Holmes Chapel in the U135 cup final.

End of season quickplay
20/04/09 The club's end of season quickplay (five 15 minute games) will take place on Wed 13th May. Draw for round one based on those present at 7.30.

D team edge forward
17/04/09 The D team picked up a point at Cheddleton G last night, with Steve getting an important win.

Fighting to the end
15/04/09 The A and C teams maintained their outside chances of glory by getting narrow victories over Cheddletons B and E respectively. Newcastle winners were Barry and Martyn for the A team and Francis and John for the C team.

Complete draw
13/04/09 Last weeks home match for the D team against Cheddleton G resulted in draws on all boards.

B end on a high
08/04/09 The B team completed their season with a win at Knights. Pete and Derrick won and drew respectively on the bottom boards to take the pressure off the top boards. The only other decisive game was Martyn's which was also the last to finish as he turned around a very uncomfortable position to get the win.

Crowded club
01/04/09 The club was crowded tonight as three matches took place. The A team beat Stafford A with wins from Chris and a default, the C team drew with Stafford B with Francis being Newcastle's sole winner, and the E team drew with Cheddleton I with the help of wins from Paul and Richard.

Richard can't save E team
27/03/09 Despite Richard's win, the E team went down 1 - 3 at Alsager C last night.

B beaten
25/03/09 The B team went down 2 - 3 again, this time at home to Macclesfield, with John being our sole winner.

John leads C to victory
24/03/09 John's win was enough to secure the C team 2½ - 1½ victory at Fenton B last night.

C slowed
23/03/09 The C team lost 1 - 3 at Cheddleton F on Friday, which dents but does not destroy their title ambitions.

E progress
19/03/09 The E team beat Hassell 3 - 1 last night with Derrick and William providing the wins.

Solid win for B
18/03/09 The B team secured a 4½ - ½ victory at Holmes Chapel Rooks tonight with Alan, Martyn, Tim and Nic all winning.

D edged out at Kidsgrove
12/03/09 Despite Paul's win the D team went down 1½ - 2½ at Kidsgrove A last night.

More points for A
12/03/09 The A team beat Alsager 4½ - ½ last night with Alex, Alan, Barry and Martyn all winning.

4 draws equals one loss
07/03/09 For the second time in 10 days a Newcastle team lost a match despite getting 4 draws. I'm going to cry.

D dumped by Fenton
04/03/09 The D team were dumped out of the fourth division title race by Fenton C, going down 1 - 3 at home.

Escape to victory
02/03/09 The B team won 3½ - 1½ at Fenton A tonight on the back of victories for Alan and Martyn, neither of whom had a definite plus in sight until late in their games.

Captain calamity
26/02/09 B team captain blundered early and horribly in last night's match against Cheddleton C and then had to watch as each of the other boards ended in draws. Anything but a captain's innings.

D maintain interest
26/02/09 The D team maintained their outside chances of the fourth division crown with a solid 3 - 1 win against leaders Cheddleton H last night, with victories for Sam, Nic and Steve.

E postpone
22/02/09 The E team have postponed their match at Cheddleton J this week. A new date of April 17th has been arranged.

A win at last
20/02/09 It seems ages since I was able to report a win, but the C team provided the club with a much neded boost last night winning 3½ - ½ at Stafford B last night with Geoff, john and Pete all winning.

Steve not enough
18/02/09 The U90 team lost to Fenton in the semi-final of their cup despite Steve's win.

No progress in U110
14/02/09 The U110 team made no progress in their cup, losing to Cheddleton with just draws for Pete and Paul to show for their efforts.

Board count woe
09/02/09 Newcastle went out to Warley Quinborne in the Withnall cup on board count despite wins for John and Paul.

B Beaten
04/02/09 The B team went down 2 - 3 at home to Cheddleton D tonight, Martyn being our sole winner.

Snowed off
04/02/09 Monday's C team match at Fenton was postponed because of the snow.

Kings too strong
29/01/09 Holmes Chapel Kings proved too strong for the A team as Alan's draw stood alone between Newcastle and a whitewash.

New clocks, big win
29/01/09 Giving a debut to our new clocks, the D team picked up the club's first clean sweep of the season as Sam, Nic, Paul and Steve put Meir B to the sword last night.

Scramble to victory
26/01/09 The B teams match at Meir A was decided by a time scramble on board two where Martyn found a win to go with Tim's and so sneak the B team to a 3 - 2 victory.

8 board team lose
22/01/09 The 8 board cup team went down 3½ - 4½ at Stafford, with Geoff and Pete being Newcastle's only winners.

Mixed night
21/01/09 The C and E teams were at home tonight. Whilst Francis, John and Pete were getting the wins that assured the C team of victory over Alsager A, Steve obtained the draw the E team needed to prevent a whitewash by Kidsgrove B.

