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Bulletin No 45


Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 45 (9.2.12)

Let me start with an apology for the late arrival of this e-bulletin, which I had hoped to produce more than a week ago, but which fell foul of Life and its non-chess-related demands. In consequence, there is a great deal to report, starting with

Northumbria League division one

Three matches to report here. The first was at home to Newcastle on December 6th. As ever, I am indebted to David Wrigley for the reports which follow.    

“Newcastle are flying along at the top of the division, nipping at the heels of Leam Lane – could we upset the apple cart?

Jeremy seems to have the market cornered when it comes to short draws against tough opposition! Mike McBeth is a very dangerous proposition, yet he felt compelled to accept Jeremy’s offer in a fairly quiet middle-game position, where Jeremy perhaps had slightly the better of it. A good start! 0.5-0.5

David played an unfamiliar opening and spent a lot of time finding obvious moves, then very little time finding obviously bad moves. Pawns down and positionally bust, he was ground down by Andy Lawson in double-quick time. 0.5-1.5

Alex Ashworth found himself slightly passive, and in return for some activity he had to accept some pawn structure defects. Andy Robinson built up a bind against his kingside, and Alex was forced back on the defensive. He never quite found his footing again, and Andy pushed through with a decisive attack. 0.5-2.5

Tim had a fine double-edged struggle with John Wheeler, gradually equalising in the opening and then trading tactical threats through the middle-game. John sprang a trap on Tim and it looked like his rook was lost…. but Tim had seen further, and it was John who lost a piece. Tim also got a rampaging attack, and John had to concede shortly afterwards. Tim’s highest-ever graded scalp!


Dave’s game with ultra-solid Jon King never veered away from dead level, until theirs was the last board at play. A team player to the last, Dave searched in vain for a win in a very drawish rook ending, but in pushing too hard he came unstuck, lost a vital pawn and was ground down by some impressive technique from Jon. 1.5-3.5

The score-line feels about fair. Down the league we go!

David Wrigley 0-1 Andrew Lawson (199)
Dave Weldon 0-1 Jon King (181)
Tim Wrigley 1-0 John Wheeler (171)
Jeremy Handley 0.5-0.5 Mike McBeth (167)
Alex Ashworth 0-1 Andrew Robinson (133) “

Next up, on January 17th, were none other than the runaway league leaders Leam Lane. David writes:   

“Oo-errr. Leam Lane haven’t dropped a match point since about 1935. The Tans start out as underdogs.

David was tasked with entertaining IM Jonathan Hawkins. It didn’t last very long. David played 10 moves of what he thought was Evans Gambit theory, only for Jonathan to show him the refutation. A pawn down and struggling positionally, David proceeded to blunder a rook. Oops.


Dave made a much better fist of things against Nic Tavoularis. Dave had a passive but solid position, Nic managed to coax most of Dave’s pawns onto light squares, rendering Dave’s light squared bishop stuck for squares. Dave seemed to have all entry points to his position well covered, but after an exchange of queens Nic was able to break through Dave’s kingside and snag a pawn. With his bishop still hindered by his queenside pawns and Nic’s rook and knight and king all looking rampant, Dave conceded. 0-2

Jeremy Handley had a real smasher against Richard Doyle – by Jeremy’s own admission he was outdone in the early middle-game and was a pawn down. The position was very complicated, as there were few pawns remaining and lots of major pieces filling the void. Jeremy struck, and won back the pawn whilst exchanging down into a RRB vs RRN ending, which looked fairly level. The minor pieces came off as the clocks ticked down….. Richard’s rooks looked to have Jeremy in a mating net, but Jeremy slipped away, his King running blissfully into an open board. Then our hero’s flag fell. Oh well. An excellent effort, and the result is a shame. 0-3

