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News Items From the 2018/19 Season

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Friendly Postponed
30/05/19 The club's home friendly with Madeley due to be played next week has been put back a week.

E Lose but Jackson Progress
23/05/19 The E team lost their final match of the season with draws by David A and Raj all they gleaned from their visit to Stafford. The Jackson Cup team provided better news with wins from Joe and Richard, backed by Paul's draw enabling them to progress to the competition final.

F finish with a draw
17/05/19 Wins from Alberto and Raj enabled the F team to round off their season with a draw at home to Stafford B.

Three for E
15/05/19 Pete, Nic and Dylan all won as the E team beat Alsager B 3 - 1 tonight.

15/05/19 Dylan won the U10/U9 section of the Staffordshire megafinal with a perfect score of 6.

D Downed
15/05/19 Div 4 champions the D team were cut down to size by Fenton C against whom they managed just two draws coming from John and Paul. Thus Paul remained unbeaten in his 12 games for the team, despite only winning once.

Withnall Woe
08/05/19 Newcastle went out of the Withnall Cup at the hands of Cheddleton last night despite a win and a draw from Nic and Pete respectively.

Friday Fits F
08/05/19 I've returned from a long weekend away to discover that The F team enjoyed their Friday at home to Cheddleton F, running out narrow winners thanks to victories by Dylan and Andrew and a draw from Dave A.

Perry Title
01/05/19 Newcastle won the Minor Cup for the Perry Trophy, beating Crewe A on board elimination after a 2 - 2 draw as board count failed to separate the teams. Nic and Jeff provided the vital wins.

Last Wednesday
01/05/19 With the Bridge Club needing use of all of their premises on Wednesdays the chess club will be switching to Fridays, starting Friday 21st June. The last Wednesday meeting will be 12th June. It is likely that one of the club's teams will play home matches on Mondays next season to provide games for those for whom Friday is a poor night.

End of Season Rapidplay
01/05/19 The club's end of season rapidplay has been provisionally pencilled in for Wed 29th May.

A end with win
01/05/19 The A team completed their season with a win over Fenton A with Reinhold and Myron providing full points and Thivyaa and Alan halves.

Ladies at the 4NCL
26/04/19 Thivyaa and Hambel both attended the 7 round Easter 4NCL congress with Thivyaa scoring 3 in the Open and Hambel 4½ in the U1825.

Quiet Week gets Quieter
26/04/19 A week with just one fixture became even quieter when Alsager defaulted their visit to the D team.

Catching Up on Busy Week
19/04/19 Events this week have rather passed me by. Time to catch up.

On Monday the E team won at Fenton C to keep their faint hopes of the division four title alive. Myron and Alberto won, with Watson drawing.

Their title hopes were dashed the next day when the D team won at Kidsgrove to secure it for themselves. Richard, Nic and Jeff all won, with Paul getting his usual draw.

Onto Wednesday, when the C team drew against Cheddleton D thanks to Barry's win and Nic and Paul's draws, and the F team lost to Meir C with Alberto and David A drawing.

Two Losses
11/04/19 Despite Alan's win the C team lost at home to Crewe C last night. The F team got closer to Cheddleton G but still went down as Dave A's win and Alberto's draw were not enough for a point.

Only E can catch D
10/04/19 Their victory at Alsager B on the back of wins from Joe and Richard and draws by Jeff and Paul means that the D team can only be denied the division 4 title by the E team.

B finish with a draw
10/04/19 The B team completed their season with a draw at Fenton B with wins from Alan and Barry and a draw from Nic.

Win for B
04/04/19 The B team secured their first win of 2019 last night when beating Cheddleton B on the back of wins from Myron and John and draws from Barry and Alberto.

F Encore
03/04/19 Following their excellent result at Meir last week the F team won well at Crewe F tonight with Nic, David A, Edward and Dylan all winning.

A and D Diverge
28/03/19 The A team's loss against Cheddleton A condemned them to the division one wooden spoon, though with Reinhold winning and Alan and Myron getting draws it was hardly a disaster.
Meanwhile the D team maintained their leadership of division four with a draw against Stafford A, a full point being provided by Joe and halves by Paul and Jeff.

F and C win well
27/03/19 The F and C teams won the club's two away fixtures for the week, with the F team whitewashing Meir B on Monday and the C team defeating Alsager A 3 - 2 on Tuesday. Pete won for both teams, with Nic getting a win and a draw. Alan won and Hambel drew for the F team, whilst Paul and Dylan both fully enjoyed the trip to Meir.

