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We are a small friendly club of around twenty members who play chess in the Concert Room of the Great Ayton Working Men's Club. Our club night is Wednesday and mainly operates during the chess season of September through to May, but a few players keep the club going throughout the summer. We start from 7pm and end along with last orders in the bar at 11pm. We run 4 teams that play in the Cleveland Chess League. Our goal is for our 'A' team to survive in the 'A' division, the B team to remain in the B division and the C and D teams to have fun in the C division. Consequently with our mixture of playing strengths we welcome new players of any standard to come along and join us.

Latest News

Read all about it...get your Ayton chess news here

19th Feb - Away Action Only

With the C and D teams away at Billingham and Redcar respectively this Wednesday evening this means that the 9 players who usually attend our club night will not be there. In addition, super star Andy Corbyn, will also be in Redcar playing his Cleveland Individual game. Consequently, there are unlikely to be many squad members available for friendly games at our venue and so I for one will not be there and would warn others not to make a wasted journey.

18th Feb - That Will Teach Him

Following the cynical comment that I expected our A and B teams to be paired together in the Plate it has transpired that we have been kept apart. However, this is at the expense of having two away trips to the sides furthest away in our region. The B team have the tougher assignment being pitched against Darlington and the A team have a trip to Hartlepool. Dates to be decided by team captains.

16th Feb - Ice Skates

The game of chess is predominately perceived by the public as a winter sport and it had been noticed by our Head of Research Director that it does not appear to be part of the schedule in the winter Olympics currently taking place in PyeongChang in South Korea. Consequently, given the distance involved it was decided with no regard to expenses, we hired an investigative journalist to unearth the reason why our beloved game does not feature. Unfortunately, we regret to announce that our correspondent was removed by the Korean authorities from the Olympic Ice Rink for repeatedly shouting 'Hey, you had better get your skates on' to all the athletes as they arrived at the venue.

15th Feb - Unlucky 13

Last night we defied the laws of science by having the B team simultaneously play home and away at the same time. At home we ended triumphant with a lucky 3-2 victory over a depleted Buffs A team thanks to one of their players being forced to celebrate Valentines day with Mrs Baldea. The cunning plan of sending her a card forcing her husband Mitch to take her out clearly worked. With a point head start the match was won thanks to A team captain, Kegan Harrison, deputizing as the second B team captain, winning an exciting encounter against the popular Sean Cassidy and our speed chess supermo, Gordon Middlemiss, brutally destroying poor Alan Stockley. It did not matter that Suresh Keswani was receiving similar treatment from the Buffs captain, Andrew Killick, nor that John Garnett ground out a win against our NicK Hall. The latter suffering his first ever defeat for our club in 13 matches. At last the albatross hanging around his neck has been removed. As is becoming the norm these evenings we had more squad players supporting the team than the number playing. Well done to Mike Hardy, Connor Wilson, new signing Steven Booth, club legend Alan Jefferson, Phil Semp and Steve Gatenby who joined me to watch the action. Meanwhile, over at the seaside the B team were on the end of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Redcar B in the much delayed cup encounter. Although we lost it does mean that we have achieved our objective of being double-handed in the Plate competition as we strive to keep the trophy on display in the cabinet in the foyer of the Working Men's Club. Ironically the brilliant winning streak of 9 straight wins by C team captain, Alan Reed, finally came to an end with a surprising defeat at the hands of John Cowle. However, it was a fantastic run of victories by Alan that is unlikely to be surpassed unless I was allowed to play in the C team! Obviously this will not happen because of the restrictive nominations rule that sees me starved of actually playing chess games. Not wishing to be cynical but the defeat means that the draw for the next round of the Plate competition will inevitably see us have the A team paired against the B team.

13th Feb - Bottled Real Ale

In my quest to get the Working Men's Club to sell real ale I have started to make small in-roads at last. I am pleased to inform our more discerning chess playing drinkers that the club will now be selling bottles of Sharp's Atlantic and Sharp's Doombar real ale for £2.90 each. Obviously this is not ideal nor my first choice and I would prefer it being on tap but so long as people start drinking it then the next step would be to install a barrel. From acorns....

13th Feb - Another Tennants Rapidplay

Players who have been fortunate to attend either of the two previous highly enjoyable rapidplay events at the wonderful Tennants building in Leyburn will already be aware what a great day out it is in exquisite surroundings. Fortunately there is now an opportunity for others to participate in such a fun event as thanks to our A team captain, Kegan Harrison, has been persuaded by his bosses to host the 3rd six round rapidplay event to take place on Saturday 12th May. It costs £8 to enter prior to April 20th or £10 on the day. The time control is 25 minutes each per game and the opening round commences around 10.20am. There is going to be a beginners/returners competition hosted alongside with a £5 entry fee.
It really is the best environment for playing chess that any chess player will ever encounter and well worth the journey across the dales. See Kegan for details.

13th Feb - B Team Set To Defy Space Time Continuum

Tomorrow evening sees our B team attempt to defy the space time continuum by being in two separate places at the same time. In the league our B team welcomes the fanatic followers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the Buffs A team visit with their former A division stars. Meanwhile, over at the seaside our B team face the Redcar second string in the cup. Not many clubs can accommodate the same team playing in two competitions on the same evening but we pride ourselves on having a proper sized squad to accommodate such an occasion rather than having to resort to the policy of postponements adopted by most of our rivals.
Credit must go to our Head of Recruitment Director for creating such a vibrant club structure.

12th Feb - Advertising Project 30

One of the perks for being the highest graded player in the Cleveland League is that it entitles the holder of such a lofty position a free advert on this website. In the case of Sean Marsh, graded 212, we are obliged to cater for his latest adventure. He is renowned for promoting chess in schools and has written a chess book about his experiences over the last 30 years. Please support this event if possible as the book launch deserves encouragement for all his dedication to producing the stars of the future.

Greetings, pop-pickers!

Further to my previous email and my bold attempt to try and convince people to book a place at my forthcoming library event (and please book by Friday 16 February if you intend do so), I thought you may like to know there will be some publicity over the airwaves this week.

Make sure you tune every radio you own to Radio Tees (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001d7y6) for the 2.00 p.m. - 3.00 p.m. slot on Wednesday 14 February.

I will be in conversation with the legendary Bob Fischer and we will be talking about many subjects including my early years in the blacking factory, my first Community Programme job as a Queen's Coronation Programme seller, my many wives and my 30 years of teaching chess in schools.

After all, what plans could you possibly have for Valentine's Day that would be more important than listening to Bob and I talking about chess?

Best wishes,


11th Feb - The New Everley Brothers

When the organization that dishes out Michelin Stars gets around to authorizing me to hand them out my first port of call would be to present my friend Melanie with one. Not content with giving me the latest First Aid Kit CD, an assortment box of liquorice novelties and a bottle of sherry for my birthday I was also treated to an excellent three-course meal at her house along with her husband Richard and my wife Samantha last night. Melanie is a degree level proper chef who has cooked for a living. There is a massive difference from my enthusiastic attempts at cooking and somebody who knows how to do it correctly and last night it showed. After drinking Prosecco on arrival I switched to consuming an excellent bottle of Shiraz during the Indian themed meal and rounded it off with a calvados brandy with my pudding. This was followed by Richard and myself switching between his acoustic and electric fender guitar (with a bit of ukulele thrown in) as we entertained the ladies with a selection of popular tunes and great harmonies. The talk was that a possible record deal was in the offing and a favourable comparison with the Everley Brothers was made. Everything was going swimmingly until around midnight my father came across the road and gatecrashed proceedings as he decided that he and my mum had enough of babysitting duties and wanted to go back home. He didn't think that we should make a record.

