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News Items From the 2012/13 Season

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Martyn's end of season joy
30/05/13 Martyn won the club's end of season rapidplay with 4½/5, a ½ point clear of Jack Healings, with Alex a further half-point adrift in third. Full details under competitions - internal events.

Winning start in South Cheshire Shield
25/05/13 Newcastle won their first South Cheshire Shield match 2½ - 1½ thanks to Pete's victory.

End of season Quickplay
23/05/13 The Club's end of season quickplay event consisting of five fifteen minute games will take place next Wendesday, 29th May at the Bridge Club, 7.30 KO. As usual I've invited a few outsiders.

Richard stars in Withnall
15/05/13 Newcastle won the Withnall Cup, their fourth and only successful appearance in a final this year, thanks to Richard's victory.

Match Off
10/05/13 With both sides struggling to raise a team, the South Cheshire Shield match against Alsager has been postponed.

D Disappoint
10/05/13 The D team disappointingly lost their last match of the season with only Martyn winning.

E finish on a low
30/04/13 Despite Martyn's win the E team finished with a defeat at Alsager D, though all boards put up a good show.

Another final failure
26/04/13 There were no individual Newcastle winners as the Open team went down to Cheddleton in the final of their cup.

Inter go close
24/04/13 The intermediate cup team went down 2 - 3 to Cheddleton in their final despite Richard's win.

Perry team lose
23/04/13 The club's Perry Cup team lost to Fenton in the final, with draws by Steve and Ben being insufficient to secure the silverware.

Point for B
20/04/13 The B team picked up a point in their final match of the season thanks to Alan's win at Cheddleton B.

Hyperactive Wednesday
17/04/13 All hands to the pump as Newcastle had three teams in action tonight. The B and D teams went down to Cheddleton C and Stafford B respectively without recording a single win, but Alan and Paul won against Holmes Chapel Pawns to secure a draw for the C team.

One betwen two
13/04/13 The C and e teams picked up one point between them on their visit to play respectively the E and F teams of Cheddleton. Alan and Paul won to secure a point for the C team, but the E team needed a draw from Nic to prevent a whitewash.

One for Two and Two for One
11/04/13 In a double header against Fenton Pete's win for the D team was enough to pick up two points against the visitors A team, whilst two wins for the E team by Alan and Carl picked up a point against their C team.

Points all round
03/04/13 The C and E team both drew at home tonight. with Alan and Paul getting wins for the C team, Richard and Watson for the E.

New date
02/04/13 The B team's home match against Cheddleton C which should have been played in November will now be played on 17th April. With the C and D teams also in action that night it will be all hands to the pump.

D go down at Kidsgrove
27/03/13 No individual victories to report as the D team go down 1 - 3 at Kidsgrove.

C close
26/03/13 The C team went close to gaining a point at Meir A last night, going down 1½ - 2½.

Pete carries Newcastle Through
18/03/13 Pete's win against Warley Quinborne on Thursday was enough to take Newcastle through to the final of the Withnall cup on board count.

E take a point
18/03/13 The E team gained another well-earned point at Meir tonight thanks to wins by Pete and Ben.

Better news
13/03/13 The B team drew at home to Rooks with the help of a win from Nic, a result that guarantees a top half finish. Meanwhile the E team picked up a couple of welcome points by beating Cheddleton G with Martyn providing the individual victory.

D Disaster
11/03/13 The D team went down at Holmes Chapel Pawns despite heavily outgrading the opposition and Martyn's win.

New Date
08/03/13 The E team's match at Cheddleton F has been moved forwards a week to 12th April.

A lose again
08/03/13 The A team lost for the second time this week, again by 1 - 4, this time at Cheddleton A.

Mixed Fortunes
06/03/13 The A team lost against their counterparts from Stafford, with no Newcastle winners, but the Intermediate cup team beat the same club by the same margin with no losers, Pete, Watson and Richard getting wins.

John and Richard Star
04/03/13 Richard was clear winner of the U130 section at the Newcastle Mini played over the weekend, with John joint winner of the U160 section. Congratulations to both.

New Date
04/03/13 The D team's visit to Holmes Chapel Pawns will now be played on Mon 11th March.

Improvement not enough
28/02/13 The A team improved on their dismal 0 - 5 drubbing agaisnt Kings earlier in the season by going down 2 - 3 margin in the return fixture, with Martyn being the club's sole winner in a fluctuating game.

One Each
27/02/13 Newcastle's third division sides played host to the two Cheddleton teams, with the C team losing narrowly to the visitors D side, but the D team winning against their E team with the help of victories by Martyn and Watson.

South Cheshire Shield
21/02/13 John Day will be captaining a Newcastle team in the South Cheshire Shield this year, which will give the opportunity for some out of season games to those interested.

Perry progress
21/02/13 The Perry Cup team progressed into the final last night when an oversight meant their opponents fielded no team. It was decided not to pursue alternative dates because of the number of postponed matches still to be fitted in as a result of the snow we have had this winter.

