June 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)

[pgn height=500 initialHalfmove=16 autoplayMode=none]

[White “Brett Lund”]
[Black “TIm Wall”]
[Result “0-1”]

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


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


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

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 www.northumberlandchess.com. A few upgrades that have been made will become live as well.

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: blitz@southshieldschessclub.co.uk and any more information you may require about the event.