E elevated
17/01/09 The E teams 3 - 1 win at Cheddleton I based on successes for Steve, Derrick and Richard elevates the team to joint top spot in division 5. Nose bleed time?!

Derek spotted
15/01/09 Former Newcastle member Derek Northage turned out for Kidsgrove last night. Good to see him back on the chess scene.

U135 team into final
10/01/09 Wins for Geoff, Sam and John were the backbone of Newcastle's 4 - 1 win over Meir in the U135 cup semi-final tonight.

Pete unable to save D
10/01/09 Despite a win for Pete substituting for captain Nic, the D team went down 1½ - 2½ at Cheddleton H last night.

B start year with win
07/01/09 Wins for Tim and Martyn led the B team to a 3 - 2 victory over Holmes Chapel Knights in the clubs first match of the new year.

Another nudge forward for E
11/12/08 The E team picked up a point at home to Cheddleton J last night thanks to wins from Steve and William.

Martyn stops whitewash
08/12/08 Martyn drew as the B team crashed ½ - 4½ at Macclesfield tonight.

Crazy time again
07/12/08 There will be a Crazy Chess night at the club on Wed 17th December, unless one of the club's postponed matches has been rearranged for then. Sense of humour essential, chess ability at most optional.

Hassell Sandwich
28/11/08 Hassell tried to sandwich the E team by winning top and bottom boards, but Steve and Derrick won in the 'filling' positions to share the spoils.

A scramble home in close match
26/11/08 I arrived late at the club tonight, but in time to witness the time scrambles. Chris had won on his season's debut, whilst Barry and Ralph had pocketed draws. Next to finish was Andrej on top board, who may have missed a win under time pressure, but took the draw that meant the team couldn't lose. This left Simon Gilmore in the unenviable position of having to play for a win with Q, B and 5 against Q, N and 5 against Alan. His attempts backfired, enabling Alan to win with apparently only seconds left on his clock.

C draw
26/11/08 In the second match of the night Pete was the major contributor towards the C teams draw against Cheddleton F, winning his game on bottom board.

Five draws
19/11/08 There were five draws at the club tonight - 3 for the B team against Fenton A, one for the D against Kidsgrove A, plus the former was a drawn match. Martyn won for the B team, while Sam and Steve got wins that secured a narrow victory for the D team.

Newcastle top and tail Terriers win
15/11/08 The Staffordshire Terriers got their campaign back on course with a 7½ - 4½ win over Leicestershire, with John and Richard winning respectively on top and bottom boards.

Tim win not enough
14/11/08 The B team were unable to build on Tim's good win, going down 2 - 3 at Cheddleton C tonight.

Good night for Newcastle
12/11/08 Wins for Paul and Steve enabled Newcastle to beat Meir on boardcount in the U90 cup tonight. The match also saw Brian returning to action and William having his first longplay game for the club, so a useful fixture all round.

A solid at Alsager
06/11/08 There were no A team losers as Alsager were beaten 4 - 1 tonight. Barry, Martyn and Diarmid got the wins.

B team edge past Rooks
06/11/08 Wins for Alan and John enabled the B team to beat Rooks 3 - 2 in their second division encounter last night.

Geoff saves blushes
30/10/08 Geoff's win was the only good news for Newcastle as the C team went down 1 - 3 at Alsager A.

E on the scoreboard
29/10/08 Steve (quickly), Derrick and Richard all won as the E team beat Alsager C 3½ - ½ in what looked to be a match between two evenly matched teams.

No draw for Pete
23/10/08 Last nights C team match against Fenton B featured three draws, but Pete got the win that secured a team victory.

Newcastle start well for county
21/10/08 Pete, John, Sam and Geoff all won and Nic drew as the club turned out in force to support the county U125 team against Worcestershire on Saturday, though the side still went down 7½ - 8½.

D draw again
21/10/08 Steve got the win that enabled the D team to draw at Fenton C after Sam's late unavailability left the team one player short.

B for Bad
17/10/08 Tim was the sole Newcastle points scorer as the B team went down 1 - 4 at Cheddleton D tonight. Martyn pulled defeat from the jaws of victory whilst Alan turned down a draw as the top boards found themselves under pressure to get back into the match.

Nic wins in vain
15/10/08 Nic was the sole winner as the D team went down at home to Alsager B. Paul had a won positon but insufficient time to win it, and agreed a stalemate even though it wasn't!

E downed at Kidsgrove
08/10/08 Steve won and Richard drew as the E team were edged out by Kidsgrove B.

C unkind to pawns
08/10/08 The C team allowed debutants Holmes Chapel Pawns a solitary half point as Francis, Nic and Pete all won. Watson was last to finish, agreeing a draw on top board.

Solid point for A
08/10/08 Andrej and Martyn got wins and Barry a draw as the A team picked up another point against Holmes Chapel Kings.