10th Feb - Stars Signed Up And Ready For Action

With the membership forms submitted to become the newest members of the Working Men's Club we can confirm that a cheque has also been sent by our treasurer to the CCA Secretary to register our new signings to participate in the Cleveland League. We are delighted to officially welcome Steven Booth and Chris Fury to our chess club and wish them well in their quest in reaching the pinnacle of the local chess world. Both players will expect to be in action during the remainder of the season. Luckily for them being ungraded they don't have to wait a month for a game had they been nominated for the A team. It is envisaged that one will play for the C team and the other for the D team squad with an expectation that by next season once graded they will be both B team players!
Readers wishing to read sordid details about our Head of Equipment Director with regard to his annual birthday treat from Samantha will be disappointed as I am aware that minors frequently access this site and as such I am prevented from providing graphic detail of the sexual encounter that ensued. I can confirm that even he was shocked at the disgusting action that took place during the afternoon and the green stockings that she was wearing was a pleasant surprise that complimented the outfit. A good day all round with two new players confirmed on the books.

9th Feb - Birthday Shirt Joy

Many thanks for the plethora of birthday cards that arrived this morning although the postman was none too pleased with the excessive weight of his sack having to lug it through the snow. However, as I spent the morning working through the massive pile there didn't appear to be a single card from any of our squad players. Never mind as I did receive a couple of new badminton tops acquired in the sale from my two boys. Fellow chess players will be also be pleased to see that Samantha bought me a new red t-shirt that is the official away kit for the season with the name of our club emblazoned on the front. Unfortunately fans will not be able to view it until March as I have to wait another 4 weeks until the next A team match! Still, this was better than the usual Christmas present fayre of underpants and socks.

8th Feb - Mixed Joy

Last night was another busy evening at our expanding chess club which produced mixed joy for our C and D teams who were in action. The C team produced another comprehensive win with a 3½-½ destruction over a Redcar C team that included two octogenarians. Our ace captain, Alan Reed, extended his amazing winning streak to 9 with victory over my Dad. US import, Jim Rogers, spearheaded the attack with a win to follow up from his draw the previous evening with our A team. The genius known as Gordon Middlemiss added another win completing his 18th match of the campaign and Gordon Dickinson took a comfortable draw against my Hungarian neighbour to complete the rout. Meanwhile, across the playing hall the D team were under the cosh from the C division league leaders, Boro Bishops. Two matches in two days appeared to be too much for B team captain, Peter Archer, as he lost on top board. Defeat also followed for club president Andrew French and club legend Alan Jefferson. It was left to Steve Gatenby to prevent the whitewash with his controversial win against Mohamed Gouda. The latter picked up a rook and placed it on the back rank and snatched the piece up again and placed it down a couple of squares along. Steve immediately protested at this illegal move which fortunately I witnessed as I was studying the game at the time. Thankfully, Dave Appleyard had also seen the incident as he was sat on the next board and instructed his team mate to abide by the rules despite continual protest from a disgruntled Mr Gouda. It made no difference to the outcome which Steve won several moves later with a comprehensive victory. It is fair to say our opponent left in a huff despite the team remaining top of the league with a 3-1 win.
At the same time as the two matches were in progress I was joined by fellow squad members Mike Hardy, Connor Wilson, A team captain Kegan Harrison and our two new rising stars. Needless to say we continued to be impressed with our recent signings especially when Stephen defeated Kegan and followed up by annihilating Alan Reed as we supped a few pints.I was the only player to remain unbeaten despite being pushed all the way by Chris the Glaswegian who went on to defeat Stephen just to emphasize that we have unearthed two super new talents. Both players have confirmed that they will be ready to be thrown in the deep-end and steps are underway to register them for the Cleveland League and ECF. Another excellent evening at our club as Kegan and I staggered home at 11.30pm.

6th Feb - Experiment Ends In Failure

When we opened our campaign back in October against Thornaby we selected almost our strongest line-up featuring all four nominated players that spectacularly backfired with a 3½-1½ defeat. There was no such luxury available to us last night. This was because just when England scrum half, Ben Young, sustained an injury in the clash against Italy in the opening weekend of the Six Nations it was the end of his participation until next season; our top player, Richard Hall, suffered a similar fate and is not expected to be sat at the board until next season. With Mike Hardman temporarily unavailable and Andy Corbyn working nights as usual it was left to our Head of Equipment Director to occupy the dizzy heights of top board as we were forced to field an experimental line-up in our encounter away at Thornaby last night. Unfortunately it produced the same outcome as we crashed to another 3½-1½ defeat. With our Head of Equipment Director equalling Mike Hardman in the number of A team appearances, both on 111 out of a possible 121 matches, he played out an interesting draw against the highly competent Paul Douglass. However, the step-up for Suresh and Kegan proved a step too far with the former being one move too late in delivering his back rank mate as his opponent did the same to him a move earlier. It was a pleasant evening as we spent time in the bar with our excellent hosts. It was good to see Brian Ellis in the crowd and our number one fan Nick Tadd in addition to watching the indoor bowls.

5th Feb - Mid-Term A Team Report

To say that we have been rushed off our feet would be an understatement as we reach the mid-term of the season in the A division. We have managed a total of 4 matches from October through to the end of January that have produced a few surprises. The opening encounter featured a catastrophic defat at home against Thornaby A. Despite fielding all 4 nominated players only our Head of Equipment Director managed a victory and the decision for captain Kegan Harrison to drop himself to enable Mike Pointon to experience top flight chess backfired. In our second match we surprised ourselves with an impressive away win against Darlington A mainly due to Kegan returning to the fray. This was followed by an even more surprising home win against Boro Rooks thanks to Kegan recording another vital victory and Suresh defeating an out of sorts former Ayton star in Peter Ridsdale. Normality was restored when our trip to the seaside against the champions, Redcar A, ended in an expected drubbing. So, after the first half of the season we find ourselves in fourth place because of goal difference yet tied on 4 points with Boro Rooks and Thornaby A as Darlington languish at the bottom with a solitary point from a draw against Boro Rooks. The latter also managed to get a draw against the champions but with Redcar being 3 points ahead the title is as good as over. Given that we have already reached our target we can expect to experiment in the second half of the campaign by giving A team experience to those players on the fringes who deserve a crack at our higher rated opponents since there is nothing else to play for in this fruitless A division.

2nd Feb- You're Not Alone

Thanks to the extensive analysis performed by our world renowned computer division we can report that you are not alone in regularly visiting this website. Data for January revealed that a total of 2162 hits were received during the month by avid chess fans following the fortunes of our chess club. This equates to an average to about 70 people per day accessing this site. However, we suspect that this could be the same person (or persons) tuning in at intervals during the working day in order to relieve the boredom of their job. Either way it demonstrates that we are the most popular chess website in the Cleveland League as it is 70 times higher than our rivals non-existent sites and far more interesting than the official CCA website.

1st Feb - Flying Colours

With our B team unable to rise to historic occasion of the three hundredth game crashing 3½-1½ away at Redcar B, the only exception being C team captain Alan Reed stretching his remarkable winning sequence to 8 straight wins, it was no wonder our Head of Recruitment Director assisted by Andy Corbyn spent the evening back at our club putting two new recruits through their paces. We are delighted that we are able to report that they passed the audition with flying colours and minutes prior to the January transfer window closing we snapped up both players who will be excellent additions to our ever increasing squad. We continue to grow whilst our rivals appear to diminish as we pursue our goal of becoming the premier club in the league. Both Andy and myself struggled to defeat Chris, the canny Scot from Glasgow, and Stephen, the bright young chap from Knaresborough. It was evident that both will easily make the grade and be expected to hold their own when thrown in the deep-end later on in the season. We hosted a series of quick games and I had the pleasure of putting the club legend and Connor both to the sword as well as our new recruits. With Mike Hardy quickly defeating John Littlehailes in the Cleveland Individual the latter witnessed Chris and Stephen in action where he was struck with fear for his fellow team-mates at the Buffs club. Along with regulars Steve Gatenby and Gordon Dickinson we were also joined by the son of club legend, known as the Mark II, to complete a successful recruitment evening.

