Will be held on Thursday 31st of August at the Red Lion S43 1JG
Please attend at 7.30pm
Harry Schofield 1932 - 2023
It is much sadness we have to report the death of Harry Schofield,
who recently passed at the age of 91 from pneumonia.
Harry left School at 14 and began working at Staveley Iron Works as
He was fortunate to gain an engineering apprenticeship with the National Coal Board, subsequently qualifying as an engineer based at Duckmanton. He became active in the National Union Mineworkers and rose to be appointed to Branch Secretary, a post previously held by Eric Varley later lord Varley}. He attended Sheffield University where he studied Economics, and he was offered a place at Worcester College Oxford, which he was obliged to turn down because of family commitments.
He was a member of St John`s Ambulance Brigade for most of his life and when he was ill, he could quote the first aid manual to the nurses in the Hospital who looked after him.
Harry was a fundraiser for the Thalidomide Society for many years. He loved his music he was an accomplished drummer and a singer, he was passionate for poetry, some of it he wrote himself.
Harry loved his chess.
He was both a member of Clay Cross Chess Club and Chesterfield Chess Club. He supported Chesterfield Chess Club as a social member rather than a committee member. Even when he could not attend he payed his annual subscription to the club. He spent most of his time coaching our new members, for that reason he became very popular in our chess club.
His favorite chess opening was the semi-slav defense in the Queen`s gambit opening, he knew every variation up to twelve moves.
On one occasion, Harry arrived late in our Chess Club, there was an `A` Team match in progress with a player short on board two, when asked Harry agreed to fill in on board two the game progressed to eleven moves. Harry`s opponent, who was graded 2120 he asked Harry for a draw, Harry who was graded 1360 could not believe his luck, he accepted the offer without any hesitation, The drawn game helped Chesterfield `A` Team to win the match.
After the match we asked his opponent "why did you offer a draw on the eleventh move?" He explained that the standard of the opening play and the position that was reached on the eleventh move favored Harry`s strategical plan and he did not recognize Harry as a `B` team player, he felt it would be safer to offer a draw.
At heart Harry was a family man. At his funeral it was apparent how grateful his two sons were for the support that their father gave them throughout their lives. Harry was particularly proud of his grandchildren, all of whom had graduated from universities.
It was agreed at the A.G.M that the Internal Lightning Chess Tournament will be held on Thursday
22nd of September 2022.
The games were restricted to five rounds of Swiss, with ten minutes per player and with no
increments, it was one of the strongest Lightning Tournament we have had for years, This can be
only credited to Martin Howard who encouraged most of our players to attend.
There were thirteen players competing across a wide range of abilities. The evening was
punctuated by anguished cries and staccato laughter as time-pressure blunders abounded!
After five rounds Ken Morrison and Peter Ackley were tied on 4.5 points having only dropped
half a point, when they drew against each other in round four. It was decided that the final results
would be decided by a 5-minute shoot out. Peter won, taking home a life-changing cash prize!
In the 1500 category another shoot-out ensued between Luke Russell and Richard Dawson,
with Luke prevailing and taking home a less-than-life-changing cash prize.
Congratulation to Peter and Luke and thanks to all those who attended.
Competition controller Tim Humphries
1. Ackley.P. 4.5 winner
2. Morrison K. 4.5
3. Trafford. J. 3.5
4. Humphries. T. 3
5. Smith. M. 3
6. Denby.J. 2.5
7. Howard. M. 2.5
8. Bracey.S. 2
9. Gibbs.S. 2
10. Crofts.B. 2
11. Russell. L. 1.5 winner
12. Peters. G. 1
13. Dawson.R. 0.5
Will be held on Thursday 1st of September at the Red Lion Brimington Hall Road,
next to Manor Road junction on the ‘one way system’ near Chesterfield S43 1JG
please attend at 7.30pm
There was only one chess tournament that was played out during 2019/2020 season. The Internal Lightning Tournament. It was arranged to to be played on Thursday 13/02/19, organized by Tim Humphries. A time/odds tournament which is classed as a speed tournament with added bonus seconds added on for responding quickly on the clock. Six players turned up on the night, restricted to eight rounds of swiss. there was no outright winner, three players finished with five wins.
The winners are:
Steve Burke, Mike Johnson, George Peters.
Will be held onThursday12th of September at The Red Lion Brimington - Hall Road,
Next to Manor Road Junction on the 'on the one way system' near Chesterfield S43 1JG
Please attend at 7.30pm.
Result of the Internal Lightning Chess Tournament
It was agreed at the A.G.M. Then that the speed Internal Lightning Chess Tournament should be held on the Monday18th of September, 7.30 pm.
All members or would be members welcomed.
Organized by Mike Smith, 'software' provided by Steve Bracey, 'buzzer box'
provided by George Peters.
Ten players contested a 10 second a move 5 round Swiss followed by play
off final not just for the Championship but also for the grading prizes. This
kept the majority of players with something to play for up to their last ten
At the end of the Swiss Ken Morrison and Tim Humphries both had four
points, putting them half a point ahead of Martin Howard and Steve
Ken Morrison won the final meaning Tim Humphries had to fall second
The under 140 grading final was won by George Peters and under 110
grading final was won by James Lindenbaum.
Derbyshire Summer Jamboree Tournament
Held At Rolls Royce Social Club
We wish to congratulate the four players that have represented our chess
club for winning the tournament, four rounds of quick play chess.
How they finished in the (Major)-
1. Chesterfield 12.5 points
2. Rolls Royce 'A' 10
3. Belper 'A' 9.5
3. Derby 'A' 9.5
Burke Steven.J 3.5
Ackley Peter.J 3
Housley Steve.B 3
Armanath Talakalukoppa 3
Well done everybody
He moved on to become a county player and a strong 'A' team player in our
Before passing on our chess club in the year 1995, he played on the top board
in the Sheffield Davy league for us, and during his stay in the year 1982 and
1993, he won the 'best game award' twice. In the year 1984 became our chess
He was enticed to come back with George to play in the Derbyshire League
Chesterfield 'B' team in the year 2013. Since then demonstrated himself as a
top 'A' team player in the Sheffield Davy League and he was selected to become
our honourable Auditor for our chess club 2017.
I asked Dave can we print one of his games on the website. He said he had no objection.
The A.G.M. meeting was held on the 4th 0f September at the White Swan.
At the meeting our president Mike produced the 'Saunderson Trophy' a substitute to the 'Hooton Trophy'. George copied all the winners going back to 1951, now published on the website.
Overall it was a successful meeting and should lead to a successful season, and to my surprise we even have organised an Internal Lightning Chess Tournament which will be held on the Monday 18th of September 7.30pm at The White Swan.
On Sunday 8th of November, a car full of hopeful Chesterfield players set out across High Peak
and Pennines and despite a sat-nav inspired flirtation with adventure, came back with a hoard of Lancashire gold!!