Alex Ashworth and Bob Forsythe seemed to be trading tactical shots from the off. Alex lost (sacced?) a pawn early on, but had a good foothold in the centre, and his pieces seemed poised to glide through Bob’s pawns towards his king. Alex offered an exchange sac, which Bob accepted, but in return Alex got a promising attack. Bob had no choice but to return his ill-gotten gains and force a tricky looking BvN endgame. Both sides had scattered pawns and neither had more than a couple of minutes left. A draw would have been a fair result, but neither man would back down, and Alex made the final error in a frenzied finish. 0-4

Tim played a very impressive opening against Kyril Gara, he built up a huge pawn centre and with it a pretty nice space advantage – Kyril seemed content to sit back and wait. Tim played the correct pawn break, smashing open his centre to attack, but Kyril managed to organise his forces well enough to make things awkward for Tim. Kyril’s minor pieces managed to make their way sneakily into the game with tempo, and Tim found himself on the back foot. Time trouble struck, and Tim blundered a piece, then sacrificed another in an attempt to keep Kyril from pulling off a mating attack. Tim found a couple of checks, and Kyril’s flag fell before his king found safety. 1-4

The Tans made a good fist of it, and we had decent chances to pick up points on four of the boards. On another night, we could’ve taken home a match point.

Leam Lane Aces 4-1 Tynedale Tans
Jonathan Hawkins (243) 1-0 David Wrigley
 Nicholas Tavoularis (199) 1-0 Dave Weldon
Kyril Gara (177) 0-1 Tim Wrigley
Richard Doyle (170) 1-0 Jeremy Handley
Robert Forsythe (141) 1-0 Alex Ashworth “

And finally – and how nice to end on a positive note! – the Tans entertained (if that is the word!) South Shields on January 31st. David writes:

“The Tans welcomed South Shields to the Dyvels on Tuesday night, somewhat unsure about the team which might show up – South Shields looked a dangerous team early on in the season, but their powerful top boards had not been spotted in a while. To the match!

Jeremy Handley chalked up his point in double-quick time, a powerful kingside assault proved too much for Jack Burnett (who hadn’t played a graded game since 2009). Jeremy won two minor pieces, and further material ruin was on the horizon when Jack threw in the towel. 1-0

Earlier in the evening, David Wrigley had been looking at the Alekhine-Chatard attack in the French defence – Tim was half expecting to defend against it. As it happened, Ian Simpson trotted out the same moves! David played a dubious set-up which Ian wasn’t familiar with, resulting in a balanced middle-game with plenty of attacking chances for both sides. Ian slipped, and David swapped off queens then picked up the exchange and a pawn. They played on, but Ian didn’t have enough material or enough play to generate real swindling chances, and David ground out the win. 2-0

Tim Wrigley wasn’t faced with an Alekhine-Chatard attack, he was faced with Stan Johnson. Stan started fairly sedately and Tim opted to mirror Stan’s pawn moves, their position had an attractive symmetry about it for about ten moves. Tim manoeuvred his pieces onto slightly better squares than Stan, so when the pawn centre began to collapse the tactics were always likely to favour Tim. A bold pawn-break followed up by some accurate calculation left Tim a clear bishop to the good, whilst retaining an initiative. Stan sacced another piece to try and expose Tim’s king, but it was in vain.

3-0! The Tans win the match with two games to spare!

Phil Taylor has an excellent record in the first division (possibly 100%? He is certainly undefeated in recent years). Could his rich vein of form continue? He gives the following account of his game: “On arrival Stan Johnson mentioned South Shields had lost a couple of key players during the season & as such were putting out a weaker side. Great I thought – maybe I’ll get an easier game. No such luck – although my opponent, Olaf Erikkson, was obviously a little out of practice (forgetting to press his clock occasionally at the start) he knew his way round an opening and although I played my favourite Sicilian O’Kelly, Olaf didn’t just roll over and play dead. I can’t really say I ever felt in trouble during the game but I certainly needed to be alert as he conjured up plenty of threats. (Fritz Analysis agrees – there wasn’t a lot in it throughout the game). In fact it wasn’t until the Knight v Bishop endgame that I began to get ahead and eventually he resigned as there were too many passed pawns to defend against.