Click here for old news.


The club officials are:

PresidentAndrew French 
Vice PresidentPeter Ridsdale 
Hon. Life VP Peter Archer 
SecretaryPhil Semp 
TreasurerMartin McLoughlin 
Club Captain:Peter Archer 
Captain 'A' TeamKegan Harrison 
Captain 'B' TeamPeter Archer 
Captain 'C' TeamAlan Reed 
Captain 'D' TeamPhil Semp 
WebmasterMartin McLoughlin 
Junior Development Gordon Dickinson 
Club Statistician Martin McLoughlin 
Legal Officer Richard Hall 
Club Historian Martin McLoughlin 
European Club Scout Suresh Keswani 
Publicity Officer Martin McLoughlin 
Australasia Club Scout Martin Carter 
Chess Psychologist Martin McLoughlin 
Medical Officer Norman Cole 
Head of Equipment Martin McLoughlin 
LGBT Officer Phil Semp 
Editor In Chief Martin McLoughlin 
Chess TutorKegan Harrison 
Auditor Martin McLoughlin 
Club LibrarianMike Hardman 
Head of Recruitment Martin McLoughlin 
North America Club Scout Jim Rogers 
Head of Research Martin McLoughlin 
Club Poet Peter Archer 

Squad Gradings

The ECF gradings for club members eligible to play in the league this season are as follows:

  Name New Grade/ Old Grade Medal Code 
Peter Archer125118Bronze105801A 
Norman Cole10196none179606K 
Andy Corbyn157155Gold158145E 
Gordon Dickinson101102Bronze148343C 
Andrew French116u/gBronze0000000 
Stephen Gatenby6163Bronze306971A 
Nick Hall149151Bronze308466J 
Richard Hall180184Gold125039F  
Mike Hardman175177Bronze112087G 
Mike Hardy7780Bronze179814F 
Kegan Harrison144144Bronze269588B 
Alan Jefferson5152none285975A 
Suresh Keswani145144Gold127515L 
Martin McLoughlin157155Silver274327K 
Gordon Middlemiss122118Bronze146823G 
Mike Pointon132139Bronze308468B 
Alan Reed108103Bronze269872K 
Jim Rogers119113Bronze136160A 
Phil Semp105104Bronze118701G 
Howard Whitehead6262Bronze303007G 
Conor Wilson8381Bronze223070H 
Steven Boothu/g 
Chris Furyu/g 
Nominated Player Lists  

A Team

1.Richard Hall 
2.Mike Hardman 
3.Andy Corbyn 
4.Martin McLoughlin 

B Team

1.Nick Hall 
2.Kegan Harrison 
3.Suresh Keswani 
4.Mike Pointon 

C Team Squad

1.Gordon Middlemiss 
2.Jim Rogers 
3.Alan Reed 
4.Gordon Dickinson 
5.Norman Cole 
6.Mike Hardy 

D Team Squad

1.Peter Archer 
2.Phil Semp 
3.Kevin Wilson 
4.Stephen Gatenby 
5.Alan Jefferson 
6.Howard Whitehead 
7.Andrew French 

Club Players' Statistics

This table shows the performance of each club player during current season #8

  Home   Away  
Peter Archer151413153
Steven Booth0000000000
Norman Cole0000000000
Andy Corbyn1001000000
Gordon Dickinson8121222035
Andrew French81123013
Chris Fury0000000000
Stephen Gatenby82032012½
Nick Hall2011½0000½
Richard Hall2001000100
Mike Hardman4012½010½1
Mike Hardy4011½1011
Kegan Harrison112121144
Alan Jefferson6004010111
Suresh Keswani8202200402
Martin McLoughlin61110211
Gordon Middlemiss196226324411
Michael Pointon6041200102
Alan Reed134014602610
Jim Rogers18322426359
Phil Semp6121202013
Howard Whitehead0000000000
Kevin Wilson7022120123

The table below highlights the cumulative performance of every club member since the club commenced.
Latest update:27th May 2017

  Home   Away  
  NamePWDLPtsWDLPtsTotal_Value %_WhiteMaxBlackMax 
Peter Archer120172024271818232754(45)33½6420½56
Norman Cole364810829314½(40)17619
Andy Corbyn213636342511(52)156
Gordon Dickinson761018111911151118½37½(49)194218½34
Stephen Gatenby131041314(27)815
Nick Hall11320442059(82)4556
Richard Hall2472189231018(75)12½177
Mike Hardman107930162412251524½48½(45)20½452862
Mike Hardy304084531010½(35)10820
Kegan Harrison661471117½1213918½36(55)21321534
Alan Jefferson4631166218710½(23)25321
Suresh Keswani73147817½1971822½40½(55)24½431630
Martin McLoughlin1171724182919172227½56½(48)31½662551
Gordon Middlemiss60991013½116151427½(47)16321228
Mike Pointon9320422037(78)54
Alan Reed9013132419½19111024½44(49)20412449
Jim Rogers24714444613½(56)14610
Phil Semp61415711½719916½28(46)16½3411½27
Howard Whitehead141061133(25)4210
Kevin Wilson32431230103(26)16516
Ex-Squad Members
Mike Botterill (RIP)12422530138(66)2468
Martin Carter3100100201(33)1201
Tom Hall1000000100(0)0100
Dave McCabe3001000200(0)0201
James Morley82121021(44)126
Bob Porritt4103100001(25)1202
Ian Richardson (RIP)9712171920½1614192343½(45)22½452152
Joe Richardson (RIP)9014½1122(23)1712
Peter Ridsdale701391217½9171017½35(50)15312039
Carl Shuttleworth27447614739(33)513414
Graham Shuttleworth1000010011(100)1100
Phillip Whittingham7102120223(42)1225
Players in
red played season #1
purple seasons #1 to #3
orange played season #4
turquoise played #1-2-4
pink seasons #1 to #5
green seasons #1 to #6
salmon season #6
violet season #7
A team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Mike Pointon22002100
Nick Hall11001100
Richard Hall2416441875
Suresh Keswani562510213053
Andy Corbyn21610511½52
Kegan Harrison3913131319½50
Peter Ridsdale652024213249
Martin McLoughlin10531353948½46
Peter Archer692218293145
Mike Hardman10721553148½45
James Morley621341
Carl Shuttleworth265813934
Kevin Wilson3102133
Gordon Middlemiss821531
Ian Richardson1223729
Phil Semp4022125
Gordon Dickinson2011½25
Alan Jefferson5104120
Alan Reed400400
Tom Hall100100
Mike Hardy100100
Jim Rogers100100
Mike Botterill100100
Martin Carter100100
B team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Mike Hardy22002100
Howard Whitehead11001100
Graham Shuttleworth11001100
Martin McLoughlin12561866
Mike Pointon3120266
Kegan Harrison28147717½63
Mike Botterill5302360
Peter Ridsdale5221360
Suresh Keswani1675459
Jim Rogers1253454
Phil Semp41923920½50
Martin Carter2101150
James Morley2101150
Gordon Dickinson4412191321½49
Gordon Middlemiss34128141647
Alan Reed531716202547
Ian Richardson652020253046
Peter Archer491318182245
Phil Whittingham7304343
Norman Cole18387739
Joe Richardson912623
Alan Jefferson19211613
Kevin Wilson12111013
Dave McCabe300300
Carl Shuttleworth100100
C team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Suresh Keswani11001100
Mike Botterill6420583
Nick Hall10640880
Gordon Middlemiss1767456
Gordon Dickinson1447353
Jim Rogers11524654
Alan Jefferson8404450
Norman Cole12363650
Alan Reed229451150
Ian Richardson8323450
Phil Semp13265538
Mike Hardy25631630
Howard Whitehead6024117
Stephen Gatenby200200
Bob Porritt100100
D team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Mike Pointon4220375
Alan Reed1163268
Gordon Dickinson11542764
Ian Richardson12363650
Phil Semp303050
Stephen Gatenby1141641
Kevin Wilson175210635
Bob Porritt3102133
Howard Whitehead711521
Norman Cole5023120
Alan Jefferson152211320
Games defaulted 51
points gained 23½ and
points conceded 27½