Under 131 section (Knights)
Brian continued to supplement his newly acquired pension with another share of first place.Though this looked unlikely at times in a somewhat bizarre last round. An unsound piece sacrifice left him a bishop down in an ending. Eventually he won the piece back, and with a rook each and a pawn down and seconds left on the clocks, Brian offered a draw. His opponent declined, but then inexplicably he dithered over making his moves and Brian won on time!
Under 166 (Major)
After a sleepy start left him on 1.5 out of 3 points, and worried that his white opening line was refuted, George reeled off a hat-trick of wins to share third place.
The open was very strong with Ameet Gashi making the trip up North in search of the £200 first prize, amongst many others strong players least five were graded over 200
and another were dozen graded over 180.
Steve Burke who played in the open, played above his grading of 176, just missed winning the under 180 grading prize by a half point. Well done Steve.
Dave Latham who was fourth seed in the competition put in a great performance scoring 4.5
points out of 6 to finish second. Along the way he beat the second seed who was graded (226) and reached a forced perpetual check against Ameet Gashi-but with little time left sadly thought
he saw a win, missing a mate in one for Ameet Gashi, who duly won the game and went on to
win the event.
Passing many watering holes on the way home, we eventually managed to find one still open to celebrate our successful raid.
2014 Chesterfield A.G.M
2013 Chesterfield A.G.M.
State of finances remains sound.
We applauded victories in the Derbyshire League, and now in the Sheffield Summer League.
Next term we will enter two teams in Sheffield and three in Derbyshire.
Mike Alcock's outstanding results in the Derbyshire League (board one for the winning team) and in the Derbyshire Individual Championship - which he won yet again, many congratulations on that - took him to an ECF rating of 200: the first player from Chesterfield in many a year to achieve it. As far as I know, only Mike and Hubert have ever managed this rating, or its equivalent under any other system.
Congratulations hardly seem enough. The number in Britain - still a very strong chess country - to have a 200 rating is in the low 3 figures. Among senior players, Mike stands at number 14, and his recent rate of improvement surpasses many a junior star. Fantastic, couldn't have happened to a better man, inspiration to all of us.
bit more from May 13
The B team won division three in Sheffield. Clay Cross and our lads met up for a match to celebrate both sides' promotion and decide who actually won the title. Despite showing up a man short, the guys secured a 3-3 draw and a win on board count. Steve B, Dave D and Chris scored the points for us. Congratulations to the whole B team squad.
Four players could be found for the end of season Jamboree at Rolls Royce; a thrilling contest with six other teams ended in the narrowest of victories - see "Derbyshire A team" for an account.
...and chess goes ever ever on. Our Summer League B team got the ball rolling with a heavy score at SASCA
The B team. which a few seasons back was struggling to survive in division three, have secured promotion with a chance of winning the divisional championship as I write. Terrific stuff.
In Derbyshire, the C team secured promotion; congratulations to them.
Last season we struggled, but managed, to keep both A and B teams in division 1, a target attempted by other clubs in the past, but as far as we recall, not yet achieved. This season we far surpassed that standard. We divided the club's strength roughly equally. The A team (Latham, Johnson, Bracey, Housley, Evans and Crofts) finished equal third with our friends from Belper, unbeaten save for a match v our own B team where we defaulted a board.
The B team won its last match to WIN THE LEAGUE, squeaking in ahead of an immensely strong team from Breadsall. The outfit that achieved this memorable feat - the winning of the league by half a club! - was captained by George Peters and starred Mike Alcock (well on the way to another county individual championship), FM Hubert Mossong, Martin Howard and Andy Mort. Superb achievement.
The second team - George Peters, Brian Crofts, Steve Bracey and Dave Dunnett, any gaps ably plugged by Amar Amarnath and Ian Edmundson - also won their division, five wins and three draws. So no excuses for the first matches early in the new season, we're all fighting fit and on a roll, right guys?
Ah yes, a speech of welcome. At the last minute, I was volunteered for this, at such short notice that in listing the great events of Summer 2012 - the Jubilee, the Olympics, the Sheffield Chess Congress - I quite forgot the European Football Championships.
No matter, we're away! Four tournaments, the Open to decide the Yorkshire Championship, Major, Intermediate and Minor. Apologies that what follows concentrates on the Open - I was in that, so those were the games I saw. But Caissa, muse of Chess, blessed the efforts of many another competitor and some of those I'll describe as well.
Jon Nelson scored the first brilliancy, chaotic overwhelming attack v Mike Hankinson; wins too for Peter Shaw, Paul Cumbers, Jim Burnett and Paul Fletcher, lots of the Sheffield League's top men straight off the mark. Carl Walker and Chris Shephard drew their heavyweight clash, and what of the stars from distant lands? Well, Pall Thorarinsson of London Athenaeum introduced himself with a win v Harry Russell, and Oliver Jackson threw down the gauntlet with an inspired attack v Oskar Hackner, first a piece, then a rook invested for immensely dangerous possibilities. Few but Oskar could have faced down this assault without flinching - what I'd give for that young man's temperament. A draw, but what a thriller. My own game was last to finish: I turned down two draw offers from Ryan Burgin, the computer tells me I was winning the endgame on move 75, but by move 78 it was gone, and by 90 so were all the pieces bar the Kings. Yeah, sorry about that Ryan - we could have gone home a couple of hours ago...
SATURDAY: Jos Woolley of York took a first round bye, but he was one of the men making a statement on Saturday - defeated Ryan in a sight less than 90, then turned on all his strategic understanding against another young star, Donny's Tom Pitcher. An old friend of ours from Derbyshire chess, Pete Mercs, also scored 2/2 today, and against powerful opposition: Carl Walker, then Oliver Jackson. I managed a long and difficult win against Andy Hards, holding off two attacks in one game from another of the coming men of Sheffield chess, then came through by the skin of my teeth to score an undeserved point against Daniel Sullivan. Daniel had won the showdown between two of our best young players in his game v Oskar; Sam Milson showed himself another young talent to watch, holding the mighty Jon Nelson to a draw. Six of us ended the day on 2.5 - Jim Burnett beat Paul Fletcher and drew with Jon Nelson, Pall Thorarinsson beat Paul Cumbers while Peter Shaw beat Adrian Elwin. Shaw-Thorarinsson followed, and the game saw Pete prove the only man in these parts able to hold his own against the Icelandic star.
The Major saw a good turnout by our friends of Derbyshire: Ray Gamble and Dean Hartley made excellent scores. Today I was drawn to a match between Bill Ward and Dave Williams, who, though they may well not know each other being from different leagues, are both old friends and respected colleagues of the Chesterfield club, men with whom we've crossed swords on many occasions. Last time I played Dave the crossing of swords metaphor ended with me getting chopped up...I commiserate with Bill.
In the event, another comrade of ours, Farshad Ai of Phoenix, stormed the Major with 4.5; I watched his final game, a skillful grind v Dragoljub Sudar which left nobody in any doubt as to Farshad's courage and talent.
