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News Items From the 2013/14 Season

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Dynamic display by D
24/05/14 The D team put together probably their best performance of the season as they won 3½ - ½ at Cheddleton H last night. Pete, Brian and Ben all contributed full points.

Ian wins End of Season
15/05/14 Ian won the club's end of season quickplay event last night with a score of 4½/5, half a point clear of Reinhold. Full results under Internal.

Date for last match
08/05/14 The club's last match of the season, the D team's visit to Cheddleton, has been arranged for Fri 23rd May.

Point for B
07/05/14 Wins for Rheinhold and Alan helped the B team pick up a point in their final game of the season against Cheddleton B

Cup for 'Castle
30/04/14 Newcastle won the Intermediate cup final in a match of five decisive games against Kidsgrove tonight, with Nic winning the last game to finish to add to the earlier victories by Pete and Derrick.

Major push hard
29/04/14 Despite being outgraded by an average of over 20 points a board, Nic's win helped Newcastle's Major Cup team pushed Alsager all the way in the final before going down 2 - 3 .

Second for B
25/04/14 Wins by Barry, Pete and Nic enabled the B team to win at Cheddleton C tonight, and secured the runners-up spot in division two.

New Date
25/04/14 The B team's postponed match at home to Cheddleton B will take place on Wed 7th May.

Threee draws, no win
23/04/14 There were no Newcastle winners as the C team went down 1½ - 2½ at home to Kidsgrove tonight.

C slip
17/04/14 A narrow defeat at Stafford B despite Alan's win last night enabled the hosts to move above our heroes in the division 3 table.

E end with a draw
15/04/14 The E team completed their season with a draw at Meir B on the back of wins by Brian and Derrick.

D default
12/04/14 John has defaulted the D team's match at Alsager which was due to be played this Tuesday.

Better night for Newcastle
09/04/14 A win for the B team over Holmes Chapel Knights courtesy of victories by Barry, Martyn and Nic, and a draw for the D team against divisional champions Fenton B helped by Watson's win, gave the club one of their better nights.

Poor night for Newcastle
03/04/14 Derrick's draw was all the E team had to show for their match with Fenton B, whilst the B team needed Martyn's default win to go with Barry's real one to scrape a draw with Cheddleton D.

C go close
29/03/14 The C team went down narrowly 1½ - 2½ at Cheddleton F last night despite Martyn's win.

Newcastle reach second final
26/03/14 The Major cup team joined the intermediate side in the finals with an excellent 4 - 1 victory over Holmes Chapel, with John, Pete and Nic all winning. Paul and Derrick both took draws when a safe pawn up, so the margin of victory could have been greater.

Useful point for C
22/03/14 Nic's win helped the C team pick up a point at division three leaders Cheddleton E last night.

Big win for B
20/03/14 Rheinhold, Alan, Pete and Nic all won as the B team beat Rooks 4½ - ½ last night.

Derrick saves point for E
19/03/14 The E team's points tally continued to inch forward last night to a guaranteed 50% total when Derrick's win secured a draw at Alsager C last night.

D go down again
18/03/14 The D dropped more points last night, with just a couple of individual draws to show for their visit to Meir B.

A end with loss, but E pick up another point.
12/03/14 Barry's win was not enough to get a point for the A team against Kings tonight, but Steve's win secured a point for the E team against Cheddleton H.

Mixed Fortunes
05/03/14 The B team beat Cheddleton C with the help of wins from Barry and Martyn, but at the same time the D team went down to Alsager C.

Two draws
26/02/14 The C team drew with Meir A, with Brian scoring a full point. A debut win by Leon enabled the Perry Cup team to draw their semi-final with Fenton, except that being a cup match the tie was split, with Fenton winning on board count.

Even shorter notice
24/02/14 Newcastle and Fenton turned up at the Fenton venue for their Withnall match tonight to find it shut. Fortunately they were able to play at Newcastle, though with a late start inevitable it was decided to play over four boards. Despite Nic's win Newcastle went out 1½ - 2½.

Inter Progress
20/02/14 With the Bridge Club being closed at short notice for a few days to allow for work on the sewers, Cheddleton kindly agreed to transfer last night's Intermediate Cup match to Nic's abode in Biddulph. Nic reports:

"Newcastle chez Nic worked fairly well - once people found it.  Rather embarrassingly all of Cheddleton were here by 7:30 but the Newcastle car did not arrive till 7:45.

I had a quick loss early on to Matthew Carr.

Later on Pete looked like he was winning so Paul offered Sam a draw that Sam turned down. But then Pete could only draw so Paul had to win (a draw would lose on board count). It went to  thrilling last minute (2 min each actually) ending that Paul managed to clinch."

