The Northumberland Chess League is the premier local chess competition for players in Newcastle, Northumberland and Tyneside. In 2018-19 the league has 30 teams of five, representing twelve clubs, with over 150 players regularly taking part. Our season runs from October to April, but new players may join in at any point. For more information on getting involved please see our Clubs page, or email

To see your favourite team's results, click on the filter below with the team you want to see results from. The page you're looking at now displays the results for all teams in the order they were submitted - so the most recent result will be immediately below this notice.

South Shields Fide Rated Blitz

Posted by Lewis on June 3, 2019

South Shields Chess Club invite you all to come to The Word Central Library in South Shields and spend a few hours to play some blitz chess on the 6th of July 2019, the competition will be FIDE rated, many people will already have a FIDE Reference number, but if not all we require is your date of birth, we intend to run a 9 round competition, starting around 11am and finishing about 3pm, including a lunch break. The competition will be in THE ROUND, the top floor exhibition area, you will have fantastic views overlooking the Tyne river. Free parking at the Mill Dam car park the building is fully accessible with lifts taking you up to the 4th Floor. We have a limit up to 60 players so we would advise that you book a place in advance to secure entry. Prize money may vary subject to the actual number of entries on the day, but it our intention to split any profits, if there are any, 50% to the Durham Chess congress next May and 50% to Cancer UK.

1st Prize £150
2nd Prize £100
3rd Prize £50

2 x grading prize of £30 (cut-offs to be decided on the day according to entry), Junior (U18) prize – £20, Senior (S65) prize – £20

Maximum of one prize per entrant.

Advertised start time: 11:00am
Time control: 5+2 (game in 5 minutes with a 2 second increment)

Entry £10, payable on the day but please advise you are coming so that we can prepare the admin. Current entries can be viewed on Chess Results.

Email for entries: and any more information you may require about the event.

Forest Hall win NCCU Club Championship

Posted by Tim Wall on June 14, 2019

Forest Hall won the 2018-19 Northern Counties (NCCU) Open Club Championship from Heywood, Lancashire, in a thrilling final hosted by Harrogate Chess Club on May 26.
The Open final took place alongside the Seniors and Minor finals, also held at Harrogate one the same afternoon, which were won by South Shields and Heywood, respectively.
In the Open final, Heywood were leading 2-1 with one game to go and looked favourites to win the title as their top board, Brett Lund, had the advantage. But then, in a sudden twist of fortunes, Forest Hall’s Tim Wall managed to turn the tables with a desperate kingside onslaught that produced a checkmate with only a minute to spare.
The board 1 win meant that both teams had 2 game points each, but Forest Hall triumphed on board count.
The fact that a total of seven teams took part in this year’s club competitions is due in large part to the campaigning of NCCU President Bill O’Rourke (also the Heywood team captain) who encouraged more teams to enter.
The finals day at Harrogate Chess Club was a splendid afternoon, with each team contributing sandwiches and other snacks and beverages for the players. The chess was hard-fought, but played in an excellent, friendly spirit.
Heywood 2-2 Forest Hall*
(*Forest Hall win on board count)
1 Brett Lund (208) 0-1 Tim Wall (207)
2 Martyn Hamer (191) 0.5-0.5 Zheming Zhang (184)
3 Peter Jowett (191) 1-0 Chris Goodall (173)
4 Bill O’Rourke (159) 0.5-0.5 Ravi Wariyar (162)
White: Brett Lund (Heywood)
Black: Tim Wall (Forest Hall)
NCCU Open Club Ch Final, 26/5/19
English Opening (Reversed Dragon)
1.g3 e5 2.Bg2 Nf6 3.c4 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.O-O Nb6 7.d3 Be7 8.a3 Be6 9.Nbd2 a5 10.b3 O-O 11.Bb2 f6 12.Rc1 Qd7 13.Ne4 Rfd8 14.Nc5 Bxc5 15.Rxc5 Bh3 16.Bxh3 Qxh3 17.b4 axb4 18.Qb3+ Kh8 19.axb4 Na4 20.Rc2 Nxb2 21.Qxb2 Ra4 22.Rc4 Rda8 23.b5 Rxc4 24.dxc4 Ne7 25.Rd1 Qg4 26.Qc2 h6 27.Nh4 Kg8 28.Qd3 e4 29.Qd2 Kh7 30.Ng2 Ng6 31.Ne3 Qh5 32.Qc2 f5 33.Qb2 f4 34.Rd5 Qh3 35.Nf5 Rg8 36.Qc3 c6 37.bxc6 bxc6 38.Rc5 h5 39.f3 fxg3 40.hxg3 h4 41.fxe4 Nf4 42.Qf3 Ra8 43.Ne3 hxg3 44.Nf1 Ra1 45.Qxf4 Qh2# 0-1

The future of Division 1, again (straw poll)

Posted by Chris Goodall on June 12, 2019

So there’s been no love so far for either halving the size of Division 1 or removing promotion and relegation. But perhaps Option 3 is James Turner’s suggestion: re-inflate Division 1 to 12 teams, so at least 3 teams will be fighting to avoid 2 relegation places. (Or even to 13, which would equalise the whites and blacks.)

