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Bulletin No 10

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no. 10 (27.9.07)

Well, here we are again! A new season dawns and already there is no lack of news. Pride of place goes to the most recent, namely the exploits of club members at the Northumberland County Chess Congress.

The Northumberland County Chess Congress

This time last year seven members took part, with Peter Crichton taking second place in the Minor with 4/5 and Matthew Taylor sharing the prize for best junior with 3/5. This year produced an almost exact match of those results, except that this time it was Mark Taylor who excelled, scoring 4/5 to take equal second place in the Major. Mark had four wins out of five, losing only to the eventual overall winner. This was a great performance by Mark and hopefully his league results this season will show the same return to form. The other five Tynedale participants all played in the Minor, with three of them – Jack Bradshaw, Phil Taylor and David Wrigley – notching up an impressive 3/5. Jack, with four draws and a win, took the H.A.Perry Award for the best performance by a North-East junior: no surprise there! Matthew Taylor with 2/5 and Bruce Reed with 1/3 were the other Tynedale competitors, Peter Crichton having committed the unpardonable sin of booking a holiday to coincide with the Congress and your editor missing out on his North Shields debut owing to illness.

Club AGM

There was an excellent turnout, with thirteen members present. The officers and team captains all remain unchanged. The main decisions taken were to run two teams in the South Tyne League and to press for the first team to remain in Division 1 of the Northumberland league. Thanks to the efforts of Phil Taylor and Tim Wrigley at the League AGM, this objective was achieved. So now, as Mike Nicholson succinctly observed, all we have to do is deliver!

Northumberland League Divisions 1 and 2

There are, of course, no results to report as yet, the season only starting on October 1st. The magnitude of the task facing the Reivers in division 1 is reflected in a list of the 31 top-graded players in the North-East, as published in the latest Northumberland Chess Association bulletin. No Tynedale player makes the list, which includes five players from Tynemouth, four from Kings Newcastle and three from Jesmond. Indeed, as our grading list for the new season (see below) shows, none of our sixteen graded players would qualify to play in the Open in this year’s Northumberland Chess Congress, only three would qualify for the Major and the remaining thirteen would be restricted to the Minor. Sobering as all this may be, it is a fact that the club is in far better shape than it was just a couple of years ago. After all, we are putting out four teams this season, which has certainly never been the case since I have been a member. And we have a very competitive situation in the club now, with no fewer than eight players within sixteen grading points of each other. So yes, division 1 will be tough for the Reivers as will division 2 for the newly promoted Tans, but there are good grounds for believing that, as a club, we are enjoying something of a revival.


The following table gives ECF gradings for 2007-8, with movement up or down from last year shown, where applicable, in brackets.


DavidWeldon 149(-8)
MikeNicholson 139(-5),
MarkTaylor 126(-10)
TimWrigley 111(-1)
DerekBlair 110(-1)
PeterCrichton 107
JackBradshaw 103
MalcolmReid 103
DavidWrigley 102(-2)
BruceReed 95
MatthewTaylor9 5(+6)
SteveLarkin 81(+24)
PhilTaylor 74(-18),
DaveFoster 58(+2)
RalphFawcett 53(-2)
DanWoodhouse 48

ColinDavison, IanEmmerson, JohnMcKee and Stephen Porritt are all ungraded.

WebEditor: Steve subsequently noticed that Mike’s and Phils’grades were incorrect. The values above are correct.

The Club Championship

This is being played under new rules this year, which hopefully will keep interest alive for all members throughout the season. I must apologise for the fact that, due to an oversight, I have had to revise the rules to make clear that, where two or more players finish phase one on the same score, they are ranked according to the number of games they have played: e.g. 5/8 is ranked above 5/9 and 5/10 etc. I hope members will bear with me this year and allow for the fact that I am to a certain extent having to make it up as we go along!

The first phase (all play all once, Sept-March) is underway and already there have been a few upsets. At this very early stage the field looks like this:

Derek/Blair 2/2
Peter/Crichton 2/2
Matthew/Taylor 1.5/2
Mark/Taylor 1.5/3
Steve/Larkin 1/1
Jack/Bradshaw 1/2
Mike/Nicholson 1/2
Bruce/Reed 1/2
Malcolm/Reid 1/2
Will/Higgs 0/1
Phil/Taylor 0/2
David/Foster 0/3

So far fifteen members have expressed an interest in playing in the club championship (fourteen actually played in last year’s championship). One more would give us the perfect number for a Major/Minor split at the end of March.


Derek Blair being the modest fellow he is, it had escaped my attention, till Peter Crichton alerted me to the fact, that during the summer Derek made his mark on the lightning chess scene to such effect that he shared the Northumberland Major (under 135) title with Robert Forsythe, both scoring 4.5/6. The Lightning Championship was run on a ten second buzzer basis so we now have independent confirmation, if such were needed, that the Blair chess brain is super-fast!

Derek’s achievement is duly recorded in the colour supplement to NCA bulletin no 100, as is the fact that the Vaughan Medal is currently held, much to his surprise, by your editor, who was previously unaware of both its existence and its significance. Apparently it is awarded to the most improved player in the county as judged by grading increase in one season. In the firm belief that the award was intended to encourage young players as they struggled up the grading ladder, your editor would be most grateful if members would refrain from divulging his age (true or approximate) to the powers-that-be in the NCA!

The same supplement revealed another fact of which your editor was unaware and which he hastens to share with other members as ignorant as himself, namely that our very own I.M. Mike Nicholson was president of the NCA from 1995-2000 and is therefore an even more illustrious part of the chess establishment in this neck of the woods than some of us might have imagined. Genuflection may well be in order, especially after Mike returns from Spain duly invested with his Mastership!

And on that suitably uplifting note, I shall close this e-bulletin.

Steve Larkin


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