SUNDAY: Now it was my turn to take on the mighty Thorarinsson, as the battle approached its climax. I was in my best form so far, and I'm proud to say that I forced him to try the last: a daring and dangerous attack with his king side pawns, which might have backfired. But Pall proved better than my best, and I had the impression of a real fighter, cool and determined, ready to stake his all on a brave try for victory. Yesterday's star players Woolley and Mercs took on each other and drew, as did Pete Shaw and Jim Burnett. Notable games elsewhere: Paul Cumbers - Jon Nelson saw a terrific confrontation between leading Nomads, Paul looking to have established a winning space advantage, Jon with a startling counterstrike to win; Daniel Sullivan defeated that renowned attacker Oliver Jackson...I strongly suggest that anyone who wants to boast that they once beat Sullivan gets in PDQ: unless you've got serious ability you'll soon have missed the bus; and youth prevailed again in the battle between Roelof Westra and Tom Pitcher.
The Intermediate tournament was won by Noel Boustred of Gosforth and our Rotherham buddy Chris Willey, congratulations both. Sadly for this report, three tournaments were held in the main hall and the Inter in a side room (where playing conditions may have been even better than for the rest - certainly they got the comfy chairs!). I did get to watch one game in detail though, and a splendid one it was, won in fine style by Clay Cross's latest find, Armine Mashdian.
The Minor went to two hometown players: congratulations, Tony Perry of Wombwell, and Craig Chatterton of Darnall, flying the flag for Sheffield. Henry Withington of Nomads and Mark Kirkham of University followed. Lots of young talent on show, let's spotlight Sam Cobbold for a cracking game he's absolutely right to submit for a brilliancy prize.
And so to the last round in the Open...who could stop Pall Thorarinsson? If you wanted a home winner, here was your last best hope in the tournament's highest rated player, Jon Nelson: how would Pall deal with Jon's brilliant aggressive style? Well, having attacked with such courage against me, Pall defended with no less against Jon: accepted a pawn sac, and held on against one attacking idea after another, all the way to a winning rook ending. A most worthy winner of the tournament: many congratulations to Pall.
Don't know if he was aware that among the spectators for his last game was one who, to say the least, could have posed an immense challenge: perhaps our top player, IM Andrew Ledger, will be able to compete next year.
Second was going to the winner of Jim Burnett - Pete Mercs, and it went to Jim together with the title of Yorkshire champion, for the third time, very well done Jim. Jos Woolley pushed him to a tie break, also with 4/5.
I made fourth, proud to be in the company of Paul Fletcher and Chris Shephard on 3.5.
But this is a quieter ending than the tournament had: it finished with two barnstormers. The final minutes saw an epic struggle, Eric Gardiner dashing his forces in vain against Chris Shephard's iron strategy; and then perhaps to top even this, Pete Shaw v Jos Woolley, and a study like ending between two of Yorkshire's finest amateur players. Jos had six pawns to three after a masterful display that would have had Nimzowitsch purring, but with opposite coloured bishops Pete stood a great chance of holding them all back...and they had five minutes between them. Jos sacced a pawn to prevail at the last. The assembled spectators should have marked the end of this game with a storm of applause and I gladly give it now. A wonderful end to a wonderful tournament.
Derby & District Rolls Royce Jamboree
Team, but as they had a better board performance level they were declared winners.
However in Division 2, Chesterfield 'B' team, at their the first attempt and with the help of Ronald Harrison from Belper chess club, Brian Crofts ('B' captain) lifted the 'plate trophy' for Chesterfield.
We achieved our goal of keeping two teams in the top division in Derbyshire, and entered a single combined side in the Derbyshire Cup which won it, defeating Belper in the final.
Chess, of course, never stops: next comes our attempt to retain the Sheffield Summer League, and let's start advertising for The Sheffield Congress, Friday to Sunday 29th June to 1st July.
On other fronts, Chesterfield B have kept their place in the top division of the Derby and District League, and the A team might also stay up after winning against Burton A. The combined side defeated Derby in the cup semi final and May 1st will see the Final v Belper.
display of chess to give some of our club players the opportunity to play against a stronger opponent.
Dave Latham accepted the challenge and seven players turned up for the evening. Dave agreed to have
alternate colours on each board and that each player must make his move on the return visit unless they
take a pass. One by one the challengers fell to one side, except George Peters and Mike Johnson who
stopped Dave from having a clean sweep. Result was Dave 5, Challengers 2. Fun had by all.
Congratulations to our 'A' Team for winning the First Division in the Sheffield Summer League Chess, for the
second time of trying, To see how David Latham (Captain) and his team managed to succeed, can be viewed
on this site at the"Sheffield 'A' Team Results" page.
The 'B' team in the same league came joint third in the Second Division and the Captain, Brian Crofts states
in his report that some of the clubs with only one team in the league had the luxury of fielding stronger players.
Out of seven members who turned up to play, George Peters won the 'captain's prize' with six points out of nine games. Division Two was a success in terms of keeping the players involved during the summer break and
Brian wishes to thank those who turned up, some at short notice. The competition was enjoyed by all.
and here's how it went:
The Sheffield Congress. Friday:
The venue's a vast, brightly coloured sports hall. David Welch the Chief controller - what a relaxed vibe he brought to the chaos - described it as "lovely", and he's seen a few. Three of us turned up at 1 30 and set about heaving furniture, setting up boards and all the notices and paraphernalia, and it was just great towards evening to see the people turn up, better than a birthday party. Never been to one with so many familiar faces....the Sheffield League heavily represented, maybe half the contingent; several old friends from Derbyshire, Dean Hartley, Dave Williams, Janos Wagenbach and Roger Walker among them. From further a field, old opponents from faraway matches and congresses in Birmingham, Manchester, Bolton; and strangers from distant lands... Wales, London, Reading and Scotland.
I sat down to play Paul Cheshire, and much respect to him for entering the Open, which featured a huge collection of muggers, assassins and general hard core. Leading the local lads: three of the Nomads Davy champions - Jon Nelson (204) Chris Shephard (200) and Kieran O'Driscoll (195); plus Jim Burnett (194) and Pete Shaw (199). The outside contingent was just as formidable: Ryszard Maciol (211), recently arrived in Brum from Poland, Terry Chapman (204) famous as the man who played a celebrated odds match with Gary Kasparov; Oliver Jackson, Ali Janoouby and Mike Surtees, all of them familiar to me from the Bolton Congress and all of them pushing 200; FM Richard Britton (197) and the man I particularly wanted to see, 13 year old William Foo of Reading, 171 and his opening win v Kieran showed that grade's well behind the times.
Paul played the opening convincingly, but then went slightly astray and I won: still, when I considered the people limbering up for next day, I wouldn't have minded a few of the Chesterfield crew around for moral support. I'd thought I was on my own first night, Brian taking a half point bye - but late entry? The games had started when George sauntered in and checked that he was OK to put his money down. This last minute showing got him a game against the highest rated player in the Major, Peter Mulleady (170) of Rawtenstall; when I left he was hanging on a pawn down, and he must have played superbly to draw this. I said that to him, and he admitted that he had.