What if we tried a one-off “reset” of Division 1’s membership, but without removing promotion and relegation? On the basis that a team who didn’t care very much to be the 10th team in a league of 10, might feel better about it if they could collude with two other teams, ahead of the League Meeting, to all enter Division 1 at the same time?

(Regarding the other two divisions, I would prefer 12-8-10 to 12-11-7, with a mid-season split in Division 2. Firstly because Division 2 is “sticky” – if after a season you need to juggle the numbers, you can usually convince teams to come up to Division 2 faster than you can convince them to drop down to Division 3. Secondly because leaving Alnwick in a 10-team Division 3 rather than a 7-team Division 3 means you can give everyone else 4 homes, 4 aways and 1 Alnwick-away.)

The “Big 8” clubs right now are Durham City, Forest Hall, Gosforth, Jesmond, Leam Lane, Morpeth, South Shields and Tynemouth. That leaves 4 places. Which of the following teams/clubs would be willing to join a 12-team Division 1 with three of the others?

Forest Hall 2nd team – YES
Tynemouth 2nd team – YES
Morpeth 2nd team
South Shields 2nd team – YES
Gosforth 2nd team
Leam Lane 2nd team
Newcastle University
Jesmond 2nd team
Durham City 2nd team


Grading Officer to-do list

Posted by Chris Goodall on June 12, 2019

Nothing reassures an anxious public like a fixed-width table. Party like it’s 1989!

Rec = received. Sub = submitted.

                        Dec     Jun
Northumberland        Rec Sub Rec Sub  
League                Yes Yes Yes No
Summer Knockout '18   No
Summer Knockout '19   ---In Progress---
Individual Champs     Yes Yes Yes No
Congress '18          Yes Yes
Not held: Rapidplay '18. No info: Rapidplay '19. Dec '19 list: Congress '19.

Gosforth              No      Yes No
Morpeth               Yes Yes No  No
South Shields         Yes No  No
Tynedale              No      Yes No
Tynemouth             Yes Yes No
No info from: Alnwick, Forest Hall, Gateshead, Jesmond, Leam Lane, Newcastle University.

                        Dec     Jun
Durham                Rec Sub Rec Sub
League                Yes Yes Yes No
Individual Champs     No      No
Ungraded: Ron Evers '18, Ron Evers '19. 
Not held: Congress '18, Rapidplay '18. No info: Congress '19, Rapidplay '19.

Bishop Auckland       Yes Yes Yes No
Durham City           No      No
Cleveland grader doing: Darlington, Hartlepool, Peterlee. No info from: Hetton Lyons.

                        Dec     Jun 
Darlington            Rec Sub Rec Sub
League                No      Yes No
                        Dec     Jun
NCCU                  Rec Sub Rec Sub
Club Championships            Yes No
County Matches        Yes Yes Yes No

Moving website server

Posted by Lewis on June 6, 2019

As I mentioned a few months ago, I’m going to be changing the website server that hosts the Northumberland Chess website. From the 28th of June, the website might be inaccessible for a day or two until this is completed. Everything will look very similar and you’ll still be able to access the website at A few upgrades that have been made will become live as well.

The future of Division 1

Posted by Chris Goodall on May 27, 2019

Promotion and relegation between Divisions 1 and 2 isn’t working. There is a gulf in grading that has gotten wider over the past decade: nine of the ten Division 1 teams, at some point this season, had a higher-graded player on board 5 than the eventual Division 2 winners had on board 1. (The team that didn’t, finished four points adrift at the bottom.)

The result is promoted teams having to be persuaded to go up. I’ve heard as many grumbles over the years from teams unwillingly inserted into Division 1 as from teams unwillingly excluded. But if we have a slightly smaller Division 1, like this year’s 10, we end up relegating a Leam Lane Aces or a Jesmond Knights. I am very reluctant to make Jesmond’s first team prove they can win Division 2 with a perfect score. It would be a novelty for a week, then it would be like London Irish in the Championship.