It was only after the game that I found out I’d been playing someone who had never played competitive chess before – it was his first time notating a game and he’d only played friendly games of chess although he’d studied books and has a keen interest in the game. Maybe as he’s a Swedish Minister living in Sunderland someone upstairs was watching over him. If that was an example of Olaf’s standard of chess as he starts playing competitively I hope I don’t come across him again when he’s up and running. Seriously though, Olaf was very friendly and gracious in defeat and I would be happy to play him again – next time knowing a little more what to expect.”

4-0, and cap’n David is getting excited….. could Dave Weldon finish the job against Ben Wood? Over to you, Dave:

“I played the Colle opening as white (not very well on this occasion) and black quickly equalised and stood a little better coming out of the opening. During the middle game I was able to mobilise the queenside pawns and opened up lines winning a pawn and tying up the black pieces. Another pawn was soon won and faced with 2 passed pawns and a hopeless position black resigned.”

Tans 5-0 South Shields
David Wrigley 1-0 Ian Simpson (153)
Dave Weldon 1-0 Ben Wood (123)
Tim Wrigley 1-0 Stan Johnson (122)
Jeremy Handley 1-0 Jack Burnett (ug, 64 circa 2009)
Phil Taylor 1-0 Olaf Eriksson (ug)

South Shields were indeed without their top boards, but these were all good performances. You can’t fault a 5-0! Next up are Morpeth B, who are struggling at the bottom but have strength in depth and represent a solid threat: if we can avoid defeat then our survival chances look pretty good. “

They certainly do! Indeed, the Tans are starting to establish themselves as a middle-of-the-table team – a far cry from the season-long battle to avoid relegation which was the standard scenario not so long ago.

Northumbria League division two

There should have been three matches to report on here, but Gateshead sought a postponement of one of these, and the Reivers have had to seek a postponement of  the match scheduled for February 10th against Forest Hall B, so they are faced with a long tail to the season. Of the two matches which have been played, the first was at home to Forest Hall C on December 13th.

Given that our opponents had earlier beaten Forest Hall B, we were not taking anything for granted and it soon became clear that Derek, for one, would have his hands full. The line-up was

1. Derek Blair (138) v Alan Harvey (198)
2. Dave Foster sr (131) v Jeff Bentham (134)
3. Phil Taylor (124) v Stephen Bowey (113)
4. Bruce Reed (123) v David Turner (117)
5. Steve Larkin (119) v default 

The fact that our opponents brought only four players was a good start for us, though your editor was getting into panic mode at 7.14 p.m. (the match started at 7.15) when only three Tynedale players were in evidence. Bruce arrived  on the dot of 7.15, but there were another five anxious minutes before Dave put in an appearance and it was possible to start play on boards 2 to 4.

Derek put up a fine effort on top board, even going the exchange up temporarily, but Alan was just too good. Derek writes: “ I responded with a Tango type defence to my opponent’s white queen’s pawn opening and established a ‘normal’ position after 4 or 5 moves. Except that my opponent, who at that stage was unknown to me,

refused to advance his queen’s pawn as I wanted, thereby blocking the centre, a la Tango. So I juggled and fiddled my pieces into increasingly disjointed places waiting. Meanwhile white began offensive operations on the king-side which began to threaten me. I trembled especially as my clock time was highly unfavourable and my opponent seemed to wander off increasingly frequently for a smoke. However, I saw some relief in combating his f5 pawn advance with a favourable exchange which saw me emerge with a rook, queen and two minor pieces against his queen and two rooks. I began to dream. But my king was exposed, especially when I put my queen offside with a greedy pawn capture. He skilfully manoeuvred his pieces to trap me just before my clock fell. Then I discovered he was graded 196!” Well, actually, Derek, 198! 0-1

Dave’s cryptic analysis of his game reads: “Opened with Ruy Lopez, then blundered both central pawns and spent the rest of the game fighting off the inevitable.” 0-2