In my second game I was White v FM Richard Britton, and the main problem was that I hadn't much idea what I was doing. By move 17 I was shuffling around on the back rank, could see all his moves and nothing much I could do about them. I was wondering about resigning, but when I looked round most of my buddies were suffering worse than I was. After the previous evening's heroics, George fell into the Noah's Ark Trap against Janos; Brian also shed a piece, so I looked at my position afresh and at least it wasn't resignable, so I clung on like grim death and managed a draw after Richard went wrong.
I was so engrossed in this game that I actually wandered round the hall looking for the board where Jim Burnett was taking on young Ryszard the 211 from Poland - and when I failed to find it I returned to my board to find they were sat right next to me! Ryszard sacced pawns for an attack, which Jim repelled with great skill to win. In other news, Terry Chapman joined Jim in the lead with a beautiful bishop pair v knight and bishop win over William Foo; Chris Shephard played an endgame masterpiece but very unfortunately lost on time and Jon Nelson won as few round here but he can do, an instant entry for best game prize.
Third round and Brian got on the score sheet proper with a fine win, raking bishops cutting White to bits; no luck for George, and I was up against it, Black v Jon Nelson. Another skin of teeth job, just managed to cling on for a draw. So that was 2/3 for a grading performance over 200, very happy with that; Paul Fletcher was looking still better on 2.5; Jon Arnott also doing really well, at least equal when I left in a tactical slugfest with Ali Janoouby, a renowned attacking player. But there was no doubt at all who was the hero of this day: Jim Burnett accepted a piece sac from Terry Chapman, and rounded up all Black's advanced pawns and general counterchances: 3/3 for sole lead in such a strong Open, I couldn't wait to congratulate him on showing all our brilliant visitors a great performance by one of the home boys.
Hugh Murphy from Hackney threw the tournament wide open with his win over Jim Burnett; I had a great fourth round with one of my best games, cult hero Mike Surtees of Bolton my opponent. Future master William Foo defeated FM Britton; Jon Nelson stuck in another contender for the brilliancy prize, Jon Arnott and Paul Fletcher still unbeaten: it was all boiling up for a thrilling last round, four games to decide the winners. Hugh Murphy had 3.5 and would be sole winner if he won his last game, but that was Black against Jon Nelson, and we got to watch another exhibition of Jon's attacking prowess. 4/5 for Jon, and anybody who won from Burnett-Arnott, Fletcher-Chapman and - yes!- Foo-Latham could join him.
Ah well, I said I was interested to see the new young star in action, but maybe not at such close quarters. I got a decent position then made a terrible blunder. Paul Fletcher sacced a piece for two pawns and an attack, but it never looked enough; and Burnett - Arnott was a tremendous game. Lucky I lost so quickly because I got to see it all, Jim's crushing pressure, Jon's resourceful defence, then the counterattack, could have been anyone's, perpetual.The Sheffield website should be treated to this one, and hopefully a spectacular miniature from Peter Hempson as well.
Brian finished with a "real tussle" with Alex Webster of Amber Valley; they enjoyed this so much the local curmudgeon got on the case; Alex landed the final blow...and out of 60+ games, second last to finsih was George, long hard rook and knight ending, finally drawn.
So the Open was won by Chapman, Foo and, flying the flag for Sheffield, Jon Nelson. Can't imagine anyone got near the overall standard of his play, absolutely thrilling and I'm proud to be one of only two who scraped the half point. Heroic showings by Jim Burnett, Paul Fletcher and Jon Arnott. And I can't leave without calling for a round of applause - I think he got the loudest at the prize giving - for our old friend Martin Sheard, 4.5 in the Major, the only sole winner of any of the four tournaments.
Great success as an event and as a social occasion; many thanks to Paul Bailey, Andy Hards, Steve Mann, David Welch and many another for their part in reviving the congress. Why was it so long absent?
Sheffield Chess Congress 2011 The Sheffield Chess Congress 2011 will be held at
Firth Park Community Arts College
Fir Croft Avenue
from Friday 20th to Sun 22nd May 2011.
The Congress is a 2011 British Championships qualifying event
Chief Controller: David Welch – ECF Senior Arbiter
Four sections: Open, U171, U146, U121
Entry fees: £25, £15 Juniors (U18 on Sept 1st 2010), £3 discount for ECF/NMS members, £2 late entry surcharge, cheques payable to Sheffield Chess Congress
Prizes for all sections: 1st £200, 2nd £100, 3rd £60, plus grading prizes
Best Game Prize: £25 for each section
Time Control: 40 moves in 100 minutes then 20 minute rapidplay finish
Getting There/Staying There
The venue is 2 miles from the major route centre (M1/train/tram/buses) of Meadowhall, and there is ample free car parking at the venue.
Hot and cold refreshments will be available
Tournament Equipment supplied by Chess Direct
Contact: Paul Bailey email@example.com or 078 12 49 49 57 We aim to make this an enjoyable event for all
The highest placed eligible player in the Open Section will qualify for the 2011 British Chess Championships at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.
Chesterfield have retained the Derby & District league title. We started with two points from the first three matches, including a heavy defeat at Lichfield. Then the chase began: initially, I thought the Lichfield players so strong that they might well prove uncatchable after such a start, but in the second half of the season we were still winning every match - ten in a row so far. Great performances by lots of our players, many a match won by narrow margins, and this time we also owe our championship to old friends at other clubs who managed five draws and a couple of wins against our rivals. Most famous tale of all will be the win by Pablo Padilla Cabero, Steve Burke, Derek Jarvis and - Dee Folt? - of the Breadsall club, and after that we were odds on. So the legendary performance of 2010 - winners of both the Sheffield and Derbyshire Leagues - won't be repeated. But to win the championship and both our other teams promoted - that's more than a faint echo of last year's glories.
April 5th: Derbyshire C won't be left out either!
The second promotion place in the fourth division has just been decided. Chesterfield C went to Spondon knowing that a win for either side meant their promotion; a draw would leave us needing to win the last match. It sounds a right tough contest, but the team did it at the first time of asking: three draws by George, Ian and Dave v Spondon B left the result depending on Brian v Bert on bottom board. Anyone who remembers Brian's win in last season's Sheffield League three way relegation match knows that our hopes could hardly have rested in safer hands. Congratulations to Pete and his men - promotion in their first season.
April 3rd: Derbyshire B Team promoted!
With two games to go for all leading contenders, we can already congratulate George Peters and his crew on securing promotion to the top division of the Derby & District League. Chesterfield B and Long Eaton each have 15 points; none of the chasing group has more than 10 - so that's that! George himself is so ruthlessly ambitious that only top spot will do, and that is still to be decided. But we can already start planning for two teams in A division next year. I'll leave it to the man himself to write up the campaign and congratulate the leading players.
In Sheffield we look to end in an honourable position. No repeat of last year's heroics, but a respectable defence of our title. The League will surely be won by Nomads, who've played superbly; we should be right up there in the following group. The B team have improved enormously: no relegation dogfight this year. They were well up among the promotion contenders, and still might finish in the top two.
