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News Items From the 2016/17 Season

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End of Season Exported
19/05/17 Reinhold and Tena shared the spoils in the club's end of season rapidplay which had a record 23 participants. Full results here.

Alex goes close at Rhyl
16/05/17 Alex scored a creditable 3/5 at Rhyl, his pursuit of top spot being somewhat hampered by being paired with GM Nigel Davies in the final round. Occasional visitor Tena also featured, scoring 50%.

10/05/17 Alberto's draw prevented the E team being whitewashed in the club's final North Staffs match of the season.

F fall again
03/05/17 The F team lost their final match of the season against Cheddleton  I despite Edward's win and Pete's draw.

Thanks Alsager
22/04/17 Going into last week any of Cheddleton C, Cheddleton D, Alsager A and our D team could win division 3. Our victory over Alsager on Wedsneday eliminated Cheddleton C and Alsager from the equation. However Alsager bounced back to draw their postponed match at Cheddleton D, leaving us as last man standing in the race for the title. Thanks guys.

D win at death
19/04/17 The D team won their final game of the season thanks to an early victory from Thivyaa, a point from Richard gained in "increment time", the chess equivalent of Fergie time, and a draw from Watson.

Point for F, not for D
13/04/17 The F team picked up a point against Crewe E thanks to wins by Pete and Derrick, but the D team continued their attempts not to win division three by losing again, this time against Crewe B, despite Paul's win and Thivyaa's draw.

Another Bad Night
08/04/17 The C and I teams returned empty handed from Cheddleton last night, with Alex and Jeff being the only winners and Paul getting a draw.

Bad Night
05/04/17 The B and E teams both lost tonight with Alan winning and Barry drawing for the former against Crewe A and only Pete scoring with a win against Fenton B for the latter.

National Club
02/04/17 The Telford four - Alex, Martyn, Alberto and Nic commuted to Solihull over the weekend to participate in the intermediate (average U150) section of the National Club competition. Going into the fourth and final round Newcastle were level on five points with DHSS, or Department of health and social security as they are rarely known. Action came quick and fast. Alberto missed a threat in the opening against his 160 graded opponent, and fought on more in hope than expectation, though his hopes never came to fruition. After a slow start in which it looked he might get squashed on the queenside, Martyn snaffled a pawn. His opponents attempts to create tactical problems backfired, and we were on the scoresheet. The enemy board four resigned possibly prematurely in the face of one of Nic's renowned sacrificial kingside attacks, leaving it to Alex to apply the coup de grace, which he did by accepting a draw offer made before it became too easy for Alex to plot the win. As the saying goes, "We are the Champions".

Four rounds in 2 days played at a slightly slower than league rate of game in 90 mins plus 10 sec per move, fitted well. The venue was pleasant and easy to find, and Solihull town centre, a civilised place, was on the doostep to provide plenty of choice for refreshments for those not wanting to use the hotel facilities. It may not be Solihull next year, but if not will doubtless be somewhere equivalent. Definitely a competition to be recommended.

A for average
29/03/17 The A team completed their season with a win to take them to 50%. Tonight Alex, Barry and Alan all contributed wins and Reinhold a draw.

D disaster
29/03/17 The D team were condemned to a blob against Fenton A by their blunderful play.

Newcastle at the mini
28/03/17 Newcastle were well represented at the mini congress, with Derrick being our star by winning the U100 section. Alan and old boy James Rothwell were also in the prizes, being in the tie for second in the U160. Also present were Thivyaa, John, Nic, Alberto, Pete and Edward and two more exes in Francis Westfield and Nick McLean.

E bounce back
28/03/17 The E team bounced back from their loss on Friday to record a win at Meir thanks to victories from Pete and Brian and draws from Paul and Alberto.

Little for E
25/03/17 Pete and Brian drew as the E team went down at Cheddleton E last night.

B draw, F win
22/03/17 Wins by Reinhold and Alan supported by a draw from Barry gained the B team a point against Macclesfield, whilst the F team were on form against Cheddleton G as Alberto, Nic and Edward all won and Andrea drew.

One each
15/03/17 The B team picked up a victory against Rooks thanks to wins by Reinhold, Barry, John and Watson, but wins from martyn and Nic were not enough for the C team to get a point against Crewe A.

More points for D
14/03/17 The D team picked up two more points, this time at Alsager A, with wins from Martyn, John and Richard.

