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News Items From the 2009/10 Season

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4 way tie for rapidplay
26/05/10 Sixteen players turned out for the club's end of season rapidplay which resulted in a four-way tie between guests Gerald Acey and Malcolm Armstrong and the host's Alan and Martyn. Full details under internal events.

B sneak a win
19/05/10 Wins for Alex (on time with 3 seconds left on his own clock!), Pete and Paul enabled the B team to edge past Holmes Chapel Rooks 3 - 2 tonight.

E end with a loss
14/05/10 The E team went down 1 - 3 at Cheddleton F tonight in their last match of the season.

A win
08/05/10 A good win for Tim and a slimy one for Martyn helped the A team to a narrow victory over Cheddleton A.

End of season Rapidplay
08/05/10 The club's end of season rapidplay will be on Wed 26th May at 7.30.

Point for B
08/05/10 A win by Francis helped the B team pick up a point at Cheddleton B last night.

C end on a low
05/05/10 The C team's season ended on a low note, going down 2 - 3 at home to Alsager despite Geoff's win.

It's a hattrick
29/04/10 The Withnall cup team made it a three cups for the season beating Lichfield 4 - 1 with the help of wins from Pete, Paul and Richard.

C slow Maccs
28/04/10 The C team slowed the progress of leaders Macclesfield with wins by Alan and Geoff enabling the team to share the spoils.

Inter joy for Newcastle
21/04/10 Newcastle won their second final of the week beating Holmes Chapel in the Intermediate event with the help of individual victories for Francis, Nic and Pete.

Perry Win
19/04/10 The whole team contributed as Newcastle won the Perry Trophy Final against Fenton tonight, with Pete and Derrick scoring full points.

18/04/10 The B team's home match has against Holmes Chapel Rooks scheduled for 28th April has been postponed to accommodate our Withnall Cup Final match which the county have arrogantly insisted has to be played that night despite having only just informed us of the date. That's one less entry they can be sure of getting next year.

Bottom lead C
14/04/10 The bottom boards Pete and Sam got the wins that were sufficient for the C team to edge past Holmes Chapel Rooks. The E team on the other hand were able to make no impact on Cheddleton H, suffering a whitewash.

B run continues
12/04/10 The B team had another good result, this time at the expense of Meir A, with Alex, Martyn and Pete all winning in an unbeaten team effort.

Double draw
10/04/10 Newcastle teams picked up two draws at Cheddleton last night with Alan and Geoff getting the wins to help the C team against the host's B side in division two, and Paul and Steve fulfilling the same role for the E team against the home club's G team.

More points for B
07/04/10 The B team collected two more points tonight with wins from Martyn and Pete helping the team to a narrow victory over Holmes Chapel Knights.

D end on a high
28/03/10 Wins for Pete, Paul and Steve enabled the D team team to finish their season with a victory.

A win at Stafford
28/03/10 Wins for Alan and Chris set the A team on course for victory at Stafford A tonight.

D disappoint
28/03/10 Despite Francis' win the D team went down 1½ - 2½ at Cheddleton E on Friday.

B also win
24/03/10 The B team maintained their lead over the C by also winning their match this week with individual victories for Martyn, Nic and Pete contributing to the defeat of Stafford B

C topple leaders
24/03/10 The C team put a big dent in leaders Meir A title aspirations with a 4 - 1 win built on wins for Geoff, Watson, Francis and Pete.

Newcastle advance in Withnal Cup
17/03/10 Wins for Nic and Pete on top two boards enabled Newcastle to advance to the final of the Withnal Cup, beating Fenton 3 - 2.

Newcastle out of open Cup
17/03/10 Despite Alex' win Newcastle's open cup team lost 3 - 5 to Cheddleton in the semi-final of the competition in a close match that threatened to go to board count.

Point for E
15/03/10 Pete and Steve got the wins that enabled the E team to draw at Meir C tonight.

Date nudged
14/03/10 The B team's visit to Stafford B has been put back one day from Wed 24th to Thu 25th March.

C on form
10/03/10 Alan, Francis, Sam and Watson all won as the C team beat Knights 4½ - ½ tonight.

Another double dose of Fenton
10/03/10 The B team beat Fenton A with wins from Martyn, Nic and Pete, whilst the D team held Fenton C to a draw, with paul getting a full point.

New Dates
07/03/10 Alan has arranged new dates with Cheddleton for a couple of postponed matches: Open Cup semi-final (8 board cup) Wed 17th March, home. Div 1 home v Cheddleton A Wed 12th May.

C win, E draw
03/03/10 Two matches at the Bridge Club tonight, with Alan, John, Francis and Watson turning on the style for the C team in their win over Fenton A and Paul for the E team in their draw with Fenton D.