B off
01/10/08 No swearing! The B team won their opening match of the season 4 - 1 against Meir A on the back of wins for Martyn, Tim and Pete.

Captain to the fore
30/09/08 Captain Nic got the win that secured the D team a draw in their match at Meir B last night.

Good start for A
24/09/08 The A team started with a victory at Stafford A on the back of wins for Andrej, Barry and Martyn.

Newcastle at Leek
14/09/08 Derrick was Newcastle's main man at the Leek Congress this weekend, winning the Moorlands Housing section for players graded upto 96 with a score of 4½/5. New member Sam was joint second in the same section with 4. The team of Alex, Geoff, Paul and Sam won the team prize (a digital clock), edging out Newport on sum of progressive scores, with Alex, Geoff and Paul all scoring 3 points in their respective sections. Even Martyn scored 50% and claimed a slow starter prize, so a good congress all round for the club.

Pile-up at AGM
11/09/08 The AGM was its usual near non-event, but ten members stayed behind to contest the subsequent rapidplay, the result being a three way tie between Alan, Ralph and Tim. Full details on the internal competitions page.

Alex 7 Fenton 0
02/09/08 Alex gave a simul at Fenton last night, achieving a clean sweep in about 2½ hours.

AGM date
21/08/08 This years club AGM will take place on Wed 10th September, and will be followed by the usual rapidplay event.

Anyone for footie?
14/08/08 Yesterday's turnout at the club was a soccer sized 11, one of our best for an ordinary night with no formal activities.

Alex completes win
07/08/08 Alex completed the summer half hour with a perfect winning score of 6.

Alex leads half hour
31/07/08 After 4 rounds of this summer's half hour competition Alex leads by a point from Petru and Martyn.

Blog off
21/07/08 Or blog on, to be more precise. I've succumbed to temptation and started a blog. Is it interesting? Will I keep it up?. Does it matter? Answers to these weighty matters won't be found in Rambling Rook's Blog.

Provisional Grades
21/07/08 Provisional grades for the coming season are now available:

Final grades should be published in August, along with the adjusted ones for calculating subsequent grades.

Paul and Derrick show
16/07/08 With last weeks double winners being double losers this time out, it fell to Paul and Derrick to secure a point against Cheddleton. This they did by getting 1½ points each, but crucially getting their full points in the same match.

Summer ½ hour
13/07/08 The June half hour has not operated this year because of the rapidplay league. Consequently we shall have a summer half hour instead over the three nights 30th July and 6th and 13th August.

Pete and Steve at the double
10/07/08 Pete and Steve both won both their games at Holmes Chapel last night to secure two match draws for our rapidplay team.

Empty Wednesday
06/07/08 There is unlikely to be anyone at the club this Wed (9th July) although I have listed it as a club night above. There will be people present the following Wednesday.

No luck at Fenton
06/07/08 After losing a player just before travelling to Fenton, 3 man Newcastle were unable to glean any league points despite Pete's win and Paul's draw which unfortunately came in different matches.

Derrick and Pete time their wins
19/06/08 Newcastle managed two individual wins over the two legs of their rapidplay fixture with Stafford, but by timing them to coincide in the second leg, Pete and Derrick ensured that we came away with one point to show for the nights efforts.

Newcastle share spoils
12/06/08 Newcastle and Kidsgrove each won one leg of their rapidplay encounter, Pete contributing two wins, Steve one and Nic two draws.

Rapid point
05/06/08 The clubs rapidplay team picked up a point in their first fixture against Holmes Chapel B, drawing the first leg 2 - 2 before going down 1½ - 2½ in the second. Nic, Pete and Steve all recorded individual wins.


Season complete
26/05/09 The last match of the season saw Alsager record their only first division win, and means that all teams in all divisions have at least one defeat and one victory to their names.

New County Team?
19/05/09 The ECF are to introduce a new section in their inter-counties competition, which in new grade terms is to be U100 - roughly U75 in old grade terms. Presumably Staffordshire will need to decide at their AGM next month whether to field a side in it, and if so to find a captain. Anyone interested in participating should let me or anyone else attending the county AGM know.

New grade limits
19/05/09 Given the introduction of new grades this summer we shall need to adjust the limits for our competitions. As a starting point for discussion at the AGM, the committee will be suggesting that the average limits for divisions 2 to 5 should be 145, 135, 115, 100; the minimum counting grade be set at 25 below these; the grade limited cups become U150, U130 and U110.

It would appear sensible that whatever limits are decided upon at the meeting would be subject to change should the new grades when published be out of line with our expectations. (We are anticipating that for most adults
new grade = 0.8 x old grade + 40 will give reasonable approximations.)

AGM date and venue
19/05/09 This year's league AGM will take place on Monday 6th July at Meir. Don't be late, but don't arrive too early as the doors normally open just before 7.30.