Thivyaa Again
13/03/17 Thivyaa's travels took her to Blackpool over the weekend, where she scored a highly creditable 3½ in the U181 section.

Major Blow
13/03/17 The club lost the first match of a busy week, with draws from Paul, Nic and Jeff being insufficient for us to make further progress in the Major Cup at Fenton.

Bad night for A
10/03/17 The A team had a bad night at Cheddleton, having just a win from Barry and a draw from Alan for their efforts.

One each
08/03/17 There were two matches between Newcastle and Cheddleton at the Bridge Club last night. Newcastle came out top in the clash of the D teams with Martyn, John and Richard all winning, whereas the Perry Cup tie went to Cheddleton despite draws from Pete, Brian and Jeff.

B Beaten
03/03/17 Despite a win from reinhold and draws from Barry and Alan, the B team lost at Cheddleton B tonight.

D defeated
01/03/17 The D team lost at Crewe B tonight despite draws from Alan and Paul.

F on form
01/03/17 Alberto, Brain and Edward all won as the F team beat Crewe D at home tonight.

Thivyaa sent to Coventry
26/02/17 Not quite true as she went of her own accord, where she scored 3½/5 for a 182 performance in the U170 section of the Warwickshire Congress, coming joint second.

F Fire
25/02/17 The F team gave a good account of themselves at Cheddleton yesterday, with wins from Alberto, Nic and Pete enabling them to come away with the points against the host's H team.

D do the business
22/02/17 Richard and Watson won and Thivyaa drew to give the D team a comfortable victory over 3 man Kidsgrove.

Postponed Further
20/02/17 Cheddleton I's visit to Newcastle has been postponed again, moving now from 22 nd Feb to 3rd May.

Better week
15/02/17 Only one match this week, but it resulted in a win for the E team, with Pete and Brian winning and Paul getting a draw.

Major Cup postponement
12/02/17 Newcastle's Major Cup visit to Fenton due on 20th Feb has been postponed at our request, and will now take place on 13th March.

Theres always next week
11/02/17 The E team completed a bad week for the club, going down 1 - 3 at Cheddleton F with just draws from Paul and Pete to show for their travel.

Two cup defeats
08/02/17 Newcastle went out of two cups tonight. In the Open, the team drew the match thanks to wins from Reinhold and Alan and draws from Alex and Thivyaa, but went out on board elimination. In the Intermediate Cup draws from John, Richard, Paul and Watson proved insufficient to progress from a five board match.

Edward can't save F
07/02/17 Edward's win, supported by Brian's draw was not enough to glean a point for the F team at Fenton last night.

B do better
02/02/17 Reinhold, Barry, Alan and John all won as the B team picked up both points at Holmes Chapel Rooks.

C lose again
01/02/17 Alex won, but the rest of the side didn't score as the C team went down at Crewe.

January Grades
31/01/17 January grades have been published.
John D125+3
Changes are relative to July. Old grades will continue to be used for league matches

D lose lead
28/01/17 The D team's last at Cheddleton C last night in which they scored only a couple of draws from John and Richard resulted in their being knocked off the top of the table.

Point for E, two for A
25/01/17 The E team picked up a point at home to Crewe C tonight, with Alberto winning and Pete and Brian drawing, whilst the A team beat Stafford A on the back of wins from Reinhold, Barry and Alan and a draw from Alex.

Qualification Confirmed
19/01/17 Confirmation has come through that Alex' performance at Telford qualifies him to play in the British championships this summer. Well done.

Another poor mix
19/01/17 The club gained another league point from two matches last night, with the C team drawing with Holmes Chapel Rooks thanks to wins from Alberto and Nic and a draw from Martyn, but the D team losing to Meir A despite draws from Alan and Watson.

B busted, F edge forward
17/01/17 The B team lost at Macclesfield last night despite Reinhold's win and John's draw, but the F team managed a point at Meir C through wins from Brian and Jeff.

B and C share the points
11/01/17 The B and C team shared the spoils in tonights match with Alex and Martyn winning for the C team, Richard and Watson for the B, and Alberto drawing with John.

Mixed fortunes for C at Telford
09/01/17 Four members of the C team played in the Shropshire Congress at Telford over the weekend. Alex was star performer, finishing just outside the prize list in the Open on 3½. Checking regulations however suggests that he should have gained entry to the British at Llandudno in the summer, though until an official announcement is made nothing is certain.