C lose at Kidsgrove
18/02/14 The C team went down 1½ - 2½ at Kidsgrove tonight despite Martyn's win.

Stafford too strong
12/02/14 The Open Cup team were unable to cope with being outgraded on every board by a strong Stafford team, going down 2½ - 5½ despite wins by Martyn and Pete.

Pete stars for B
05/02/14 Pete won the only decisive game in the B team's match with Alsager A to secure two points for the team.

A almost score
31/01/14 The A team got close to picking up a point at Cheddleton, going down 2 - 3 despite Martyn's win.

C and D win
29/01/14 The C and D both won tonight against Alsager B and the Tiny Pawns respectively. Martyn and David won for the C team, Watson and Ben for the D.

New Grades
27/01/14 The January grades have been released. For NSDCA purposes August grades are still used. However the january ones take precedence over previous estimated grades. Changes shown in the table below are relative to last August.
John A143+1
John D128-5

Former members listed include
Paul Wallace (Lichfield)201
Richard Lee (Cambridge Uni)197
Andrej Furjel (Weymouth)189
Alex Richardson (Fenton)185
Geoff Marchant (Wallington)184
Daniel Sullivan (Sheffield Nomads)182
Ian Jamieson (Kidsgrove)177
Robbie Coats175
Dave Cork (Crawley)154
James Rothwell (Ormskirk)152
Simon Maydew (Shifnal & Telford)151
Catherine Hiley nee Ashton (Rugeley)143
Nick Lowe (Altrincham)133
Francis Westfield129
Derek Northage (Kidsgrove)129
Carl Mustafa (Alsager)95
Robert West (Fenton)86

Full set for the week
22/01/14 The A team lost and the E drew tonight, which with the C team's win on Monday completed a full set of results for the club this week. Individual winners were Martyn for the A team and Ben for the E.

Back to level
20/01/14 The C team reached 50% for the season to date with a 3½ - ½ win at Pawns. Alan, Nic and Brian provided full points, Steve allowed them the small consolation of avoiding a whitewash.

E get Derby Revenge
15/01/14 The E team avenged their early season defeat at the hands of the D team, winning the return 3 - 1 with the help of wins by David and Derrick.

Maccs march on
14/01/14 The B team fell 2 - 3 at leaders Macclesfield last night despite Reinhold's win.

Decent night for Newcastle
08/01/14 The B team beat Fenton A with the help of victories from Martyn and Watson, whilst David's win was enough to secure the E team a point against Meir B.

New Year starts with win
03/01/14 The B team gave the club a good start to the new year, beating Cheddleton B with the help of wins by Martyn, Pete and Nic.

Full House
19/12/13 John, Pete, Watson and Ben all won as the D team won the club's last fixture of 2013 last night.

E edged out
12/12/13 The E team lost narrowly at Fenton B tonight despite David's win.

C go close
12/12/13 The C team nearly slowed the progress of division three eaders Cheddleton E last night, Alan's win not being enough to prevent them going down 1½ - 2½.

B Postpone
12/12/13 The B team have postponed their home match against Cheddleton B next week.

10/12/13 Newcastle have been drawn away to Fenton in the Withnall Cup. The captains have agreed to play the match on Mon 24th Feb.

Tough night
04/12/13 In the two matches played at the Bridge Club Nic's win was not enough to save the B team from defeat at the hands of Holmes Chapel Rooks, but Watson's win secured a point for the D team.

C in close contest
02/12/13 With the other boards all recording draws Alan's win with only a couple of minutes to spare was enough to secure the C team two points against Meir A tonight.

Mixed Fortunes
28/11/13 The E team won at home to Alsager C last night thanks to wins by Steve and Derrick. The A team meanwhile came unstuck at Stafford, with no wins to show for their efforts.

D downed again
19/11/13 The D team had only Watson's draw to show on the visit of Cheddleton H tonight.

Open progress
19/11/13 The Open Cup team progressed to the semi-finals with a 4½ - 3½ win at Alsager. Martyn, Barry and Pete won.

D dumped
14/11/13 The D team fell to a 1 - 3 defeat at Fenton B tonight, with John and Watson's draws all the team had to show for their efforts.

U130s progress
14/11/13 The U130 cup team reached the semi-finals of their competition last night thanks to a board count victory over Holmes Chapel. Nic and Pete provided the Newcastle wins.

B back to winning ways
11/11/13 The B team picked up two points at Fenton A tonight on the back of wins by Martyn and Nic.

Same again for A
06/11/13 The A team scraped to their second 3 - 2 victory of the season, this time against Cheddleton A, with Barry and Martyn winning.

B beaten
01/11/13 Despite Barry's win the B team were well beaten at Cheddleton D tonight.