In Derbyshire, we started with a huge wobble - two points from three matches. But a long series of victories, some of them very narrow, have left us needing one win, or two draws, from the last two to be certain. The big challenge is from Lichfield, and we're still looking over our shoulder despite the latest extraordinary result at Breadsall, where Pablo Steve and Derek look to be the three brave musketeers who've made our success almost assured. We are also in the semi-final of the cup, coming up very soon.
The B Team look to be even closer to their own goal: promotion to the top division requires one point from two matches, even if one of their rivals wins all three of their remaining ties. Great performance by George Peters' men, and we look forward to the adventure of two teams in division one. Pete Willoughby's C team made a very impressive debut, and it's in their hands as to whether they also gain promotion.
Dave Latham now has the entry forms for the British Championship and all its subsidiary events - quickplays, 5 day tournaments, targeted at players of all levels. Currently in email form but also on the English Chess Federation website, and no doubt soon to come out as a flyer. Last two weeks in July, and this time, not The Isle of Man or Paignton or the Falkland Islands but SHEFFIELD!!
Note from Tony Ibbotson of Leeds chess club:
Would you be able to do me a huge favour and add a simultaneous event, to be held in Leeds, on your website?
Danny Gormally is coming to Leeds Chess Club, June 12 and it's only £10 per entry. The link to the website is http://www.leedschessclub.org/gormallysimul2011.htm
Feel free to either email this link or copy paste the info, from the web page, to your own website. This is going to be a great event and I think that as many people as possible should know about it.
Leeds Chess Club The North Leeds Working Men's Club
101 Lincoln Green Road
Leeds LS9 7SR
Dave Latham having the latest Kasparov book signed by the man himself at the London Classic 2010.
London Chess Classic 2010
Hikaru Nakamura was equally straight and honest, a win had narrowly got away against David Howell; he gave his opponent full credit and made a real attempt to tell us exactly what had been going on; Mickey Adams and Nigel Short just as memorable. The Anand-Carlsen game was so hard to call at that time, for grandmasters as for spectators, but Nigel gave it a glance, predicted it exactly, "but that's their problem, I'm off for another drink".
I'd mentioned that 140s used to kick sand in my face before I discovered the works of John Nunn... I hardly expected that Dr Nunn would be hauled from his seat to shake my hand and sign my book. As I said, you could tell from its battered state that I'd made good use of it...he joked that he'd never seen one in a worse state, pictured me hurling and stamping on it after losing with one of his recommendations! and tournament director IM Malcolm Pein told me he'd made me famous by quoting this blog at the opening ceremony. Only half an hour later did it occur to me who's heard my deathless prose: we're trying to guess what Malcolm thought might amuse the world champions.
So a great day for David Bentley, Ken Norbury and myself, and I can hardly thank David enough for organising this, and all his other efforts that got us the tickets to meet the great of chess - and I promise you, they did not disappoint when I met them in the flesh. At the last, we were in a room of five people. Luke McShane's game was on the screen. The brilliant British master was leading three of the world's top four in the tournament, and you can bet I'd stood aside for him as we do for higher rated players in the middle of a vital game...not Ken though, who let Luke hold the door as he glided through himself...but I digress. McShane was in the seventh hour of play, holding off ex-world champion Vladimir Kramnik with R v R& B. Four of us were listening to an old gentleman who was predicting the moves of the masters as if it were the easiest thing in the world. This was Viktor Korchnoi, now in his eightieth year, veteran of the siege of Leningrad, Soviet dissident, challenger for the world title, Guest of Honour at the tournament and one of the greatest names in our game for the last half century. At the London Chess Classic you can get to meet a man like that, and in his eyes and in his voice you can't miss the enthusiasm, the child's love of the game. Years of struggle, hours of study, to search endlessly for the truth: if you have the love of chess what is it but a pure delight?
George came second in Bury Rapid Play Chess Tournament
Chess Tournament. Both players were making good progress half way through the rounds when the
central heating kicked in, then they found the room temperature and the Tournament too hot to handle.
Brian who was playing in the Minor section did not recover, but George managed to win his last two rounds
in the Major section and came joint second with 4.5 points out of 6 rounds played. Both George and Brian enjoyed the Event and are looking forward to entering further tournaments.
Further information and photographs can be viewed at- www.burychessclub.x10mx/br2010results.html
Terry was our longest serving active member, having joined the club in the mid sixties; he was a regular player for our teams, and had been the club's president until just a few years ago. He was a lovely, delightful man: Mike Johnson (who knew him since Mike was a boy) commenting that he had never seen him other than in a good mood, ready to chat about games with equal good humour whether he'd won or lost. We can only hope that our club brought something to his life as valuable to him as his company was to us.
The family invited us to the funeral on October 21st. Several current and former club members attended. DL.
Hull Congress October 2010
Brian will be at the club on Monday and Mike Johnson and I have informed him that he's bringing the games to show off. Against the wise advice of the club president that taking a half point bye can ruin your chances of first prize, Brian did just that in round one. He then aced the field, winning his other four games for what must have been a tournament rating pushing 170. In the last round he was two pawns down when his opponent offered a draw. With ferocious competitive spirit, Brian turned down what was effectively an offer of a four way tie for first place, and won the game to claim top spot on his own. Wow. David Bentley has uploaded Brian's win in round four: it was the deciding game of the tournament. Brian's opponent, Malcolm Hara of Walkington, had 3/3 'til he had the misfortune of meeting Brian; after this game, he won his last to finish half a point behind in second, so clearly he was The Man to Beat and had a fine tournament himself.
I'm indebted to Mike Johnson for some of this account. Mike took a grading prize himself in the Open, which was all the more creditable because you'd expect opponents in an Open to be tough, but the luck of the draw had Mike up against a veritable murderers' alley of Yorkshire's star players: Jos Woolley of York, our old friend Roelof Westra - probably only half way through his career at 78 - and the outstanding junior Sam Milson. Mike quite rightly showed off that cracker of a game with the enthusiasm of one who'd won it, though actually the best laid plans... Let's hope some of Brian and Mike's form persists through the next few league matches.
And just to show us how it's done...Jim Burnett handed me entry forms for THE DONCASTER CONGRESS - similar Friday to Sunday set up, February 25th to 27th. £24 entry fee, should be a jolly time. Further details from Dave.
Now the game's afoot, as players from Barnsley to Birmingham start to turn their thoughts to the two league titles we hold. Couple of AGMs - Sheffield on Sept 1st and Chesterfield on Sept 6th.
We hope to enter three teams in Derbyshire and two in Sheffield next season; should be a very difficult challenge to defend both our titles. Quite a few folk have turned out regularly over the Summer, and a particular welcome to Pete Willoughby who's been a breath of fresh air and even set about getting a Derbyshire C team in motion.
Over the Summer we entered two teams in the new Summer League. Mostly we aimed to put out sides roughly equivalent in strength to our opponents, so that matches would be close contests. One exception was the match at Rotherham, where I recruited the strongest available; still not enough to win; all credit to Rotherham who are, I believe, the first winners of the league.