Board Count Again
19/02/13 Newcastle repeated their first round board count trick in the semi-final of the Open Cup, with Alsager being their victims. Alan and Martyn got the decisive wins.

A team date
17/02/13 The A team's visit to Cheddleton A will now take place on Friday 8th March.

B Save the Week
15/02/13 The B team saved the week for the club, their draw giving the club one point from four matches played. Martyn was Newcastle's winner.

But Now Match Back
15/02/13 The B team clash that I reported being moved forwards below has now been put back to 19th April.

Match Forward
14/02/13 The B team's visit to Cheddleton B has been pulled forwards a week to Feb 22nd.

C and D fall short
13/02/13 The C and D teams both lost tonight against the A teams of Fenton and Meir respectively despite Derrick's win for the C team and John's for the D.

Going down fighting
11/02/13 All the members of the E team played aggressively tonight, but unfortunately were unable to see their attacking play rewarded, for when the dust settled they were left with just two draws between them.

Derrick saves C team blushes
08/02/13 Derrick save the C team from being whitewashed at Stafford last night when he spotted a good drawing manoeuvre.

A back in action
06/02/13 The A team were back in action tonight, shading the match against visitors Alsager A thanks to wins by Barry and Martyn.

E go close
06/02/13 The E team entertained Alsager C tonight, going down 1½ - 2½ despite Carl's win.

C off the bottom
30/01/13 Alan's win helped the C team to a draw at Kidsgrove, the point being enough to lift them off the bottom of the table.

D downed by Alsager
30/01/13 The D team's chances of mounting a challenge for the third division title took a backward step at Alsager last night when a couple of draws for John and Paul left the team with no points for the encounter.

Hickman Exit
25/01/13 Newcastle bowed out of the Hickman Cup at Walsall Kipping last night, Martyn being Newcastle's sole winner.

Points for B and E
23/01/13 The B team secured a narrow victory over Knights with Robbie and Steve providing wins, whilst the E team drew with Tiny Pawns with Martyn and Scott each getting a full point.

Match and jamboree off
18/01/13 The A team's match at Cheddleton has been called off due to the weather. The division 5 jamboree is also a victim.

C dent D's progress
16/01/13 The C team put a dent in the D team's title chances with a narrow victory in which wins by Paul and Watson were answered by one from John D.

More Losses
09/01/13 The C and E teams both lost tonight against Stafford B and Alsager D respectively, with Alan producing the club's only win.

Little joy for B
08/01/13 The B team went down at Macclesfield tonight despite Alan's win.

Mixed start to 2013
02/01/13 Mixed fortunes for the club's third division sides as the D team beat Stafford B 2½ - 1½ thanks to wins from John A and Pete, whilst the C team went down to Cheddleton E by the same margin despite Alan's win.

E worry leaders
19/12/12 The E team gave fourth division leaders Cheddleton F cause for concern before going down 1½ - 2½, with Ben getting his maiden victory.

Point for D
18/12/12 The D team picked up a point when they travelled to Fenton A last night, wih Nic getting a valuable win.

Hickman date
16/12/12 Newcastle will travel to Walsall Kipping in the Hickman Cup on Thursday 24th January.

Five draws equals no wins
12/12/12 Both the A and d teams went down at home tonight against the A teams of Cheddleton and Meir respectively. Newcastle mustered five individual draws across the nine boards, but these were not enough to claim a match point.

County Cups
09/12/12 Newcastle have been drawn away to Walsall Kipping in the quarter-final of the Hickman Cup and away to Warley Quinborne in the semi-final of the Withnall. I'll get around to putting the full draw up on the County Cups page shortly.

B beaten, D draw
06/12/12 The B team went down 2 - 3 at home to Cheddleton B last night; plenty of draws but no wins for the home players. At the same time the D team held Kidsgrove to a draw with Martyn and Derrick providing the Newcastle points.

C off bottom
04/12/12 The C team moved off the bottom with a win at Alsager B thanks to a mixture of victories for Alan and Derrick and the opposition being overgraded.

E suffer at Fenton
04/12/12 pete's draw was all the E team had to show for their visit to Fenton C last night.

Piling up the points
28/11/12 Wins for Pete and Carl helped the D team to a 3½ - ½ victory over 3 man Alsager B.

Carl shines bright
27/11/12 Excellent tactical play brought a good win for Carl on the E team's visit to Meir C, but the team still went down 1½ - 2½.

Match off
26/11/12 Wednesday's B team match at home to Cheddleton C has been postponed due to squad unavailability and the D team and Stoke nicking the potential substitutes.

Major team go close
22/11/12 The club's major cup team went close to causing an upset against a much stronger Cheddleton side going down 2 - 3, with Pete's win on board 2 meaning that any extra half point elsewhere would have given an overall win on board count.

Richard to the rescue
18/11/12 Richard rescued some respectability for the D team, his draw being all the side had to show for Friday's visit to Cheddleton E.

Robbie can't save A
14/11/12 The A team went down 2 - 3 at Stafford A despite Robbie's win.

Point for C
12/11/12 The C team picked up a point at Fenton A, helped by Alan's win.