C choke
30/10/13 The C team contrived to lose 1 - 3 against Holmes Chapel Pawns despite all boards having decent or better positions at various points in the match. Much head banging to be done I fear.

Champion Ivan
29/10/13 Congratulations to Ivan who won his age-group title with a perfect 6/6 score at the recent county junior championships.

B bash Knights
24/10/13 The B team scored a 4 - 1 victory at Holmes Chapel Knights with help from wins by Alan, Reinhold and Pete.

C go down at Alsager
22/10/13 Derrick continued his good early season form with another win at Alsager B tonight, but the C team still lost.

E complete good week
18/10/13 The E team completed a good week for the club by winning at Cheddleton H with Steve and Derrick starring by providing wins, and Paul and Nic providing solidity with draws.

Beat them while you can
16/10/13 Newcastle C hosted a Cheddleton F team featuring three juniors tonight. Juniors are of course notorious for getting better, so it is essential to beat them whilst you can, as they'll have no mercy later. Alan, Nic and Steve adhered well to this principle, enabling our team to run out winners.

Derrick in charge
09/10/13 Derrick's win enabled the C team to pick up a point at home to Stafford B tonight.

All Decisive
08/10/13 The B team picked up two points as Alan, Barry and Martyn all won in a match of decisive games at Alsager tonight.

Mixed Night
03/10/13 There was little joy for the B team as they went down 1 - 4 to Macclesfield with just a couple of draws from Xperts John and Paul, though the E team fared better as Martyn, David and Derrick all won against Tiny Pawns.

First postponement
29/09/13 With Watson, Ben, Scott, David and Steve unavailable and Nic and Paul ineligible, the D team have had to postpone their visit to Cheddleton on Friday.

A win
26/09/13 The A team picked up a victory at Holmes Chapel Kings despite being outgraded on every board, thanks to wins by Reinhold and Barry.

Bragging rights to D
25/09/13 The D team narrowly defeated the E with wins by Pete and Steve being answered by one by Derrick.

Club fees up
05/09/13 Newcastle club fees for the coming season have been raised to £30, with concessions £15. The AGM also confirmed the club's five entries to the North Staffs League, but a little shuffling is still needed to determine the exact make-up of each team. The slightly longer than normal discussions meant that there was only time for four rounds in the subsequent AGM rapidplay, which Martyn won with 3½, a half point clear of Reinhold.

Revised Grades
31/08/13 The revised grades for use for the coming season have now been published. I can find no changes affecting Newcastle players, though most clubs in the league have had the grade of at least one player adjusted.

Alex takes half-hour
31/08/13 Alex won the summer half-hour with 5½/6, a point and a half clear of the pile up of five players in joint second.

Not too late ...
18/08/13 ... to join in the summer half hour. Rounds III & IV this Wednesday, those who missed rounds I & II will get two half-point byes for these.

And they've finished
15/08/13 The South Cheshire Shield side completed their fixtures last week as reported. The remaining match has now been played. With the dust settling we see that Newcastle have finished top of the pile, the points totals being Newcastle 9, Kidsgrove 7, Alsager 6, Holmes Chapel 2.

And they're off ...
15/08/13 ... in the summer half-hour. Eleven turned up with a further five claiming they'll show next week. Current standings available on the copmpetitions-internalpage.

Club AGM date
12/08/13 The Newcastle Chess Club AGM will take place on Weds 4th Sept at 7.30, to be followed as usual by a quickplay tournie.

Strong Finish
09/08/13 The South Cheshire Shield side had a strong finish to the competition with a 2½ - 1½ win over Alsager thanks to individual victories by Nic and Richard. The result means that they are sure of at least joint first, with Kidsgrove being able to catch them only if they defeat Alsager in the onlt remaining match.

New Grades
27/07/13 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 A142+9
John D133-4

No doubt the definitive list to be published later will contain some small changes.
Former members listed include
Paul Wallace (Lichfield)202
Richard Lee (Cambridge Uni)198
Andrej Furjel (Weymouth)188
Ian Jamieson (Kidsgrove)176
Daniel Sullivan (Sheffield Nomads)175
Geoff Marchant (Wallington)170
Dave Cork (Crawley)157
Catherine Hiley nee Ashton (Rugeley)139
James Rothwell (Ormskirk)138
Nick Lowe (Altrincham)135
Derek Northage (Kidsgrove)118
Robert West (Fenton)93

More points
25/07/13 The club's South Cheshire Shield team picked up two more points last night by beating Holmes Chapel 2½ - 1½ with the help of wins by Pete and Richard.

Half-hour dates
20/07/13 The clubs summer half hour competition which is open to members and invited guests will be held over the three Wednesdays 14th, 21st and 28th August. As usual there will be two games each night, with up to two half-point byes and as many 0 point ones as players wish.