Point for B
24/03/19 The B team drew at Cheddleton B on Friday, with Myron winning and Barry, Alan and Nic all getting draws.

Better Wednesday
21/03/19 The week improved for the club on Wednesday with the C team beating Alsager A thanks to wins by Myron and David A backed by John's draw, and the Perry Cup team progressed to their final by beating Crewe B Nic and Paul winning and Jeff drawing. They will play Crewe's A team in the final.

Major Concession
21/03/19 The Major Cup team were unable to raise a side for their visit to Meir on Monday, so conceded the match.

F move forward
13/03/19 The F team advanced their points total with a narrow win at home to Crewe F tonight, with Pete and Andrew winning and David A getting the draw.

B close again
13/03/19 The B team lost their fourth successive match 2 - 3, this time to Macclesfield, with Joe winning and Alan and Barry drawing.

E stay in touch
09/03/19 The E team stayed in touch with the division four leaders by beating Kidsgrove at the Bridge Club, with Hambel and David A winning and Alberto getting a draw.

09/03/19 Two of next weeks matches have been postponed, the D team's visit to Fenton C and the E's to Stafford A will now take place on dates to be decided.

C lose to C
07/03/19 Despite Joe's win, the C team lost to Cheddleton C last night.

Week Deteriorates
01/03/19 Following on from the two wins reported below, newcastle lost the other two matches this week. The E team lost at home to Cheddleton's equivalent side, with David A winning and Alberto drawing. The A team's vist to Holmes Chapel saw Alan's draw preventing a whitewash.

D drive on
27/02/19 The D team picked up two more points tonight, this tome against their namesakes from Crewe, with Joe and Jeff winning and Richard and Paul getting draws.

F team off the bottom
25/02/19 A visit to Meir C brought the F team's second win of the season and took them off the bottom of division 5. Alberto and Edward won and Watson got the vital draw.

Win one, lose one
21/02/19 Newcastle's two cup matches this week have both gone to board count. On Tuesday the Jackson Cup team got the better of Rugeley, with Joe winning and John and Alberto both drawing, whilst on Wednesday in the Intermediate Cup Cheddleton progressed despite draws from Richard, Alberto and Nic levelling the score with the help of David A's default win.

C Draw
15/02/19 Alan and Hambel won as the C team shared the spoils at Crewe B on Wednesday.

B Bruised
12/02/19 The B team lost 2 - 3 at Macclesfield last night despite wins from Alan and Myron.

Jeff Delivers for D
10/02/19 With Joe, Paul and Nic all drawing, Jeff delivered the vital match winning point when the D team visited Cheddleton E on Friday.

Point for E
07/02/19 Hambel won and Alberto and Nic drew as the E team picked up a point at Crewe D last night.

Another B near miss
06/02/19 The B team lost 2 - 3 at Crewe A tonight with Reinhold winning and Alan and John getting draws.

F Lose Again
02/02/19 The F team suffered another narrow defeat last night, this time at the hands of Cheddleton H, despite David A winning and Alberto getting a draw.

D Delight
31/01/19 The team ran out 3½ - ½ winners at home to Kidsgrove last night with Paul drawing whilst Joe, Richard and Jeff all secured wins.

C win
29/01/19 The C team won at Meir A on Monday thanks to wins from Myron and Pete and draws from Alan and Nic.

Match Off
29/01/19 Fenton have called off tomorrow's division one match between the clubs.

Bad Night
24/01/19 The club played and lost two matches last night with the B team going down narrowly to Rooks despite a win from Myron and draws from Joe and Richard, and the F team having only Alberto's draw to show for their trip to Crewe E.

E Jilted
22/01/19 The E team turned up at Alsager tonight to find no home team waiting for them, resulting in a walkover win for the visitors.

Weather Victim
22/01/19 The D team's match at Kidsgrove tonight has fallen victim to the weather.

Derby Revenge for D
17/01/19 The D team took revenge on the E team for their defeat earlier in the season, running out 2½ - 1½ winners this time round. Richard and Jeff won for the D team, Myron for the F, whilst captains Paul and David A drew.

Nic goes South
14/01/19 Nic continued his good start to the year, scoring 3/5 in the Minor Section at the Somerset Congress at Clevedon over the weekend.

New Date
14/01/19 The D team's match at Kidsgrove that should have been played at the start of the season will now take place on 22nd January.