Ben prevents a Whitewash
08/11/12 Ben's draw in only his third game for the club prevented the E team from being on the receiving end of a whitewash at the hands of Meir B last night.

B Buzz around Knights
07/11/12 The B team had a successful trip to Holmes Chapel to play the Knights, with wins from Alex, Martyn, Pete and Nic.

Full House
05/11/12 The C team enjoyed their visit to Holmes Chapel Pawns, with Alan, Paul, Steve and Derrick all winning.

Pete makes the difference
05/11/12 pete's win enabled the D team to defeat Meir A in their rearranged third division match tonight.

Board count to the rescue
31/10/12 The Open Cup team snuck past Macclesfield on board count, with Alex, Robbie and Martyn contributing wins.

27/10/12 Any hopes that the E team had of gaining further points were quickly eradicated at Cheddleton G last night, with the home team running out easy 3½ - ½ winners.

A win wins and a loss loses
24/10/12 A win by captain Nic was enough to see the B team to victory over Macclesfield, whilst a single loss consigned the D team to defeat against Cheddleton D.

A win at last
22/10/12 Following a forgetable week, Newcastle returned to winning ways with the A team securing a 3½ -1½ victory at Alsager A with the help from individual successes by Robbie, Barry and Martyn.

Hattrick of near misses
22/10/12 The C team completed a hattrick of 1½ - 2½ defeats when going down at Cheddleton D on Friday.

David saves Newcastle Blushes
18/10/12 A disasterous night for Newcastle at the Bridge Club saw debutant David get a draw to prevent a double whitewash by opponents Holmes Chapel Kings and Fenton B. Time to clutch at straws - its always darkest before the dawn.

Top and tail
15/10/12 Newcastle provided two players for the county U140 team's visit to Derby, with John winning on top board, and Nic coming second on bottom in a match that Staffs won 11 - 5.

B edge past Rooks
09/10/12 The B team squeezed past Holmes Chapel Rooks 3 - 2 with Alan and Martyn winning, and captain Nic securing the final half-point by repeating moves in a double edged position with both players beginning to run short of time.

Half a Newcastle better than a whole?
03/10/12 Kidsgrove turned up with two former Newcastle players - Ian Jamieson and Derek Northage - in their ranks and proceeded to beat the D team in a match containing three draws.

A tale of two Johns
03/10/12 John Amison won on his Newcastle debut to help the D team to a draw against Holmes Chapel Pawns, with John Day contributing half a point despite allowing his queen to be pinned to his king early in the game.

E make a point
02/10/12 The E team drew at Alsager C tonight with Richard leading the way with a good win on board two.

Bragging rights for D
20/09/12 The D team narrowly won club bragging rights by beating the C team 2½ - 1½ thanks to wins by Pete and Carl which were answered by one from Alan.

Winning start for E
20/09/12 The team started their campaign with a 3 - 1 win at Holmes Chapel Tiny Pawns last night with Paul, Carl (on his club debut) and Scott all winning their games.

Newcastle at Leek
10/09/12 Six memebrs of the club spent the weekend participating in the Leek congress. Alan and Martyn played in the major (U190) scoring 3 and 2½ points respectively in their five games. Nic, Paul and Pete respectively scored 2½, 2 and 1½ in the intermediate (U150), whilst Derrick scored 2 in the minor (U115)

Rapidplay title shared
06/09/12 Alan and Martyn shared first place in the AGM rapidplay with 4/5, closely followed by John A on 3½. For full scores see internal results.

AGM happened, nobody died!
06/09/12 Last night's AGM failed to provide fodder for the scandal sheets. The club is solvent and will be run for another year by the usual suspects. Teams will be manned as suggested in the newsletter, and all have captains and providers of wheels. ECF membership has already being acquired by the majority of the club, so the treasurer will only have a small mopping up operation to perform. No arguments and only a few digressions, so there was time for a five round rapidplay.

AGM date
29/07/12 The club AGM will take place at the Bridge Club on Wed 5th September with a 7.30 start, to be followed by a 10 minute quickplay competition.

A tale of two Alexes
27/07/12 The summer half-hour was concluded last night with Alex Richardson running out clear winner with 5/6, half a point clear of Simon Edwards. Star of the show though waas Alex Cartlidge whose 4 point total included draws with the winner and Alan Paling.

New Grades
24/07/12 The first draft of grades for the coming season has been released. Changes shown in the table below are relative to last August, not the January list.
John D137+10
John A133+1
Nick Mc133

No doubt the definitive list to be published later will contain some small changes - currently Meir have two players by the names of Abby Sargeant and Abigail Sargeant, whilst Macclesfield have a couple of Angie Renshaws.
Former members listed include
Paul Wallace (Lichfield)202
Richard Lee (Cambridge Uni)190
Geoff Marchant (Wallington)190
Daniel Sullivan (Sheffield Nomads)178
Dave Cork (Crawley)163
Catherine Hiley nee Ashton (Rugeley)138
James Rothwell (Ormskirk)137
Nick Lowe (Altrincham)134
Derek Northage (Kidsgrove)131
Robert West (Fenton)86

No change at the top
20/07/12 Alan and Alex continue to set the pace at the head of the summer ½-hour, a mutual draw being the only dent in their respective attempts at perfection.