New date
20/07/13 Newcastle's home match against Alsager in the South Cheshire Shield will now take place on Wed 7th August.

Staying in contention
16/07/13 A narrow win at Alsager with the help of wins by John and Pete means that the South Cheshire Shield team remain in contention. By my reckoning, with alll teams having played four of their six games the points tallies are Kidsgrove and Newcastle 5, Alsager 4, Holmes Chapel 2.

Shield Progress Dented
26/06/13 In the return match at Kidsgrove, Newcastle's South Cheshire Shield hopes were dented in the form of a 1 - 3 reverse.

Watson to the rescue
13/06/13 A win by last to finish Watson salvaged a draw for Newcastle in their South Cheshire Shield encounter with Kidsgrove last night.


Staffs Megafinal
24/05/14 Over 130 juniors from nearly 40 different schools played in the Staffordshire mega-final of the Delancey UK Schools Chess challenge. The leading boy and girl in each age-group were awarded titles of Supremo and Suprema respectively. The following schools from the North Staffs area had qualifiers for the Giga-final:

Blythe Bridge High: Bethany White U15 Suprema
Burbage: Chad Jackson U11, Kane Jackson U10, Ethan Gilman-Hawkes U9
Buxton Community: Robert Jackson
Clayton Hall: Sam Beardmore U16 Supremo, Jacob Preston U12
Moorside: Dominic Taylor U16
Newcastle School: Jack Healings U15 Supremo, Anish Kotamarthi U11, Sanjay Sriram U10, Harini Arulraj U7 Suprema
St Edwards Academy: Jacob Smith U13 Supremo, Aaron Wooliscroft U12, Sian Jones U12 Suprema, Elizabeth Sherratt U12, Bethany Wooliscroft U12, Emma Scotchford, Leo March U11, Marnie Pointon U11
St John Fisher: Anna O'Leary U14 Suprema, Skye Wiggins U13 Suprema, Jacob Boswell U12 Supremo
St John's Keele: Ivan Prikazchikov U8 Supremo
St John's Trent Vale: Selim Erdogan U10 Supremo
St Josephs College: Alex Cartlidge U17 Supremo
St Thomas Aquinas: Joshua Mathew
Stafford Grammar: Aaryan Singh U7 Supremo
Westlands Primary: Vaishnav Manoj U11
Westwood College: Laura Smith U17 Suprema, Andrei Mihai U14
Woodcroft First: Robert Cooper U9

Congratulations to all, and good luck in the next stage.

Final performances
24/05/14 I have now published the final performances for the season on the performances page.

Honours list 2013/14
23/05/14 Time to start listing all the honours for the season. I'll keep this list at the top of the column until complete, when I'll date it and allow it to sink with the rest of the news.
WinnersRunners up
Division 1Stafford ACheddleton A
Division 2MacclesfieldNewcastle B
Division 3Cheddleton EKidsgrove
Division 4Fenton BMeir B
Division 5Meir DFenton D
Open CupCheddletonStafford
Major CupAlsagerNewcastle
Inter CupNewcastleKidsgrove
Minor CupCheddletonFenton
GPA RichardsonM Armstrong
320 DoublesA Richardson &
S Emmerton
M Hancock/M Roberts
R Hyde/R Taylor
220 DoublesJ Cartlidge/D TaylorD Price/P Clifford

Perry for Cheddleton
03/05/14 Cheddleton beat fenton 2½ - 1½ in the final of the Minor Cup for the Perry Trophy last night.

Open Cup to Cheddleton
01/05/14 Cheddleton won the clash of the heavyweights against Stafford last night to win the Open Cup Final 4½ - 3½.

Malcolm wins Staffs
14/04/14 Malcolm Armstrong was one of three joint winners of the Open section of the Staffordshire congress over the weekend with 4/5. He also lays claim to the County Champion title jointly with Thomasz Sygnowski from Woverhampton as Geoff Lawton, the third player in the tie for first, is ineligible for this title.

St Edwards top of the north
14/04/14 St Edward's school finished equal third (4th on tie-break, but is such really needed?) in the final of the National Girl's U19 championships played at Nonsuch School in Surrey over the weekend. In January they had finished second in the northern semi-final of the event in Cheadle Hulme, but in the final finished top of the northern qualifiers, thereby gaining a measure of revenge over RGS Newcastle (the other Newcastle).

Pat in Sibenik
04/04/14 The European Senior Team Championships are currently taking place in Sibenik, Croatia. Pat Bennett is a member of the Wales - Dragons team. Event website.

Cheddleton win divison 3
02/04/14 Cheddleton E chalked up another win last night, securing the third division title as they did so. I might have reported this earlier, but then you might have thought it was an April Fool.