E ease into New Year
10/01/19 The E team enjoyed a narrow victory over Stafford A to start the New Year with Myron and Dave A winning and a returning David Meakin getting a draw. The D team's match was postponed as Alsager were unable to raise a team.

New Year, New Nic
06/01/19 Despite being one of the lowest seeds Nic scored 3/5 in his section at the Shropshire Congress. Well done. Newcastle old boy Simon Maydew was also present in a higher section, but didn't threaten the prize list.

06/01/19 Hambel too found herself lowly seeded, this time at Hastings, so 2/5 was a perfectly respectable score. Also at Hastings Thivyaa was dipping her toes in the open, reaching 3½/9 before leaving one round early. Wouldn't be school getting in the way would it?

E set the tone (we hope!)
03/01/19 The E team led the club into 2019 with a victory over Fenton C thanks to wins by Myron and David and a draw from Nic.

Capital Joe
01/01/19 Scoring 6/9 Joe came 4= out of 80+ entrants in the major U12 section at the recent London Junior Championships.

C draw at C
15/12/18 The clash of C teams at Cheddleton last night finished honours even with Pete winning and Hambel and Nic getting draws.

Three for Two
13/12/18 Two of the clubs teams picked up three points between them as as D team won at Stafford A on the back of victories by Richard and Paul and a draw from Brian, whilst the F team drew with 3 man Meir B with Alberto winning.

A off the Mark
11/12/18 The A team recorded their first victory of the season at Fenton last night, thanks to wins from Thivyaa and Reinhold and draws from Barry and Richard.

F Fall
07/12/18 The F team fell to defeat at Cheddleton G despite Dylan's win and Alberto's draw.

05/12/18 This week's matches for the B team at Cheddleton B and the E team at home to Alsager B have been postponed.

Two draws
29/11/18 The B and E teams drew respectively with the A and D teams of Crewe last night. Thivyaa and Barry won for the B team, with Joe getting the vital draw, whilst for the E team David won and Myron and Pete both drew.

National Joe
28/11/18 Joe's performance at the British Rapidplay over the weekend in conjunction with that at the British over the summer has seen him added to the National Junior Squad. Congratulations.

The Old Win One Lose One
24/11/18 The Club sent two teams to Cheddleton last night with the hosts winning the battle of the As and the visitors that of the Fs. Thivyaa and Barry scored wins for the A team as did Alberto, Henry and Dylan for the F.

Upped Estimate
22/11/18 I have decided to increase Myron's estimated grade to 140, to take effect no later than Fri 30th November.

First Bragging Rights to E
22/11/18 The E team beat the D on Wednesday. John drew with Hambel, Myron and Pete's wins for the E team were answered by Brian's for the D.

Another case of win one, lose one
16/11/18 Wednesday saw two matches at the Bridge Club, with the C team losing to Crewe B despite Barry's win and Hambel's draw, and the D team beating Fenton C on the back of wins from Joe, Richard and Jeff and a draw from Paul.

B win, E lose
14/11/18 Catching up with results since a brief time away I find that the B team won last Thursday at Rooks, but the E lost at Cheddleton E without troubling the scorers. Alan, Barry and Myron all won for the B team, being well supported by draws from Hambel and Richard.

D and F Differ
07/11/18 The D team won 3 - 1 at Crewe D tonight, with John and David winning, Paul and Jeff drawing. The F team were on the wrong end of the same scoreline when entertaining Crewe E, with Alberto being the club's sole scorer.

4NCL Congress
05/11/18 Joe won the U1825 section of the 4NCL International Congress that ended yesterday with a score of 6½/9, unbeaten except against a competitor who zoomed to 8/8 before having all their results scratched presumably for being caught employing technological assistance. Thivyaa found the going considerable tougher in the Open, eventually reaching 2½. Ex-member Ian Jamieson also played the Open, withdrawing on 3/8.

Open Out
03/11/18 The Open team were knocked out of their cup competition by Holmes Chapel on Thursday, with draws from Alan and Hambel all we had to show for the trip north.

Halloween Shocker
31/10/18 A treat for Stafford B tonight as the F team's tricks failed to prevent a whitewash.

Mixed Fortunes
25/10/18 The C team went down narrowly to Meir A last night despite a win from Hambel and draw from Nic. Meanwhile the D team got their season underway with a healthy win against Cheddleton E with wins from Joe, Richard and Jeff and a draw from Paul.