In the Minor Nic finished on 3 and Alberto on 2½, whilst in the Major Martyn entertained the crowds on his way to 1½ by making several sub-optimal moves and then ducking and diving in mostly vain attempts to escape the consequences.

Also present in the Major and scoring 2½ was former Newcastle member Simon Maydew.

Slow start to New Year
05/01/17 The E and F teams opened the New Year for Newcastle, with the E team drawing at Stafford on the back of a win from Pete and draws from Paul and Brian, and the F team losing against Cheddleton H despite Edward's win.

New Date
04/01/17 The D team match at home to Alsager A that was postponed in the week before Christmas will now be played on 19th April.

Only Pete
21/12/16 Pete's draw was all the E team had to show for their home clash with Meir B tonight.

C break run
20/12/16 The C team broke their bad run last night with a 3½ - 1½ win at Macclesfield where Alex, Alberto and Nic all won and Paul drew.

C lose again
15/12/16 The C team suffered another defeat, this time at Holmes Chapel despite a win from Alberto and draws by Alex and Nic.

First win for F
15/12/16 The F team secured their first victory of the season last night, a narrow 2½ - 1½ success at Crewe E. Alberto and Edward won and Jeff drew, whilst Nic deserves a special mention, turning out as a late sub for illness stricken Andrea.

14/12/16 Alsager have requested the postponement of next week's D team match. New date when I have it.

Loads of draws ...
07/12/16 ... but not enough. John won and Barry, Watson, Paul, Alberto, Pete and Brian all drew at the club tonight, resulting in a narrow 2 - 3 loss for the B team against Cheddleton B and an all-drawn draw for the E team against Stafford B.

Club closed
06/12/16 The club will not meet on 14th December as the Bridge Club are using all of their premises for a Christmas party.

Jeff the Hero
06/12/16 Jeff came to the D team's rescue last night, turning out at the last moment and winning his game, and so helping the team to a narow win at Fenton A. Alan also won, and John drew.

Two Matches, Four Draws
30/11/16 Newcastle manged just four draws from their two matches tonight - Alex, Reinhold and Martyn for the A team at Stafford A and Jeff for the F team at Crewe D.

D deliver another win
29/11/16 The D team's good start to the season continued with a win at Kidsgrove, Martyn and Richard winning with white and John and Watson providing good support with draws from the less favoured side of the board.

Mixed Night
23/11/16 The club's second division teams had mixed fortunes tonight, The B team won at Crewe thanks to wins from Reinhold and Barry and draws from Alan and John, but the C team had only Alex' win to show for their home match to Macclesfield. Whatever happened to home advantage?

Perry Progress
16/11/16 The Perry team moved into the semi-finals of the Minor Cup at the expense of Fenton on the back of wins from Pete and Brian and a draw from Jeff. They will now entertain Cheddleton in March.

While I was away ...
15/11/16 ... the D team picked up their third 3 - 1 win of the season, this time at Cheddleton D, with Alan and Richard winning and John and Nic drawing.

A fall away
09/11/16 The A team fell away to a 1½ - 3½ defeat to Cheddleton despite spending much of the evening looking like they would get something out of the match. In the end Reinhold's win and Alan's draw were not enough.

Point for F
09/11/16 Wins by Alberto and Jeff earned the F team a point against Fenton C tonight.

E ease past Alsager
09/11/16 The E team picked up two points at Alsager B last night with wins from Pete and Brian being supported by draws from Alberto and Paul.

B get bragging rights
02/11/16 The B team gained the first of this years bragging rights by beating the C team with wins by Reinhold, Barry and Alan being answered by one by Nic. No-one was surprised that John and Paul drew.

Open open up Crewe
26/10/16 Newcastle turfed Crewe out of the Open Cup with wins by Alex, Reinhold, Martyn, Barry and Alan, though the result was more emphatic than some of the play.

E complete set
26/10/16 A couple of draws from Pete and Brian were all the E team had to show after they had entertained Cheddleton E tonight, meaning they've completed the set of three possible match outcomes.

F off the mark
25/10/16 The F team picked up their first point of the season by drawing at Cheddleton G on Friday, with Pete winning and Alberto and Edward getting draws.

D deliver
19/10/16 The D team secured two more points, this time at the expense of Cheddleton C, with John, Nic and Richard all winning.