On board 4, Bruce successfully took the fight to his opponent. He writes: “The match against David Turner was interesting because both of us chose to use a ‘pawn storm’ against castled kings (mine castled on the king’s side, and David’s on the queen’s). In the event, my pawns pushed forward to a5, b5, c4, d4, supported by a rook on a1, a queen on b3, a knight on c3, and a fianchettoed bishop on g2. Because David had closed off other options for his knight on c6, my push of the pawn to b5 won the knight and led to the opening up of the b file to a combined assault of queen and rook (supported by pawn on a6), and a mate resulted on move 28.  It’s not often that pawns can overpower an opponent, but on this occasion they were decisive.” 1-2

Which left the outcome of the match dependent upon Phil’s game. He writes: “My game with Steve Bowey was a tight one. I had played him in 2010 at the cricket club and lost a winning end game to a blunder when tired. Revenge was sweet. The opening was a QGD Slav with white taking d5 to which I responded likewise thereby leaving the c-file open. The opening moved into a tight middle game in which I felt I had the better pawn structure and analysis with Fritz 5.2 more or less agreed. As the game progressed my opponent was using more time than me and after some switching back & forth I managed to open the f-file, swap off queens and get my rook behind his pawns. It was now my rook, bishop & pawns against his rook, knight & pawns but with my rook into his territory and his 5 minutes left to my 35 minutes the game was over. In fact it ended when my opponent blundered his rook away, which if you think about it is poetic justice. The fact that my win secured the team victory just made it all the more sweet.” 2-2

A fine win for Phil with black, and we win the match as our opponents have defaulted on board 5. Those much-needed two match points propel us back up to a mid-table position.

Next up were Gateshead Knights, whom we entertained at the Dyvels on 24 January. The line-up was

Dave Foster sr (131) v Kevin Cox (138)
Phil Taylor (124) v Ken Owen (132)
Bruce Reed (123) v Alex Johnson (118)
Steve Larkin (119) v Colin Gilroy (112)
Raoul Weston (u) v Robin McKay (98)  

Top board was first to finish – hardly surprising as it involved two of the fastest players in the league. Dave was soon under quite a bit of pressure, and a blunder handed victory to Kevin. 0-1

Next to finish was the captains’ match, where Steve was slow to launch his kingside attack, allowing Colin to press on the queenside. After several exchanges the position became more open, but neither side had any clear initiative and, after thinking hard about it, Steve accepted, somewhat guiltily, Colin’s offer of a draw. 0.5-1.5

Bruce was next to finish, rescuing Steve from potential embarrassment. Bruce writes: “Playing black against Alex Johnson’s opening e4, I responded with the Sicilian c5. He followed with Nf3, and I responded d6. His next move, d3 (which I did not expect), suggested that he was not going to fight for the centre with his pawns, and so it turned out. He put his king’s bishop on g2, and appeared to dig in for the long haul. The game swung across the two wings of the board. First I lodged my bishop on g4 (pinning his knight against his queen), and supported it with my queen, while preparing to push my pawns on the queen’s side, supporting them with rooks, knight and bishops. As he dug in to defend that attack I swung my pieces across to the king’s side (both knights, bishops and queen).  After sacrificing a bishop for his h and g pawns, I pressed the attack and he gradually succumbed – although I am not sure I would have succeeded without his making a couple of mistakes under the pressure. In quick succession I captured a knight, then a couple of moves later a rook, and when I threatened to win another rook he resigned.” 1.5-1.5

Raoul writes of his game: “Both started cautiously, playing very similar openings. Having developed all his major pieces, Robin made the mistake of moving one of his knights to the edge of the board in order to threaten a bishop. The knight’s lack of movement options made it vulnerable, and it later fell to my queen. The loss of the knight allowed me to apply a lot of pressure on the pawns protecting his king. Although I was able to take one of the pawns, I didn’t have enough pieces to capitalise on the attack, so I decided instead to withdraw. Shortly after, while in the process of realigning my pieces, I moved a knight, uncovering an attack on his queen which he failed to see. He resigned with the taking of his queen.” 2.5-1.5 Congratulations to Raoul on opening his Northumbria League account with a win.