Henry and E off to winning start
24/10/18 The E team won 3 - 1 at Kidsgrove last night with full points from Myron, Watson and debutant Henry.

Perry team through but A lose
18/10/18 The Perry Cup team resched the semi-finals of their competition with 2½ - 1½ victory last night based on wins from Jeff and david backed by a draw from Paul. However draws by Reinhold, Barry and Hambel were unable to save the A team from defeat by Holmes Chapel A

Newcastle at Crewe
15/10/18 Three members turned out for the five round Crewe Congress over the weekend. Alberto scored 3 and Joe 2½ in the Intermediate section and Dylan 2 in the Minor.

Weak Wednesday
11/10/18 The C and F teams both lost against Crewe C and Cheddleton H respectively last night. Alan and Hambel drew for the C team, Alberto and Dylan for the F.

Kidsgrove Klobbered
11/10/18 Newcastle whitewashed Kidsgrove in the intermediate cup on Tuesday in a match that was brought forwards from the end of the month. Richard, Myron, Alberto, Pete and Nic were responsible for the carnage.

Barry to the fore
07/10/18 Barry's win led the C team to a 2½ - 1½ victory at Cheddleton D on Friday.

B Start Well
04/10/18 The B team got off to a winning start against F/enton B last night thanks to wins from Thivyaa and John and draws from Hambel and Joe.

False Start
03/10/18 The club's first match of the league season should have seen the D team at Kidsgrove last night, but that was postponed. The honour now falls to the B team tonight.

Just enough
20/09/18 Wins from Myron and John secured the draw against Crewe A that the South Cheshire Shield team needed to win the trophy by a single point. Well done to all the players who turned out over the course of the season.

Richard's AGM
13/09/18 Richard was elected club secretary at the AGM, taking over from long serving Alan Paling. He then proceeded to win the AGM quickplay. Everyhing went smoothly, with Joe being pronounced minor player of the year.

Newcastle stay ahead
12/09/18 Newcastle retained their one point advantage over Crewe A at the top of the South Cheshire Shield table ahead of the last game of the season clash between the two at the Bridge Club next week by beating Alsager with the help of wins by Pete and Jeff and a draw from Alberto. Standing room only for spectators next week methinks.

Thivyaa at English
03/09/18 Thivyaa played in the English Women's Championships over the weekend, finishing joint 7th in a field of 30 with a score of 3/5.

Alex and Reinhold halve the summer half
31/08/18 Alex and Reinhold shared the spoils in the summer half-hour with 5½ each, with Steve Hill a distant third on 4. All told nineteen players participated.

President John
21/08/18 John has taken over the presidency of the North Staffs Chess Association from Roger Edwards. No doubt he will have to endure plenty of false sycophancy.

Club Secretary
14/08/18 Alan has asked me to place the following statement on the site:

"I've been thinking recently that although the role of secretary is no longer very demanding, it is time someone else took it on. I undertook the role sometime in the 1980s when Tom Swain stepped down. Back in the day computers had not taken off and there were numerous administration tasks expected of the secretary. Many thanks for making the job much easier go to the departed Martyn, John and all the team captains, particularly Nic and Paul. Alberto has carried on Martyn's exceptional work and the club is in safe hands. I've enjoyed the role immensely but feel now is a good time to pass on the baton. In this respect at the AGM I will be nominating Richard to replace me. Any other prospective candidates can give it some consideration in the next few weeks. I'm not intending to play chess any less and continue to be willing to captain and transport teams. Many thanks for many enjoyable years.


Comment: Alan has certainly done more for the club as secretary than may be immediately apparent to newer members. Certainly we would have struggled to have survived the dog days of Stoke Kings and the necessary rebuilding at the Arts Centre without his drive and enthusiasm. I am sure that both Richard and Alan will agree that Alan's nomination of Richard is not an attempt to sew up the succession but simply a device to make sure that the position will be filled even if no-one else is willing to take on the responsibility. If other members are interested in the post they should certainly put their names forward as no stitch-up is intended.

Midland Championships
12/08/18 Thivyaa scored 2/3 in the Open section of this weekend's Midland Championships, with Hambel getting a similar score in the Major section. Amongst those a point ahead of Thivyaa was club old boy Ian Jamieson.

12/08/18 Social media addicts will be pleased to learn that the club now has a facebook page which can be found here.

Club AGM
10/08/18 The Club AGM will be on 5th September, usual 7.30 start.