I see the problem as one of supply and demand: when there used to be 30 clubs in the league, it was a privilege to secure one of approximately 12 places in Division 1. Now there are 12 clubs, it isn’t. Clubs who feel strongly that they should be represented in Division 1, already are, with room to spare. And so players who feel strongly that they should be playing in Division 1 are better off speaking to their club’s Division 1 captain than trying to win Division 2. In geek-speak, the algorithm that sorts players into divisions by skill is too efficient, since it operates in real-time within clubs rather than annually at the League Meeting, and a too-efficient sorting algorithm causes stratification.

I see two options:

  1. Chop Division 1 in two. Have a Premier League and a Division 1 with a strict limit of 6 teams each, playing each other twice. Edinburgh went down this road in the mid-00s when they had the same problem. There would need to be a transitional season where teams know that they’re fighting for a place in the top 6. If we simply took the top 6 teams from the season just finished, Morpeth would kill me.
  2. Make Division 1 an “Open” division. You don’t have to be promoted to it, you just enter it, but you enter it to win it (or because you like testing yourself against the top players). There is no carrot for finishing third-from-bottom. Conversely there is no stick to force the Division 2 champions to make the step up, so that team would be “pyramid champions” (of the world’s smallest pyramid) and be eligible to defend their title the following season. Optionally, Division 1 could be treated as a separate county from 2 and 3 for eligibility purposes. So if you’re a Keen Konstantinos, you can play for one club in Division 1 and another club across Divisions 2 and 3.

I would prefer option 2 over 1, because option 1 could just give you twice as many games against the same people, but I would prefer option 1 over the status quo.

Does anyone feel strongly that they want to keep the current Division 1 and not do either of those things? (Click here to leave a comment)

Chris G

North East Chess League (2019-20)

Posted by Tim Wall on May 20, 2019

Teams are invited for the inaugural North East Chess League (2019-20)

Rd 1: Sunday, October 13, 2019

Rd 2: Sunday, November 10, 2019

Rd 3: Sunday, November 24, 2019

Rd 4: Sunday, January 19, 2020

Rd 5: Sunday, February 16, 2020


6 teams of 5 players each. Five rounds, all-play-all. Games will be FIDE-rated.

Matches start 2:30pm. Time control: All moves in 90 minutes, plus 30 seconds per move

Teams will receive a total of bonus game point per match if they include a) at least 1 junior player under 18 years old; and separately b) at least one male and one female player. (0.5 bonus points for each)

The winning team will be awarded a trophy and receive medals, and there will be medals for the best individual performances.  Individual Entry fee: Free for Gold/Platinum ECF members. Team entry fee: £20.

Possible League Teams (2 per county)

(Teams can unite players from various clubs)

  1. Newcastle/Gosforth/Morpeth/Jesmond/Tynemouth (Northumberland)
  2. Forest Hall (Northumberland)
  3. South Shields/Leam Lane (Co. Durham)
  4. Durham City/Durham University (Co. Durham)
  5. TBA (Cleveland)
  6. TBA (Cleveland)

Proposed Venues (to be confirmed):

  1. Forest Hall Ex-Servicemen’s Institute, Crescent Way North, Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 9AR
  2. Darlington Cockerton Band & Musical Institute Club, Woodlands Road, Cockerton, Darlington DL3 9AB
  3. Middlesbrough/Teesside (to be arranged)
  4. Gosforth Empire Club & Institute, 32-34 Salters Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1DX
  5. Durham (to be arranged)
  6. South Shields/Leam Lane (to be arranged)

If there are 6 venues offered (one for each team), the 5 home venues will be chosen by the public drawing of lots by July 1. It is assumed that teams will host the League free of charge, and make available tea, coffee and light refreshments.

Potential teams should contact by June 25 if they would like to enter, and if they can host a round of the League.

Summer Knockout Rd 1 results

Posted by Tim Wall on May 18, 2019

All nine matches have now been played in Round 1, with the best (grade handicap) giant-killing acts achieved by Tynemouth D over South Shields, Gosforth B over Forest Hall Bullets, and Forest Hall Fianchettos (average age 13!) over Morpeth B. A single-match elimination round will take place in both the Knockout and Plate by June 8. Round 3 will see a full lineup in both competitions.

