Chris

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
Tynedale
Gateshead
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

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

Stephen Bowey 0-1 Bill Noble
Rolf Millar 1-0 Peter Wells
Jeff Baird void Alex Johnson
Jeff Bentham 0-1 Asa Bayram
Weiming Xu 0-1 Steve Layfield

Friday 18th January 2019

Division 1 winner: Max Turner. Max scored 94% from 9 games; no other qualifying player managed 80%.

Division 2 winner: Stuart Skelsey on 88% beats out Gary Cornwall on 87%. Gary can feel aggrieved about running into Mick Riding in Division 2, but Stuart can point to a perfect score as a guest star in Division 1. Stuart and Gary were miles ahead of 3rd place.

Division 3 winner: TBC, as Asa Bayram, George Ellames and Peter Wells all have an interest in the outstanding Gateshead-Alnwick match.

Special Leaderboard Award: Paul Edwards, who didn’t play quite well enough in Division 1 or quite often enough in Division 2, but comes out with 8½/10 if the divisions are combined.

Endurance Award: Tim Wilton-Davies and Alan Welsh. Please come back next season?

Beachgoers should be aware that the recent warmer waters may attract larger than average marine life from the Mediterranean.

Eligibility Rule Expert:  Jay Steel, 18 games – a full season for 2 different teams.

Upside-Down Award: Eddie Czestochowski. 100% score in Division 1, 57% in Division 2, 0% in Division 3.

Symmetry Award: Andrew Lawson. 3 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats.

Talisman Award: Jeremy Revell. 2 wins, 2 draws, 2 defeats, and in all 6 of those matches the team’s result was the same as Jeremy’s result.

For The Flag! Award: Mike Smyth. 4 times ended up on the losing side despite winning his game.

Mic Drop Award: Anu Chandra. Played for Leam Lane Aces against Morpeth A, scored the full point to win his team the match 3-2, and retired for the season.

Hi, I’m Chris Goodall. You may remember me from such Northumbria League editions as 2013: A New IM, 2014: Durham City Strike Back, and 2015: Return Of… Nope, Durham City Again. Yes, I’ve eaten a whole packet of biscuits since then.

John Wheeler has made this amazing league handbook. It’s not as thick as the Handbuch des Schachspiels, but it’s got the league rules and the grades of every chess player in the county in it, so it’s even more valuable to the connoisseur of Northumberland chess. You can buy one for £2, or €2.50 if you pay me before March 29th.

I’ve resurrected the Eligibility page, because I probably like eligibility rules more than I like chess. I’ve also asked our Web Team to turn comments on. Why even be a chess player if you can’t have opinions about important matters of extremely local interest? The Exchange French remains banned, though.

I’ve just been to Meeple Perk, Newcastle’s first dedicated board games café. Yes, they have two chess sets! So you can be there and be square.

It’s at 89 Clayton Street in Newcastle. Drop in for cakes and coffee, or pay £3 to get access to all the board games (they have more upstairs).

A Meeple is a board game counter shaped like a person, made famous by the game Carcassonne.

Please support Rhi and Drew’s venture, because I know you like at least one board game!

– Chris the Grader

Players who have now become tied to a team and ineligible for lower-ranked teams:

Gormally, Daniel (Forest Hall Admirals)
Hartmann, Stefan (Gosforth Salters)
Harvey, Alan (Forest Hall Brigadiers)
Kolodiy, Yaroslav (South Shields B)
Maughan, Ian (South Shields B)
Murphy, Gary (Tynedale Tans)
Riding, Mick (Tynemouth A)
Stebbings, David (Gosforth Stebbings)
Tavoularis, Nick (Leam Lane Aces)
Wheeler, John (Gosforth Regents)

Players who have now used their free board 3 game. These players will become tied to a team, and ineligible for lower-ranked teams, if they play again on board 3:

Brodie, Alistair (Forest Hall Dragoons)
Czestochowski, Eddie (South Shields B)
Marshall, Keith (Tynemouth B)
Moreby, Kurt (Gosforth Regents)
Wariyar, Ravi (Forest Hall Admirals)


Black – player is tied to this team
Red italics – player has used up their 1 free game on board 3 for this team
Underlined: changes from the previous eligibility list

Alnwick A: P Hemsley, P Castledine, G Ellames, R Firth

Forest Hall Admirals: T Wall, Z Zhang, M Seeber, D GormallyR Wariyar
Forest Hall Brigadiers: S Skelsey, M Arora, J Wall snr, R Wariyar, M Younger, A HarveyY Han
Forest Hall Chieftains: Y Han, M Smith, H Zaman, J Bentham
Forest Hall Dragoons: S Bowey, J Baird, R Millar, A Brodie
Forest Hall Ensigns: R Perrier, A Brodie, T McAllister, K Brooks, M Broughton

Gosforth Empire: J Moreby, D Armbruster, J Wheeler, J Dalton
Gosforth Regents: M McBeth, D Baynes, P Costello, J France, J Wheeler, K Moreby, D Stebbings
Gosforth Salters: G Harrison, K Moreby, P Sumner, S HartmannD Stebbings
Gosforth Ivy: E Jarah, R Heyman, A Neville, M Beardsley, D Stebbings, G Clarke, J Chan

Jesmond Knights: M Prasath, E Dodds, J Turnock, J UrrestiC Izod, A Trevelyan

Leam Lane Aces: D Walker, K Gara, J Marsh, N Tavoularis

Morpeth A: R Coathup, M Smyth, R SymondsJ Turner
Morpeth B: R Mitcheson, G Loxham, J Horton, L WhittleA Welsh, P Richards, M Shaw

South Shields A: J Boyd, J Watson, P Niedbal, Bielby,  I Maughan
South Shields B: B Towers, D Patterson, K Rowden, I Maughan, Y KolodiyE Czestochowski

Tynedale Tans: K Mosnegutu, M Mosnegutu, D Wrigley, T Wrigley, G Murphy

Tynemouth A: C Waters, P Dargan, M Riding, D Henderson
Tynemouth B: K Rockett, D Jarema, S Burnell, K Marshall
Tynemouth C: C Smith, L Self, W Penny, A Moneva-Jordan, J Morton

Players who have now become tied to a team and ineligible for lower-ranked teams:

Bielby, Paul (South Shields A)
Costello, Paul (Gosforth Regents)
Dalton, Joseph (Gosforth Empire)
France, John (Gosforth Regents)
Henderson, David (Tynemouth A)
Millar, Rolf (Forest Hall Dragoons)
Richards, Paul (Morpeth B)
Wrigley, David (Tynedale Tans)

Players who have now used their free board 3 game. These players will become tied to a team, and ineligible for lower-ranked teams, if they play again on board 3:

Chan, Joe (Gosforth Ivy)
Trevelyan, Andy (Jesmond Knights)
Shaw, Martin (Morpeth B)


Black – player is tied to this team
Red italics – player has used up their 1 free game on board 3 for this team
Underlined: changes from the previous eligibility list

Alnwick A: P Hemsley, P Castledine, G Ellames, R Firth

Forest Hall Admirals: T Wall, Z Zhang, M Seeber
Forest Hall Brigadiers: S Skelsey, M Arora, J Wall snr, R Wariyar, M Younger, Y Han
Forest Hall Chieftains: Y Han, M Smith, H Zaman, J Bentham
Forest Hall Dragoons: S Bowey, J Baird, R Millar
Forest Hall Ensigns: R Perrier, A Brodie, T McAllister, K Brooks, M Broughton

Gosforth Empire: J Moreby, D Armbruster, J Wheeler, J Dalton
Gosforth Regents: M McBeth, D Baynes, P Costello, J France, D Stebbings
Gosforth Salters: G Harrison, K Moreby, P Sumner, D Stebbings
Gosforth Ivy: E Jarah, R Heyman, A Neville, M Beardsley, G Clarke, J Chan