The overall record of the teams after 7 seasons is as shown:

A team: Played = 115, Won = 37, Drawn = 21, Lost = 57, For = 273½, Against = 301½

B team: Played = 096, Won = 35, Drawn = 06, Lost = 55, For = 220½, Against = 259½

C team: Played = 040, Won = 15, Drawn = 07, Lost = 18, For = 075½, Against = 085½

D team: Played = 026, Won = 06, Drawn = 08, Lost = 12, For = 045, Against = 059

A Team Scores The number of matches played after 7 seasons = 115. The breakdown of match scores is as highlighted in the table below (Great Ayton scores shown first):
5-0 Whitewashed4½-½ Spanking4-1 Hammering3½-1½Thrashing3-2 Destroyed 2½-2½ Steady Draw2-3 Unlucky Loss1½-3½ Unfortunate1-4 Not At Races½-4½ Embarrassing0-5 An Off Day

B Team Scores The number of matches played after 7 seasons = 96. The breakdown of match scores is as highlighted in the table below (Great Ayton scores shown first):
5-0 Whitewashed4½-½ Spanking4-1 Hammering3½-1½Thrashing3-2 Destroyed 2½-2½ Steady Draw2-3 Unlucky Loss1½-3½ Unfortunate1-4 Not At Races½-4½ Embarrassing0-5 An Off Day

C Team Scores The number of matches played after 3 seasons = 40. The breakdown of match scores is as highlighted in the table below (Great Ayton scores shown first): (One 2½-2½ draw and one 0-5 in cup)
4-0 Slaughter3½-1½Drubbing3-1 Whopped 2½-1½ Easy2-2 Steady Draw1½-2½ Hard Luck1-3 Not Good½-3½ Tragic0-4 Shocking

D Team Scores The number of matches played after 2 seasons = 12. The breakdown of match scores is as highlighted in the table below (Great Ayton scores shown first):
4-0 Slaughter3½-1½Drubbing3-1 Whopped 2½-1½ Easy2-2 Steady Draw1½-2½ Hard Luck1-3 Not Good½-3½ Tragic0-4 Shocking

Team Fixtures

The following fixtures have been arranged for the current season: Dates marked in red indicate a re-arranged match date from original list.

A team  
Oct 18thAyton A_v_Thornaby A___LOSS (1½-3½) 
Oct 30thDarlington A_v_Ayton A___WIN (2-3) 
Dec 13thAyton A_v_Boro Rooks___WIN (3-2) 
Jan 24thRedcar A_v_Ayton A___LOSS (4½-½) 
Feb 6thThornaby A_v_Ayton A___LOSS (3½-1½) 
Mar 7thAyton A_v_Darlington A 
Apr 23rdBoro Rooks_v_Ayton A 
May 9thAyton A_v_Redcar A 
B team 
Oct 11thAyton B_v_Redcar B___LOSS (1½-3½) 
Oct 26thThe Buffs A_v_Ayton B___LOSS (4½-½) 
Nov 8thAyton B_v_Synthonia A___WIN (4½-½) 
Nov 22ndDarlington B_v_Ayton B___DRAW (2½-2½) 
Dec 6thAyton B_v_Thornaby B___WIN (3-2) 
Jan 3rdAyton B_v_Hartlepool A___DRAW (2½-2½) 
Jan 15thBoro Knights_v_Ayton B___LOSS (3-2) 
Jan 31stRedcar B_v_Ayton B___LOSS (3½-1½) 
Feb 14thAyton B_v_The Buffs A___WIN (3-2) 
Feb 28thSynthonia A_v_Ayton B 
Mar 14thAyton B_v_Darlington B 
Mar 27thThornaby B_v_Ayton B 
Apr 16thHartlepool A_v_Ayton B 
May 2ndAyton B_v_Boro Knights 
C team 
Oct 4thAyton C _v_ Boro Bishops ___LOSS (1-3) 
Oct 18thRedcar C _v_ Ayton C___WIN (½-3½) 
Nov 1stAyton C _v_ Synthonia B___DRAW (2-2) 
Nov 13thDarlington C _v_ Ayton C___WIN (0-4) 
Nov 29thAyton C _v_ The Buffs B___WIN (2½-1½) 
Dec 13thAyton C _v_ Ayton D___WIN (3½-½) 
Jan 8thHartlepool B _v_ Ayton C___DRAW (2-2) 
Jan 22ndBoro Bishops _v_ Ayton C___LOSS (3-1) 
Feb 7thAyton C _v_ Redcar C___WIN (3½-½) 
Feb 21stSynthonia B _v_ Ayton C 
Mar 7thAyton C _v_ Darlington C 
Mar 22ndThe Buffs B _v_ Ayton C 
Apr 11thAyton D _v_ Ayton C 
Apr 23rdAyton C _v_ Hartlepool B 
D team 
Oct 4thAyton D _v_ Hartlepool B ___LOSS (1-3)  
Oct 16thBoro Bishops _v_ Ayton D___LOSS (3-1) 
Nov 1stAyton D _v_ Redcar C___DRAW (2-2) 
Nov 15thSynthonia B _v_ Ayton D___WIN (1½-2½) 
Nov 29thAyton D _v_ Darlington C___LOSS (1-3) 
Dec 13thAyton C _v_ Ayton D___LOSS(3½½) 
Jan 10thAyton D _v_ The Buffs B___DRAW (2-2) 
Jan 22ndHartlepool B _v_ Ayton D___WIN (1-3) 
Feb 7thAyton D _v_ Boro Bishops___LOSS (1-3) 
Feb 21stRedcar C _v_ Ayton D 
Mar 7thAyton D _v_ Synthonia B 
Mar 19thDarlington C _v_ Ayton D 
Apr 11thAyton D _v_ Ayton C 
Apr 26thThe Buffs B _v_ Ayton D 
Preliminary Round. 
Nov 14thThornaby _v_ Ayton B___WIN (1½-3½)  
First Round. 
Jan 10thAyton A_v_ Boro Rooks___LOSS (1-4) 
Feb 14thRedcar B_v_ Ayton B___LOSS (4-1) 
Darlington_v_Ayton B 
Mar 19thHartlepool_v_Ayton A 

Match Results

The match results are as follows:

Board  Redcar B   v  Ayton B  Result  Date:14th Feb 2018 (Cup)   
1  S MacCormack (149)   v   P Archer (125)  1-0   
2  J Gentle (132)   v   J Rogers (119)  1-0   
3  R Parker (122)   v   A French (116)  1-0   
4  J Cowle (94)   v   A Reed (108)  1-0   
5  A Hare (92)   v   G Dickinson (102)  0-1   
        4-1   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton B   v   The Buffs A  Result  Date:14th Feb 2018   
1  N Hall (149)   v   J Garnett (175)  0-1   
2  S Keswani (145)   v   A Killick (156)  0-1   
3  K Harrison (144)   v   S Cassidy (125)  1-0   
4  G Middlemiss (122)   v   A Stockley (99)  1-0   
5  P Semp (105)   v   default  1-0   
        3-2   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton D   v   Boro Bishops  Result  Date:7th Feb 2018   
1  P Archer (125)   v   N Bhandari (122)  0-1   
2  A French (116)   v   D Appleyard (121)  0-1   
3  S Gatenby (70)   v   M Gouda (118)  1-0   
4  A Jefferson (52)   v   I Mahmood (86)  0-1   
        1-3   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton C   v   Redcar C  Result  Date:7th Feb 2018   
1  J Rogers (119)   v   J Bunyon (113)  1-0   
2  G Middlemiss (122)    v   I Kitchen (104)  1-0   
3  A Reed (108)   v   M McLoughlin (snr) (95)  1-0   
4  G Dickinson (102)   v   T Loborik (83)  ½-½   
        3-1   (WIN)   
Board  Thornaby A   v  Ayton A  Result  Date:6th Feb 2018   
1  P Douglass (166)   v   M McLoughlin (157)  ½-½   
2  F Batchelor (161)   v   S Keswani (145)  1-0   
3  D Richardson (137)   v   K Harrison (144)  1-0   
4  M Creaney (128)   v   P Archer (125)  ½-½   
5  R Honeybourne (124)   v   J Rogers (119)   ½-½   
        3½-1½   (LOSS)   
Board  Redcar B   v  Ayton B  Result  Date:31st Jan 2018   
1  M Jackman (166)   v   S Keswani (145)  1-0   
2  S MacCormack (149)   v   K Harrison (144)  1-0   
3  B Myers (142)   v   G Middlemiss (122)  1-0   
4  R Parker (112)   v   J Rogers (119)  ½-½   
5  J Bunyan (113)   v   A Reed (108)  0-1   
        3½-1½   (LOSS)   
Board  Redcar A   v  Ayton A  Result  Date:24th Jan 2018   
1  S Marsh (211)   v   M Hardman (177)  ½-½   
2  J Allinson (207)   v   M McLoughlin (155)  1-0   
3  D Edmunds (171)   v   K Harrison (144)  1-0   
4  S McCormack (149)   v   S Keswani (144)  1-0   
5  R Parker (119)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  1-0   
        4½-½   (LOSS)   
Board  Hartlepool B   v  Ayton D  Result  Date:22nd Jan 2018   
1  D Lowcock (107)   v   P Archer (118)  0-1   
2  D Smith (102)   v   K Wilson (79)  0-1   
3  M Priest (88)   v   S Gatenby (70)  1-0   
4  D Finer (u/g)   v   A Jefferson (52)  0-1   
        1-3   (WIN)   
Board  Boro Bishops   v  Ayton C  Result  Date:22nd Jan 2018   
1  D Appleyard (122)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  1-0   
2  N Bhandari (122)   v   J Rogers (113)  1-0   
3  G Murphy (114)   v   A Reed (103)  0-1   
4  M Gouda (115)   v   M Hardy (80)  1-0   
        3-1   (LOSS)   
Board  Boro Knights   v  Ayton B  Result  Date:15th Jan 2018   
1  E Lazenby (139)   v   K Harrison (144)  ½-½   
2  P Ridsdale (136)   v   S Keswani (144)  1-0   
3  R Stather (135)   v   P Archer (118)   ½-½   
4  N Bhandari (122)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  ½-½   
5  D Appleyard (122)   v   J Rogers (113)  ½-½   
        3-2   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton A   v   Boro Rooks  Result  Date:10th Jan 2018 (Cup)   
1  M Hardman (177)   v   N Tavoularis (206)  0-1   
2  M McLoughlin (155)   v   C Duggan (179)  0-1   
3  K Harrison(144)   v   R Harding (164)  0-1   
4  S Keswani (144)   v   R Stather (135)  1-0   
5  P Semp (104)   v   D Appleyard (122)  0-1   
        1-4   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton D   v   The Buffs B  Result  Date:10th Jan 2018   
1  K Wilson (79)   v   M Baldea (113)  0-1   
2  S Gatenby (70)   v   D Simpson (107)  1-0   
3  A Jefferson (52)   v   A Stockley (101)  0-1   
4  A French (u/g)   v   default  1-0   
        2-2   (DRAW)   
Board  Hartlepool B   v  Ayton C  Result  Date:8th Jan 2018   
1  G Matthews (125)    v   G Middlemiss (118)  ½-½   
2  D Lowcock (107)   v   J Rogers(111)  1-0   
3  M Priest (88)   v   G Dickinson (102)  ½-½   
4  E Glass (76)   v   A Reed (103)  0-1   
        2-2   (DRAW)   
Board  Ayton B   v   Hartlepool A  Result  Date:3rd Jan 2018   
1  K Harrison (144)   v   B Wilson (149)   ½-½   
2  S Keswani (144)   v   P Harker (136)  0-1   
3  M Pointon (139)   v   K Waterman (115)   ½-½   
4  P Archer (118)   v   D Lowcock (107)   ½-½   
5  G Middlemiss (118)   v   P Hollis (u/g)   1-0   
        2½-2½   (DRAW)   
Board  Ayton C   v  Ayton D  Result  Date:13th Dec 2017   
1  G Middlemiss (118)   v   K Wilson (79)  ½-½   
2  J Rogers (113)   v   S Gatenby (70)   1-0   
3  G Dickinson (102)   v   A Jefferson (52)  1-0   
4  M Hardy (80)   v   default  1-0   
Board  Ayton A   v   Boro Rooks  Result  Date:13th Dec 2017   
1  M Hardman (177)   v   N Tavoularis (206)  0-1   
2  M McLoughlin (155)   v   C Duggan (179)  ½-½   
3  K Harrison (144)   v   R Harding (164)  1-0   
4  S Keswani (144)   v   P Ridsdale (136)  1-0   
5  P Archer (118)   v   R Stather (135)  ½-½   
        3-2   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton B   v   Thornaby B  Result  Date:6th Dec 2017   
1  N Hall (151)   v   B Whitaker (127)  ½-½   
2  M Pointon (139)   v   R Honeybourne (127)  ½-½   
3  P Archer (118)   v   default  1-0   
4  G Middlemiss (118)   v   B March (109)  0-1   
5  J Rogers (113)   v   N Tadd (62)   1-0   
        3-2   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton D   v   Darlington C  Result  Date:29th Nov 2017   
1  P Archer (118)   v   P McKay (120)  ½-½   
2  P Semp (104)   v   P Shaw (106)  ½-½   
3  S Gatenby (70)   v   R Gilpin (107)  0-1   
4  A French (u/g)   v   H Wilson (97)  0-1   
        1-3   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton C   v   The Buffs B  Result  Date:29th Nov 2017   
1  J Rogers (113)   v   S Cassidy (119)  0-1   
2  G Middlemiss (118)   v   D Simpson (107)  1-0   
3  A Reed (103)   v   A Stockley (101)  1-0   
4  G Dickinson (102)   v   J Littlehailes (100)  ½-½   
        2½-1½   (WIN)   
Board  Darlington B   v   Ayton B  Result  Date:22nd Nov 2017   
1  S Ormerod (156)   v   K Harrison (144)  1-0   
2  R Donner (137)   v   P Archer (118)  ½-½   
3  G Hewitt (130)   v   J Rogers (113)  ½-½   
4  C Stephens (124)   v   P Semp (104)  ½-½   
5  P McKay (120)   v   A French (u/g)  0-1   
        2½-2½   (DRAW)   
Board  Billingham Synthonia B   v   Ayton D  Result  Date:15th Nov 2017   
1  B Callaghan (91)   v   P Archer (118)  ½-½   
2  G Edwards (83)   v   P Semp (104)  ½-½   
3  W Greenwood (78)   v   K Wilson (79)  0-1   
4  S McLaughlin (u/g)   v   S Gatenby (70)  ½-½   
        1½-2½   (WIN)   
Board  Thornaby A   v   Ayton B  Result  Date:14th Nov 2017 (Cup)   
1  M Creaney (129)   v   P Archer (118)  1-0   
2  B Whitaker (127)   v   J Rogers (113)  0-1   
3  B March (109)   v   A Reed (103)  0-1   
4  G Howsden (104)   v   G Dickinson (102)  ½-½   
5  N Tadd (62)   v   A French (u/g)  0-1   
        1½-3½   (WIN)   
Board  Darlington C   v   Ayton C  Result  Date:13th Nov 2017   
1  C Stephens (124)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  0-1   
2  R Gilpin (107)   v   J Rogers (113)  0-1   
3  P Shaw (106)   v   A Reed (103)  0-1   
4  S Nair (u/g)   v   M Hardy (80)  0-1   
        0-4   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton B   v  Billingham Synthonia A  Result  Date:8th Nov 2017   
1  M Pointon (139)   v   P Weightman (122)  ½-½   
2  P Archer (118)   v   B Callaghan (91)  1-0   
3  G Middlemiss (118)   v   V Skillcorn (91)  1-0   
4  P Semp (104)   v   D Frank (98)  1-0   
5  A Reed (103)   v   K Harrison (u/g)  1-0   
        4½-½   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton D   v   Redcar C  Result  Date:1st Nov 2017   
1  P Archer (118)   v   M McLoughlin (snr) (95)  ½-½   
2  P Semp (104)   v   J Cowle (94)   ½-½   
3  K Wilson (79)   v   T Liborik (83)   ½-½   
4  A French (u/g)   v   S Barry (85)   ½-½   
        2-2   (DRAW)   
Board  Ayton C   v   Billingham Synthonia B  Result  Date:1st Nov 2017   
1  J Rogers (113)   v   V Skillcorn (91)  0-1   
2  G Middlemiss (118)   v   G Edwards (83)  1-0   
3  A Reed (103)   v   W Greenwood (78)  1-0   
4  M Hardy (80)   v   K Harrison (u/g)  0-1   
        2-2   (DRAW)   
Board  Darlington A   v   Ayton A  Result  Date:30th Oct 2017   
1  S Dauber (179)   v   R Hall (184)  1-0   
2  M Evans (163)   v   M McLoughlin (155)   ½-½   
3  J Sams (162)   v   K Harrison (144)  0-1   
4  R Harris (129)   v   P Archer (118)  ½-½   
5  G Hewitt (130)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  0-1   
        2-3   (WIN)   
Board  The Buffs A   v   Ayton B  Result  Date:26th Oct 2017   
1  J Garnett (176)   v   M Pointon (139)  1-0   
2  A Killick (156)   v   P Archer (118)  1-0   
3  N Webb (146)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  1-0   
4  S Cassidy (119)   v   J Rogers (113)   ½-½   
5  M Baldea (113)   v   A Reed (103)  1-0   
        4½-½   (LOSS)   
Board  Redcar C   v   Ayton C  Result  Date:18th Oct 2017   
1  G Walsh (118)   v   J Rogers (113)  ½-½   
2  I Kitchen (109)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  0-1   
3  M McLoughlin (snr) (95)   v   G Dickinson (102)  0-1   
4  J Cowle (94)   v   A Reed (103)  0-1   
        ½-3½   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton A   v   Thornaby A  Result  Date:18th Oct 2017   
1  R Hall (184)   v   P Douglass (165)  0-1   
2  M Hardman (177)   v   F Batchelor (162)   ½-½   
3  A Corbyn (155)   v   M Creaney (129)  0-1   
4  M McLoughlin (155)   v   B Whitaker (127)  1-0   
5  M Pointon (139)   v   C Carabine (123)  0-1   
        1½-3½   (LOSS)    
Board  Boro Bishops   v   Ayton D  Result  Date:16th Oct 2017   
1  D Appleyard (122)   v   K Wilson (79)  1-0   
2  R Pallister (124)   v   S Gatenby (70)  1-0   
3  M Gouda (115)   v   A Jefferson (52)  1-0   
4  I Mahmood (90)   v   A French (u/g)  0-1   
        3-1   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton B   v   Redcar B  Result  Date:11th Oct 2017   
1  K Harrison (144)   v   M Jackman (161)  0-1   
2  M Pointon (139)   v   S MacCormack (153)  ½-½   
3  G Middlemiss (118)   v   B Myers (146)  ½-½   
4  J Rogers (113)   v   J Gentle (134)  ½-½   
5  A Reed (103)   v   R Parker (119)  0-1   
        1½-3½   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton D   v   Hartlepool B  Result  Date:4th Oct 2017   
1  K Wilson (79)   v   P Harker (136)  0-1   
2  S Gatenby (70)   v   G Matthews (125)  0-1   
3  A Jefferson (52)   v   K Waterman (115)  0-1   
4  A French (u/g)   v   M Priest (88)  1-0   
        1-3  (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton C   v   Boro Bishops  Result  Date:4th Oct 2017    
1  J Rogers (113)   v   D Appleyard (122)  ½-½    
2  G Middlemiss (118)   v   N Bhandari (122)  0-1   
3  G Dickinson (102)   v   M Gouda (115)  0-1   
4  M Hardy (80)   v   G Murphy (114)  ½-½   
        1-3  (LOSS)   