Round 1

(Teams in bold qualify for the Trophy, defeated Round 1 teams go into the Plate)

Gosforth A  4-3.5 Leam Lane

Gateshead 3.5-4 Forest Hall AlphaZeros

Tynemouth D 3.5-2  South Shields

Morpeth A  4-3.5  Forest Hall Epaulettes

Forest Hall Candidates 2.5-1.5 Gosforth C

Forest Hall Fianchettos 3.5-3 Morpeth B

Alnwick 2.5-4 Jesmond

Forest Hall Bullets  3-3.5  Gosforth B

Forest Hall Desperados  2.5-3 Tynemouth B

May 16 AGM: Zollner winners Storey & Moreby to share trophy

Posted by Tim Wall on May 2, 2019

FM Charlie Storey of Morpeth and 16-year-old James Moreby (Gosforth), the joint winners of the 2018-19 Northumberland Open Individual Championship, are to share the prestigious Zollner Viking Trophy after agreeing to forego a playoff match.

In one of the closest Zollner Championships in recent years, Storey and Moreby finished on 5/7, ahead of Tim Wall (Forest Hall) on 4.5 , and Roger Coathup (Morpeth), Yichen Han and Zheming Zhang (both Forest Hall) on 4.

At the NCA Annual General Meeting on Thursday, 16 May, Charlie and James will be presented with the silver-plated Zollner Trophy, which features a resplendent Viking warrior and dates back to 1930, when it was first won by C. W. Fallows after being gifted to the Northumberland Chess Association by Louis Zollner, the Danish Consul in Newcastle.

The George W. Sell Trophy, for the Under 170 County Championship, will be presented to a multiple former winner of the Zollner, Paul Bielby (South Shields), who scored 6.5/7, ahead of Bob Mitcheson (Morpeth) on 4.5 and Mike Smith (Forest Hall), Martin Seeber (Morpeth) and John Marsh (Leam Lane) on 4.

The Colin Gilroy Trophy, for the Under 140 County Championship, resulted in a three-way tie for first on 5/7 between Ciaran Macdonald (Forest Hall), Eddie Czestochowski (South Shields) and Bill Noble (Gateshead). The trophy will be awarded to the winner of an all-play-all playoff match, which is currently underway. In joint fourth place were Dave Stebbings (Gosforth) and Weiming Xu (Forest Hall) with 4.5.

Also being presented with trophies will be the winners of the three Northumberland League Divisions.

Division 1 winners, Forest Hall A, will be joined by Division 2 winners Tynemouth B and Division 3 winners Gateshead.

The AGM will also feature the election of officials to the NCA Executive Committee. All members of the NCA are entitled to attend and vote at the meeting, which will take place at Forest Hall Ex-Servicemen’s Institute, starting at 7:30pm. Anyone wishing to volunteer for one of the positions on the Executive should contact the NCA Secretary, Tim Wall, before the meeting at:

2018-19 Season Results

Posted by Lewis on May 1, 2019

Now that the season has finished, the final standings for all the divisions can be announced. Well done to all teams involved.

Division 1

The only team who stands undefeated across all three divisions are the winners for division one, Forest Hall A claimed victory with 17 Match Points. Gosforth Empire made sure they didn’t claim a perfect season by drawing against them in their second match of the season. Runners up for division one was South Shields A with 13 Match Points. See the table below for the final standings.

Team NamePlayedWinsDrawsLossesGame PointsMatch Points
Forest Hall A98103117
South Shields A96122713
Durham City952229.512
Leam Lane Aces94232410
Tynemouth A9414239
Gosforth Empire925220.59
Morpeth A931524.57
Forest Hall B9234177
Jesmond Knights913519.55
Morpeth B901891

Division 2

Tynemouth B claimed the division 2 title with 6 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss. Tynemouth C narrowly finished runners up by a single point. See the table below for a full list of the standings.

Team NamePlayedWinsDrawsLossesGame PointsMatch Points
Tynemouth B96212614
Tynemouth C953127.513
Forest Hall C95222712
South Shields B951323.511
Gosforth Ivy9333259
Newcastle University932318.58
South Shields C9315217
Forest Hall D9225186
Gosforth Salters9036183

Division 3

With only one loss during the season Gateshead have claimed the title for division 3. The whole season was extremely close, with second and seventh place only being 1 point apart. Forest Hall E claimed runners up on Game Points narrowly placing ahead of Leam Lane B and South Shields D. See the table below for the final standings.

Team NamePlayedWinsDrawsLossesGame PointsMatch Points
Forest Hall E95132611
Leam Lane B935123.511
South Shields D95132311
Tynemouth D942323.510
Morpeth C950422.510
Gosforth Woodbines9324228
Forest Hall F9216215
South Shields E900990