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Bulletin No 09

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no. 9 (27.6.07)

This is the final bulletin of the 2006-7 season and pride of place goes to our new Club Champion Jack Bradshaw.

New Club Champion

In his first full season with the club, young Jack Bradshaw has run off with the championship. As you will all know, Jack has had an impressive year, slaughtering the opposition in the Northumberland under-15 championship and, in the process, beating the under-18 champion as well. Here in Tynedale he has given most of us a hard time, reflected in his splendid score of 15.5 points from 22 games. True, he played more games than any of his competitors, but that was entirely within the rules and in no way detracts from an excellent performance. So yet again, Jack, our warmest congratulations. The final championship table looks like this:

Jack Bradshaw 15.5/22
Mike Nicholson 11.5/14
Derek Blair 11.5/17
Peter Crichton 10/15
Steve Larkin 10/17
Matthew Taylor 8/11
Mark Taylor 4/6
Malcolm Reid 4/10
Bruce Reed 3/10
Phil Taylor 3/14
Dan Woodhouse 1.5/9
David Wrigley 1/1
David Foster 0/8
Stephen Porritt 0/9

I shall be submitting to the A.G.M. – which, incidentally, is scheduled for Tuesday, September 4th at 7.30p.m. promptly – a detailed proposal, based on the ideas I floated back in November (see e-bulletin no 3), for a revised format for the championship. If adopted by the A.G.M., this could come into immediate effect for the 2007-8 season.

The Summer Knockout

Tynedale 1(a) exited this competition in the quarter-final round, losing by the narrowest of margins to Gosforth Empire. The full result was

Colin Davison


P Sumner
Mike Nicholson


G Harrison
Mark Taylor


D Stebbings
Derek Blair


N Boustred





Mike writes: “So no cup this year! Done by our Intermediate opponents, and given a dose of the medicine we handed out last year. Briefly, Mark went a piece up for some pawns, but found himself struggling to hold the endgame with N plus one P against three Ps. I checkmated Geoff Harrison’s QR by encircling it with P/a7, N/b8 and Q/b7. Colin got into a double N and multi-P ending, and got an advantage as his opponent’s clock ran down. Derek, who had prepared more than anyone for the match, blundered on move 1 by picking up the wrong pawn and thereby instantly undid all his hard work (that’s the second time this season one of us has erred in this way). Unsettled, he lost the exchange and a pawn, and the deficit cost him clock time too.

Thanks to everyone for competing in the KO this year. Some enjoyable games/matches, and we didn’t disgrace ourselves.”

Haydon Bridge Jamboree

Nine Tynedale players took part in this highly enjoyable event on June 12th. Two ad hoc Tynedale teams were formed, comprising Mike Nicholson, Mark Taylor, Peter Crichton and Matthew Taylor in one team, and Colin Davison, Derek Blair, Bruce Reed and Steve Larkin in the other, while Phil Taylor gallantly signed up to Syd Cassidy’s Austins outfit, which was two men short. None of the teams in question emerged triumphant, but a good time was had by all. Special mention must be made of Derek Blair, who turned the evening into a splendid demonstration of the do’s and don’ts of time-keeping. After playing his first game with blithe disregard for anything so mundane as a clock – and losing on time! – he proceeded to a barn-storming finish in his second game, playing so many moves in his last 30 seconds as to make Mike Nicholson’s legendary last-minute exploits look positively pedestrian – and won in fine style!


Correspondence chess.

Mike Nicholson has sent the following update on his activities:

“My Finnish opponent resigned earlier than expected, which put me on 7/8 and gave me my first Senior IM norm. The one unfinished game (Estonia) is a near-certain win too – I have RRPP v RBPP, and although he has got a pawn to the seventh, it’s really only a last fling (I think).”

Hawick Chess Congress.

This event took place on June 22-24 in Hawick Town Hall, an imposing building and a splendid venue – spacious, quiet and with all facilities near at hand. It attracted almost 100 entrants in four levels of competition – Open, Challengers, Major and Minor. There was a small contingent from Austin Friars plus Ian Mackay from HaydonBridge, but no one else I recognised. The participants were overwhelmingly male and Scottish. The standard at the top end of the spectrum seemed, from your editor’s lowly viewpoint, to be extremely high, with 20 players in the Open, including three International Masters. All gradings were on the international system (why does the ECF persist in going its own way?), which raised my own grade to the dizzy heights of 1,056. (Apparently, to transpose an English grade into an international one, you have to multiply by eight and add 600!!). This put me 14th of the 19 entries in the Minor competition, which was restricted to players on 1350 (94 ECF) or less. Interestingly, the top-graded player, on 1320, was – wait for it – Robert Batten, of Tynedale!! Robert Batten? My first instinct was to denounce this imposter to the organizers and have him drummed out of the world of chess forever. Fortunately I did no such thing, for it turns out that there is, somewhere Edinburgh way, another club rejoicing in the name of Tynedale (you live and you learn). As it happens, he didn’t turn up anyway!

I had decided against taking a bye and so played all five rounds. Luck was against me, in that never once was I allowed to play any of the openings I would have chosen, but it was with me in that, on at least three occasions, I found myself in the most desperate situation from which, much more by luck than by judgement, I somehow emerged with a draw or a win. I finished on 4/5 (3 wins, 2 draws) to take equal second place with the only ungraded player in the tournament, a young man not unlike our Jack, who certainly won’t be ungraded for long! The winner did it in style, taking a bye on the Friday before rattling up four straight wins over the weekend – impressive! So I returned from Hawick with a cheque for a modest sum in my pocket, a lot of food for thought on the chess front, some interesting impressions of Hawick itself, and the firm intention of returning next year when, hopefully, I will not be the sole Tynedale (England) representative.

Forthcoming events.

September 4th Club A.G.M.

September 7-9. Grangemouth Chess Congress.

September 21-3. NorthumberlandCounty Chess Congress, North Shields.

October 19-21. Scarborough Chess Congress.

Editorial matters.

Just to put the record straight, the text of the last chess piece to appear in the Hexham Courant, along with a photo of some of the Tans players, was kindly provided by Tim Wrigley. I specifically edited out the remark about Steve Larkin’s bulletins, but evidently with no more success than most of my computing endeavours!

The first e-bulletin of the new season will appear in September. Do please keep me posted about any chess-related exploits occurring during the summer break.       I look forward to seeing you all again in September, refreshed, tanned and hungry for success! Cheers,    

Steve Larkin

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