More points for D
01/03/10 Pete and Paul both won as the D team beat Meir B 3 - 1 tonight.

Into the final
26/02/10 Wins for Nic and Pete saw the intermediate cup team reach their final against Holmes Chapel at the expense of Fenton tonight.

Kidsgrove too strong ...
18/02/10 ... for their own good. Paul's win was enough to help the D team to victory at Kidsgrove B last night; an overgraded team penalty turning a match draw into a Newcastle win.

Francis can't save C team
18/02/10 The C team went down at Stafford B last night despite Francis' win.

C win game of confusion
13/02/10 With travel difficulties leading to less than prompt arrivals and only two boards starting roughly on time in Thursday's C team visit to Alsager A, it was a while before it became apparent that both teams would be fielding only four boards. Wins for Geoff and Alan helped Newcastle to a narrow 2½ - 1½ victory.

Bad night for Newcastle
10/02/10 Nic was the only Newcastle winner as both the B and D teams went down at home tonight.

E edge past Hassell
07/02/10 Wins for Richard and Derrick helped the E team to a 2½ - 1½ victory at Hassell on Friday.

Weather again
04/02/10 Bad weather struck again yesterday, causing the postponement of the A team's match against Cheddleton A.

B win at Alsager
28/01/10 Wins for Alex and Nic helped the B team to victory at Alsager tonight.

Newcastle make Perry final
26/01/10 Newcastle reached the final of the Minor Cup for the Perry Trophy with the help of wins by Pete, Paul and Derrick.

C fall short
20/01/10 The C team could muster only three draws in their home match against Stafford B tonight.

B get out of jail
20/01/10 The B team were very lucky to get both points at Rooks, with Alex and rather fortuitously Martyn getting wins.

B win drawn match
13/01/10 In the B v C match wins for Martyn for the B team and Francis for the C did not result in a draw as the C team also defaulted a board.

D go close
11/01/10 The D team went down by the narrow margin of 1½ - 2½ at Meir B tonight despite Steve's win.

E postponed
10/01/10 Dangerous conditions underfoot led to the postponement of the Friday's E team match against Cheddleton F.

New Date
08/01/10 The B team's visit to Holmes Chapel Rooks will now take place on 20th Jan.

Weather victim
07/01/10 Yesterday's B team match at Holmes Chapel Rooks fell victim to the weather.

Crazy weather, crazy chess
23/12/09 Despite the weather seven hardy souls turned up to contest the crazy chess competition and consume mince pies and other nibbles. When all the hard luck stories had been played out Malcolm Armstrong and Martyn were ½ point clear of Pete, with a play-off then still failing to separate the two Ms.

B lose to Alsager A
16/12/09 Martyn was the B team's sole winner as they went down to Alsager A in their last match before Xmas.

Point for E
16/12/09 Wins for Steve and Richard secured a point for the E team against Cheddleton G tonight.

C draw at Macclesfield
15/12/09 Wins for Geoff and Pete were instrumental in helping the C team pick up a point at Macclesfield last night.

Point for B
10/12/09 The B team picked up a point last night, drawing with Cheddleton B on the back of wins by Martyn and Pete.

Derrick saves Dreadful D
08/12/09 Derrick saved the D team's blushes last night, his draw being all that stood between the team and a whitewash by Fenton C.

A win
02/12/09 The A team picked up a win against Stafford on the back of victories for Alan and Tim.

Point for E
02/12/09 Paul and Steve both won as the E team picke dup a point against Meir c at the Bridge Club tonight.

New Date
01/12/09 The D team's match away to Fenton C has been arranged for Mon 7th December, but will be played at the Bridge Club.

E lose at Cheddleton H
29/11/09 The E team lost to the most junior of the Cheddleton teams on Friday despite Richard's individual win.

Francis can't save the C team
27/11/09 Despite Francis' win, the C team went down at home to Cheddleton B on Wednesday.

B win at Knights
25/11/09 Wins for Alex, Martyn and John helped the B team to a 3½ - 1½ victory at Holmes Chapel Knights.

D delight
24/11/09 The D team were delighted with their 2½ - 1½ win at Cheddleton E on Friday with Steve and Derrick both scoring the full point.

Good win for B
18/11/09 In a match with near even pairings on every board the B team came out on top against Stafford B with wins from Martyn, John, Nic and Pete.

Point for C
18/11/09 The C team picked up a point at Meir A on Monday, with Francis and Pete starring for Newcastle with wins.

A team win at Cheddleton
13/11/09 The A team got their first win of the season tonight with individual wins for Barry, Martyn and Chris helping the side to a 3½ - 1½ scoreline.

One that got away
11/11/09 In a match against Cheddleton F that the E team held an advantage on each of the top three boards at some point, only Steve emerged victorious. Consequently the final 1½ - 2½ result was a bit of a disappointment.