Fifteen love ...
12/07/12 fifteen people love playing chess enough to turn out for the first two rounds of Newcastle's summer ½-hour, with Alex and Alan being the only two to escape unscathed on the evening. Details under Internal Events.

Summer Half Hour
22/06/12 This year's summer half hour will be played over the three Wednesdays 11th, 18th and 25th July. As usual there will be two games each night - ½-hour each player on the clock - with draws for odd numbered rounds being based on those present at 7.30 that night. Players may claim 2 half-point byes and as many 0 point ones as they wish. Hope to see many of you there on as many of the three nights as possible.


2012/13 Honours
WinnersRunners up
Division 1Stafford ACheddleton A
Division 2Cheddleton CCheddleton B
Division 3Fenton AStafford B
Division 4Fenton BCheddleton F
Open CupCheddletonNewcastle
Major CupCheddletonH Chapel
Inter CupCheddletonNewcastle
Minor CupFentonNewcastle
GPM ArmstrongRob Shaw
320 DoublesI Chester &
M Hancock
A Paling/P Shaw
B & G Scattergood
220 DoublesD Price &
P Clifford
R Martin &
O Horrocks

Perry to Fenton
23/04/13 No, not an unexpected transfer, merely that Fenton have won this year's Perry Cup competition.

Dave and Rob win the battle, but Malcolm wins the War
15/04/13 Rob Shaw and Dave Buxton shared first place in the final GP of the year with scores of 3½/5, but this was not enough to stop Malcolm Armstrong taking the overall GP title with a best 3 event total of 12½/15. Full results here.

Rooks Date
15/04/13 Rooks will complete the devision two season by visiting Cheddleton B on 17th May.

Follow the Staffs Congress
13/04/13 The Staffs Congress is taking place this weekend in Bloxwich. Results for the Open, Major, and Minor will appear daily.

League AGM
13/04/13 With the Tramways Club no longer available, the NSDCA AGM has been switched to Newcastle Bridge Club on Tue July 9th, starting at 8 pm.

More new dates
10/04/13 Some more postponed fixtures now have new dates.
47622.4.2013Meir BvCheddleton F
4476.5.2013Meir CvMeir B
45310.5.2013Cheddleton FvMeir C
35915.5.2013KidsgrovevCheddleton D

Easter Performances
04/04/13 I've got around to doing an Easter update to the performances table. Games from a couple of matches played at Newcastle last night are also included.

Division one date
02/04/13 Cheddleton A will entertain Alsager A in a postponed first diviison match on 3rd May.

County Cups Site
26/03/13 Matthew Carr has created a site for the county cups competitions which will be a useful alternative to the county cups page on this site.

Malcolm takes GP 3
26/03/13 Malcolm Armstrong won the third GP event of the season with a perfect score.

Ray Poole
23/03/13 It is with sadness that I report the death of Ray Poole for whom chess was just one of many interests. An obituary can be found here.

New Date
20/03/13 Cheddleton D v Alsager B, postponed at the end of January, has now been arranged for Fri 19th April.

Stafford on the move
16/03/13 From 1st April 2013 Stafford Chess Club are moving to Amasal Sports & Social Club, St Albans Industrial Estate, Stafford, ST16 3DR. Remaining March matches will still take place at St Leonards.

Match Moved
12/03/13 The fourth Division match Fenton B v Alsager D has been moved from 25th March to 15th April.

Mini Report
06/03/13 A brief report on the recent mini-congress can be found under Congresses-Newcastle Mini

Match moved
06/03/13 Cheddleton F v Fenton B has been moved from 22nd March to 26th April.

Mini Highlights
04/03/13 Prize winners at the Newcastle Mini were
Open: Ben Scattergood (Holmes Chapel) and Simon Edwards (Cheddleton) 4½/5
U160: John Day (Newcastle), Brian Birchall (Alsager), Ken McNulty (Stafford), Alex Cartlidge (Cheddleton). All 3/5
U130: Richard Cantliff (Newcastle) 4/5, David Price (Holmes Chapel) 3½, Michael Matar (Alsager) and Jacob Cartlidge (Cheddleton) both 3.
U100: Dominic Taylor (Cheddleton) 4½, Thivyaa Rahulan (Cheddleton) 4, Edward Day (U3A) 3.
Kangaroo Prize: Ernest Wilkinson (Fenton)

I shall add a fuller report to the Newcastle Mini page in a few days time.

Congresses added to Performances
16/02/13 Thanks to information provided by Roger Edwards I have been able to include results from the Leek and Frodsham Congresses in the latest performances update.

Fenton on the move
02/02/13 The rebranding of the Fenton Sports and Social Club to the Tramways Community Club has not had the desired effect on its viability, so Fenton find themselves on the move again. They have found themselves a home at Longton Working Men's Club, Rosslyn Road, Longton, ST3 4JD, which they will be using from February 11th onwards. I shall update the Fenton page shortly.