All of this left the outcome of the match down to Phil’s game, a real cliff-hanger which went to the wire. Phil writes: “I was a little apprehensive playing board 2 against Ken graded 132 to my lowly 124 and my apprehension grew when my standard QGD was met by f5 on move 3. As the game progressed e4 became a strong square for black but having analysed it on Fritz, neither side took hold of the game and it became very locked up so that by move 37 I offered a draw. Knights were in the lead 1 ½ – ½ at that point and Ken declined, I think mainly because he thought he could break through. By move 40 we were 2 ½ – 1 ½ and so the pressure was on Ken to win the game to draw the match. Unfortunately he chose wrongly with Re3 on move 40. My reply 41. Rxe3 fxe3 42. Qd3+ enabled me to go a pawn up and effectively won me the game. After move 50 I could see my way clear, swapping my rook for black’s knight, pushing my g-pawn forward in combination with my queen to a position far enough down the board where I could swap off queens and with black’s King out of reach of protecting his h-pawn. Then it was a simple matter of his having to stop my h-pawn and have me mop up his Q-side pawns or allowing my h-pawn to queen – Ken resigned on move 62. In a way he was forced into losing the game because of the match position – lucky me.” (Your editor apologizes to Phil and to all readers for the fact that his computer steadfastly refuses to reproduce the two diagrams which Phil included in his account).

A fine result by Phil, which gives the Reivers victory by 3.5 to 1.5, a good result against a side who are no duffers.

And so to the

South Tyne League

Three results to report here. The first two, involving the Dyvels, come courtesy of captain Bruce Reed. First, their match against HaydonBridge on December 8th:

“Because HaydonBridge and Tynedale players play together every Wednesday afternoon in Hexham, a match between the two is like playing members of a family, with everyone well known to each other. Six of the eight playing in this match play regularly together in Hexham. In this match the handicapping system meant that the Dyvels needed to score 3 out of 4 to win. Although the wins were secured, the match was closer than the results suggest.
In Phil Taylor’s game against David Tulip, David was on top in the early game, and then Phil was down on material before David took a piece that he had not seen was doubly protected, costing him a rook. Phil edged further ahead, picking up pawns and closing the win.
In Peter Crichton’s match against Christine Moorcroft the match was heading for a draw (with king, four pawns and bishops of opposite colours for both) when Christine made a minor error, placing her bishop on the wrong square, giving Peter a chance to push a pawn through to win the game.
My game against Ralph Fawcett was more straightforward. A gradual build-up of pressure on the queens’ side, switched to the king’s side and Ralph desperately trying to fend off a mate. A switch in the white attack back to the weakened queen’s side resulted in heavy loss of material for black, and an overwhelming white attack as Ralph ran out of time.

This left only Jeremy Handley’s game to be decided. Jeremy’s game against Ian McKay swung back and forth. “It was like a game of four halves”, he explained. White was on top in the early stages, overpressed, became vulnerable, retreated, Black struck back, and white gave up his queen for two rooks leaving black with queen against rook and bishop and having lots of pressure. With less than 3 minutes on each clock, and the match already decided, Jeremy offered a draw which was gratefully accepted as honours even in a hard fought game.

HaydonBridge H’cap Result H’cap Dyvels
Ian Mackay 3  2-2  3  Jeremy Handley
Christine Moorcroft  5 0-4  3  Peter Crichton
Ralph Fawcett 6 0-4 4 Bruce Reed
David Tulip 7 0-4 4 Phil Taylor
  16 2-14 14  

The Dyvels next match was at home to Austins on 10 January. Bruce writes:

“A revamped Dyvels team beat Austins with 4 wins out of 4, resulting in an overall score of 34 – 20 combining points for wins (4 x 4), with the handicaps. With a good number of players to choose from, I decided to bring in Alex Ashworth (available for home games) to play on board 1 and  to include Matthew Taylor (home on vacation from university) and Peter Booker for their first games of the season. On the night, Austins were particularly hampered by the absence of their top board Bruce Wallace, resulting in their next two players moving up one board each, with a second teenager brought in to play on board 3.