Terriers savaged by Kent
17/05/09 The Terriers lost 3 - 9 to Kent in the national stage quarter finals of the U100 inter-counties competition on Saturday.

How odd?
12/05/09 Not content with winning the odd numbered divisions through their B, F and I and J teams shared, Cheddleton also won the odd numbered cups if counting in order of decreasing strength - the 8 board and U110. The even competitions meanwhile have been shared around with Macclesfield taking division 2, Fenton C division 4, Holmes Chapel the second cup (U135) and Hassell the fourth (U90).

Macclesfield win division 2
12/05/09 Victory in the last division 2 match of the season last night secured the second division title for Macclesfield.

F third
10/05/09 Cheddleton F became the third Cheddleton divisional winners, securing the third division title last Friday.

To be or not to be ...
08/05/09 A storming final weekend enabled Cheddleton-Pointon, the Cheddleton branded 4NCL team, to win division 2B. Sounds like not 2B next year.

Rapidplay changes
03/05/09 Two extra teams for the Open section of the rapidplay - a Fenton one transferring from the u130, and Holmes Chapel - means a rewrite of the fixtures. Copies of the new fixtures have been mailed to team contacts, and the rapidplay page has been amended to show these.

Division 5 shared
03/05/09 Cheddletons I and J share the fifth division title as the J team missed the chance to pull clear in the division's last game of the season. Should motivate their new players to continue with the game.

Fenton take Withnall
01/05/09 Fenton beat Rushall 3 - 2 in the final of the Withnall cup yesterday to add to their trophy cabinet.

Cheddleton B take division one
01/05/09 Cheddleton B secured the first division title with a 3 - 2 win at Holmes Chapel last night. Now that's what I call bragging rights!

Double woe for Staffs
26/04/09 Two Stafforrdshire teams fell at the first national stage hurdle on yesterday, with the open team going down 6½ - 9½ to Surrey and the U150 side losing 5½ - 10½ to Devon.

Fenton take four
26/04/09 Fenton C became fourth division champions on Friday when Cheddleton H, the only team who could catch them, lost to Kidsgrove A. Fenton's total of 16 points from 12 games shows how competitive division four has been this season.

More perfs
26/04/09 Yes, I've updated the performances page again. we're closing in on 150 players each getting 5+ games.

First trophy for Hassell
25/04/09 Congratulations to Hassell on winning their first trophy in NSDCA events by beating Fenton on board count in the final of the U90 cup.

Two for Cheddleton
24/04/09 Well done to Cheddleton who won the 8 board final 5 - 3 against Stafford on Wednesday. Apparently the score was 2 - 2 with just a few minutes to go. No pressure there.
On the following night Cheddleton also won the U110 final at Holmes Chapel by a narrow 3 - 2 margin.

Holmes Chapel take U135 cup
22/04/09 Congratulations to Holmes Chapel who took the U135 cup tonight by defeating Newcastle 4 - 1.

Rapidplay Fixtures
20/04/09 The fixtures for this season's rapidplay competition can now be found on the rapidplay page.

Dave Ross
20/04/09 It is with regret that I report that Dave Ross passed away last week. He will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by all his friends at the Alsager Chess Club, not only for his support of the club, but also for his wit and wisdom - he was a true character. Service is at All Saints Church, Liverpool Road West, Church Lawton at 13:45 on Thursday, 23rd April.

Just finals and postponements
08/04/09 There are just the cup finals and postponed league matches left to play.

Hassell entertain Fenton in the U90 final on Fri 24th April; all the other finals take place on Wed 22nd - Stafford v Cheddleton in the 8 board, Newcastle v Holmes Chapel in the U135 and Holmes Chapel v Cheddleton in the U110.

On the league front the fifth division leads the way with just two matches remaining, closely followed by the second with three and the third with 5.

Rapid entries
08/04/09 Entries for the rapidplay league are Kidsgrove, Newcastle and Stafford in the open section and Cheddleton, Fenton (x2), Holmes Chapel, Macclesfield, Newcastle and Stafford in the under 130. Fixtures should be released soon after Easter.

Terriers down a place
31/03/09 Unfortunately the Bulldogs fielded an ineligible player in their win against Notts, correcting for which enabled Notts to win the match and hence be MCCU champions, with the Terriers second. A preliminary round match against Kent now awaits.

Another performances update
29/03/09 Under Misc-Perfs of course.

Terriers into national stages
28/03/09 The Terriers reached the national stages of the inter counties U100 competition with a 6½ - 5½ win over Shropshire. Every half point counted as a drawn match would have seen them eliminated on tie break by the Bulldogs. Instead the Terriers finished on 8 points alongside Notts and Warks, and the three way tie break favours the Staffordshire team so they qualify as Midlands Champions and receive a home draw in the quarter-finals. (The tie break saw Terriers 12½, Notts 12, Warks 11½ as their total scores in matches against each other.)