Dylan Draws on Debut
09/08/18 Dylan's debut draw alongside those from John and Joe provided enough backing to Myron's win to enable the shield team to pick up two points at home to Alsager last night.

British Weekdays
08/08/18 Joe completed a busy British Championships by scoring 4/7 in the U12 age-group and 2½/5 in the U1750 rated section, whilst Thivyaa turned out to score 2/5 in the morning open section.

Shield form Continues
02/08/18 The club's good form in the South Cheshire Shield continued with a 3 - 1 win at Crewe B last night thanks to wins from Richard, Nic and David.

British First Weekend
31/07/18 Joe scored 4/5 to come second in the Yates section for players graded U120 in the first weekend of events at the British, whilst Hambel reached a highly respectable 3½ in the Soanes section for players rated U1825.

Summer Half Hour
28/07/18 Alberto will be running the summer half hour at the club in its usual format on Wednesdays 15, 22 and 29 August. Do support his efforts.

Provisional Grades Published
27/07/18 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.

Former members listed include
Daniel Sullivan (Sheffield)188
Richard Lee (Cambridge Uni)186
Ian Jamieson (Newport)182
Geoff Marchant (Malvern)180
James Rothwell (Ormskirk)170
Martyn Harris (Kendal)167
Dave Cork (Coulsdon)156
Simon Maydew (Newport)148
Glyn Valentine (Fenton)145
Catherine Hiley nee Ashton (Rugeley)138
Nick Lowe (Altrincham)130
Derek Northage (Kidsgrove)113
Ivan Prikazchikov97
Robert West (Fenton)93

Shield Side Remain Unbeaten
27/07/18 A win for John backed by draws from Joe and Alberto enabled the South Cheshire Shield team to pick up another point on Wednesday, this time at Crewe A.

More points for South Shield
20/07/18 The club's South Cheshire Shield team picked up two more points at Stafford last night thanks to wins from Myron, Alberto and David.

Scottish Diarmid
15/07/18 Former club member Diarmid has just finished competing in the Scottish Champioships, scoring 4/9.

Joe Goes Close
11/07/18 Joe scored 4½/6 in the U11 boys section of the Midlands Gigafinal on Sunday, leaving him joint third.

Thivyaa in a hurry
26/06/18 Thivyaa won the St Edwards section of the Leek rapidplay Congress on Sunday with a score of 5½/6. Congratulations to her.

Second Again
05/06/18 Newcastle lost to Cheddleton in the Withnall Cup Final last night by 1½ to 2½. Alberto, Nic and Paul all drew. That makes six runners-up spot for the season.


Congress round-up
30/05/19 Roger Walker was joint winner of the Minor section at the Huddersfield Congress with a score of 4½/6, with Les Hall scoring 2 despite being one of the lower seeds.

In the U2050 at the 4NCL Congress Sam Turner and Joe Hirst both scored 2½/7 even though they were both nominally heavily outgunned in that section.

Carl Gartside was down to play in the Open section of the Cotswold Congress, though they are being secretive about their results so I know not how he fared.

News Frome Crewe
23/05/19 Leading North Staffs performer at the 7 round Crewe rapidplay congress on Sunday was Nigel Gardner who won the minor U100 section with a score of 5½. Simon Layhe managed second in the Inter U135 with 5½, Jon Blackburn third in the Open with 4½ and Chris Hankey and Joe Hirst 4th in the Major U165 with 4½. Needless to say there was plenty of other North Staffs interest with those beating 50% including Neville layhe and Les Fancourt in the Inter and Lukasz Michalek and George Jellis in the Minor. Full results on

Meanwhile Steve Emmerton was playing at a more leisurely pace in the Frome Congress, scoring 3/5 in the U140 section.

Rock and Rhyl
15/05/19 Aging rockers Dave Price and Les Hall played in the minor section of the Rhyl Congress over the weekend with Dave ending joint third on 3½/5 and Les on a more modest score. Sam Parry contested the major section, reaching a final score of 3.

Honours List
08/05/19 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 1H Chapel ACheddleton A
Division 2Crewe AMacclesfield
Division 3Crewe BCrewe C
Division 4Newcastle DNewcastle E
Division 5Crewe ECheddleton H
Open CupCheddletonMacclesfield
Major CupCreweMeir
Inter CupCreweCheddleton
Minor CupNewcastleCrewe PA

Bolton and Exmouth
26/04/19 Julian Hawthorne scored 3½/5 in the Knights section at the Bolton Easter Congress, with Doug Barnett and les Hall finishing lower down in this section with 2½.