Newcastle advance in Open cup
04/11/09 Newcastle reached the semi-finals of the Open cup with a 6 - 2 win over Macclesfield, with individual wins from Barry, Alan, Martyn, Geoff and Francis.

Captain John strikes again
01/11/09 John led the county U140 team to victory away to Warwickshire yesterday, well supported by Sam and Pete who, like John, both won their individual games.

C team woe
29/10/09 Despite outgrading the opposition on every board the C team went down 2 - 3 at Rooks last night. Francis was the only Newcastle winner.

E off the mark
28/10/09 The E team got off the mark at the second time of asking with a 3½ - ½ victory over Hassell in which Paul, Steve and Derrick all won.

B win at Fenton
26/10/09 The B team won at Fenton A tonight, with Alex, Martyn, Francis and Pete all securing a full point.

Lossless night for Newcastle
21/10/09 Wins for Watson for the C team and Steve and Richard for the D team, with draws elsewhere led to the teams winning 3 - 2 and 3 - 1 against Knights and Cheddleton E respectively.

B for Bad?
20/10/09 The B team had a bad time at Macclesfield last night with only a couple of draws for John and Alex to show for their efforts.

Nine boards v Meir
15/10/09 Last night saw Newcastle host Meir in both divisions two and four as the B team took on Meir A and the D team the visitors B side. Wins for Alex, Martyn and John set up a victory for the B team, whilst Paul's win helped the D team to a draw.

Francis and Pete get the point
13/10/09 Francis and Pete won their games as the C team picked up a point at Fenton A last night.

Mixed fortunes for Newcastle
07/10/09 The A team were winless against Holmes Chapel Kings, going down 1 - 4, but the D team fared better with Paul, Steve and Derrick all winning in their 3 - 1 victory over Kidsgrove B.

Cup match reversed
07/10/09 The Open (8 board) cup match between Macclesfield and Newcastle scheduled for Mon 2nd Nov at Macclesfield will now take place at Newcastle on Wed 4th Nov.

4 out of 5
05/10/09 Newcastle players John, Sam, Pete, Paul and Richard scored an unbeaten four out of five for the county U140 team against Lincolnshire on Saturday, helping their side to a 9 - 7 victory.

C take bragging rights
30/09/09 Wins for Tim, Sam and Francis for the C team saw off the B team for whom Alex was the solitary winner.

One draw short
28/09/09 The E team managed three draws on their visit to Fenton D, leaving them a draw short of a draw. Derrick came closest to a win, but was unable to break into his opponents position a pawn up.

Grade nudge
06/09/09 The latest really definitive grade list has Alan nudged back to 164.

Grade corrections
01/09/09 The definitive grades for the coming season have now been published and show a number of small changes for our members, new values:
All other members are unchanged from the list given on 11/08/09 below.

AGM imminent
24/08/09 The club AGM will take place on our preferred date of the first Wednesday in September. As usual it will be followed by a quickplay competition.

C team moved
16/08/09 As anticipated good seasons by Geoff and John in particular makes it difficult for us to maintain a team in each division. Consequently we have decided to move the C team from division 3 to division 2.

New Grades at last
11/08/09 The ECF have finally published provisional grades for the coming season, with firm values to be confirmed at the end of the month.

Stephane holds on
24/07/09 Stephane picked up the 1½ further points he needed to secure overall victory during the last two rounds of the summer ½-hour. It wasn't plain sailing though. In the first game Martyn declined to take a draw by repetition and probably had the better position when reaching R+2B+5 against Q+B+3, but his superior blundering ability meant that this belief was never tested. In the second, Pete was his usual aggressive self and did get a draw by repetition evn though Stephane was hoping for a perfect six.

Stephane moves clear
16/07/09 Stephane will enter the last night of the summer half hour a point clear of the field as he became the only player with a 100% record after 4 rounds.

Half hour starts
09/07/09 Fourteen players turned out for the first two rounds of the summer half hour last night, with Martyn sharing the early lead with guests Gerald Acey and Stephane Pedder. Rounds three and four take place next week - players starting then will be awarded two half point byes for this weeks games. Full scores can be found on the internal events page.

Summer half hour
29/06/09 I have belatedly decided on dates for the summer half-hour: 8th, 15th and 22nd July.

One each
18/06/09 Holmes Chapel and Newcastle each won the 'home' leg of their open rapidplay fixture. Alex, Martyn and Nic all scored individual victories.

Maccs too good
18/06/09 Macclesfield proved too strong for our U130 rapidplay team despite individual wins for Pete and Steve.

3 points
10/06/09 The Open rapidplay team picked up three points against Stafford, with all team members contributing.

Double agony
08/06/09 The U130 rapidplay team suffered the double agony of losing 1½ - 2½ twice to Cheddleton in one night despite Pete and Paul each registering a win.