New date
02/02/13 Cheddleton G's visit to Fenton B which was postponed before Christmas will now be played on 4th March.

First finalists
02/02/13 Cheddleton became the first club to reach one of the cup finals this year when their open team beat Stafford last night.

30/01/13 Next Monday's match between the B teams of fenton and Meir has been postponed, and will now be played on 25th Feb.

New date for Alsager v Stafford
29/01/13 The third division match between the B teams of Alsager and Stafford postponed in October will now take place on Tues 9th April.

Jan grades
28/01/13 January grades now published on ECF site. Note that for our purposes the August grades take precedence. Robert may shortly issue a new list of estimated grades for our use.

More Perfs
28/01/13 Performances page now updated to show all games upto snowy Friday.

Snowed Off
26/01/13 No-one local will be at all surprised to learn that all the matches due to be played at Cheddleton last night were called off because of the snow.

Another Weather Victim
25/01/13 The Rooks match at Cheddleton B tonight has been postponed, falling foul of the wintry conditions.

New Date for Fenton derby
23/01/13 The fourth division match between Fenton B and Fenton C will now take place on Weds 20th Feb.

Jamboree as at 13th Jan 2013
Jamboree off due to weather
Alsager, Fenton, Holmes Chapel, Newcastle, at least one Meir team are confirmed entries for the division 5 Jamboree at Cheddleton on 18th January, joining quartets from the home club in contesting this event. With an individual limit of 125 as well as the usual division 5 constraints there are guaranteed to be no superstars.

New Date
15/01/13 Last night's postponed match between Fenton C and Cheddleton F has been rearranged for Monday Feb 25th.

Alan Sime
02/01/13 Geoff Laurence reports the sad news of the death of Alan Sime, a stalwart supporter of the North Staffs League. Obituary.

Need a venue?
21/12/12 The pavilion at Newcastle and Hartshill Cricket Club is available for use on Wednesdays and Thursdays outside of the cricket season. The bar can be made available if required. Eddie Burke (Meir Chess Club) is your man if you want to investigate further; I can put you in touch if needed.

Christmas Performances
20/12/12 With no more matches scheduled before Christmas, the latest performances updates should represent the position at Christmas. I've added another column to show the ECF membership status of players. All those who have played 4+ games are ECF members, which doesn't necessarily mean that they were at the time they played their fourth game.

New date
16/12/12 The Fenton B v Alsager C match postponed on 10th Dec will now take place on 8th April

Doubles go North
02/12/12 Ten teams of two competed in the doubles at Holmes Chapel yesterday, with Mike Hancock and Ian Chester taking the 320 section with Dave Price and Paul Clifford topping the 220 section. Full results

Rob takes first GP
20/11/12 Rob Shaw won the first of this season's GP events with a score of 4/5, a half point clear of Malcolm Armstrong.

More Performances
19/11/12 Performances charts now show over 50 players having reached the five game mark, the most active having reached ten.

Holmes Chapel into Major Final
13/11/12 Defending cup holders reached the final of the major competition edging past Alsager 3 - 2.

08/11/12 Matthew Carr is taking part in a 24 hour chess marathon in aid of Children in Need on 17th November. Full details here.

Chrome Bodge
02/11/12 I have found a bodge solution so that users of the browser Chrome can now use the navigational frame at the bottom of the screen which has previously appeared dead in that browser. Assuming that is that later versions of Chrome than mine haven't created a new problem.

01/11/12 We've only just reached November and already 26 people have played at least 5 games, so I've decided its time to publish the first set of performances.

Fixture switch
24/10/12 Holmes Chapel Kings and Stafford A have switched the weeks of their league fixtures, the match at Holmes Chapel now being on Thu 6th December, and that at Stafford on Wed 20th March.

Roger rides again
15/10/12 Or with the help of another three letters, presides again. Yes, not content with keeping us lot in order, Roger Edwards is now ECF president following that organisations AGM in Birmingham over the weekend. Have we toughened him up enough to deal with his new role?

Macclesfield Site
08/10/12 Macclesfield's website can now be found at!cvcvvg/mainPage

Leek Results
22/09/12 There was an unusually small contingent of local players amongst the prize winners at the recent Leek Congress, so more help next year to repel the invaders would be welcome.

The Open, sponsored by AH Brooks and Co was won by Ali Jaunooby from Denton with 4 points, with Michael Surtees (Bolton) and Dominic and Liam Rabbitte (both Heywood) a half point behind. The sections slow starter prize was won by Peter Mulleady (Rossendale).

The Major (U190), sponsored by Croda, saw a tie between Richard Bryant (Chester) and Peter Mercs (Nottingham Gambit) on four points, closely followed by Nathan and Mark Talbot (both Wigan), Benjamin Roberts (Rhyl/Prestatyn) and Daniel Sullivan (Sheffield Nomads). The league fixture secretary slimed the slow starter prize.