Fenton on the move
29/03/14 Longton WMC has closed it's doors for the last time, leaving Fenton searching for a new home.

North Staffs Apps
28/03/14 It is now possible to keep up with chess in North Staffs on Apple and Android devices using the NSDCA app developed by Mike Smith, which can be downloaded free from the Apple App, Google Play and Amazon App for Kindles stores. Simply search for NSDCA. The app is designed to be updated in sync with Steve Emmerton's NSDCA website. It also gives an insight into what Mike can do, so if you are thinking of having an app created for your business or other interest, Mike could be your man.

Final Final
28/03/14 The major cup is the final cup competition to have its finalists decided, with Newcastle to visit Alsager on 29th April to contest said match.

New Dates
28/03/14 Match 528, Cheddleton J v Fenton D, has been put back to 4th April; match 519, Meir D v Fenton C will now be played on 7th April.

Mini Report
26/03/14 I've finally got around to writing up a mini congress report, but I'm not sure it's worth the wait.

GP to Alex
25/03/14 Alex Richardson won the fourth GP event of the season last night, scooping the overall title too, with a dominant 5/5 performance.

Mini Prizes
16/03/14 Prize winners at the Newcastle Mini Congress were

Open: 1st Alex Richardson, 2nd Alan Paling and Malcolm Armstrong
U160: 1st Stephane Pedder, 2nd Railton Hyde and Jacob Boswell
U130: 1st George Scattergood, 2nd Pete Shaw and Jacob Cartlidge
U100: 1st Julian Hawthorne and Derek Whitehurst
Kangaroo: Alberto Gissi

I shall add a fuller report shortly.

Division four to Fenton
16/03/14 Oops. A belated acknowledgement of Fenton's triumph in division four, secured last Wednesday.

Macclesfield secure division 2
16/03/14 Macclesfield have convincingly won the division two title, their win at Cheddleton C on Friday finally closing the door on other team's hopes.

Stafford take Division 1 title
12/03/14 All positions in division one were decided by tonights two matches, with Stafford being Champions, Cheddleton runners up and Newcastle and Holmes Chapel sharing third spot.

Third Final
26/02/14 The Perry Cup is now ready for it's final in which Cheddleton will host Fenton.

Second Final
20/02/14 The line-up for the Intermediate Cup final is now known - Newcastle will host Kidsgrove.

Rob and Malcolm share GP 3
17/02/14 Rob Shaw and Malcolm Armstrong shared the honours with 4/5 in the third GP of this year's series. Simon Hood, making a rare but welcome appearance, filled the bronze medal position.

Valentine Performances
15/02/14 Don't get the wrong idea folks. Just the usual performance table updated to 14th Feb.

First Final
15/02/14 The Open Cup final will be contested between Stafford and Cheddleton.

January Grades
29/01/14 The January 2014 grades are now available, though for North Staffs purposes last August's grades continue to apply. However the January grades will be used for anyone who previously only had an estimated grade. A quick look suggests this affects the following three players:
Steven WalleyFenton91
Paul BarwickHolmes Chapel43
David MeakinNewcastle86

New Date
28/01/14 The fifth division match between Fenton D and Cheddleton I will now take place on Mon 10th March.

More Perfs
24/01/14 Yes, I've updated the players performances page again. It's still hidden away under Misc on the navigation bar at the bottom of the page. By some quirk there are know exactly 1000 half-games reflected in the calculations.

National Club Revamp
21/01/14 For several years the National Club Championships have been a sickly imitation of what a national event should be like. The ECF have finally decided to make major changes in a belated attempt to generate more interest. Out goes the arrange-it-yourself knock-out format. Instead all events are 4 round swisses for teams of four held over a single weekend at the De Vere Uplands Hotel in High Wycombe on 26th and 27th April, though you can use up to six players in your team over the weekend.

The top section is Open. The other sections are grade limited on a whole team basis: Major limit 700 with minimum counting grade 125, intermediate 600 with mcc 100, Minor 500 mcc 75. (Not how they describe it, but what it amounts to in terms with which we are familiar.)

Time controls all moves in 90 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. Rounds commence 12.30, 17.00 Saturday and 10.00, 14.30 Sunday.

Bona-fides: To represent a club a player must have played at least one graded game for the club, or in its graded internal tournament, in the current or immediate past season.

So whilst you now need to find players who between them can cver a whole weekend, you no longer need to find dates, venues, or equipment; and the central venue should add a feeling of special occasion to proceedings. There is even a 'plate' competition which is a variation on the theme of slow starters prize.

For full details see here on the ecf site.

Cup Date
14/01/14 The Meir v Kidsgrove Intermediate Cup semi-final has been rearranged for Mon 10th Feb.

