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Bulletin No 02


Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 2 (1. 10. 06)

Northumberland League Div 1

The Northumberland Chess League is now well under way, so I’ll begin with that. The Reivers first match was at home against Gateshead Libraries A, a match in which the Reivers could reasonably hope for a draw and possibly more. On boards 3, 4, and 5 Mark Taylor, Tim Wrigley and Peter Crichton all drew which, as Mike Nicholson observes, was a pleasingly solid performance. Mike himself lost on board 2, “having played the opening well until I chose to move the wrong rook along the back rank and was caught in some tactics which I had feared but not calculated as possible.” On top board, David Weldon “had a terrific game, gaining two bishops against two knights and keeping the pressure on constantly. Zdjelar blundered his remaining knight and was looking very edgy and playing quickly as though in bad time trouble. David marched his king across the board and forced Zdejlar to give up queen for rook, so David had queen and bishop against rook and a few pawns each. However there seemed to be no actual mate and Zdejlar pointed to the clocks to show that David’s time had expired. David reckons he made about 15 moves in the last 30 seconds and it was tragic that all his great work came to nought.” So in the end Gateshead won 3.5 to 1.5.

The Reivers’ second match, at home to Jesmond Knights, was much tougher, with the home team outgraded by 20 to 30 points on every board. As Mike points out, “one can theoretically win one game in five against a player graded 25 points higher than oneself, so our 4 to 1 loss in a five board match might have been predicted. No player with white was defeated, but Jesmond won their three whites and we only drew our two” (Mike on board 2 and Derek Blair on board 4 – a fine result this as, owing to a computer glitch, Derek had not been expecting to play in a match). David, Mark and Peter all lost on boards 1, 3 and 5 respectively, “the best of the losses being Mark’s long struggle in a knight ending against John Turnock .” So after two matches, the Reivers stand third from bottom in division 1. Hopefully November will bring better things.

Northumberland League Div 3

The Tans first match in Division 3 was against Gosforth Regents and resulted in a resounding 4.5 to 0.5 win. Captain Phil Taylor writes that “Derek Blair (Board 1) was the first to record a win, followed by David Wrigley (board 3), whose opponent was a couple of pawns up before blundering away his rook. Matthew Taylor (board 5) secured the match points by winning with a strong queenside attack. Peter Crichton (board 2) concluded a hard-fought draw” and Phil wound things up with a win on board 4.

The next match was against Alnwick B, who put out a strong side with three first team players on boards 1 to 3. Even so, Matthew Taylor won on board 3, as did Steve Larkin on board 4 and Bruce Reed on board 5. With the result decided, David Wrigley on board 1 and Phil Taylor on board 2 soon settled for draws in what were very even situations, giving a final score of 4 to 1 in favour of the Tans.

The third match, on October 31st (How’s that for up-to-the minute news!) was a home game against Jesmond Pawns and resulted in a clean sweep for the Tans team of Tim Wrigley, Phil Taylor, Matthew Taylor, Steve Larkin and Daniel Woodhouse. It should be said that Jesmond Pawns are an under-14 side, though they are no push-over, as their 4.5 to 0.5 win over Tynemouth Sprites shows. And yours truly can vouch for the fact that there is something unnerving about facing an opponent who is not yet twelve, is barely four feet tall and plays with supreme confidence whilst munching his way through a bag of crisps!

As a result of this win, the Tans stand four points clear of their nearest opposition in division 3 and already prospects for promotion into division 2 are looking good, though of course there is no room for complacency.

South Tyne League

In the South Tyne League the club, captained by Derek Blair, has played just one match so far, against HaydonBridge. Derek drew on board 1, Malcolm Reed won on board 2, and Ralph Fawcett and Daniel Woodhouse lost on boards 3 and 4, making HaydonBridge the winners by 2.5 to 1.5 and by 38 to 31 on handicap.

In addition to all these matches, there has been a good enough turn-out on club nights for the club championship to proceed, and the pecking order now looks like this:

Matthew Taylor 3.5/5

Mark Taylor 3/3

Mike Nicholson and Steve Larkin 2.5/3

Peter Crichton 2.5/4

Malcolm Reid 2/3

Derek Blair 2/4

Jack Bradshaw 1.5/4

David Wrigley 1/1

Daniel Woodhouse 0.5/4

Stephen Porritt and Bruce Reed 0/2

Phil Taylor 0/4

Still no sign of David Weldon starting a bid for the title, but as predicted last month Steve Larkin’s slide down the table has begun. Between now and next summer members might care to give some thought to how the club championship should be run in future. At present, with 15 names on the starting-grid and an all play all twice policy, 28 games are involved, which I suspect is an impossibility in one season. As a result it is quite likely that the title will go to a player who manages to play a higher proportion of games than most of his competitors. Are members happy with that or should we try to incorporate some kind of “quality control” to offset in some measure the quantity factor? I look forward to hearing your thoughts. In the meantime, if you want to get your hands on the club trophy – yes, there is one apparently – then get playing fast and furious!


Welcome to new member Dave Foster, who comes with a wealth of experience and will doubtless be making his presence felt in the club championship as well as in team events.

The weekend chess evening with Tedmore Mauwa, the Zimbabwean top board for Jesmond, and two of his strong countrymen which Mike was hoping to organize now looks as though it will not materialise.

Postal chess. Mike writes that he and David Weldon will be in one or more county teams, including the newly-promoted Northumberland team in division 1 of the English Counties Championship. New volunteer players are often welcome: contact Geoff Harrison on 0191-266 1990, though it may well be too late for this year. In addition, Mike is busy playing board 10 (out of 12) for an England side in the sixth European Team Championship. Currently he has scored 4.5 (W1, D7, L0). To get his final norm for the International Master title he needs 7 points and declares that, barring accidents, he will reach that with wins against Latvia and Slovakia and a draw against Israel. He goes on: “With a bit of luck and a following windI might even manage my first norm (8 points) for the Senior International Master title, as I have just a possibility of wining against Israel and saving a draw in my last game (Finland). Adjudication date is 31/12/07, so don’t hold your breath. My other tournament is the preliminary round of the sixteenth Olympiad, where I am board 4 in a team of 4. Nine games in all. It started in July 2005 and a few wins are imminent. The provisional end-date is July 2007, though I suspect it will continue beyond then.”

Wow! That all sounds hyper-impressive to me. And wouldn’t it be nice to have our own International Master or even Senior International Master at the club. So, good luck, Mike. I look forward to addressing you with suitable reverence when the time comes! By the way, if any of us minnows has the good fortune to beat you in a friendly game, does that mean we can claim I.M. status too?

Keep your eyes skinned in the next couple of weeks for a bit about chess in the Courant. Apparently the last piece was so well tucked away that it escaped the notice of most members (not that it will contain anything that you don’t know already, but it’s nice to think that there is at least someone out there who bothers to read what you write!).

Well, that’s all the news for this time. Keep me posted.

Steve Larkin


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