Meanwhile Malcolm Roberts was on the south coast scoring 3/7 in the Major section at the WECU congress in Exmouth.

Mini Results
19/04/19 Leading scores from last weekends mini congress were:
U160: Pavel Nefyodov 4, Chris Hankey 3½, Hambel Willow 3.
U130: Harry Gardiner, Simon Layhe, Les Hall all 4.
U100: Lukasz Michalek 4½, Steve Szwajkun 4, Ben Harrison, Terry Knight, Martin Chadwick, Joseph Bussell all 3.

Senior Moment
11/04/19 Les Fancourt easily exceeded his seeding by reaching 50% in the over 50s section of the English Seniors over the weekend.

Open Cheddleton
10/04/19 Cheddleton won the Open Cup final against Macclesfield which was brought forward to Monday by a convincing margin.

Birmingham Rapidplay
03/04/19 Congratulations to Joe Hirst who won the Intermediate section of the Birmingham Rapidplay on Sunday with a score of 6½/7. Rick Renegade scored 4½ in the Major, and Neville Layhe 3½ in the Intermediate. Alberto Gissi, Les Hall, Dylan Whitney, Doug Barnett and Carl Gartside also played.

30/03/19 Joe Hirst, Sam Parry and Les Fancourt all played at the Nottingham congress last weekend, finishing with scores of 2½, 2 and 2 respectively.

03/03/19 A host of North Staffs players competed in the Blackpool Congress over the weekend. None made a fool of themselves with all scores lying between 1½ and 3½ inclusive. Best scores were from Fajfer Bartosz with 3½ in the Major and Jon Blackburn with 3 in the Intermediate.

First Title
03/03/19 Holmes Chapel are the first club to secure silverware this season, the division one title becoming theirs when the A teams of Chedleton and Fenton fought out a draw on Friday.

Doncaster and Warwickshire
03/03/19 Last weekend Roger Walker finished joint second in the Minor section at Doncaster with a score of 4/5, with Sam Turner scoring 2 in the Major section there. at the same time Les Fancourt was finding the going tough in the Intermediate section at the Warwickshire congress.

Winter in Bristol
19/02/19 Thivyaa Rahulan and Sam Turner both outscored their status in the Bristol Winter Congress over the weekend, with Thivyaa reaching 3½/5 in the Open section and Sam 2½ in the Major.

04/02/19 The set of performances I put up over the weekend were strange in places. I'd like to claim computer error, but the truth is of course human error in use of computer. Now corrected (I hope!).

The Price is Right
04/02/19 Dave Price won the U120 section at the Frodsham Congress over the weekend with a score of 4½/5. Julian Hawthorne came joint second on 4, with Les Hall further down on 2.

Meanwhile in the U160 section Geoff Laurence came second on 4, with Andy Raeburn, Michael Lee, Phillip Colvelle and Doug Barnett all on 3 and Neville Layhe on 1½.

22/01/19 Nic Wright scored 2½/4 in the minor section at the latest 4NCL Congress at Harrogate, having to skip the last round to get to his band practice. Sam Turner came just below half-way in the Major, whilst in the same section Malcolm Roberts had the sort of weekend after which things can only get better.

Junior Success
22/01/19 Cheddleton continue to organise a team to play in the Junior 4NCL, with the side winning the top division at the most recent event held at Solihull last weekend. Jacob Boswell scored an excellent 4½/5 backed up by Sam Parry 4/5, Joe Hirst 2½/5, Joe Alcock 1/4 and Dylan Whitney 0/1. One aspect not shared with the main 4NCL is the provision of a reserves competition which encourages reserves to travel in the knowledge they will get games. In this Dylan scored 3/4. The final event for the season will be held in Daventry at the beginning of March.

Julian again
14/01/19 Julian Hawthorne scored 2½/4 in the Minor Section at the Somerset Congress at Clevedon.

Score round-up
06/01/19 In the Hastings Masters Jacob Boswell and Malcolm Armstrong both scored 5/10, Carl Gartside had mixed fortunes in his second week events, and Matthew Carr took a break from arbiting to play in the blitz in which there was quite a bit of power on display.
Meanwhile this weekend saw a North Staffs invasion at the Shropshire Congress, at least as far as the middle two sections were concerned. In the Major Jon Blackburn reached 50%, just ahead of Neville Layhe, with Sam Turner achieving a score commensurate with someone playing a section up. Julian Hawthorne was top North staffs scorer in the Intermediate with 3½ and a tie for fourth. Doug Barnett, Sandra Blackburn and Simon Layhe were half a point worse off, with a similar further gap down to Chris Rhodes. Les Hall also played despite being eligible for the Minor, which explains his finding the going tough.