More for E
17/10/16 The E team took an early lead in division four by winning at Fenton B last night with Paul's draw supporting the wins by Alberto and Pete.

Point for E
13/10/16 The E team started their campaign at Crewe last night, picking up a point from Nic's win backed by draws from Paul and Brian.

Thivyaa secures the win
05/10/16 Last to finish Thivyaa won a queen ending to provide the support to Martyn's win and draws from Alex and Paul needed to give the C team a winning start to their division two campaign, with Cheddleton B their victims.

The F team fared less well, with draws from Pete and Brian being insufficient to start their points account.

Traditional win
03/10/16 Martyn and Richard won with white, and John and Watson drew with black to give the D team a winning start at Meir A tonight. What an old fashioned way of getting the points!

Macclesfield re-arrangements
01/10/16 Becauese of late changes to the availability of the Macclesfield room, Newcastle's visits up north in division two will now take place on 16 Jan (B team) and 19 Dec (C team).

Big Start
29/09/16 The A team started the season with a big result at Holmes Chapel with Alex, Martyn, Barry and Alan all winning and Reinhold drawing.

Crewe revenge
25/09/16 Crewe got revenge for multiple defeats in the South Cheshire Shield by beating Newcastle 4 - 3 in the pre-season friendly, with wins from Nic and richard and draws from John and Pete being not quite enough for a share of the spoils.

A match too far
18/09/16 The South Cheshire Shield team's hunt for glory ended in their final match of the season last week when they went down at Fenton with Pete's draw preventing a whitewash.

Alex on top
08/09/16 Alex took the AGM rapidplay with a perfect five, one point clear of Alan. As usual the chess was more interesting than the meeting, at which nothing momentous was decided.

A point more
31/08/16 Another pont gained by the South Cheshire Shield team on the back of a win by Nic and draws from John and Alberto means the side can now finish no lower than clear second. A victory in their remaining match would secure the title.

August Revisions
25/08/16 The August update to the July grading list is now available, and shows no changes to Newcastle member's grades from the July publication. The August revision is the list used for league purposes in the coming season.

More points in the Shield
25/08/16 Newcastle picked up two more points in the South Cheshire Shield last night with a 3 - 1 victory at Crewe. John and Nic secured draws to back up wins from Alberto and Jeff.

Thivyaa Seeks Czech Mate
20/08/16 Thivyaa is currently playing in the European juniors U12 girls section in Prague. After 3 rounds she has a full set of results to reach 1½. Good luck Thivyaa for the rest of the event.

Alex two clear
17/08/16 Alex maintained his 100% record in the summer half-hour, finishing 2 points clear of George Scattergood, Reinhold, Martyn and Alan.

Driver's Strike
13/08/16 None of our driver's are available for the South Cheshire Shield match at Fenton due Monday so we are grateful that Fenton have agreed a postponement at short notice.

Summer ½-hour (cont)
11/08/16 Fourteen players turned up for rounds III & IV of the summer half-hour by the ned of which Alex had taken a full point lead over Alan, Martyn and Reinhold.

Summer ½-hour
06/08/16 There were 11 starters for the first rounds of summer half-hour matches; hopefully others will turn up for later rounds, claiming half-point byes for the first week games. Scores are on the internal events page.

British week 2
06/08/16 Thivyaa's week two at the British saw her score 2/5 in the afternoon open and 3/7 in the U13. Given the quality of the fields she will have gained a lot of rating points over the fortnight.

Ivan also scored 3/7 in the U11 section against, his 6 graded opponents having an average grade of 100.

British week 2
01/08/16 Having played in one competition last week, Thivyaa is in two this. The U13 started with two games on Sunday, both of which she won, and continues with a game each morning throughout the week. Today's game saw her draw with one of the opponents who beat her in the U12. Rather than building sandcastles in the afternoon she is playing in the week 2 afternoon open where she is liable to come up against people of all shapes and sizes.

Ivan is also in Bournemouth, playing in the U11s. Both these junior sections have been on the live boards that can be found via the British championships link on the ECF site.

Ending the bounce
30/07/16 After five rounds of alternate wins and losses, Thivyaa completed her foray into the U12 section of the British Championships with two draws to score 4/7.

Shield team's run continues
28/07/16 The South Cheshire Shield team continued their good run with a victory at Crewe A last night, with John, Nic and Pete all winning.