We entered two teams in the 4 board Summer League, both chugging along OK: three wins and a draw between them I think. Welcome to Woodseats player and Association President Mike Smith, who's guesting for us in this intial running of the League. It's proving an interesting chance to meet some unfamiliar opponents: not been to Aughton or Rotherham for some years.
Yorkshire gradings are now out. Links to the main Sheffield site will tell you how our old buddies/ opponents at other clubs managed, and I've changed the gradings given on our site. So left, scroll to the lowest section and the answer to your hopes or fears may be revealed....
To pick out a few: very impressive debut for Ian Edmundson; big rise for Martin Howard, all those vital points in the Davy League winning back his place among the League and Yorkshire area's leading players - see the list of the top 100. Martin and Steve Housley back in the 170s; George over 150; Brian and Kevin over 120. And on the Yorkshire league's list of Most Improved Players, normally dominated by promising juniors: Terry Hand. Very well done Terry!
B Team survive relegation cliffhanger!
Steve Bracey agreed a quick draw with John Mercy (Phoenix), but any more points for us had to wait 'til the last seconds. Phoenix raced into an unbeatable lead, taking points against both the other sides; Darnall scored a point against us; no luck tonight for Dave Dunnett, Terry (who looked very close at one stage) and Kevin. With minutes to go it was Phoenix 4.5, home and dry; Darnall 1, Chesterfield still Bracey's half point. All depended on George and Brian, and very little chance if they didn't both win. George had knight & 3 v knight & 2, and ground out a fine win; Brian had a complex middlegame v Geoff Facer, both players finding a series of good moves; it could have gone either way. I don't know if there's a way to survive Brian's e5! near the end; if there is, it was a big ask in time trouble and Brian picked up queen, game and second place in the match. Skin of teeth, and it was going to be bad luck on whichever side went down with 15 points. Phoenix 5.5, Chesterfield 2.5, Darnall 1 when the dust settled. Format seemed a jolly evening, especially for spectators, and especially for the kind of spectators who miss the old gladiatorial shows.
Our sympathy to his family. We hope that it will be some small consolation to know that he did not suffer and passed away doing something he loved; and that he was among friends whose love of him was plain from their grief and the efforts they had made to save him.
Celebration Meal Out:
It means little to win a contest against weak opposition. We came through - in the case of Sheffield by a hair's breadth - against people I need only list to wonder how we managed it. Paul Madden, Chris Shephard, Ray Evans, Kieran O'Driscoll, David Adams, Peter Hempson, Belper, University, Phil Briggs, Jon Nelson, Breadsall, Worksop, Rotherham Juniors, John Shannon, Prasun and Mithun Chakravorty, Peter Shaw, Jon Tait, Jim Burnett, many another...how did we do it? Well, in some cases we didn't - various of those guys hacked lumps out of us and only strength in depth saw us through. But it was always a privilege to try one's luck against these fine players and their colleagues, and I hope we left with them the impression of sportsmanship they left with us. The greatest challenge from team or individual came from Sheffield Nomads, who forced us to win every one of our last nine matches: respect to them, and the people who met the challenge of such champions must be worth a mention.
First, a tribute to my opening partner Mike Alcock, who stood by me as we scored even for once against the League's greater violences. Hubert Mossong turned in five vital performances - there at the last minute against Nomads A, steadying a rocky ship against Rotherham Juniors and Nomads B. The real engine room of the side comes next: Mike Johnson, Martin Howard and Steve Housley. 11.5/15, 10/12, 10.5/15 - there's no doubt that these performances on the middle boards were the deciding factor. The tail starred Steve Bracey 8.5/11, and George Peters 8/11: who could forget that sequence against University when the title hung by the proverbial thread? And ready to plug the leaks: John Denby, Emma, Andy Marsland, Brian and Ian, whose win against Barnsley signalled that we were approaching the line.
Finally, unstinting praise to Andy Mort, who missed out when we last won this, and tells me now he's won the Davy after thirty years of trying. His captaincy was vital: he never gave up gathering and cajoling and encouraging the side. Well done skipper, ours at last. DL.
Chesterfield 'B' Team won the third Division in the Derbyshire & District League
Manchester Rapid Play
"This year, I have played in several speed chess tournaments, it is part of my programme to upgrade my chess. I entered to play in the 'Under 120 Minor Section' in the Manchester Rapid Play Chess Tournament, hopeful of winning a top prize.This was not to be, the organisers caught up with me and promoted me to play
in the Under 160 Major Section, probably because having won a grading prize at 'Nottingham Rapid Play Tournament' early this year. To my surprise in this tournament won four games against stiff opposition,
drawn one, lost to the winner. I was presented with a stylish small glass trophy, this is the first one I won
in twenty years".
Photo's can be viewed at- Link// www.manchesterchessfederation.co.uk
Derbyshire title retained 2010!
Brian Crofts won a grading prize at Stockport Rapid Play Tournament in the Under 110 Minor Section. Brian is making a big comeback after being absent from the chess world for more than twenty years. In this tournament he scored 4.5 out of six rounds and the only loss he had was to the winner. There is no doubt we shall hear more from Brian in the near future.
For more information www.englishchess.org.uk
Sheffield - York
Jon Nelson won almost at once, which made him the real hero of the side: many thanks to him for turning out at a difficult time - and Andrew Ledger said that he saw no further way to progress so offered a draw in the light of our lead. Surely the remaining 1.5 or 2 for a win would come from our last five players? There followed an hour and a half of tension and watching one player after another look in great difficulty, maybe on the brink of defeat, and variously hanging on. Hubert was up against an outstanding young player in Luke Leong, and we were full of praise for his resilience and determination to get to an ending a pawn down, which he held comfortably. Jeremy's opponent agreed a draw in a lottery of a pawn race when we were wondering if he'd chance it. David Adams - on board six! for York - took the right approach and tried the last to win against his old Ecclesall buddy Peter Hempson. This proved the decider, as Peter held on in an ending which had surely been lost, and at the death came through to win. Few others would have managed this against David. And so to Mike Johnson, who held out in such a hard position against Jim Nicholson, bottom board for York and rated 184 by the ECF. It ended with Mike's fortress proving unbreachable, fully justifying Rob Woodford's compliment "that Mick, he's a ------- to play against!!"
That made it 5-2 and Kieran O'Driscoll v Chris Ross was now for pride. Chris won a fine and difficult position, a very good win but, thanks to Sheffield's determination in the last ditches, he was the only York player to convert what had been a number of promising positions. The defence of the Woodhouse Cup is right on track.
Visit to the London Chess Classic.
I'm going to sound like a groupie in this one. No apologies: that's probably the sort of standing in the chess world to which I should aspire.