Fenton finalists
26/03/09 Fenton have reached the final of the Withnall cup with a 3 - 2 semi-final win over Walsall Kipping.

Tough at the bottom
26/03/09 Kidsgrove B became the first team to complete their fixtures last night. Despite scoring at least 1½ in every match their points haul is 7 from 10 matches.

Slow updates
23/03/09 Updates for the last few days have been delayed as I have been away. Meanwhile my blog seems to be disconnected - must find out why.

Beware the Ides of March
16/03/09 'Cos I've updated performances to include games played until then!

Cancellation Statement
15/03/09 Regrettably it has been necessary to cancel the Staffordshire Chess Congress which was due to take place on 19th-20th April 2009. This is due to unforeseen problems with the venue which would create poor playing conditions. All entry forms and cheques will be returned as soon as possible. Staffordshire Chess Association apologises for any inconvenience that this cancellation may cause.
Traci Whitfield- Congress Director

Which Staffordshire?
11/03/09 If my interpretation of the tie-break rules are correct then Staffordshire have qualified for the national stages of the U100 inter-counties competition alongside Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire. The question is will it be the Bulldogs or the Terriers. If the Bulldogs win their last match against Notts and the Terriers fail to beat Shropshire then it will be the Bulldogs, otherwise the Terriers.

Good day for county at Bridge Club
07/03/09 Two matches were played at the Bridge Club this afternoon, both with a positive outcome for Staffordshire. The Terriers beat Warwickshire 7½ - 4½ (that county's first defeat in 5 games) to maintain their chances of reaching the national stages of the U100 competition. In the other match Leicestershire beat Greater Manchester in the U150 section to ensure that Staffs U150 team also progressed. Indeed results elsewhere mean that Staffs take the second of three available places, which means a match with Devon, nominally on 25th April. I feel a neutral venue coming on.

Speeding up
05/03/09 I am now collecting rapidplay entries for this season. There are two divisions - the Open and U130, which may become known as the closed. I have mailed some of my contacts at each club, so hopefully this notice is superfluous.

New dates
02/03/09 Newcastle A v Alsager is confirmed for 11th March, whilst Newcastle C's matches at Fenton B and Holmes Chapel Pawns will now take place on 23rd March and 27th April respectively.

Cups on course
22/02/09 The semi-finals of all the cups have been completed. The line-ups for the finals is
8 boardStaffordvCheddleton
U135NewcastlevHolmes Chapel
U110Holmes ChapelvCheddleton

Big win for County U150
22/02/09 The county U150 team registered a 13 - 3 win against Leicestershire at the Bridge Club yesterday without losing a board. Although the stronger team on paper, Staffordshire only outgraded their opponents by a few points per board.

New dates for Kings
22/02/09 Holmes Chapel Kings' home matches with Cheddleton A and B are now scheduled for 9th and 30th April respectively.

Performances updated
16/02/09 See headline.

Report of sorts
10/02/09 I have added a report on the fifth Newcastle Mini in the appropriate place. Can you find it? Do you care?

Not (quite) so close
10/02/09 Holmes Chapel reached another final at Fenton's expense last night, this time in the U110 cup. The margin of victory was a relatively comfortable 3 - 2 when compared to the elimination needed to separate the clubs in the U135 cup.

New Date
10/02/09 The Macclesfield v Rooks match called off because of last weeks snows has been rearranged for 30th March

Mini over
09/02/09 The fifth Newcastle mini congress held over the weekend is now complete. Its most notable feature was the top section being dominated by its bottom two seeds with Carl Gartside and Steve Lloyd from High Peak (Buxton) and Chester respectively taking the top two spots. The U120 sectionwas a close fought affair with Ken McNulty (Stafford) and Nick McLean (Cheddleton) sharing the spoils half a point clear of John Day (Newcastle) and Abdulbari Kabiri (Fenton). In the U90 section Karol Grzybowski (Cheddleton) quickly established a lead which he held through to the finish, drawing in the last round with unbeaten runner-up Richard Cantliff (Fenton). Ben Scattergood from Holmes Chapel took the junior prize. A fuller report will appear shortly.

Craig in Gibralter
04/02/09 Craig Whitfield's exploits in Gibralter can be found here.

Performances updated
19/01/09 With no postponements in the first fortnight of the new year I decided that there was enough new data to justify updating the performances page, so I have.

Maori Malcolm
17/01/09 And Lawrence. Malcolm Armstrong and Lawrence Cooper have swapped the winter delights of Stafford for the far away lands of New Zealand where they are competing in the Queenstown Chess Classic. After 3 rounds Lawrence is on 2½ points having just drawn with GM Peter Wells, whilst Malcolm is on 50%. You can follow their progress here.