New Date
08/01/14 The fifth division match between Fenton D and Cheddleton I which was postponed before Christmas will now be played on 16th January.

Malcolm makes Hast(ings)
01/01/14 Malcolm Roberts from Holmes Chapel played in the Christmas B section at the Hastings congress, being seeded fourteen out of the eighteen players therein. He continued the good form he has shown in the league by finishing joint second. Well done.

Xmas performances
24/12/13 I've updated the performances page for all games upto Christmas. The ECF have finally got around to updating their dowmloadable membership list - it doesn't look as if they will get rich on the back of games played by non-members in the North Staffs League.

GP II to Alex and Dave
18/12/13 Alex Richardson and Dave Buxton shared the honours at the second GP quickplay of the year on Monday with scores of 4/5.

01/12/13 I've just put up the first performances list of the season. So far 148 players have participated in league and/or cup matches, all but five of these being ECF members. The non-members have played 7 games between them.

30/11/13 There were two sections in the North Staffs Doubles held at Holmes Chapel today. The 320 section was won by Alex Richardson and Steve Emmerton with 6½/10, a half point clear of both Mike Hancock partnering Malcolm Roberts and Railton Hyde in harness with Robert Taylor. Jacob Cartlidge and Dominic Taylor scored 7 points to win the 220 section, with David Price and Paul Clifford on 6½. Full results are on the competitions-doubles page.

New Date
27/11/13 Cheddleton B's visit to Rooks in division 2 has been rearranged for 29th January.

27/11/13 The Cheddleton F - Alsager B match previously reported as a 2½ - 1½ win for Cheddleton was in fact a 3 - 1 win for them.

Doubles Entries
23/11/13 With a week to go the entries for the doubles competition has matched the ten pairs that played last year. Plenty of room for more, so find someone who'd like a pleasant day of quickplay in your company and sign up.

Rules update
04/11/13 I have been aware that for sometime that my copy of the Stoke League rules do not reflect the current situation. I've finally got around to updating them, and adding further comments as guidance. Note that as this is something I have done in a personal capacity; the result is not an official document.

First GP
29/10/13 Alex Richardson and Rob Shaw shared the honours on 4/5, with Malcolm Armstrong a ½-point behind at the first GP event of the season at the Bridge Club last night.

Moving again
19/10/13 The fith divison Fenton derby has been moved again, this time to the 16th December.

19/10/13 It is with regret that Cheddleton have announced that they are withdrawing their G team from the fourth division.

First to five
19/10/13 Whilst for some the season is just beginning, four enthusiasts reached the five game mark in matches at Cheddleton on Friday - Dominic Taylor of the home club, Tom Healey from Meir and Paul Clapham and Nic Wright both of Newcastle.

Return of the Doubles
19/10/13 Thanks to the efforts of George Scattergood there will be another Doubles event at Holmes Chapel this year. Same format as last year - more info here.

Match moved forward
19/10/13 The fifth division Fenton derby this coming week has been moved forwards from Thursday to Monday.

02/10/13 Cheddleton G's visit to Fenton due to be played on the 3rd October has been postponed.

New date
29/09/13 Knights visit to Fenton A in division 2 has been put back from 7th to 28th October.

GP and Mini dates
07/09/13 I'm planning to hold this years Strong Players GP on Mondays 28th Oct, 16th Dec, 17th Feb and 24th Mar. As usual each night is a standalone rapidplay, with an overall winner also declared on the basis of three best scores. No entry fees, prizes or grading. Open to those who are or have recently been 150+ish.

If I run a mini-congress this season it will be on 15th and 16th March.

03/09/13 I have added a summary of all fixtures on a single sheet and a booklet of grades of NSDCA club players to the downloads page.

One more for Fenton
27/08/13 Fenton have requested an extra fifth division team, for which I have duly created fixtures. The relevant download files have been updated to reflect this.

25/08/13 Fixtures for season 2013/14 are now available from the downloads page in Word and csv format. Note that the cup fixtures do not appear in the club files; they have to be downloaded separately. I shall update the divisional and club pages at my leisure.

Probable changes at Fenton
21/08/13 I am told that it is unlikely that Fenton will have a third division team this season, and that their B team will be playing home matches on Thursdays.

Meir Double in five
21/08/13 Meir have decided to enter a second division five team.

Newcastle double in the fourth
15/08/13 Newcastle have decided to place their extra team in division four, currently giving that division an old-fashioned 8 teams in total.

Kidsgrove to Tuesday
12/08/13 From the beginning of September Kidsgrove will be changing their club night to Tuesday.

Alsager rethink
09/08/13 Alsager have decided to move the entry for their C team from division 5 to division 4.