Up and down
27/07/16 Thivyaa's second round opponent did indeed prove tough, so she had to settle for second in that game. However she bounced back in round three, so now has 2/3, though by the time you read this round 4 may well be complete. All the results are available on, where you can also view the games of completed rounds.

Winning Start
25/07/16 Thivyaa made a winning start to her participation in the U12 section of the British Championships in Bournemouth, her opponent being equal in grade but higher in rating by almost 300 points. The systems can't both be right! Good luck Thivyaa for the rest of the competition; today's opponent looks a real toughie.

Summer half hour
23/07/16 The club's summer half-hour for members and invited guests will be played at the Bridge Club over the first three Weds of August.

First sight of grades
23/07/16 The first draft of grades for the coming season has been released. Changes shown in the table below are relative to last August's rather than the January list. Don't be too surprised if there are changes to these before the season starts.
John D122+8

Former members listed include
Paul Wallace (Lichfield)216
Richard Lee (Cambridge Uni)202
Andrej Furjel (Weymouth)185
Geoff Marchant (Malvern)175
Daniel Sullivan (Sheffield)168
Ian Jamieson (Newport)161
Dave Cork (Crawley)155
James Rothwell (Ormskirk)145
Simon Maydew (Shifnal & Telford)150
Glyn Valentine (Fenton)145
Nick Lowe (Altrincham)143
Catherine Hiley nee Ashton (Rugeley)125
Derek Northage (Kidsgrove)122
Robert West (Fenton)101
Ivan Prikazchikov81

Into the swing
20/07/16 Having enjoyed last weeks victory so much, the South Cheshire Shield team helped themselves to another victory, with Alberto's draw on top board being well backed by wins from Thivyaa, Nic and Jeff.

Back to average
13/07/16 Wins from Alberto, Thivyaa and Paul brought the South Cheshire Shield team their first victory of the summer and took the onto three points from six.

Fenton too good
07/07/16 Fenton proved too strong for Newcastle in last night's South Cheshire Shield match, with Pete's win the only bright spot.

Jamboree Jumble
07/07/16 Newcastle fielded 4 teams in the Jamboree on Tuesday. The Open team finished second in the open with Alex, Barry and guest Steve Hill all winning both their games. Thivyaa also won both her games for the U130 B team, helping them to a share of the title. Our other two teams were entitled to expect that their scores of 3 from 8 would do better than joint last, but with all sides squashed into the 3 to 5 point range joint last was indeed their fate.


25/05/17 I've finally dredged up the enthusiasm to arrange a date for the rapidpaly jamboree, alighting upon Tues 20th June. As usual it will be played at the Bridge Club with a 7.30 start. Two sections - Open and U130. January grades apply, rapidplay where available. Games graded, so ECF membership bronze+ required. Cost £2 per team. Because of the nature of the competition entry to me in advance is needed.

Final Performances
19/05/17 The final performances for the North Staffs season are available in the normal place. The number of games shown should correspond to the numbers submitted in the grading file for the season, whilst individual results in the grading file should correspond to those shown on the divisional and cup pages. These may not correspond to the summary results shown on club pages as I may have suffered from human error syndrome in creating the latter.

UK defences Breached
16/05/17 The UK v EU friendly organised by Steve Emmerton at Fenton last night resulted in a resounding win for the EU. Well done to Steve to co-ordinating a match involving players from eight clubs.

Locals at Rhyl
16/05/17 Dave Price won the Minor section of the Rhyl Chess Congress over the weekend with an impressive score of 4½/5 in a field that included Martin Gill and Julian Hawthorne both on 3½, Chris Rhodes on 2½ and Les Hall who would prefer you not to ask. Rich Wiltshir in the Open shares Les' sentiment, though Alex Richardson is probably reasonably happy with his 3 against the heavy mob. Michael Lee and Sandra and Jon Blackburn all played in the Major, though none reached 50%.

Honours List
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. Complete: 13/05/17
WinnersRunners up
Division 1Cheddleton ANewcastle A
Division 2Cheddleton BCrewe A
Division 3Newcastle DCheddleton C
Cheddleton D
Division 4Cheddleton ECheddleton F
Division 5Meir CFenton C
Open CupStaffordCheddleton
Major CupCheddletonFenton
Inter CupCreweCheddleton
Minor CupCreweCheddleton

Maxi Mini Report
31/03/17 Report on this year's mini congress can be found here.