Sharing the load
03/06/09 All the team contributed as the Open rapidplay side took 3 points off Fenton White Knights.


Performances updated
29/05/10 End of season update now published.

Its all over
28/05/10 The final matches of the season have been played this week. Competition winners are:
Division 1H C Kings
Division 2Cheddleton B, Macclesfield, Newcastle B
Division 3Cheddleton C
Division 4Fenton C
Division 5Fenton D
Open CupHolmes Chapel
Major cupCheddleton
Inter CupNewcastle
Minor Cup
for Perry Trophy

22/05/10 No need to panic. That's just the sound of county champions Yorkshire losing to Staffordshire 7½ -8½ in the quarter-finals of the Open Championship. Next up are Sussex I believe.
Meanwhile the Bulldogs' run in the U120 competition came to an abrupt halt at the hands of Lancashire at the Bridge Club.

County U140s downed by Suffolk
17/05/10 The county U140 team lost in the quarter finals of the national stages of their competition 7½ - 8½ to Suffolk. No doubt there are a few hard luck stories to tell.

Last to lose
17/05/10 Fenton C became the last team to lose in any of our divisions when they went down to Cheddleton E tonight, so every team has both won and lost at least once.

League morphs to Jamboree
14/05/10 Because of the small entry for this years rapidplay it has been decided to abandon the league format and try a Jamboree. I'll start badgering people for entries once we have confirmation of the date.

Alliterative Fenton
12/05/10 A win on Monday enabled Fenton to add the fifth division title to the fourth they secured earlier.

Fenton change their minds
05/05/10 Fenton have decided their rapidplay team should compete in the U130 competition rather than the open one.

Cheddleton C take division 3
30/04/10 Cheddleton C were crowned division three champions last night by getting the point they needed by drawing at Alsager. That Alsager finished bottom just serves to illustrate how competitive this division is.

Cheddleton win Jackson
29/04/10 At the same time that Newcastle were defeating Lichfield to win the Withnall Cup, Cheddleton were beating Wolverhampton 3½ - 1½ to take the Jackson cup.

Holmes Chapel complete double
24/04/10 Holmes Chapel completed the double by narrowly defeating Cheddleton 4½ - 3½ in the final of the Open Cup last night.

New Date
24/04/10 The Meir A v Fenton A match has been rearranged for Mon 10th May.

John Donaldson II
23/04/10 Mick Andrews has written a tribute to John, which I reproduce here

Late rapid enthusiam from Newcastle
21/04/10 Newcastle have shown late interest in the open section of the rapidplay league, taking the entry in that competition to four.

Major win for Cheddleton
20/04/10 Cheddleton won the Major cup with a convincing victory at Meir last night.

New Dates
219: Cheddleton B v Alsager A now Fri 21st May
311: Alsager B v Cheddleton C now Thu 29th April

County U140 win again
17/04/10 The County U140 team beat Yorkshire 9 - 7 in their national stage preliminary round match. Next up Suffolk.

John Donaldson
12/04/10 It is with regret that I report that John Donaldson passed away last night at the Douglas Macmillan Hospice. I only knew John through playing for Creda in the Derby League, but it was apparent that his good humour and willingness to be involved were key factors in the evolution of the club.

More performances
12/04/10 The performances page has now been updated to include mini-congress results and games for Staffordshire in the MCCU stages of the inter-counties.

09/04/10 At last year's NSDCA AGM I recall we touched briefly on the possibility of organising a simultaneous display by a strong player. If we don't want this to be another idea that leads nowhere perhaps we should gauge potential support before pushing to make something happen. The question therefore is:

Would you in principle like to take part in a simul against a visiting strong player?

If yes, answers to subsidiary questions such as

Would you prefer an evening or weekend date,

Would you prefer an established 'name' or an equally strong but possibly less well-known younger player on their way to even higher things?

What sort of board fee would you regard as acceptable?

would also be welcome alongside any other comments you might have.

NB I am merely trying to judge the general level of interest - responses will be treated in confidence. Please mail me your thoughts.

06/04/10 The nomadic club otherwise known as Fenton have moved again, this time to Fenton Sports & Social Club, Victoria Place, Fenton, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2LX. I have updated their page with a map based on information sent by Mark Whitby, but have not yet had a chance to check out parking facilities, though I assume that such an institution will need to have parking available.

Triangular Rapidplays
06/04/10 Both sections of this year's rapidplay are due to be 3 cornered fights between Cheddleton, Fenton and Stafford unless captains come forward to run other teams.