Glocky's Pieces

Welcome to this unique corner on the web featuring the views of our webmaster.

This picture shows a possible venue for future annual general meetings of the CCA:

Corner Cafe

Glocky's Progress

This section features the sequence of results of our most successful individual player to date, Martin McLoughlin, winner of the Major Section in the 51st Hull Chess Congress.
The colour code used indicates the board number as shown for the A team, pink board 1, red board 2, blue board 3, green board 4, orange board 5.
Similarly for the B team. purple board 1

Board Performance
A team
BOARD 1 is won = 0, drew = 1, lost = 2, points = ½ out of 3
BOARD 2 is won = 8, drew = 17, lost = 23, points = 16½ out of 48
BOARD 3 is won = 18, drew = 17, lost = 12, points = 36½ out of 47
BOARD 4 is won = 5, drew = 3, lost = 4, points = 6½ out of 12
BOARD 5 is won = 1, drew = 0, lost = 0, points = 1 out of 1
B Team
BOARD 1 is won = 5, drew = 6, lost = 1, points = 8 out of 12

Progress is outlined in the following sequence:

Season ONE   0_1_0_0_1_1_0_1_0_½_1_½_0_½____(6½/14)   
Season TWO   ½_0_½_½_1_1_½_½_½_½_0_0_1_1____(7½/14)   
Season THREE   ½_½_1_½_0_1_1_0_½_0_0_0_1_0_½_½_0____(7/15)   
Season FOUR   0_½_½_1_1_0_½_½_0_0_0_½_1____(5/13)   
Season FIVE   ½_1_1_1_½_½_1_0_½_0_½_0_1_1_0_½_½_½_½_½_½_0_0_1_0____(12½/25)   
Season SIX   1_0_0_0_0_½_½_1_1_1_0_0_½_½_0____(6/15)   
Season SEVEN   1_½_1_0_0_½_1_1_1_1_½_1_0_½_1_½_0_0_1____(11½/19)   
Season EIGHT   1_½_½_0_0_½_   

Archive Results

Click here for season #7.

Click here for season #6.

Click here for season #5.

Click here for season #4.

Click here for season #3.

Click here for season #2.

Click here for season #1.