Mini Mini Report
28/03/17 There were the usual thirty something participants in the Newcastle mini congress spread over three sections. The U160 section was won by Karl Lockett on 4/5, a half-point clear of James Rothwell, Alan Paling and Jon Blackburn.

The U130 was similarly close, with Michael Lee getting the 4 points for an outright win and Jack Healings, Steve Emmerton, Julian Hawthorne and Roger Walker just behind.

Derrick Jones took the honours in the U100 ahead of Les Hall, whilst Jacob Cartlidge recovered from a poor Saturday to claim the Kangaroo prize.

A fuller report, including photos, will appear hopefully in the not too distant future.

13/03/17 Several North Staffs players took part in the Blackpool congress over the weekend, though results for only three of the five sections are currently available online.

Rob Shaw had a quiet weekend, finishing anonymously on 50%.

Jacob Boswell finished joint third in the major on 4, a half point ahead of Thivyaa Rahulan.

Ken McNulty reached 3/4 in the minor before his progress was brought to a halt by one of those pesky juniors, enabling Martin Gill to match his score. Dave Price and Julian Hawthorne came in further back.

Results of the intermediate and foundation sections are still secret, though for completeness I should point out that Rich Wiltshir had an undistinquished weekend at Exeter.

Fenton on the move
01/03/17 Fenton Chess Club have moved to the Tollgate Hotel & Leisure Centre, Ripon Road, Blurton, Stoke-On-Trent, ST3 3BS with immediate effect. I shall update my Fenton page shortly.

Change of Estimate
27/02/17 I have changed the estimate of grade for Olawale Titiloye (Crewe) from 120 to 135, to take effect no later than Mon 6th March.

Another New Date
20/02/17 Crewe E v Fenton C which was postponed earlier this month will be played on 1st March.

New Date
12/02/17 The postponed Fenton A v Crewe B match has been re-arranged for 20th Feb.

New Grades
31/01/17 Publication of the January grades has resulted in the following new grades for use in the second half of the season, taking effect no later than Tues 7th Feb:
Gordon ParkerAlsager129
Robert CooperCheddletone70
Sam ParryCheddletone99
Victoria SheldonCheddleton28F
Christian TattumCheddleton65F
Nigel GardnerCrewe71F
Chris RhodesCrewe105
Dylan SayersCrewe66
Dave TaylorCrewe56F
Michael WilliamsCrewe105
Jason PlantFenton89
Stuart ClarkeH Chapel208
Stephen DawsonMacclesfield90F
Roy GrayMacclesfield108F
Joachim TrierMacclesfield95
Michael JonesStafford142F

Cheddleton on the move
18/01/17 Cheddleton will be meeting at Westwood College for the last time this week. For the rest of the season from 27th Jan they will be found at St. Andrew‘s Methodist Church, Ostlers Lane, Cheddleton, ST13 7HS. I have added a map for their new venue to my Cheddleton page.

Mike Judd
12/01/17 I am sorry to report that Mike Judd of Meir died earlier this week. I knew him only by sight and to exchange greetings, but Stuart Green has been able to tell me more, see Obituaries.

11/01/17 Kidsgrove and Fenton C have postponed their visits this Friday to Cheddleton to play the hosts D and G teams respectively to dates to be decided. Who put Friday on the 13th?

Telford Tales
09/01/17 Several North Staffs players competed in the Shropshire Congress at Telford over the weekend; those from Newcastle I have commented upon in the Club News column to the left.

Top North Staffs scorer was Julian Hawthorne in the Minor, whose 4 points earned a share of third prize. Next up was Danny Griffiths with 3½ in the Major. Rich Wilshir started like a train, winning his first three games, and then spent Sunday attempting to revert to the mean. Simon Layhe also scored three, confirming his reputation as an improving player, whilst Matthew Carr found his score of three attracted a grading prize. Jon Blackburn was another above average scorer, despite the annoyance of the arbiters being unable and/or unwilling to adjust the computer's pairing of Mr Blackburn v Mrs Blackburn when both were on 50% going into round 4.

With one bound ...
07/01/17 ... Macclesfield went from bottom to top of division two. Their win at Cheddleton B last night took them top on five points alongside Rooks, with the other four teams trailing on four points. Place your bets over what happens next.