Half time
04/08/13 The British Chess Championships have reached the middle weekend. The story so far for local players is:

Alex Richardson and Malcolm Armstrong both on 2 out of 6 in the Championship, as is Bill Armstrong in the Major Open.

Jacob Boswell scored 3/7 in the U13 section, with Thivyaa Rahulan on 2/3 in the U9s.

Carl Gartside has completed two events, scoring 3/5 in the U180 and 1½/5 in the week one pm open, and is into his third having reached 2½/3 in the weekend U150, one point ahead of Roger Walker.

Next week Carl is due to play two more events, Jacob and Thivyaa another junior section each whilst Steve Emmerton and Peter Windows are to join the fray in the U130 seniors.

British Bombed
29/07/13 British Championship games now also available on ChessBomb (see link below), so if you like some analysis courtesy of Houdini alongside the play you know where to go. Neither Alex nor Malcolm are on the live boards today, but with a bit of luck at least one will be tomorrow.

Alex Live
29/07/13 The British Championships at Torquay kick-off today, with five local players involved this week, more joining in over the weekend and into next week. With only Bill Armstrong in the Major open outgrading his opponent, the North staffs contingent will be glad that they've all got white. Carl Gartside gets two bites at the cherry, as he is playing in two competitions, facing Nicholas Fallowfield in the U180 in the morning before taking on Jonathan Wells in the afternoon open. Jacob Boswell in the under thirteens plays Huang Dion, graded 166, so no easy game there. In the championship proper Malcolm Armstrong takes on Donald Mason, but it is Alex Richardson who has the plum draw, against the second seed GM David Howell (2639). Reckon that should be on live here during the afternoon. The same link will give access to other games in the morning sessions - for example this morning features games from the U11s. Talking of live games I enjoyed watching Michael Adams taking the lead at Dortmund beating Caruana with black, viewing the game via Chess Bomb.

Tiny Pawns confirm division 4
27/07/13 Holmes Chapel Tiny Pawns have confirmed that they are to play in division four this coming season.

13/07/13 Staffordshire beat Warwickshire 7½ - 4½ in the U120 inter-counties national stages final.

Pity about the Middle
10/07/13 Last nights NSDCA AGM at the bridge club started and finished well.

Attendees at the meeting were called to order promptly at 8 pm for the start. Apologies (Traci Whitfield, Tony Cooling and half of Cheddleton), minutes of last AGM and matters arising were dealt with swiftly. Officers reports (Chairman, General Secretary, Treasurer, Results Secretary, Publicity Secretary), took only a little longer. So we reached matters peratining to higher bodies.

Forty minutes later we had learnt that the county would like to enter U160 and U100 teams, but didn't have captains. Not too late to volunteer. We also discovered that the Midland Counties Chess Union used to do much more than now (not difficult). I suspect we also learnt some other things, but you'll need to consult another source, for I deliberately spent a lot of time in dozing mode to quell my urge to shout out "You're wasting valuable drinking time".

Eventually we reached elections and appointments, which saw no changes in officers, committee, delegates or auditor.

Next up proposals. The first of these took sixty or seventy words to say "There shall be a maximum individual grade of 140 in division 4". This was defeated, though subsequent comments strongly suggested that some horse-trading could be done to get the next proposal through.

The second proposal, equally long and translating to "There shall be a maximum individual grade of 125 in division 5" immediately drew an amendment that there should also be no minimum counting grade in division five, for which there was a sudden enthusiasm amongst the supporters of the original proposal. No doubt they feel that although their board ones couldn't cope with any opponent stronger than 125, their presumably weaker boards two and three could cope with whatever was thrown at their board ones. Whilst clearly some present felt there was a problem that could usefully be solved by introducing an individually limited division, one couldn't help getting the impression that there were others who would agree to anything provided they could show strong players the door. Amendment and amended proposal were passed.

I confess to not being happy with the original proposal with its "not wanted here" message, but clearly if enough teams wish to play in that environment then the division will be serving a useful purpose. I do think though that the desired effect could more usefully have been obtained by raising the minimum counting grade to say 90, which not only implies a maximum grade of 130, but also offers additional protection to the middle boards whose opponents would necessarily be weaker than this, and additionally reduces the chance that a convenient estimated grade ends up being treated with suspicion by opponents.

The doing away with the minimum counting grade in division five looks suspiciously like the thin end of a wedge which will be used to justify removing the minimum counting grades from higher divisions, inexorably leading to a division three team headed by the equivalent of three Ian Jamiesons and division two teams led by four One Hundred and Eighties. Not, I belive, within the spirit of the system we have established. But what do I know about spirits? - I'm a cider drinker.