The VIP room at the tournament contained such luminaries as Vlad Kramnik, John Nunn, Jonathan Speelman, David Bentley, Viktor Korchnoi and all the grandmasters at the tournament. Emma proved herself, as David put it, "a chip off the old blockhead": straight up to Vladimir Kramnik and buttonholed him for an autograph. I could only envy the social confidence as I sat next to Korchnoi who was trying to take on John Nunn in analysis of the Short-Carlsen game. And Carlsen...there's a tale. On the Sunday he wiped out Chinese champion Ni Hua, and I nearly inflicted more damage on the young star myself, using not the chess pieces but the door between the gentleman's restroom and the main concourse.
David had earned the VIP ticket by all his efforts to publicise, organise and generally set things in motion. I will always be grateful to him for this chance to ride his coat tails: it was a memorable day. At one point the former British champion Julian Hodgson looked in my direction and said "ah, at last a man who'll know what he's doing...what do you think - queen a2 or takes on a4?" From over a foot above my right shoulder came a lordly Russian accent: "I would take the pawn without thinking about it"...fortunately the killer question was not for me but for the man next to me, the former world champion, who sat down with Hikaru Nakamura to go through their game as near to me as anyone at The Three Merry Lads.
Emma and I took on the main GM commentary room, where three British GMs - Rowson, Gordon and Ward - analysed with the audience. And after their games, the players came in to run through what had happened and take questions. This I hadn't seen at previous tournaments and it was a great experience: Adams calm and modest, explaining the lines in depth, all things he'd been concerned about; Short witty, equally self-deprecatory as he ran through a thrilling game with Carlsen in which both players narrowly avoided defeat; Kramnik just amazing in the depth of what he'd seen, and the speed and brilliance with which he expressed it in a foreign language. Wow. I've been in Buckingham Palace to see the medals handed out: that was a nice day out. I've been to the House of Commons, which is also OK if you've got a free afternoon. But The London Chess Classic. Now that was The Place.
We were about the last to leave: it ended in a fine display of coffee house chess. Jimmy Adams (edits chess magazine) and buddies watched one of their number fail to hold his own at five minutes v Emma, good natured quips in the best Bracey manner 'til the staff had to evict us. Back up the M1 seemed to take five minutes.
CHESS FOR SCHOOLS.
David Bentley has rightly won a plaudit in the programme for the London Chess Classic: after all the praise for the great masters who made this such a memorable event, we read: "The people who make a difference tend to be chess enthusiasts taking initiatives at local level - people like David Bentley from Chesterfield, father of a chess prodigy, who has launched a programme for distributing free chess sets to schools in Derbyshire. "We've had great support from local companies", he says proudly. But would that support have been forthcoming if he had not gone knocking on doors?" Spot on.
So 90 schools applied, and David's efforts and organising have resulted in masses of sets, boards and DVDs turning up at his house. He and I have been charging round Derbyshire delivering them, and for me it's been such a rewarding experience. First the trips round: lovely day out round Edale and Chapel, back through villages en route, took Mrs L for a pub lunch on the way, and I could certainly handle the expressions of gratitude from schools along the route. My own gratitude to a couple of chaps who've taken sets to distribute round their own neighbourhoods: our old friends Andy Toothill and John Hoddy. Hope they find it as pleasant a job as I have. So far, we've done more than half, should finish early in the New Year, and David tells me there's still the odd school ringing asking if they're too late. Any further offers of help distributing will not be turned away! We've got about 15 within 10 miles of here; couple in Ashbourne, one in Buxton and quite a lot round the southern suburbs of Derby. Dave L.
Emma Bentley pictured with Johnny Nelson promoting the Chess Sets for Derbyshire Schools programme.
Link to :- www.2seeitlive.com/derbyschools
Emma is playing Joel Defries the presenter for BBC Blue Peter. After the game played in Trafalgar Square London on the fantastic chess set designed by Spanish designer Jamie Hayon Emma was presented with a Blue Peter silver badge.
London Chess Classic 2009
Further to the above, I've done a little research. Do either of these grab?
1. Thursday Dec 10. Train leaves (Sheffield 10 27) Chesterfield 10 39, arr London St Pancras 12 34. Tube to Olympia for 2pm event start. Leave at 8pm (games last until 9pm in theory) to catch 20 55, arr Chesterfiekl 10 45pm. Cost, I'm told, £22 train, (£25 from Sheffield) £5.60 tube; £10 entry to tournament, total £37 60pp.
2. Car, any day. 150 miles to Olympia, but mostly on M1. Leave Chesterfield 11 am, arr Olympia 2pm. £19.50 parking (best I've found, though there's probably free parking nearby on Sunday at least). £10 entry, leave 9pm. Total cost maybe £10pp + £40? petrol = £20 pp for a car of four.
Of course, we could do either or both depending on preferences or numbers. I'll also circulate some Sheffield players with the info.
Under "Derbyshire" you'll find a report of the gallant stand made by the county team against Manchester, and, as an innovation, the league table. This is updated efficiently by weekly email to a few of us, but much more rarely on the county website: so here it will be when you need to know where we stand.
AGM and Fixtures meetings: the results.
The AGM recorded the passing of two local players I haven't had the pleasure of knowing or playing myself. Bill Ward wrote a heartfelt tribute to his Woodseats clubmate Les Pratt; Rod Hirst will be known to people who played in matches against Ecclesall.
The Sheffield C team was dropped, but Saturday chess will be available for most levels of player, as we maintain four other teams. There was much success to report: Paul Blackman and his juniors making a big impression; and president Mike Smith singled out for especial applause Jeremy Hamm, whose Sheffield A team retained the Woodhouse Cup, surely the North of England's premier trophy and one of the oldest competitions in the world.
Fixtures are now official: see the section of this website. We start as soon as 22 Sept, at Derby. In the Richardson, we've got Aughton at home, and if we survive that, Nomads away, which presumably would install us among the favourites or free some dates for those rearranged matches!
Big news was that the British Championship will be at Ponds Forge in Sheffield in July 2011, conveniently slotting between the World Cup and the London Olympics. Much more to follow, including a likely attempt to set up a Sheffield Congress.
There are still efforts going on to start a 3 player day time league. We are invited to enter a team, or individuals who will be matched up with people from other clubs.
Paul Bailey urges people to enter the Sheffield Individual Championship, if we think we're hard enough to dethrone Chris Shephard, or if we fancy the fun of the 6 round Swiss.
I wrote the minutes of these meetings myself; full versions will probably make the Sheffield website once people have had the chance to correct them.
Sheffield AGM was on Sept 2nd at Nomads, The Harlequin, Nursery St. There were minor tweaks to rules which will soon be on the Sheffield website.
Derbyshire AGM and fixtures meet was Thursday 3rd at Rolls Royce - Mike Alcock went and picked up the county champion's trophy for what he tells me, and I almost believe him, will probably be the last time.
Sheffield fixtures meet was Sept 16th, Wednesday 7 30 at Aughton. Fixtures for 2009/10 now on our website; possibly a couple of clashes will be rearranged.
...and Frank spotted the website at home in California while planning a trip to see family. Terrific to meet him; we had six or seven there for a jolly evening of chess and beer. Frank has sent me some great photographs of a trip to Hungary organised by GM Susan Polgar, which I'm sure he'd be glad for anyone interested to see - can forward by email. A rare treat to make a new friend like that; he may turn out as a ringer if back over during the season.