Seconds please
17/01/09 Craig Whitfield (Cheddleton) and Geoff Lee (Newcastle) took runners-up spots in their respective sections - Premier U200 and Major U150 - at the Wrekin congress in Telford earlier this month.

Eliminated by elimination
14/01/09 With wins on boards 2 and 4 for Holmes Chapel balancing those on 1 and 5 for Fenton, board count was not enough to separate the teams in the U135 semi-final. However eliminating bottom board gives the win to Holmes Chapel.

Terriers back to winning ways
11/01/09 The Staffordshire Terriers beat Worcestershire 7½ - 4½ in the U100 inter-counties competition at the Bridge Club yesterday.

Another Stafford B date
05/01/09 Stafford B and Alsager A have arranged to play their match postponed from October on 26 March.

Holmes Chapel in U135 Semis
30/12/08 Holmes Chapel will host Fenton in the semi-finals of the U135 cup as Cheddleton have withdrawn to help ease their fixture backlog.

Xmas Performances.
29/12/08 Yes, I've finally got around to updating the performances page for all games played before Christmas.

Terriers win but lose
14/12/08 The Terriers ended up with just 9 players for their visit to Notts, two having pulled out on the day. Consequently their 5 - 4 win at the boards translates to a 5 - 7 match defeat.

New date
14/12/08 The Stafford B v Fenton B match postponed from the 1st October will now be played on 21st Jan.

New date for fired off 8 board
07/12/08 The 8 board cup match between Stafford and Meir that had to abandoned when fire broke out will now take place on 17th December.

Two county defeats
07/12/08 Last wekend the county U125 team went down 5½ - 10½ to Shropshire, whilst the previous week the U150 side fell 7½ - 8½ to Warwickshire. Detailed scores on my county page.

Belated Congratulations
07/12/08 I really should have congratulated Jonathan and Suzy Blackburn earlier on their representing Wales at Dresden in the recent Olympiad, Jonathan in the Open and Suzy as top board for the ladies. Well done to both.

02/12/08 I have just released the first copy of performance calculations for the season so far. They can be found under Misc-Performances as usual.

I'm the secretary, Get me out of here!
20/11/08 League secretary Robert Milner is experiencing frustrating problems with his telephone line. In particular he is unable to make outgoing calls, which also means he is unable to connect to the web or use e-mail, and creates difficulties if his help is needed to raise teams. His service provider has been 'on the case' for some time, but the source of the problem has yet to be identified.

One postponement down
17/11/08 After a rash of postponements affecting the early part of the season it is good to see the beginnings of a fightback with the backlog being reduced by one of the matches - Fenton C v Cheddleton E - being played last night. That gives me an idea for an article, but you'll have to visit my blog to read it.

Bulldogs get bragging rights
08/11/08 The Bulldogs beat the Terriers 6½ - 5½ to get the county bragging rights at U100 level.

Junior Congress
30/10/08 70 players took part in the county junior congress which was played at Hassell School on 19th October. Belatedly I have got around to adding the list of leading scorers and prize and trophy winners to my juniors page.

Match Abandoned
30/10/08 Last nights 8 board match between Meir and Stafford was abandoned when a fire broke out at the venue shortly after commencement of play. A new date has yet to be arranged.
A fire investigation officer was unable to confirm the cause as irresponsibly fast play in the opening, nor that his team were concentrating their efforts in the area around board 7.

Staffs squeeze past Notts
28/10/08 Staffs beat Notts 8½ - 7½ in the opening match of their U150 campaign. NSDCA members contributed well with wins for Diarmid Gibson, Ben Zitha and Geoff Lee; draws for Steve Hill and captain Alan Thomason.

ECF throw toys from pram
21/10/08 The forum previously known as the ECF forum is no longer linked to from the ECF site. It would appear that the contributors failure to sing the praises of the ECF at every opportunity has upset those who count. However the forum still exists and can be found here.

Cheddleton move revitalises Div 1
11/10/08 Cheddleton revealed (part of) their hands last night with their A v B derby showing Alan Smith and Dave Buxton for A lining up against Rob Shaw and Jason McKenna for B. This split should make for an interesting season for all in division one, not least the fight for Cheddleton bragging rights.

Alsager - Kings and Rooks - Fenton A
05/10/08 I seem to have recorded the Rooks against Fenton A as being on Monday 8th December when it should be Wed 10th. Further in some places I have the Alsager - HC Kings match down as Sat 22nd Nov when it should be Thu 20th. Apologies for any confusion arising from this. I believe I have corrected all the relevant pages and download files accordingly.

U125 delay
29/09/08 The county U125 team's first match at home to Worcestershire has been put back to 18th October because of problems with the venue on the original date.