Cheddleton's John Yee provided local cheer by heading the intermediate section (U150) which was sponsored by Nixon and Reeves. From Amber Valley, Dean Hartley's 4 points in second place left him a half behind John and an equal distance ahead of Christopher Lewis (Newport) and Doug Barnett (Alsager), with Roger Walker (Belper) taking the slow starter prize.

The Westwood Minor (U115) was topped by Colin Mace (Wellington, 4½ points) ahead of Alex Rabitte (Heywood, 4) and Ebriham Arshad and Paul Shelley (both Cheddleton, 3½). Slow starters were Les Hall (Alsager) and Ron Harrison (Belper).

Alton Towers Tickets for highest score by a junior in the Minor went to Sam Beardmore (Cheddleton), with Cheddleton A taking the team prize.

County U140
20/09/12 Denis Nesbitt, d(dot)nesbitt(at)ntlworld(dot)com, is the captain of this year's Staffordshire U140 team. He is keen to hear from anyone wishing to play county chess at this level.

Mostly Par
13/09/12 The British teams mostly performed in line with expectations as far as match points are concerned in the Olympiad which finished in Turkey at the weekend.
For the men England, seeded 11, finished in a tie for places 9 to 18, and Wales (90) in a tie for places 87 to 108. Scotland (65) marginally underperformed by finishing in places 70 to 86.
For the women England (44) were tied 40 to 56 and Scotland (76) tied 72 to 84. Wales slightly outperformed their seeding of 86 to finish alongside Scotland. Suzy top scored for Wales women with 6/11, whilst Sandra scored 2 in five substitute appearances.

Fenton Venue Name Change
05/09/12 The Fenton Sports and Social Club is no more. Long live the Tramways Community Club. Same place, same bricks and mortar, different decor.

County Cups
02/09/12 Word files containing the rules and an entry form for the County Cup competitions - Hickman, Gothard, Jackson and Withnall - are now available from the bottom of the fixture downloads page.

Marks out of ten
02/09/12 After 5 rounds of the Olympiad there is no surprise that the England open team is the only one of the six I'm tracking to be in sight of the summit. The team are individually and collectively unbeaten, having added draws against france and India to three earlier wins to amass 8 points and lie in positions 5 to 21. Scotland and Wales stand on five and four points respectively in the open, occupying positions 66 to 92 and 93 to 118. The official standings are more refined than this by the use of tie-breaks, but I tend only to be interested in the match points.

A brace of Blackburns in the Wales Women's squad provide us with our local interest, and they currently lie alongside higher seeded England and Scotland on four points, positions 68 to 95. Suzy now has a personal tally of 2/5, Sandra ½/2, though both are probably a little frustrated to have lost their games against Italy having acquired definite advantages, particularly as the Italians out-graded the Welsh team by over 300 FIDE points per board. A Welsh win in that match would surely have been the upset of the tournament.

Blackburns score
30/08/12 Both Suzy and Sandra Blackburn got off the mark in Wales 3½ - ½ victory over Kenya in the Women's Olympiad, Sandra getting the half. Next up Iceland. Scotland who beat Zimbabwe and England after losing to Mongolia are also on two match points.
England's men narrowly defeated Brazil 2½ - 1½ to set up an interesting round 3 clash with Cuba, whilst Wales beat Rwanda to join Scotland who lost to Iran on two match points.
The official site is very informative, but does seem to be subject to correction, with the initial appearance of teams of anonymous players or players playing on two boards (or for two countries) being somewhat confusing.

Roger for President
29/08/12 Roger Edwards has been nominated for the post of ECF president, the elections taking place at the ECF AGM on October 13th. Currently he will be competing against the incumbent C J de Mooi, whose presidency is best described as having been controversial, and the ever present candidate 'none of the above'.

Rather worryingly there is still no-one nominated for the posts of Chief Executive, Director of Finance or Director of International Chess. Meanwhile the current director of home chess who seems to have interpreted his remit to begin and end with North London events, is hoping to transfer to Director of Membership and Marketing. So if you gave an email address when signing up for ECF membership, expect your in-box to be filled with news of Golders Green Rapidplays.

29/08/12 Forty five of the seventy five round one matches in the Open Olympiad ended with 4 - 0 scorelines, though England opted for a more modest 3½ - ½ beating of Andorra and Scotland a similar scorline against the US Virgin Isles. India were not gentle with Wales.

In the Women's competition 46 teams kept a clean sheet, including England against Surinam, Welsh opponents the Czech Republic and Scottish opponents France. Sandra sat out round one match, but is making her debut today against Kenya.

One for the Album

The Wales Womens Olympiad Team

Sandra and Suzy bracket team mates Alyssa Wang, Lynda Roberts and Olivia Smith with npc Tom Rendle also in the picture. The original, provided by Jon Blackburn is bigger and clearer, but I've shrunk it to suit my page.

Revised grades
27/08/12 The revised grades for use in the coming season have now been published and are available here.