The British Championship is being slugged out late July to early August, 11 round Swiss in Torquay. A few local players have had the courage to risk it, and as I write after 4 rounds two old faces have started very well: 2.5/4 for Chris Ross, and a splendid 3/4 by the Sheffield Nomads star Paul Cumbers, which puts him right among the leaders. Paul's fourth round was a win with Black against IM James Cobb, who must be rated near 230.
NOTICE OF AGM 2009
The Times, July 25th 2009
Meanwhile, Emma set about publicising the event by playing Raymond Snoddy at The House of Commons; GM Ray Keene devoted the whole of his column to this on July 25th. If I knew how to lift it to print here, I would; as it is, the column will be on line for at least some days yet and I urge folk to take a look.
Mike Alcock County Champion yet again!
Derby & District League II
May 6th Chesterfield 2.5-1.5 v Breadsall to win the cup; see Derbyshire section for match report...and as a cherry on the cake, the annual Rolls Royce jamboree as well.
Derby & District League.
Chesterfield have won the Derby& District League one of the two leagues we enter. With one match still to play, our total of 10 wins, a draw and two losses for 21 points can't be matched. Seven other teams competed in the top division, from as far away as Lichfield and Long Eaton; closest contenders were from West Notts, Belper and Derby. Thanks to all the players who supported our efforts.
Sheffield League 2009
We've finished third, which is honourable and probably a fair reflection of where we stand for the moment: Nomads were worthy winners and congratulations to them. If we're not to get the trophy, at least it went to our senior partners in the winning Woodhouse Cup all-star combo, and you'd be hard put to speak too highly of Jonathan, Kieran, Jeremy and co. as players or as people. Next came Sheffield University, and readers of our history section will know something of the contribution that institution has made to Yorkshire chess. After a few fallow years, they've built a team worthy of their predecessors, and that's really saying something.
Our own points tally might have been a little higher, had those last matches required a bigger effort, and had a few earlier not got away. But we start next season with as good a chance as any, and my thanks to all our players. The Davy League is hard to win: it's a fine and difficult competition, as shown by the talent, both in chess and the wider world, of the people whose interest and affection it engages. We played a full part in keeping it that way.
Our individual scores were mostly within yoo-hooing distance of 50%, with two standouts: captain's prize Martin Howard 12.5/15 just ahead of Steve Bracey 10.5/13.
Best wishes and cheerio but I'll bet only for one season to our good buddies of Phoenix and Woodseats. We've had some great battles and good evenings with both over many years; it's been a pleasure and an honour to sit across the table with some of those people, and one we surely hope to enjoy again soon. Nomads are even now planning how to keep their crown while dividing their efforts between two A Division teams, and congratulations to Paul Kelman, Dean Hartley and friends of Clay Cross: next year Derbyshire has two clubs going for the Davy.
The Woodhouse Cup leaves Yorkshire!
Matches against Alwoodley and Doncaster wrapped up this competition. Alwoodley especially didn't go down easily; it was 3-3 for ages, though rationally we knew the last points were going to come. Hubert Mossong proved The Man once again: he's won every game he played in this competition, and ground down his opponent in the ending, after a black square domination of a type so familiar to us. He was missing for the Doncaster match, in which Jim Burnett led his people bravely, but against a strong Sheffield team: Jeremy wasn't risking losing this one at the last. A draw being good enough, we were waiting for the vital point to take us to 4; and it came from our own Mike Johnson, a great moment. The final result was 5.5-2.5, our 100% match score being little more than the minimum requirement to finish ahead of York.
Of the Sheffield squad, IM Andrew Ledger represented Woodseats and Dr Peter Hempson, Ecclesall. Couldn't have won it without them; we saw at least two good wins from Carl Walker of Phoenix, and also appearing occcasionally, Bill Ward and Geoff Frost, the latter as stand-in captain. These heroes apart, the squad is drawn from two of the area's many clubs, namely Nomads and Chesterfield. Paul Blackman built a team based on Rotherham Juniors and the University, which easily held its own in the top division; the Barnley/Doncaster crew represent Donny or Wakefield, and one star player never misses a match but plays for York...and of course lots of people have better things to do of a Saturday. Since we won even with this division of resources, it says something for the continuing strength of chess locally.
And it's now our turn to take possession of the trophy itself - ! A fine piece of Victorian silverware, emblazoned with the names of clubs going back to the 1880s. I'd heard it was worth a lot of money, so got it valued, and, sure enough, it's not! but in terms of how badly people wanted it, over many years of trying, absolutely priceless. We'll be showing it off anywhere we can think of, over the next few weeks.
Feb 14th was showtime in the Woodhouse Cup: the annual Sheffield - York match which has decided matters in the North of England's most prestigious club competition for the last few seasons. Both teams came in having played and won seven, and York had the advantages of home venue and higher gradings on at least 6 of the 8 boards. IM Andrew Ledger of Woodseats took board one and drew with one of his few peers hereabouts, the respected player and writer IM Richard Palliser. It looked very hard fought, beyond that I'm too humble to comment. Four Nomads and three of our own made up the rest of the Sheffield team. FM Hubert Mossong was Sheffield's secret weapon and didn't let the mere fact that his ending was drawn stop him winning on two. Dave Adams turns out for York in this League, and his draw with Jon Nelson was one of the first to finish. Kieran O'Driscoll made it 3-1 at the top end, a fine win v Detlef Plump; nobody on the top 4 was ranked below 185. Mike Johnson made it 50% for our club with a solid draw against Chris Ross - a special note of thanks to him for help with the team motivation - and Jeremy Hamm scored the point that took us over the line, a captain's innings if ever there was one, and a memorable moment for one of the guys who make you proud to play the game. By contrast I'd been scraping a living against Jos Woolley on 5 after an opening howler, thought I'd survived, then went down at the last; since I didn't know the score I wondered if I'd be commiserating with Mohammad Said who also lost a hard ending in the other last game to finish, and we could be remembered together as the unfortunates who lost us the Woodhouse Cup. A blessed relief, as Andrew told us the result. The competition's not over yet, but it's now Sheffield's to lose.
York 3.5 Sheffield 4.5
The Times. GM Raymond Keene MA OBE.
Derbyshire v Leicestershire Dec.13th 2008.
The Times, Thursday 19th
I've heard that Ray Keene may be featuring a game by one of our own. And not Noted Master crushes NN in a fashion readers will find amusing and instructive, the usual way Chesterfield players (except Hubert) expect to make a national splash. No, GM Keene is going for Otto Hardy - Emma Bentley, the vital game in which our young star levelled the Leicestershire-Derbyshire match. Apologies to anyone left of centre or right of Genghis Khan who buys the Times and finds the column's been derailed by the outbreak of war or arrival of Martians, but this is what I've heard. Gotta be worth a look! Dave Latham.
Sheffield A v York RI- Woodhouse Cup.
Photo:- Courtesy of Jeremy Hamm, Sheffield.