The third proposal sought to make Fischer the only allowable time control when using digital clocks, which in turn must be used when available.
I had already decided to abstain on this proposal since although I have a small preference for Fischer time controls I don't feel that its advantages are so great I should help to impose them on those uncomfortable with such timings. I confess to being unmoved by dire warnings of the impact of imminent changes to FIDE rules.
At this point we had an amendment, namely that the proposed rule should only apply to the top two divisions and the Open cup. I won't claim that my memory of no first or second division teams refusing to play Fischer last year is correct, though I am sure there were some refusniks in division three, but I've a sneaking suspicion that the amendment effectively said "status quo". The amendment and amended proposal were passed.

Robert Milner kindly presented Newcastle with a couple of trophies that he had picked up at the county AGM on their behalf, namely the Withnall Cup and Club of the year award, and Andrew Davies was able to tell me a little about why Newcastle were awarded the latter, making it sound as if there was a bit more to it than simply being our turn.

A full set of league, cup and Jamboree trophies were presented to representatives of the respective winning clubs. It was certainly nice to see a full set rather than just a random sample.

Bill Armstrong, the treasurer, reported that the amounts he will need to collect from clubs to cover non-membership game fees will be sufficiently modest that he will be content to collect these alongside next years entry fees. (I believe that this game fee is to remain at £2 per game for the coming season, but I forgot to ask or possibly had my mind elsewhere when Bill announced this. Or perhaps it was announced whilst I was dozing earlier.) His proposals as treasurer were all accepted, so league fees will be £7.50 and £6 for five and four board teams respectively, and there will be a £10 additional charge for any club not paying its dues by 31st December.

Donations to the Leek and Newcastle congress were reinstated alongside continuing support for the County Junior congress, and the meeting responded positively to Roger Edwards' request that a donation also be made in support of the England team this year, who unusually are faced with two championships to contest in a single financial year.

Onto the bit of most interest to the ordinary player, league entries and cup draws, which I shall update over the summer as the inevitable alterations are made.
League entries as at 21st Aug 2013
Division 1Division 2Division 3Division 4Division 5
H ChapelH ChapelH ChapelH ChapelMeir
H ChapelKidsgroveNewcastle
Fenton's division two side is known to be provisional, the Tiny Pawns may play in division five instead of division four (now confirmed in division 4), and Newcastle intend another team somewhere, most likely in division 3 or 4 (now confirmed in division 4).

Cup Draws

H Chapelvbye
NewcastlevH Chapel
H ChapelvNewcastle

Next year's AGM should be at Meir on 7th July. There being no further business the meeting closed at approx 10.45, though I'll remind my readers that any constraints that I should take into account when drawing up the fixtures should be communicated to me, preferably by email, as soon as is convenient.

Figures 2012/13
07/07/13 I've done some analysis of the grades of players and teams participating in the league in the season just finished.

Full House at Rapidplay Jamboree
as at 02/07/13 Newcastle Bridge Club was full to capacity as 16 teams descended on it to contest this years rapidplay jamboree.
Seven teams competed in the open section, with Cheddleto A winning with 6½ ahead of Stafford (5½) and Newcastle (4).
The U130 section with nine teams was fiercely contested resulting in Fenton B and Holmes Chapel sharing the honours with 6 points, just a ½ point ahead of Cheddleton C, Alsager and Cheddleton H. For more see the rapidplay page.

Visually impaired but imagination fine
25/06/13 Cheddleton's Bill Armstrong may have some sight problems but he proved that there is nothing wrong with his imagination and creativity, essential weapons for any chessplayer, when he took the title at the 2013 UK Championships for the visually impaired held at Morecambe recently. Congratulations Bill. I see that Bill has already sent his apologies for the county AGM. As celebrations go that's obviously a top of the class bender.

Leek Rapidplay Explodes
21/06/13 The Leek Rapidplay Congress was held last Sunday with an explosive 45% increase in entries pushing these figures into three digits. This could only be achieved with considerable interest from outside the area, but despite this local players figured prominently.

In the Cheddleton (U210) section Newcastle's Alex Richardson tied first with Oliver Jackson from Poynton and Glenn Halfpenny from Ashfield on 5/6, with Malcolm Armstrong (Stafford) a half point back in sole possession of fourth place. Ben Scattergood (Holmes Chapel) was amongst those winning slow starter prizes in this section. Alex' performance gained him the Alan Wilshaw Memorial Rosebowl for the highest placed North Staffordshire and District Chess Association player.

The St Edward's Section (U145) was won jointly by Graham Shepherd (Church Stretton) and Richard leaper (Mutual Circle) on 5½, with local players Phil Cattermole (Macclesfield) and Matthew Wyza (Cheddleton) sharing third place on 5 with Peter King from Stockport. Cheddleton's Jack Healings picked up a grading prize.

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