Turkey? But its not Christmas!
26/08/12 Though it may feel that way for Sandra Blackburn who is off to Turkey with the Welsh Ladies team for the Olympiad. She describes herself as reserve, though the Welsh Chess Union lists her alongside the rest of the team with no mention of status. Daughter Suzy Blackburn is in the squad too, so good luck to both. The team is captained by Thomas Rendle, an Englishman, but as the English and Welsh have no chips on their shoulder about this sort of mixing, I foresee no problems there.

Fixture nudges
26/08/12 A number of Holmes Chapel matches have been pulled forwards one day as their venue is not available on the originally scheduled date. So far I have been informed of the matches below, but can't help feeling that some Knights and Tiny Pawns fixtures will run into similar trouble. The opposing clubs concerned should have received notification from Sandra of these alterations.
202Tue9.10.2012H C RooksvNewcastle B
204Tue16.10.2012H C RooksvCheddleton B
214Tue4.12.2012H C RooksvCheddleton C
61Tue13.11.2012H ChapelvAlsager
42Tue20.11.2012H ChapelvAlsager

Late August ...
21/08/12 ... it must be fixtures time. Fixtures are now available from the downloads page though the rest of the site is still looking back on last season. I'll update the club and divisional pages over the next couple of days, assuming I don't run off to South America to escape the complaints.

Alsager Alterations
13/08/12 Alsager have decided to move both their B and C teams down one division. The overall effect is the same as moving a team from division two to division four. I have updated the entry lists further down the page.

Holmes Chapel E named
08/08/12 The recently formed fourth division Holmes Chapel team have named themselves Holmes Chapel Tiny Pawns. It remains to be seen whether they will be small in the normal or Little John sense.

Fenton out of Major
07/08/12 Fenton have confirmed that they will not be playing in this year's Major cup, a possibility that they made clear at the AGM. Rather than having the lop-sided draw that would result from simply removing them (original draw lower down page) it seems sensible to go straight to semi-finals keeping the order of teams drawn the same i.e. Holmes Chapel v Alsager and Newcastle v Cheddleton.

Newcastle change entry
05/08/12 Newcastle have decided to move one of their fourth division teams into division three. I've updated the table of entries lower down the page.

Not the AGM Minutes
09/07/12 The following account is based on my recollections of this evening's NSDCA AGM plus a couple of doodles I made at the time. They should not be regarded as definitive, and won't necessarily appear in the same order as events unfolded on the night. As usual I cannot resist a few after the event comments; these will appear in italics.

Having forgotten to bring a couple of trophies, I persuaded Alan to backtrack so that I could fetch them, which meant that missed Apologies, Minutes of the last AGM, Matters arising and the Chairman's report. I hope I won't upset anyone by saying I doubt we missed anything significant for next year.

Reports from the General Secretary, Treasurer (who highlighted how much of the club payments were passed on to the ECF in game fee), Results Secretary and Publicity Secretary enabled each to have a moment in the spotlight. I elected to invent some questions on County Matters, thereby discovering that the county U160 team may disappear through lack of support and captain, possibly to be replaced by an U180 team, that either the U140 team or one of the U120 teams may also be minus a captain, and that the county don't appear to have decided on a position with respect to the use of non-ECF members in their events.

For once ECF matters was a significant item on the agenda, being the point at which we discussed how the Association should react to the ECF's introduction of a Universal Membership Scheme. Needless to say the discussion wandered off track from time to time, but the need to discuss some more complex responses was cut short by getting the proposal
"No player may play more than three games in NSDCA events unless they are a member of the ECF."

This allows clubs to use a player as a filler to avoid defaults, or to allow a newcomer to try a few games before committing to ECF membership.

At the end of the season clubs will be charged a residual game fee of £2 for each game played by a non-member. Should a player join the ECF after playing a few games, then the membership acts retrospectively to the beginning of September, so that no residual game fee will be applied to any of that player's games.

Inevitably the question as to what would happen if a non-member played a fourth game was asked, eliciting a response that the game would be scored as a default. No proposal was forwards to this effect, and I decided that running a discussion on this alongside that on the Associations stance on non-members, which was already being puntuated by questions and comments about the ECF scheme, would confuse matters further. However it seems to me that handling the situation within our existing rules would mean

  1. The player would be deemed ineligible, resulting in his/her game being scored to the opponent, and a further point being deducted from their team score,
  2. The game would still count for grading purposes,
  3. The club concerned would be charged £2 residual game fee

Clubs will want to take the Association's stance into account when they form their own plans for the coming season if they do not want to risk falling foul of it.
For the Association's events the lowest level of ECF membership, bronze, is sufficient. This costs £13 for the chess year 1st Sept 2012 to 31st Aug 2013. You can join by post or phone through the ECF office (I've heard rumour that they can accept credit but not debit cards, but don't know if this is true) or online via a site that should be available anytime now. The online site will involve payment via Paypal, but does not require you to have a Paypal account. If you join online you get a £1 discount. On joining you will get a membership number which I believe will consist of one of the letters B, S, G or P followed by a five digit number. Do not confuse this with your grading code which is a 6 digit number followed by a letter! It is also possible to buy a three year membership at this year's rates which could be a useful hedge against future increases, though you don't get thre discounts for acquiring such membership online.