Mini report
30/03/10 I've compiled a report of sorts for the mini congress which can be found under congresses-Newcastle here

Mini Over
28/03/10 The 6th Newcastle Mini Congress has now finished. A fuller report will appear elsewhere in due course. Thirty six players made it to the start line, including eight juniors. Section winners:
U160: Stephane Pedder and Matthew Wyza,
U130: Karl Walklate,
U100: Alex Cartlidge.
Liam Dimmick and Jack Healings won the junior and kangaroo prizes respectively.

Open shut
24/03/10 Due to lack of demand I have decided to abandon plans to have an open section in this year's Newcastle Mini.

Fenton C win Division 4
22/03/10 Fenton C secured the fourth division title with a 2½ - 1½ win over Kidsgrove tonight.

County U160s qualify
22/03/10 The county U160 team qualified for the national stages of their competition with the help of an 11 - 5 victory over Shropshire on Saturday.
This means 4 of the 5 county teams have so qualified, and subject to confirmation their draws are:
Open Team: quarter-final: Yorkshire home, followed if successful by home draw in semi-final
U160s: quarter-final: Essex away, followed by an away semi-final draw if successful
U140s: preliminary round: Yorkshire A home, with winners away to Suffolk, and then home in semis
Bulldogs: quarter-final: Lancashire home, with home semi-final to follow if successful.
In practice many of the national stage matches will played at neutral venues.

Kings are Kings
18/03/10 Holmes Chapel Kings claimed the first division title by beating Newcastle A tonight.

Leek Congresses Evolve
18/03/10 The popular Leek Congresses see some changes this year apart from those due to last years alterations to the grading system.
The Rapidplay Congress in June is now a little less rapid, with Fischer style timings giving players an extra 10 seconds per move on top of a slightly longer original allocation of 20 minutes. Consequently the competition shrinks to 6 rounds from the previous 9.
The long play congress in September sees the re-introduction of an "Open" section, a slight misnomer as it is restricted to those graded under 220. This section will also be FIDE rated.

Pawns finish first
16/03/10 Holmes Chapel Pawns became the first team to complete their fixtures last night, using just five players during the season.

How near can you get?
15/03/10 The Staffs Terriers completed their inter-counties U120 campaign with a 5½ - 6½ defeat at the hands of Warwickshire, their third defeat by this narrowest of margins this season. Their other results were a 6 - 6 draw and a whopping 5 - 7 loss!

More performances
07/03/10 Have made a belated update to the performances page.

Teasing the Opposition
06/03/10 The county U160 team won the last 6 boards to finish to win their match against Notts by the narrowest possible margin last weekend.

Rapidlplay leagues
03/03/10 I'm starting to collect entries for this year's rapidplay league. Two divisions - open and U130. Currently planning to arrange fixtures backwards from the start of the football world cup, though there may be too many to do this. Obviously teams are free to rearrange matches into this international football season. If you want to play and your club does not appear in the box at the top of this column - nag your club heirarchy. Entries close at Easter.

Terriers close again
21/02/10 The Terriers lost again by the narrow margin of 5½ - 6½, this time at home to Nottinghamshire. Needless to say there were plenty of 'if only' stories.

Holmes Chapel into Open Final
20/02/10 Fenton have defaulted their Open Cup semi-final against Holmes Chapel due to be played next Wednesday as they were unable to raise a team or agree an alternative date.

Performances now include Leek
07/02/10 Thanks to information kindly passed on by Roger Edwards I have been able to include results at the Leek Congress in September in my latest update to performances.

County Open team win Midlands title
31/01/10 The county open team beat Manchester 8½ - 7½ yesterday to secure the Midlands title. My informant tells me that this is the first time since 1993 that Staffordshire have won this title.

Big win for U160s
29/01/10 The county U160 team had a convincing 11½ - 4½ win over Warwickshire last weekend.

Barnett Upgraded
29/01/10 Following his good start to the season Alsager's Doug barnett has had his estimated grade increased to 140.

New date
20/01/10 The Holmes Chapel Rooks v Fenton A match which was a victim of the weather last week will now be played on Wed 24th March.

Terriers lose at Leics
19/01/10 The Staffs Terriers went down 5 - 7 in their counties U120 match at Leicestershire over the weekend, being outgraded by about 10 points a board.

Christmas performances
18/12/09 Performances page now updated to include all matches upto and including 16th December, which unless there are any last minute rearrangements will be all matches before Christmas.

County U140 pick up a point at Worcestershire
13/12/09 The last county match of the calendar year saw Staffordshire's U140 team draw 8 - 8 away to Worcestershire, so maintaining their unbeaten run.

Lincs withdraw
07/12/09 Lincs have withdrawn from the U140 section on the county championships, so Staffs victory over them is scrubbed.

Fenton move
29/11/09 Fenton have decided to move to The New Albert, Albert Street, Newcastle ST5 1JR from mid-December.

New cup date
29/11/09 The postponed Open Cup match between Stafford and Cheddleton will now take place on Wed 13th January 2010.