Alsager move
22/09/08 Alsager have moved to a new venue:
Radway Green Sports & Social Club
Longview Avenue
I shall create a map for their page shortly.

No K
19/09/08 Due to change in circumstances, Cheddleton have had to abandon their plans to field a K team this season. Downloads and webpages have been updated to reflect this.

Ton-up Leek
14/09/08 The Leek congress attracted an entry of 100, and was split into 3 sections. Newcastle's successes are listed under the club section. Prize winners also included Stephane Pedder (Stafford), slow starter in the Alton Towers section (grades 135 to 200), Jon Blackburn (Holmes Chapel), joint third in the A H Brooks section (97 to 131), and Matthew Wyza (Cheddleton) joint 2nd in the Moorlands Housing section (grades upto 96).
Completing the prize list, and showing the broad appeal of the congress were
David Hulmes (Stockport), Oliver Jackson (Cheshire & N Wales) and Peter Anderson (Leeds) who shared top spot in the Alton Towers, and Robert Clegg (Huddersfield) who shared in the slow starter prize for that section.
David Boulden (Denton) and Paul Smith (Brighton) joint winners in the A H Brookes, with Mark Radford (Navigation, Nottingham) joint third. John Simmons (Rhyl) won this sections slow starter prize.
Slow starter prizes in the Moorlands Housing section went to (I believe) Mike Friel (Caergwrle) and Dave Cook (Denton).

Cheddleton K
04/09/08 Cheddleton have created another fourth division team, going under the name Cheddleton K. Hopefully I have updated all the relevant pages and downloads to include their fixtures.

More on adjusted Grades
04/09/08 I've written a short article about the connection between the 2008/9 grades and the new ones to be used to calculate later grades. It can be found in my blog under yesterdays date.

Adjusted Grades
31/08/08 Definitive grades for the coming season are now available on the ECF site, together with the adjusted ones that will form the basis for the following years calculations.

Terriers Fixtures
31/08/08 The fixtures below were gleaned from the MCCU site. However I am told that the Terriers match against the Bulldogs will be home rather than away. Comparing with last years fixtures it seems to me that the Worcs match should be away, but I have heard of no change to that yet.

County Fixtures
26/08/08 Those considering playing for the county this season will be interested in the MCCU stage matches:
Open1st Nov 2008G Manchesterhome
13th Dec 2008Warwickshireaway
U15025th Oct 2008Nottinghamshireaway
22nd Nov 2008Warwickshireaway
10th Jan 2009G Manchesteraway
21st Feb 2009Leicestershirehome
U12511th Oct 2008Worcestershirehome
29th Nov 2008Shropshireaway
24th Jan 2009Warwickshirehome
28th Feb 2009Semi-final
21st Mar 2009Final
Staffordshire operates two U100 teams, the Terriers and Bulldogs. Players may represent only one of these teams in a season. The Terriers play their home matches in the north of the county, usually at Newcastle, the Bulldogs in the south.
Terriers8th Nov 2008Bulldogsaway
15th Nov 2008Leicestershirehome
13th Dec 2008Nottinghamshireaway
10th Jan 2009Worcestershirehome
7th Mar 2009Warwickshirehome
28th MarShropshireaway
Bulldogs25th Oct 2008Worcestershire
8th Nov 2008Terriershome
13th Dec 2008Warwickshireaway
10th Jan 2009Shropshirehome
7th Mar 2009Leicestershireaway
28th Mar 2009Nottinghamshirehome

More on 2008/9 fixtures
21/08/08 Divisional pages done, start made on club pages.

2008/9 fixtures
21/08/08 Fixtures for the new season can be downloaded from the fixture downloads page. I hope to update the club and divisional pages shortly.

Three way tie
31/07/08 Holmes Chapel B secured the three league points they needed from last nights final rapidplay fixture to join Chedleton and Fenton as joint runners-up to Stafford in the competition.

Making it last
16/07/08 The Stafford - Holmes Chapel B rapidplay match has been put back to 30th July, so Fenton and Cheddleton will have to wait a little longer to discover whether they are joint second or joint third in the league.

Pawns on Monday
16/07/08 Pawns are currently expecting to play their home matches next season on Mondays.

Pawns up
13/07/08 George tells me that the fourth Holmes Chapel team are 'Pawns', and that they will be in division 3 not 5. I have adjusted the list below accordingly.

Not the AGM Minutes
13/07/08 This is my unofficial report on the league AGM. Any inacurracies are all my own fault. Sections in italics are my own comments.

An excellent turn out saw all clubs represented, with County Secretary Andrew Davies also in attendance - apologies were received from Hugh Burgess and Gus Brain. Although there was a late finish, progress through the agenda was steady with just the odd sticking point causing disagreement or where people started talking at cross purposes.