Those wishing to play in congresses will need to have silver membership, which costs a further £6. It is possible to upgrade a bronze membership to silver during the year by paying the £6 difference.

I strongly suspect those needing gold or wanting platinum membership will already be well aware of how these work.

Clubs may also have their internal events graded for free if they are restricted to ECF members, with the £2 residual game fee again applying to any games played by non-members of the ECF.

Phew. A drinks break, and back to Election of officers and other appointments. Ian Bates stood down from the committee, and the meeting immediately jumped on Ian Chester's offer to take his place, accepting it before he had chance to change his mind. No other changes in personnel were made.

A proposal to eliminate replays in cup matches consisting entirely of drawn games was passed. Now such matches will be awarded to the team with the lowest total grade, and if this fails to split the tie, the bottom board will be discounted and this grade count rule reapplied, and so on until the teams can be separated.

A full set of trophies - 4 league, 4 cup, and 2 rapidplay were present to be presented, and Ian Chester found he should have brought a friend as he did not have enough hands to cope with all the silverware won by his Holmes Chapel colleagues.

Realising that the ECF membership scheme would result in increased costs for some grassroots players their was an air of 'what can we cut?' when we came to discuss next year's budget. Support for individuals selected to represent their country and the ECF yearbook charge survived the cull (hooray and boo respectively!), but support for adult congresses did not. In fact initially support for all congresses was cut without everyone realising this included the county junior. The senior officials started discussing whether/how it would be possible to have a new vote on allowing support for the junior congresses without fulling foul of proper procedure, so I simply put forward a proposal of a new item of expenditure, viz to Traci, knowing full well that she would use it for the junior congress. This was passed.
As a result of this exercise the treasurer felt able to propose league fees of £7.50 for divisions one and two, £6 for divisions three and four, with no charge for the cups and jamboree. Passed.

Time to find out entries and cup draws for the following season.
I shall update these over the summer to reflect any changes in club plans reported to me. When making their league entries Newcastle indicated that they would be having one or two teams in each of divisions 2 to 4. In the table below I show Plan A. The cup draws show Fenton entered in both the Major and Intermediate events, though they are expecting to withdraw from one of these.

League entries as at 13th Aug 2012
Division 1Division 2Division 3Division 4
H ChapelH ChapelH ChapelH Chapel
H ChapelMeirMeir

Cup Draws

StaffordvH Chapel
H Chapelvbye
H ChapelvAlsager
H ChapelvMeir

Next year's AGM will again be at Fenton, on Monday 8th July.

Kidsgrove have lost another player, so are currently down to the bare bones, though there may be one or two other players (re)joining them. Please be understanding if they experience problems fielding a team.

It would appear that Fred Spicers's records of matchcards from old seasons is not as complete as we had hitherto assumed. My archives of these start at season 2003/4, those for several years leading up to this may be lost.

I made my usual plea as fixture secretary for clubs to let me know of constraints they wish me to take into account when drawing up the fixtures.

The End!

Fenton lost in the Forest
09/07/12 Fenton lost on board count to Forest of Dean in the final of the minor section of the National Club. Commiserations.

29/06/12 I've spent a fair bit of time looking at ways that various leagues and counties are proposing to handle the changes to ECF funding, and seem to have got confused as to which route our treasurer is proposing to take. (As my comments are at cross-purposes with his proposals, those who have read both will be aware of my confusion). In fact he is proposing neither that we should become an MO nor that there should be a compulsory local registration scheme. Instead he has put forward suggestions which I think represent a sensible compromise between allowing clubs continued freedom with their selections and protecting the financial interests of the league. Apologies to anyone I have confused with my comments below and of course to Bill for misrepresenting his proposals within them.

Local Registration Scheme
24/06/12 Those of you who have read through the AGM documents (see item below) will have noticed that the treasurer is proposing the introduction of a local registration scheme. My comments on this are available in pdf format here. As usual I have not used one word when ten will do.

League AGM
22/06/12 The Agenda and other information for this year's NSDCA AGM to be held at Fenton Sports and Social Club on 9th July at 7.45 are available for download here.

Leek Rapidplay
22/06/12 The ninth Leek rapidplay Congress was held on Sunday with sponsorship provided by Leek Utd BS and by Nixon and Reeves.

The Cheddleton Section (U200) was won by Michael Surtees (Bolton) with 5½/6, a point clear of Steven Jones (Padgate, Warrington) and Nigel towers (Redditch). David Buxton (Cheddleton) won the Alan Wilshire Memorial Trophy for the highest placed North Staffs player. Macclesfield's Geoff Laurence shared the slow starter prize with Damien McCarthy (Padgate) and David Cutmore (Wood Green, London).

John-Paul Taylor (Macclesfield) won the St Edwards Section (U145) with 5½, with Robert Clehg (Huddersfield) and David Welch (Wallasey, Merseyside) on five. Alan Sime (Macclesfield) took the slow starter prize.

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