Hastings Xmas
01/01/19 Carl Gartside came joint second with a score of 4/5 in his first of his Hastings events, designated an Xmas one. Now for the New Year ones.

28/12/18 Thivyaa Rahulan, Jacob Boswell and one time Stafford stalwart Malcolm Armstrong all drew their first round games in the masters event at the Hastings International Chess Congress, with Jacob and Malcolm to meet in round two. Carl Gartside is down to play in several of the side events, and Hambel Willow will join the fun in the New Year.

11/12/18 After 3 rounds in the FIDE open running alongside the London Chess Classic, Simon Edwards is above 50%. May not sound much, until you look at the field.

Preston Play
04/12/18 Eight North Staffs players featured in the Preston Congress over the weekend. Sam Parry and Pavel Nefyodov competed in the major scoring 3 points and 2½ respectively over the five rounds. Neville Layhe and Sam Turner both scored 3½ in the minor, and were matched by Julian Hawthorne in the Standard section. The latter section aslo saw Dave Price and Nic Wright score 2½ and Les Hall 2.

More of the Quick Stuff
28/11/18 The British rapidplay was played over 9 rounds at Ilkley over the weekend. Sam parry was the leading North Staffs light with a score of 8 in the minor, with Joe Hirst amongst those on 6½. After his success at Bolton I'll simply say that Jacob Boswell found the going tougher this time out.

Bolting Bolton
20/11/18 Half a dozen North staffs players turned out at the Bolton Rapidplay on Sunday. Jacob Boswell scored 4½/6 for a tie for second in ther open, while the same score for Neville Layhe earned joint third in the Knights section where he was a half point clear of Les Hall. In the major Bartosz Fajfer scored 3½, Geoff Laurence reached 50% and Doug Barnett didn't.

Membership Matters
18/11/18 A check through the matches played so far reveals that five players have each played more than three games without having joined the ECF, contrary to league rules. These count as ineligible players and the match scores have been adjusted accordingly though of course results for grading purposes are unaffected. Eight matches have been affected, including four in which the consequence is a loss of league points.

As things stand the Association is currently on the hook to the ECF for a total of £80 for these five non-members, and whilst this will disappear when the players concerned do join, it should not find itself in this position.

First Sight of Performances
17/11/18 I've put up the first version of the performances page for the season, which will be updated at irregular intervals.

Malcolm on Tour
14/11/18 Malcolm Roberts has spent time on the Devon coast, playing both the Beacon seniors in Exmouth and the Torbay Congress. Between the two he managed plenty of draws.

4NCL International
05/11/18 Sam Parry and Sam Turner both scored 5/9 in the minor section of the 4NCL International Congress played at Telford, with Les Fancourt and Julian Hawthorne both on 4. Rich Wiltshir stopped on 2½ after 5 rounds in the major.

Scarborough Outing
31/10/18 Eight North staffs players made it to Scarborough for the annual congress at the Spa Centre over the weekend. Simon Gilmore scored 3½ in the Open and Malcolm Roberts 3 in the Intermediate. Jon and Sandra Blackburn both reached 50%, as did Hambel Willow, but Sam Parry, Simon Edwards and Les Hall didn't.

Change in Estimate
15/10/18 I have upped the estimated grade for Dylan Whitney from 38 to 50.

Crewe Congress
15/10/18 Crewe had two 100% scorers at their congress over the weekend, with Karl Lockett winning the Major and Harry Gardiner the Minor section. Neville Layhe was involved in an 8 way tie for second behind Karl. The intermediate was dominated by incomers, but Jacob Boswell was involved in a three way tie for first in the Open.

Double Master
07/10/18 is showing Jonathan Blackburn as having gained both Candidate Master and FIDE Master titles for his efforts at Batumi. Hope this is correct.

Junior 4NCL
02/10/18 A squad of Jacob Boswell, Sam Parry, Joe Hirst, Joe Alcock and Corben Rowbotham competed in division one of the first weekend of this year's junior 4NCL. After a tough Saturday they drew both of Sunday's matches.