Jesmond Knights: M Prasath, E Dodds, J Turnock, J UrrestiC Izod, A Trevelyan

Leam Lane Aces: D Walker, K Gara, J Marsh

Morpeth A: R Coathup, M Smyth, R SymondsJ Turner
Morpeth B: R Mitcheson, G Loxham, J Horton, L WhittleA Welsh, P Richards, M Shaw

South Shields A: J Boyd, J Watson, P Niedbal, Bielby,  I Maughan
South Shields B: B Towers, D Patterson, K Rowden

Tynedale Tans: K Mosnegutu, M Mosnegutu, D Wrigley, T Wrigley

Tynemouth A: C Waters, P Dargan, M Riding, D Henderson
Tynemouth B: K Rockett, D Jarema, S Burnell
Tynemouth C: C Smith, L Self, W Penny, A Moneva-Jordan, J Morton

Players who have now become tied to a team and ineligible for lower-ranked teams:

Beardsley, Martin (Gosforth Ivy)
Bentham, Jeff (Forest Hall Chieftains)
Brooks, Keith (Forest Hall Ensigns)
Izod, Chris (Jesmond Knights)
Moneva-Jordan, Antonio (Tynemouth C)
Turner, James (Morpeth A)
Whittle, Les (Morpeth B)
Younger, Mark (Forest Hall Brigadiers)
Zaman, Hanif (Forest Hall Chieftains)

Players who have now used their free board 3 game. These players will become tied to a team, and ineligible for lower-ranked teams, if they play again on board 3:

Broughton, Mark (Forest Hall Ensigns)
Clarke, Gary (Gosforth Ivy)
Dalton, Joseph (Gosforth Empire)
Han, Yichen (Forest Hall Brigadiers)
Henderson, David (Tynemouth A)
Maughan, Ian (South Shields A)
Morton, John (Tynemouth C)
Welsh, Alan (Morpeth B)
Wheeler, John (Gosforth Empire)


Black – player is tied to this team
Red italics – player has used up their 1 free game on board 3 for this team
Underlined: changes from the previous eligibility list

Alnwick A: P Hemsley, P Castledine, G Ellames, R Firth

Forest Hall Admirals: T Wall, Z Zhang, M Seeber
Forest Hall Brigadiers: S Skelsey, M Arora, J Wall snr, R Wariyar, M Younger, Y Han
Forest Hall Chieftains: Y Han, M Smith, H Zaman, J Bentham
Forest Hall Dragoons: S Bowey, J Baird
Forest Hall Ensigns: R Perrier, A Brodie, T McAllister, K Brooks, M Broughton

Gosforth Empire: J Moreby, D Armbruster, J Wheeler, J Dalton
Gosforth Regents: M McBeth, D Baynes,
 J France, D Stebbings
Gosforth Salters: G Harrison, K Moreby, P Sumner, D Stebbings
Gosforth Ivy: E Jarah, R Heyman, A Neville, M Beardsley, G Clarke

Jesmond Knights: M Prasath, E Dodds, J Turnock, J Urresti, C Izod

Leam Lane Aces: D Walker, K Gara, J Marsh

Morpeth A: R Coathup, M Smyth, R SymondsJ Turner
Morpeth B: J Turner, R Mitcheson, G Loxham, J Horton, L WhittleA Welsh

South Shields A: J Boyd, J Watson, P Niedbal, P Bielby,  I Maughan
South Shields B: B Towers, D Patterson, K Rowden

Tynedale Tans: K Mosnegutu, M Mosnegutu, T Wrigley

Tynemouth A: C Waters, P Dargan, M Riding, D Henderson
Tynemouth B: K Rockett, D Jarema, S Burnell
Tynemouth C: C Smith, L Self, W Penny, A Moneva-Jordan, J Morton