Postponed and Rearranged
02/01/17 Friday's match between Cheddleton C and Fenton A has been postponed, with a new date of 17th March agreed.

Family Affair
11/12/16 The upper section of the North Staffs Doubles played at Holmes Chapel yesterday was something of a family affair as it featured four Blackburns even if Suzy hid behind her married name of Cooke. The first three rounds featured eight 1 - 1 draws and a single 1½ - ½ win. Whether it was nerves, a determination to make things happen or simply a change in the direction of the wind there were no further match draws in the last two rounds, and when the dust had settled Jon (Snr) Blackburn and Suzy Cooke emerged winners on 6, half a point ahead of Jonathan (Jnr) and Sandra Blackburn. Effectively the decisive result was in round four with Jon beating his wife. And heres me thinking they always draw.

In the lower section Doug Barnett was in sparkling form, with many of his opponents suffering spectacularly ugly deaths. Les, his partner, adopted the same approach but without the same effect. The section was won by Alberto Gissi and Michael Lee on 6½, just ahead of Neville and Simon Layhe on 6. In retrospect the decisive match was in round one in which the winners defeated their nearest challengers 1½ - ½ as the later reverse rematch was drawn.

Full scores here.

North Staffs at Preston
06/12/16 Several North Staffs players competes at Preston over the weekend. Jacob Boswell (Cheddleton) scored 2½ in the Open, just ahead of Rich Wiltshir (Kidsgrove), with Pavel Nefyodov (Stafford) scoring 3 in the Major. Thivyaa Rahulan (Newcastle) and Doug Barnett (Crewe) both scored 2½ in the Minor, in which Roger Walker (Cheddleton) was less successful. Julian Hawthorne (Kidsgrove) scored 3½ in the standard section where Les Hall also scored 2½.

New Estimate
08/11/16 I have adjusted the estimated grade for Chris Rhodes (Crewe) down from 140 to 120.

Keele In
29/10/16 We have received confirmation that Keele University will be taking part in this year's Perry Cup.

First to five
29/10/16 Cheddleton's David Rose and Newcastle's Pete Shaw became the first players to complete 5 NSDCA games this season when they drew against each other on Wednesday.

Delayed Updates
25/10/16 Updates over the weekend were delayed as I was in Scarborough. Unfortunately I didn't securely pack my brain, and it went awol on Sunday morning.

Fixture Switches
11/10/16 The Cheddleton G and H teams have switched the dates of their visits to Meir, with the G team now playing on 17th Oct and the H team on 31st Oct.

U140s scrapped
29/08/16 Staffs U140 captain Peter Windows has reluctantly withdrawn the county U140 team from this year's competitions, citing a combination of several problems. Of these the most disappointing is the seciond part of "many do not wish to play weekend chess particularly away from the county" as clearly it is impossible to conduct a competition in which everyone only plays at home.

Rose Rising
29/08/16 It is always nice to see local players venturing into the big bad world outside, and I've spotted that Isabelle Rose took part in the recent North West Girls Rapidplay Championship at Arnside. A final score of 2/6 may sound modest, but with a top seed graded in excess of 130 Isabelle wasn't exactly picking on people her own size. Indeed her victory over an ungraded player who beat a 99 graded girl in the competition should be a source of pleasure, hinting at what can be achieved in the future.

Heavyweights Wanted
29/08/16 Simon Edwards is hoping to organise a five round longplay competition for those graded 150ish+ to be played at Fenton on nights spread through the season. Provisionally he is looking at are 17 Oct, 21 Nov, 6 Feb, 6 Mar and 3 Apr. The primary aim is to provide extra games for first division players, but those who wish to test themselves against the local heavy brigade are welcome too. If interested either contact Simon direct, or tell me and I'll pass your message on.

Summer in Manchester
29/08/16 Several North Staffs players played in the Manchester Summer Congress, with notable performances from Julian Hawthorne with a perfect 5/5 in the minor and Karl Lockett whose 4/5 in the major left him in a five way tie for second. Nothing personal, but I've got no objections if they get all their good play out of the way before they face me.

Grade booklet added
28/08/16 I have added an NSDCA grades booklet to the downloads site, based on the August revision of the July list.

Summary added
27/08/16 I have added the fixture summary to the downloads page. This contains all league and cup fixtures on one page in calendar format, and so is useful for searching for new dates for postponed matches.