Fenton on tour
25/11/09 Refurbishment of Fenton's venue The New Penny is taking a little time. Following the postponement of this week's C team match aginst Newcastle D comes news of other changes:
Fenton C v Cheddleton E (30th Nov) will now take place at Newcastle Bridge Club,
Fenton A v Stafford B (7th Dec) will take place at Meir's Royal British Legion Club.
It is also likely that the fixture between Fenton D and Meir C on 14th December will also be switched.

County Open Win
25/11/09 The county open team edged past derbyshire 9 - 7 in a match of 10 draws.

Going up
24/11/09 The estimated grade for Ernest Wilkinson (Fenton) has been increased from 97 to 110 on the back of his early season results.

Cup Postponement
24/11/09 The Hassell v Fenton Perry Trophy match due to be played on 11th December has been postponed.

Slow updates
24/11/09 I've been enjoying myself at Torquay over the weekend, which is why there have been no updates ocer the last couple of days.

First sign of Performances
18/11/09 I've uploaded this seasons first set of performances to the perfs page. I have had to guess who played on one board in one match, so there may be an error. If necessary I shall correct this when I get the information through.

County U140s beat Derbyshire
17/11/09 The county U140 registered their third win beating Derbyshire 10½ - 5½ on the same day that the two U120 teams were playing each other which might have been expected to have an impact on the U140 squad.

Bulldogs beat Terriers
16/11/09 Staffordshire's two U120 teams did battle on Saturday at the Bridge Club with the Bulldogs just coming out on top 6½ - 5½.

County U160 draw
07/11/09 Staffordshire's U160 team drew their match with Greater Manchester today with the outcome uncertain until the completion of the final board.

Date nudged
05/11/09 The Holmes Chapel v Fenton Open Cup semi-final has been brought forward a day from Thurs 25th to Wed 24th Feb.

New Date
03/11/09 The second division match Holmes Chapel Rooks v Fenton A which was recently postponed has now been arranged for Wed 13th Jan.

Cheddleton withdraw from Inter cup
01/11/09 In order not to overstretch their resources, Cheddleton have withdrawn from the Intermediate cup.

The Rambler Returns
01/11/09 I've finally got around to updating Rambling Rooks diaries - several short entries for October have been put up together.

Postponements improve
01/11/09 Friday night's visit of Alsager A to Cheddleton B was called off as Alsager were struggling to put together a full team. That makes two postponements by Halloween out of 43 scheduled games. For comparison at similar stages there had been 7 postponements out of 45 matches last year, four from 51 in 07/08 and 8 out of 46 (one by one week) in 06/07.

Second win for County 140s
01/11/09 The county U140 team had an impressive 12 - 4 win on their visit to Warwickshire yesterday. Keep up the good work guys.

Five go to Scarborough
26/10/09 Not quite an Enid Blyton adventure, but Cheddleton's Carl Gartside, Vlade Luzajic and Craig Whitfield together with Newcastle's Martyn Harris and Alex Richardson all played in the Scarborough Congress over the weekend. All scored at least 50%, with Carl being pick of the bunch being joint winner of the Major with 4½ out of 5.

New Event?
20/10/09 I'm considering organising a new longplay event consisting of two one-day three round heats, one in Newcastle, the other in say Walsall, leading to a similarly structured one day final near Stafford. Approximately half the field from each heat qualifies for the final, carrying their qualifying score forward. Small entry fee - I'm thinking £7 - and small prizes such as bottles of wine or other items of similar value. Comments welcome on whether you think such a competition is viable.

Junior Congress
20/10/09 Over 70 players took part in the County Junior Congress organised by Traci Whitfield at Hassell School on Sunday. Age group winners:
U6Victoria Holland 
U7Ted MurrayRosie Gough
U8Jacob BoswellEmily Chan
U9Skye WigginsAtlanta Knapper
U10Aloysius LipAnna O'Leary
U11Jack Healings
Ashwin Kalyana
Si Woo Kim
Charlie Latham
Emma Crick
U12Leo Tsoi 
U14Athar MehmoodPhilomena Lip
U16Manpreet Sangha 
U18Craig Whitfield 

County active over weekend
20/10/09 Two county teams were inaction over the weekend with the U160 side going down 7 - 9 away to Leicestershire and the Terriers drawing 6 - 6 on their visit to Worcs. I have already put the full scorecard of the Terriers match on the county page; the U160 card will follow later.

President CJ
20/10/09 Egghead CJ de Mooi was voted in as the new president of the ECF at their AGM on Saturday, beating Bristol's John Paines to replace Gerry Walsh who had stood down. In other contested votes Nigel Short beat incumbent Gerry Walsh to become FIDE rep, whilst London's Adam Raoof displaced Cyril Johnson as Director of Home Chess. Uncontested changes were accepted, these include Laurence Cooper moving up to Director of International Chess, having previous spent a short period as alternate to Stewart Reuben. In ECF votes it is possible to vote for 'none of the above', so uncontested votes are not a foregone conclusion.