The chess club was formed from the remnants of Stokesley Chess Club.They used to play upstairs in a dimly lit function room of the Queens Head pub in Stokesley. However, rumours of the possibility of having to pay a room rental in order to play matches coupled with there being no guarantee that they could complete a whole season in the same venue prompted the change. In his capacity as club treasurer at Great Ayton Working Men's Club, Martin McLoughlin persuaded the Committee to allow use of the Committee Room free of charge.
Subsequently the players decided to pick up their chess sets and change their club premises and hence their club name. Thus, Great Ayton Chess Club was founded at the end of September 2010.
Overall in the first season there was mixed fortunes for the two teams as the 'A' team managed to avoid relegation by a single point but the Knights were comprehensively relegated from the B division. Here are a series of firsts....
The first team kicked off their inaugural campaign on October 6th in their excellent new premises with a 5-0 drubbing by the league champions Peterlee.
The first player to lose was Peter Ridsdale who ironically went on to become the season's best performer in terms of points won. He played 16 matches and notched up 10½ points.
The first player to record a half point draw was Ian Richardson for the Knights in their defeat against Hartlepool.
The first player to actually win a game was also Ian Richardson in the 'A' team's debut away win against Middlesbrough Rooks.
The first player to win a game on home soil was Martin McLoughlin in the 'A' team's first drawn match against Thornaby Griffin.
The first (and only) victory in the inaugural season for the Knights was away against Redcar B.
The first player to win a game for the Knights was Alan Reed away at Whitby.
The first time the Knights were relegated was at the end of the first season.
The first season concluded with the chess club hosting the AGM for the Cleveland Chess Association, held in the Concert Room on Tuesday 5th July 2011. A total of 27 members attended the event (17% of the registered membership - but still managed to eat all of the free buffet!!).
The first end of season chess dinner took place at the Y'Thai restaurant in Stokesley. Five players and their spouses had an enjoyable meal where the topic of chess was hardly mentioned. The conversation centred round what on earth had possessed Samantha to marry Martin McLoughlin as he sat there with his forehead dripping in sweat from a very hot curry!
The first club AGM took place on September 7th 2011. It comprised of Phil Semp as acting chairman. It appointed Martin McLoughlin as treasurer and also featured Peter Ridsdale, Ian Richardson, Alan Reed and Gordon Dickinson.
The first release of the website was launched on October 3rd 2011 just in time for the start of our second season. Many thanks to computer wizard Dave Hendry for helping Martin McLoughlin to set up the site.
The first ever appearance in a cup final was at the end of season #3 where a team comprising of Mike Hardman, Martin McLoughlin, Peter Ridsdale, Suresh Keswani and Peter Archer (capt) lost 3-2 against Middlesbrough Rooks in the Tom Wise Knockout Cup on 27th May 2013 at Middlesbrough Rugby Football and Cricket Club, Acklam.
The first time the A team was relegated was at the end of season #3 but re-instated before the start of season #4. The Knights were christened the B team in conjunction with the creation of the C team at the start of season #5.
The first C team match played out a 2-2 draw in their away encounter against Middlesbrough Bishops at the start of season #5.
The first player to win a game for the C team was Alan Reed against Middlesbrough Bishops
The first player to represent all A, B and C teams was Ian Richardson.
The first C team player to win a game at our home venue was Alan Jefferson in their 3-1 defeat by Darlington E.
The first ever trophy win was the Jeremy Burnett Plate which the A team achieved on May 19th 2015 against Thornaby A at the Thornaby Pavillon. The winning team (that drew the match but won on the 3 blacks rule) comprised of Mike Hardman, Martin McLoughlin, Kegan Harrison, Peter Ridsdale and captain Peter Archer.
The first D team match was at the start of season #6 with an away match 2½-1½ victory against Darlington E.
The first player to record a win for the D team was Gordon Dickinson against Connor Lishman of Darlington E.
The first ever encounter between two Great Ayton teams took place on 25th November 2015 an saw the D team draw against the C team. The first player to inflict a defeat on a fellow squad member was Mike Botterill with his victory over Kevin Wilson.
The first ever former Great Ayton player to defeat a Great Ayton B team player was Peter Ridsdale on 30th November 2015 with his win over Ian Richardson that saw Boro Knights thrash us 5-0.
The first ever former Great Ayton player to defeat a Great Ayton A team player was Peter Ridsdale on 6th January 2016 with his win over Peter Archer that saw Boro Rooks triumph by 3-2 against our A team.
The first ever encounter between the A and B teams occurred on 24th February 2016 in the semi-final of the Jeremy Burnett Plate. The A team ran out comfortable 4½-½ winners in the end after a sterling performance from the B team.
The first ever player to play on board 1, board 2, board 3, board 4 and board 5 in a season was Martin McLoughlin who completed this unique feat in season #6 by playing in the A team.
The first player to reach the milestone of 100 appearances for the chess club was Martin McLoughlin who achieved the historic feat on 19th October 2016 having contributed 46½ points. This comprised of playing 88 times for the A team and a dozen times on top board for the B team.
The first player to accumulate a half century of points was Martin McLoughlin who recorded this superb contribution on January 10th 2017.
The first player to play 100 games for the A team was Mike Hardman who reached the milestone on 1st Feb 2017 amassing a total of 46½ points.
The first time 3 generations of one family represented the club was in the Plate on 1st Feb 2017 when Richard, Nick and Tom Hall played for the A team winning 4-1 against our B team.
The first time the A team won a trophy outright was in season #7 on May 24th 2017 when they defeated Boro Knights 3½-1½ at our venue winning the Jeremy Burnett Plate with a team comprising of Mike Hardman, Andy Corbyn, Martin McLoughlin, captain Kegan Harrison and Mike Pointon.
The first player to win using the new digital clocks was Martin McLoughlin in his straightforward no nonsense victory over the CCA Chairman, Brian Whitaker of Thornaby A team on 18th October 2017, recording the 24 move win with 1 hour and 13 minutes left on his clock and Brian with 1 hour and 9 minutes.
The first player to amass 50 points for the A team was Martin McLoughlin who achieved this extraordinary feat on 30th October 2017 at Darlington. The A team had played 117 matches and accrued a total of 278 points of which the excellent contribution applied.

Outstanding Individual Performances

There have been several outstanding individual performances by squad members throughout the Club's history.
The first player to win joint first place in a Minor (under 135) was Peter Ridsdale who was graded 133 when scoring 4/5 at the 48th Northumbria Chess Congress in September 2012.
The first player to win joint first place in a Major (under 166) was Martin McLoughlin who was graded 148 when scoring 4/5 at the 51st Hull Chess Congress in October 2014.
The first player to be selected to represent England (Seniors) at international level was Richard Hall who played for England in a competition over in Vienna in July 2015.
Cleveland Individual Minor Champion: Peter Ridsdale (Season #3)
Cleveland Individual Minor Champion: Kegan Harrison (Season #5)
Cleveland Individual Joint Open Champion: R V M Hall (Season #7)

Club Honours

The following lists the achievements of our chess club by each season.

Season #1. Nothing Season #2. Nothing Season #3. Cup final runners-up: Lost 3-2 to Middlesbrough Rooks. Season #4. Cup final runners-up: Lost 3½-1½ to Darlington A. Season #5. Plate final winners: Drew 2½-2½ with Thornaby A (won on 3 blacks rule) Prize: Jeremy Burnett Plate Season #6. Plate final runners-up: Lost 3½-1½ to Middlesbrough Rooks. Season #7. Plate final winners: Won 3½-1½ against Middlesbrough Knights. Prize: Jeremy Burnett Plate

Each season the top five performing players, based on their individual points scored throughout the season, are listed in the prestigious Team Of The Season. In the event of a tie the player who regularly plays on a higher board comes first.