Fixtures Out
26/08/16 I have uploaded the fixtures for the coming season to the downloads page.

Perry adjustment
19/08/16 Alsager have withdrawn from the Minor Cup for the Perry Trophy, leaving invitees Keele without a match and Crewe with a potential bye to the final should Keele not take up their invitation. Consequently with Steve Emmerton's help Meir have been chosen to be moved from the bottom half of the draw to fill the space vacated by Alsager. I have altered the draw in the article below to reflect this.

Cup draws
17/08/16 George Scattergood (Holmes Chapel) and Alex Cartlidge (Cheddleton) helped make the cup draws tonight at Newcastle:
Crewe v Newcastle
Stafford bye
Macclesfield v H Chapel
Fenton v Cheddleton
Cheddleton v Meir
Crewe v Alsager
Fenton bye
Newcastle bye
Newcastle bye
Crewe bye
Stafford v Cheddleton
Alsager bye
Keele v Meir
Crewe bye
Newcastle v Fenton
Cheddleton bye
In each competition the semi-finals are winner of first match v winner of second, and winner of third v winner of fourth, with the winning team from the top half of the draw being at home in the final.

Final Entries
15/08/16 The line-up for league and cup is as below. In addition a space will be held for Keele University in the Minor Cup for the Perry Trophy. Given the obvious benefits to the Association of having the students involved I shall rig the draw for the Minor so that they come out first and not against a bye.
Div 1Div 2Div 3Div 4Div 5
CheddletonCheddletonCheddleton x 2Cheddleton x 2Cheddleton x 3
CreweCreweCreweCrewe x 2
H ChapelH ChapelKidsgrove
NewcastleNewcastle x 2Newcastle NewcastleNewcastle

H Chapel

British Completed
06/08/16 It was tough times for North Staffs competitors in week two at the British. Jacob Boswell ended with 7½/18 between his U15 and major open efforts, Rich Wiltshir managed 4½/10 between the afternoon open and U160, and Julian Hawthorne had the same haul from his combination of U120 and afternoon open.

As previously mentioned I was interested in the progress of Brandon Clarke. Having won the morning open in week one he added joint winner of the week two morning open with 4/5, and won the major open with 10½/11. Obviously not tough for everyone!

More British
01/08/16 Malcolm Roberts was gainfully employed in the first week of the British competing in the U140 event, ending up joint winner with a score of 4½/5. Julian Hawthorne also made the podium, finishing joint third in the U120 weekender with 3½/5. The same score achieved by Simon Edwards in the weekend open left him just outside the medals, but ahead of Rich Wiltshir.

In the second week Rich is playing in both the U160 and the afternoon open sections, and Julian in the full week U120 and afternoon open sections, whilst Jacob Boswell is adding the U15s to his stint in the major open.

Full results available on

British Middle Weekend
30/07/16 Three North Staffs regulars are playing in the weekender events at the British. After two rounds Simon Edwards is on one point in the open, as is Julian Hawthorne in the U120, whilst Rich Wiltshir is on ½ in the open.

Jacob Boswell has completed his efforts in the U16, reaching 2½ points, and is also playing in the Major Open which stretches across the full fortnight. Going into today's game he has 2½/5.

One non-local name I am interested to see competing in Bournemouth is Brandon Clarke, having played him a few years ago when he was en-route to changing his 2005 grade of 84 to a 2013 one of 219. He then seemed to disappear from the chess scene. Resurfacing he has already won the week one morning open with a score of 4½/5, and is leading the Major Open with the same score.

Geoff Yates
updated 23/07/16 I am sad to be relaying the news of Geoff Yates' death. Steve Emmerton has allowed me to copy his words to my Obituaries page, and I would be happy to add the thoughts of others too.

07/07/16 15 teams competed in this years rapidplay jamboree at the bridge club. the 7 team open section rapidly became a two horse race with Crewe A and Cheddleton S trailing in a distant joint third with 3½. Newcastle led at half time with 3½ to Cheddleton A's 3, but the teams met up in the second half with Simon Edwards' win over Alan Paling enabling his team to take the title with 7 points to Newcastle's 6½.

Cheddleton E were third in the U130 section, a mere ½ point behind joint winners Cheddleton D and Newcastle B who shaved a full point off the previous lowest winning total. Crewe B were distinctly average with all four players scoring 1 out of 2. Full details available on the rapidplay page.

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