Batumi Blackburn
28/09/18 Jonathan Blackburn is currently playing board 2 for Wales in the Olympiad at Batumi, Georgia. Games can be watched live on Chessbomb and other live games sites. Results available via

Stafford to move again
20/09/18 From the beginning of October Stafford will be meeting at the County Staff Club, 77 Eastgate St, Stafford, ST16 2NG

Grade Booklet
17/09/18 I have added in pdf format a booklet of North Staffs grades to the downloads page.

Brian Hitchins
17/09/18 Several people may still be unaware that Brian sadly died earlier in the year as I believe there was no general announcement of this within the chess world.

01/09/18 A small contingent of North Staffs players partook of the delights of the Leyland Congress last weekend, with Carl Gartside scoring 3½/6 in the major section. In the minor Dave Price reached 50% but Les Hall didn't.

27/08/18 Cup and league fixture files are available for downloads from the downloads page. Separate club fixture lists will be added soon, with updating my divisional pages also on my to do list.

Manchester Champ
21/08/18 Roger Walker was joint winner of the Knights section (U125) at the Manchester Summer Congress over the weekend with a score of 4/5. Julian Hawthorn scored 3 in the same section, which also featured Les Hall and Lukasz Michalek.

Jon Blackburn was North Staffs' highest scoring player in the Major (U165) with a score of 3, with Doug Barnett, Neville Layhe and Sandra Blackburn less successful.

Cup Draws
17/08/18 With the help of Stafford CC Dave Hulme made the draws for the cups last night:
Macclesfield v Crewe
bye v Fenton
Cheddleton v bye
H Chapel v Newcastle
Alsager v Crewe
bye v Fenton
Cheddleton v Meir
bye v Newcastle
bye v Crewe
bye v Stafford
Newcastle v Kidsgrove
Alsager v Cheddleton
Crewe PA v Fenton
Cheddleton v Meir
Alsager v Crewe PB
Newcastle v Stafford
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.

Midlands Champ
12/08/18 Julian Hawthorne was joint winner of the Midlands Championships Minor section held this weekend with a score of 4/5. Jonathan Blackburn scored 3 in the Open section.

Stafford Move
08/08/18 Stafford Chess Club have moved to a new venue at the Stafford Constitutional Club, 5 Lloyd Street, Stafford, ST16 3AS. Hopefully they will find that this more central venue makes attracting new members easier. I shall add a map to the club page shortly. (Done, 12 Aug)

N Staffs Grading File
28/07/18 If you have been checking the online grading database for your N Staffs results and can't find them, don't panic. Steve used the LMS to create the grading file, including the 2017 South Cheshire Shield results with the N Staffs 2017/18 ones. This has resulted in the file showing up under 2016/17 games labelled NSDCA League & Cups on the database, though the games are all correctly dated and have been used in the calculations of the latest grades.

For example Alberto is listed as having played 58 games in the last 12 months, with his grade calculated on that number, though only 26 of them appear in the 2017/18 menu. The other 32 are in the database as described above and have obviously been used in the latest calculations.

Full Jamboree Results ...
16/07/18 ... can be found here.

4NCL Congress
15/07/18 Thivyaa Rahulan scored 2/5 in the open section of this weekend's 4NCL Congress at Telford, including a draw against Malcolm Armstrong who finished on 3. In the minor section (U135) Julian Hawthorne scored 3½ despite being outgraded every game whilst Joe Hirst scored 2.

15/07/18 Crewe, with the help of guest Alex Richardson, and Cheddleton shared the spoils in the open section of the Jamboree held at Newcastle Bridge Club on Friday, whilst the U130 section saw Crewe A pip Cheddleton B by half a point to the title. Full results to be added shortly.

AGM Update
20/06/18 Hot on the news of the NSDCA AGM I've received another email stating that in fact the AGM will be held at Meir Chess Club, 7.30 start on 9th July.

League AGM
19/06/18 The league AGM will take place on Monday 9th July at Fenton Chess Club. All members are entitled to attend and speak, but voting is restricted to two members per club. See above article!

North Staffs at the Lakes
05/06/18 There was plenty of North Staffs interest at The South Lakes Congress over the weekend. Alex Richardson and Joe Hirst scored 3½/5 to come respectively joint second and joint fourth in their sections. Richard Cantliff and Sam Parry reached 50%, Martyn Harris, Malcolm Roberts and Nic Wright didn't.

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