Fixture switch
20/10/09 The Meir C home matches with Cheddleton F and Cheddleton H have been switched so that the H match was played last night and the F one to be played on 16th November.

First Postponement
17/10/09 Fenton A have postponed their match at Rooks, due to have been played this coming Wednesday. New date to be arranged.

Strong start for county Open
14/10/09 The county Open team won their first match of the season 10 - 6 against Warwickshire, which means that already they have an excellent chance of progressing through to the national stages of the competition.

NSDCA grades and result cards
24/09/09 I have added a booklet of NSDCA grades and a sheet of four result cards to the bottom of the downloads page.

Still adjusting the grades
06/09/09 The ECF have released version 3 of this years grades hot on the heels of the previous release. Will this be the definitive list?

Malcolm to do a Lance
01/09/09 Malcolm Armstrong is to emulate namesake Lance by taking on a long cycle ride. He writes:

Hello everyone,

Next Sunday (6th September) I'm taking part in the Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride, 145km around Staffordshire on the same course that will be used by professional cyclists 10 days later as Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain race. I’m not sure whether it’s the distance or the 2,006m of climbing that concerns me more, especially as I’ve only got a £120 bike which I use mainly for 4 (flat!) miles a day to and from work. You can read more about the event and see the route at

I wonder if you would be so kind as to sponsor me a couple of pounds in support of this charity, which helps to fight the most common cancer amongst men in the UK? If you would like to support me, please drop me an e-mail (link now removed: mjh). If you are a taxpayer and add your full home address and postcode then the charity can use Gift Aid to make your donation worth almost a third more at no extra cost to you.

If I don't complete the course, I promise that I'll pay all the sponsorship monies myself!

Many thanks for your support,

Malcolm Armstrong

Newest grades
01/09/09 The promised end of August update to the new season's grades are now available. These are the ones that should be used throughout the season.

Fixtures out
26/08/09 Fixtures for the coming season can now be downloaded from the downloads page. These will be added to the divisional and club pages in the next few days.

Two more
24/08/09 Cheddleton are now in a position to confirm the entry of two more teams, one each in divisions three and five. Full lists shown with AGM report lower down the page have been updated to reflect this.

3 to 2
16/08/09 Newcastle have decided to move their C team from division 3 to division 2. I have updated the lists lower down the page. Should this result in 5 teams in division 3 they will play each other 3 times. However I doubt that Newcastle's move will be the last alteration to the entry lists.

Stafford take open rapidplay
16/07/09 Stafford became open rapidplay champions when Holmes Chapel conceded defeat in their attempts to raise a team for their final fixture.

AGM report
07/07/09 my opinions and further comments in italics
A thoroughly non-contentious league AGM took place at Meir last night. The officer's reports were mostly commendably brief, though Fred Spicer is clearly uncomfortable with the way in which email is supplanting the Royal Mail. In particular he disliked receiving all the results en masse at the end of the season.
I had attempted to ring him several times during the season to find out which results he was missing so that I could forward them, but he never answered the 'phone - others also reported considerable difficulty in making contact. Additionally Bob Perry had printed off results to hand him at the committee meeting, but Fred didn't show. I fear Fred will be similarly disappointed next year unless he becomes more readily contactable.

I managed to escape from being a league rep on the county committee; this job being added to Mark Whitby's portfolio of responsibilities. Otherwise it was the usual case of the usual suspects being reappointed everywhere.

With the upcoming changes to the grades imminent Fenton proposed that the cups be renamed. The idea met with approval, but some adjustments were made to their suggested names. As a result the current 8 board, U135, U110 and U90 cups will be known as the Open, Major, Intermediate and Perry Trophy respectively, the last being named after the donor of the trophy.

If you want something done, ask a busy man. Following previous false attempts to get quotations for new trophies, the secretary took it on himself (with committee approval) to acquire new and replacement ones as needed. Consequently for the first time that I can remember we had a full complement of trophies to present. To my mind this certainly enhanced this section of the meeting, as did the taking of photographs, which helped to remind us old cynics of the true value of the achievements. Certainly each of the leagues was very competitive this year, and all the winners know that they had to play well by their own standards to achieve their successes.

On the finance front the tresurer's recommendation that the increase in game fee should lead to a small increase in entry fees was accepted. Consequently fees for the coming season will be
For payment before Nov 1st: Open cup: £7, other cups: £4, rapidplay: £9. All these are unchanged from last year.
Main league:
5 board teams £10 (£1 increase) plus £2.50 per fixture,
4 board teams £8 (£1 increase) plus £2.00 per fixture
For payment after 1st Nov main leagues will be charged an extra £4, other competitions £1.
Note that the rapidplay fees collected this autumn will relate to the league played this summer.