The result of the night was Peter Booker’s win against the more highly graded Drew Millar. On board 1 Alex played the Scandinavian Defence (d5 responding to e4), also known as the Center Counter in the USA , against Bill Hardwick (who had previously drawn on board 2 against Dave Foster in the away match). Typically, after 2.exd5 black plays Qxd5, followed by 3.Nc3 Qd6. An alternative, giving up the black pawn, allows black to build a strong attack with Nf3 – and this was Alex’s second move. The opening allowed black to mobilise his bishop to g4, and get both knights, queen, and queenside rook rapidly into play, while white was pinned back (after losing a tempo with moving bishop to c4 and then back to e2 to defend as black’s pieces poured forward). Although later analysis suggested that white might (just) have been able to hold up the fierce black onslaught, in the event Alex was able to gain a knight and in a relentless drive never looked back.

On board 2 Dave’s game against the strongly performing Camas (3 wins on his 4 previous outings) was fairly even until the endgame, with both players exchanging pieces early on to leave only white squared bishops and 4 pawns each for the end game (pawns all facing each other on the a,b,c and h files).

Dave, playing white, had the edge however, getting his king into the centre of the board on the fifth rank and using a combination of his g pawn and bishop to cramp Camas’s king on the king’s side while allowing him to build up a successful attack on black’s pawns. Sound positional play enabled Dave slowly to overwhelm the black defences.

Matthew had a slightly easier game, playing the French defence (e4 e 6). An early exchange of queens left Chris unable to castle. He lost a rook for a minor piece and Matthew was able to ratchet up the attack and secure a very solid win.
Peter, playing his favour queen’s gambit, piled on the pressure from early on and through strong combinational play forced an exchange that left him a rook to the good. Although Drew hung on for a while Peter steadily asserted his authority, and had the satisfaction of securing a win against an opponent who had won three of his previous 4 league games this season.
A strong overall performance on the night, making team selection for the following games particularly difficult!

Dyvels H/c   H/c Austins
Alex Ashworth 3 4-0 5 Bill Hardwick
Dave Foster (Snr) 3 4-0 5 Camas Millar
Matthew Taylor 4 4-0 5 Chris Royle
Peter Booker 8 4-0 5 Drew Millar
  18 16-0 20  

These two good wins ensure that the Dyvels will be in the mix when it comes to deciding the league champions.

The Monarchs, struggling to get a team out in the absence of their captain, swanning around in Portugal, and of Malcolm Reid, swanning around in the Outer Hebrides and Sweden, have managed only one match. Acting captain Tim Wrigley has kindly provided the following report:

Monarchs went to play Friars in Hallbankgate on Mon 16th Jan and were met by Paul Rivers & Alan Hiatt, old, familiar faces who have not played recently. The handicap favoured the Monarchs, who needed 2 points to win the match.

David faced Daniel O’Dowd on board 1 and played what Fritz calls an “Irregular Opening”, ie Nc3. He reached a familiar position, very similiar to last year’s game against Daniel, and both sides thought it favoured them. I preferred David’s position, as Daniel had two pairs of doubled pawns. Somehow the extra open files proved adequate compensation for the weakened pawn structure, and Daniel was enable to take advantage. A draw was agreed after a 2 rook & 3 pawns endgame, in which Daniel probably had the better chances.

Tim played Paul Rivers, and promptly messed up an advance variation French, leaving himself with a classic bad bishop and a mess of a position. His g pawns were doubled and vulnerable, but as in David’s game it gave him a strong and open f file. Getting close to desperation, he managed to produce an active queen and enough threats against the king to win the day.

Steve played Alan Hiatt. He writes:”I applied early kingside pressure, imposing a cramped position on black. However, a series of exchanges in the centre blunted white’s attack and freed black’s position to a degree. A series of knight moves gave white the advantage once more. Black lost a pawn and a second was about to go, with no counter-play, at which point black resigned, much to white’s relief!”