Reports were mainly brief, if not shorter. Robert Milner in his General Secretary's report highlighted the number of defaults, swollen by Alsagers withdrawal from division one, and the need for full names and date of births for grading purposes; and reminded clubs that they should contact him for grade estimates for ungraded players.

Bill Armstrong as Treasurer pointed out that only 5p in the pound of monies collected were used by the association, the rest being passed on to other organisations. Game fee is to be increased by 2p to 48p. However club treasurers will be pleased to note that Bill's recommendation of a freeze for entry fees was accepted, so these remain at £9 plus £2.50 per fixture for 5 board teams, £7 plus £2 per fixture for 4 board teams, £7 for 8 board cup, £4 for the other cups and £9 for the rapidplay league.

On ECF matters Andrew Leadbetter informed us of a special ECF Council meeting later this month go discuss proposals for support of the 'Chess in Schools' initiative. (The exact proposals can be found here). These seemed to involve considerable expenditure on the assumption that schools would respond in the desired manner. Our meeting drew several comments from those who do or have worked in schools and was rather cynical about the prospects of events unfolding in the manner the ECF proposals seem to expect. Andrew was mandated to oppose the proposals at the council meeting.

Although this item took quite some time to discuss, it was good to be able to look at chess beyond the NSDCA and to hear others views on the subject.

Andrew also reported on the ECFs plans to issue two grades for everyone next year. One will be for eligibility purposes and will have been calculated in the normal way. A second which will include an adjustment to counter the accumulated effects of grade deflation since the grading system was introduced will be used as the basis for calculating future grades. Deflation has been most apparent at lower grades, so these will see a bigger boost than higher ones.

It has been reported that approximately speaking
adjusted grade = 0.8 × unadjusted garde + 50.
This suggests that for most of our members the change will be very noticeable.

Fred was not present to give his results secretary report.

The normal lack of opposition meant that the usual suspects got elected to the usual posts. However Pete Tideswell stood down as a committee member; Julian Cook was persuaded to take his place.

Those trophies that had been returned were presented, and the treasurer was instructed to budget for the replacement of missing ones. Bob Perry re-iterated his intention to donate a cup for the U90 event.

The experimental system has lost its experimental standing, it will now operate until such time as alternative proposals are brought forward and passed at AGM.

A fifth division with maximum total grade of 280 has been formed. Although not discussed at meeting it seems reasonable to assume that the usual relationship to this limit will apply to other constraints, so that the minimum counting grade is 40 and the maximum reserving grade is 60.

Provisional League entries
Division 1Division 2
HC KingsHC Knights
NewcastleHC Rooks
Division 3Division 4Division 5
HC PawnsKidsgroveKidsgrove

It was decided to keep the rapidplay league as a summer event, only with 2 divisions - open and U130. Entries will be collected for these at a later date.

Cup draws:
8 boardU135
CheddletonvH Chapel
CheddletonvH Chapel
H Chapelvbye
KidsgrovevH Chapel
Next years AGM has been fixed for the second Wednesday in July at a venue to be determined, committee meetings as needed.

Stafford take rapidplay
10/07/08 Last nights rapidplay results comfirm Stafford as Champions with one round of matches left to play.

Meeting Report
27/06/08 Items discussed: how to avoid a first division of fewer than six teams, division 5, rapidplay league.
Capping the first division was considered. However whilst it was felt that a cap of at most 750 would be needed to ensure 6 entries, most clubs currently playing in division one were very reluctant to go much below 800 for the cap. After a brief consideration of other possibilities it was decided to recommend a continuation of an open first division - it seems likely that this will produce a 5 team division leading to 8 matches.
A four board division 5 with a cap of 280 will be proposed at the AGM, with its implementation being subject to there being no significant adverse effect of divisions 4 or 3. In practice this probably means that clubs will be asked for entries on the assumption that division 5 exists, and that provided the other divisions attract at least 6 teams each division five will go ahead.
Two questions were raised with respect to the rapidplay league - is it better played at this time of year or in the main season?; should we look to create two divisions? No strong feelings were expressed on these, partly because most present haven't participated in the league. Be prepared for discussion of these questions at the AGM.

Venue update
23/06/08 This Thursdays committee meeting has been moved to the Kidsgrove Chess Club venue with which we are all familiar. The league AGM will also take place there.

Venue I
21/06/08 The venue for the committee meeting this Thursday is Red Lion, Cheadle Road, Cheddleton, ST13 7HN. All clubs are entitled to send a rep to the meeting.

15/06/08 The final committee meeting of the season will be held on Thu 26th June, with the league AGM moving to Thu 10 July. Venues to follow.

Meir slow down
13/06/08 Meir have elected to withdraw from this summers rapidplay competition, their players being too engrossed in other summer activities.

Rapidplay captains
02/06/08 I don't know for sure who will be captaining the various rapidplay teams this summer, but I've added a list of suspects to the rapidplay page anyway!

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