Still on the finance front I don't recall any vote being taken on donations. Even if this is because there was no vote rather than because I was asleep I imagine these will continue. There was a vote to accept the budget report, and this included "We expect other expenses (support for local congresses, an ECF yearbook entry, and our Staffordshire affiliation fee) to remain the same."

We then turned our attention to setting new limits for our competitions in the light of anticipated changes to grades. I presented the results of some calculations based on our players and the old and new grades published last year. It being difficult to discuss without firm knowledge of the changes we decided to adopt the limits listed below, with the proviso that the committee are empowered to vary this in an emergency meeting should the published grades prove to be markedly different from our expectations.
 old av limitnew av limitold team limitnew team limit
div 2130145650725
div 3110130440520
div 490115360460
div 570100280400
 old limitnew limit  
Major cup135150  
Inter cup110130  
Perry Trophy90110  
The minimum counting grade will now be 25 points below the average limit for the division, but no change was made to the rule requiring players needing to be graded at least 10 points below the average limit to reserve within a division, nor to the 15 point rule relating to board order.

My calculations suggest that the divisional limits should go up by about 16 points per person per division, clearly not possible if we want to stick to 'nice' numbers. The overall effect will I hope be very small for divisions three and four, a slight easing for division 5, and a small tighening for division 2. I believe that 725 and 750 team limits for the new grades is almost the same as 635 and 665 under the old ones. The lower values clearly make it slightly harder for first division players to get extra games in division two, the higher values would mean that those clubs without the playing resources to increase the strength of their teams would find themselves potentially slightly further off the pace.
The opportunity has been taken to space the cups out equally, hopefully this will not adversely affect potential entrants.

Provisional entries for next season's leagues are (updated 24th Aug):
Div 1Div 2Div 3Div 4Div 5
CheddletonCheddletonCheddleton x 2CheddletonCheddleton x 3
H ChapelH Chapel x2H Chapel
NewcastleNewcastle x 2NewcastleNewcastle
Division one will be run on a standard double round robin basis. Division four teams will play each other three times if there are no further entries, but will revert to the normal format if a sixth entry appears.

I intend to write the fixtures mid-August(-ish), so there should be time for clubs to tell me of any changes of their plans made on seeing the grades when published later this month. Please also let me know of any constraints you wish me to take account of when writing the fixtures.
For two clubs the entries represent an increase in team numbers, for two a decrease. These latter clubs both quoted lack of captains rather than lack of players as the cause. This has prompted me to write a separate article which can be found under misc-Help your Club. Hopefully an additional captain or two will surface over the summer leading to the return of some of the missing teams.

Cup draws:
MeirvH Chapel
MeirvH Chapel
H ChapelvMeir
KidsgrovevH Chapel

Next year's AGM has been set for Thurs 8th July at Alsager.

Alan Thomason asked about the procedure for naming a trophy as he would like to remember Dave Ross in this way. In essence the answer is either to donate a trophy or donate a sum of money to cover the cost.

I reminded people that the county captains always like to hear from players wishing to represent the county. Next year we anticiapte Staffordshire entering teams in the Open (captain: David Anderton), U160 (Alan Thomason), U140 (John Day), U120 (Paul Clapham) and possibly U100 sections, though the last will need a captain as well as players.

Having found nothing to have a big argument about, we all went home.

Simple open
18/06/09 With just one fixture remaining the open rapidplay can be won by Holmes Chapel or Stafford, or by either jointly with Newcastle, but not jointly with each other. Simple really.

Macclesfield take U130 Rapidplay
18/06/09 Macclesfield's double victory at Newcastle last night secured them the U130 rapidplay title with one fixture to go.

County AGM
16/06/09 The county AGM will take place on Tues 14th July 2009 at Stafford. Please do not confuse this with the North Staffs League AGM taking place on Mon 6th July at Meir. Best get to both!

Leek Rapidplay
16/06/09 Roughly a third of this year's entry were juniors, but age and cunning triumphed over youth and ability.

The Cheddleton Section (U190) was won by Oliver Jackson of Poynton with Richard Beach of Stockport, David Buxton of Cheddleton and Alex Richardson of Newcastle being equal second. David and Alex shared the Alan J Wilshaw Memorial Rose Bowl for the highest placed Stoke League player, and Craig Whitfield (Cheddleton) won the grading prize.

Geoff Laurence of Macclesfield won the St. Edward‘s Section (U130), with Richard Burton of Colwyn Bay and Steve Hill of Meir sharing second place. The grading prize went to Richard Szwajkun of Newport

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