Raoul played Dave Jackson and found himself in a cramped position as black. He dropped two pawns without easing the pressure and found himself in an uneven rook & pawns ending. Despite resolute defence, he was mated against the side of the board while worrying about Dave’s advancing pawns.

Friars H/c   H/c Monarchs  
Daniel O’Dowd 3 2-2  1  David Wrigley  
Paul Rivers 3 0-4  2  Tim Wrigley  
Alan Hiatt 3 0-4  4  Steve Larkin  
Dave Jackson 3 4-0  6  Raoul Watson  
  12 6-10 13    

which gives a handicap result of 18-23.”

Have reigning champions Monarchs woken up in time to retrieve something from a hitherto dismal season? Will their captain return with some secret Portuguese inspiration? Watch this space!

Club Championship

Despite his long absence, Derek retains his top spot. Raoul has made his mark and David Wrigley has finally entered the lists, but has he left it too late? The cut-off point is currently with Raoul at 2/3, but there are several below him who could yet force their way into the top eight.

Derek Blair 5.5/7
Peter Crichton 5/7
Dave Foster sr 4.5/6
Jeremy Handley 4.5/6
Bruce Reed 4.5/9
Phil Taylor 4.5/9
Alex Ashworth 2.5/5
Raoul Weston 2/3
Tim Wrigley 1.5/3
Peter Booker 1.5/6
Steve Larkin 1.5/6
David Wrigley 1/1
Matthew Taylor 1/2
Dave Foster jr 0.5/3
Malcolm Reid 0/1
David Scott 0/6


For the first time, the ECF has published a mid-season grading list dating from January. How many results from this season have actually been fed into this recalculation is open to conjecture. What is certain is that the club championship results have not been submitted. To satisfy curiosity, I give the newly revised list, with the figures in brackets showing the movement since the previous list. Members may wish to note that the Northumbria league handbook states that “Any grading list released during the season shall be ignored.”

  Grade Change
David Wrigley 167 -5
David Weldon 160 +3
Tim Wrigley 146 +1
Jeremy Handley 144 +3
Derek Blair 142 +4
Peter Crichton 140 +1
Mark Taylor 136 -7
Jack Bradshaw 131 +1
Phil Taylor 130 +6
Dave Foster sr 127 -4
Alex Ashworth 124 -18
Matthew Taylor 122 -7
Bruce Reed 121-2  
Steve Larkin 116 -3
Malcolm Reid 112 +1
Dave Foster jr 81 -4
Peter Booker 65 -1


1. Zollner. David reports as follows on his progress in this event. “In round three I played an interesting French against John Boyd, where he played an unusual pawn sac for a nice initiative. I failed to find the best defensive plan and his attack was soon overwhelming. Rather than go into a endgame a clean piece down, I stepped into a cute mate.
Round 4 saw me visit Andy Lawson. After some dodgy opening choices, I ended up a pawn down in a cramped position. I wasted tempo after tempo trying to find good squares for my pieces but the closed nature of the position meant I (more or less) got away with it. Perhaps encouraged by my poor play, Andy stopped concentrating and gifted me a piece for a pawn, after which I was able to squeeze out an utterly unjust win.” Maybe, but as you observed last time, David, a win is a win. Well done!

The pre-Christmas all-play-all, held at the Dyvels on Tuesday Dec 20th, was master-minded by Peter Crichton. With the aid of a lap-top, he paired up the eight contestants through five rounds without a hitch and even provided us all with mince pies! After this display of expertise and magnanimity, it was perhaps inevitable that the overall winner, with a score of 4/5, should prove to be … Peter Crichton! He was hotly pursued by a highly impressive Raoul Weston on 3.5/5, with Dave Foster sr and Jeremy Handley on 3/5, and Bruce Reed on 2.5. Tim Wrigley, Steve Larkin and Dave Scott made up the numbers.

Forthcoming events: Durham Chess Congress, Houghton-le-Spring March 16-18.

And that concludes this mega-issue. If you have read this far, you deserve a medal!

Steve Larkin

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