Team Of The Season.
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
1. Jim Rogers - 13½ points 1. Gordon Middlemiss - 13 points1. Martin McLoughlin - 12½ points1. Peter Archer - 8½ points1. Peter Ridsdale - 8 points1. Ian Richardson - 8½ points1. Peter Ridsdale - 10½ points
2. Kegan Harrison - 12½2. Ian Richardson - 122. Kegan Harrison - 12½ 2. Peter Ridsdale - 6½2. Mike Hardman - 72. Martin McLoughlin - 7½2. Mike Hardman - 7½
3. Martin McLoughlin - 11½3. Suresh Keswani - 11½3. Alan Reed - 11½ 3. Mike Hardman - 63. Martin McLoughlin - 73. Gordon Dickinson - 73. Suresh Keswani - 7
4. Nick Hall - 94. Kegan Harrison - 114. Peter Archer - 10½4. Martin McLoughlin - 5½4. Peter Archer - 74. Mike Hardman - 64. Martin McLoughlin - 6½
5. Peter Archer - 85. Peter Archer - 115. Ian Richardson - 9½5. Phil Semp - 5½5. Ian Richardson - 65. Peter Archer - 65. Ian Richardson - 4½

Club Presidents

The following players have been honoured as Club President:

Season #1, Joe Richardson
Season #2, Alan Jefferson
Season #3, Dave Richardson (Teesside Hungarians) - admin error
Season #4, Carl Shuttleworth
Season #5, Norman Cole
Season #6, Peter Ridsdale
Season #7, Martin Carter
Season #8, Andrew French

Team Captains

The following players have been team captains

A Team, Peter Archer Seasons #1-5, Kegan Harrison Season #6-8,
B Team, Phil Semp Seasons #1-5, Peter Archer Season #6-8,
C Team, Alan Reed Season #5, Phil Semp Season #6, Alan Reed Season #7-8
D Team, Alan Reed Season #6, Phil Semp Season #7-8

Player's Debut

The following shows when each squad player wore the team shirt for the first time

01. Mike Hardman v C Walton (A team at home v Peterlee) 6/10/2010 - Loss
02. Carl Shuttleworth v J Simpson (A team at home v Peterlee) 6/10/2010 - Loss
03. Martin McLoughlin v D Armbruster (A team at home v Peterlee) 6/10/2010 - Loss
04. Peter Ridsdale v S Carter (A team at home v Peterlee) 6/10/2010 - Loss
05. Peter Archer v C Smith (A team at home v Petelee) 6/10/2010 - Loss
06. Ian Richardson v K Smith (B team away v Hartlepool) 13/10/2010 - Draw
07. Joe Richardson v B Price (B team away v Hartlepool) 13/10/2010 - Draw
08. Phil Whittingham v B Wilson (B team away v Hartlepool) 13/10/2010 - Loss
09. Alan Reed v D Smith (B team away v Hartlepool) 13/10/2010 - Loss
10. Alan Jefferson v E Glass (B team away v Hartlepool) 13/10/2010 - Loss
11. Suresh Keswani v J Heeley (A team at home v Thornaby Griffin) 3/11/2010 - Loss
12. Phil Semp v A Lau (B team at home v Redcar A) 10/11/2010 - Loss
13. Gordon Dickinson v B Robinson (B team at home v Redcar A) 10/11/2010 - Draw
14. James Morley v M Evans (B team at home v Darlington B) 15/12/2010 - Loss
15. Graham Shuttleworth v J Suscens (B team away v Redcar B) 2/2/2011 - Win
16. Kevin Wilson v M Kirkpatrick (B team away v Middlesbrough Bishops) 17/11/2011 - Loss
17. Norman Cole v G Botwright (B team away v Teesside Hungarians) 3/10/2012 - Draw
18. Dave McCabe v A Fell (B team at home v Darlington C) 16/10/2013 - Loss
19. Richard Hall v A Corbyn (A team at home v Guisborough A) 6/11/2013 - Loss
20. Kegan Harrison v B Myers (A team away v Redcar A) 15/10/2014 - Win
21. Gordon Middlemiss v R Donner (B team away v Darlington C) 22/10/2014 - Draw
22. Mike Hardy v R Kuby (C team away v Middlesbrough Bishops) 27/10/2014 - Loss
23. Andy Corbyn v S MacCormack (A team at home v Westgarth),14/10/2015 - Win
24. Mike Botterill v S Hewapathiran (C team at home v Middlesbrough Bishops) 14/10/2015 - Win
25. Martin Carter v D Dixon (B team away v Darlington C) 21/10/2015 - Loss
26. Howard Whitehead v C Lishman (C team away v Darlington E) 9/11/2015 - Loss
27. Mike Pointon v G Botwright (B team at home v Middlesbrough Knights) 12/10/2016 - Win
28. Nick Hall v A Fell (C team away v Darlington D) 31/10/2016 - Win
29. Stephen Gatenby v N Tadd (D team at home v Thornaby B) 2/11/2016 - Loss
30. Jim Rogers v M McLoughlin (Snr) (C team at home v Redcar C) 7/11/2016 - Win
31. Bob Porritt v H Wilson (D team at home v Darlington D) 21/12/2016 - Loss
32. Tom Hall v M Hardy (A team away v B team in Plate) 1/2/2017 - Loss
33. Andrew French v M Priest (D team at home v Hartlepool B) 4/10/2017 - Win

Annual Dinner Venues

The following restaurants have hosted the chess club dinner (number of attendees in brackets)

Season #1, Y'Thai, Stokesley (10)
Season #2, Bay Horse, Great Broughton (13)
Season #3, Blackwell Ox, Carlton-in-Cleveland (14)
Season #4, Whinstone View, Great Ayton (13)
Season #5, Treebridge, Nunthorpe Village (19)
Season #6, Royal Oak, Great Ayton (28)
Season #7, Shirovi Indian, Guisborough (19)

Best Games


This section features the best games of Carl Shuttleworth that he played during the first season. Unfortunately Carl did not manage to win a single match so there are no games to display.


This season we decided to highlight the best games of our new signing Kevin Wilson. His sole victory was against a young boy, S Hewapathiran of Middlesbrough Bishops. Unfortunately Kevin has mislaid his scoresheet so we are unable to display his memorable win.


It has been a longstanding tradition that whenever the club appoints a new club President the best game by the new incumbent is featured in this section. Allen Jefferson was installed in this prestigious post in the summer of 2012 when last seen propping up the bar in the White Swan in Stokesley. Unfortunately there is no best game to display as not only did our new President win a match he never even played a single game throughout the entire season. In fact he did not make a single appearance to our chess club as he preferred to work off shore near Nigeria instead. Subsequently, it was decided to draw a name out of the hat and display the best game of the lucky recipient. Kevin Wilson was the lucky player chosen but unfortunately Kevin never managed to win a single game out of his four losing appearances.


In an attempt not to be bereft of displaying an actual game the judging panel comprising of the club treasurer and webmaster decided not to conform to the longstanding tradition of featuring the games of a new club President. It decided to bypass the new incumbent, Carl Shuttleworth, as the panel were aware that he never made a single appearance during the season. Instead the agreement was to encourage new talent to shine and feature the best game of any new club player. In this case Dave McCabe was selected as the only new blood to join the squad but unfortunately he failed to win a single point. To add insult to injury he decided to quit playing for the club mid-season. In a hastily convened committee meeting the judging panel unanimously agreed the former club President be given the opportunity to feature his best game. We regret to announce that despite featuring in six matches Alan Jefferson never managed to win a game and so there are no matches to display.


In light of previous efforts that resulted in no best game being shown the judging panel was trebled in size in a valiant attempt to display the best game by one of our players throughout the campaign. It was increased to comprise of the club historian, club statistician, publicity officer, Head of Equipment director as well as the original members of club treasurer and webmaster. In an extraordinary committee meeting they spent hours pouring over the plethora of options available to them. It was a very heated debate that eventually ended with the treasurer using his casting vote to insist that the constitutional ruling regarding the longstanding tradition of featuring the games of the new club president was to be adhered too. In this case the best game of club president, Norman Cole, played during the season #5 campaign was to be displayed. It is with bitter regret that the judging committee has to announce that there is no game to be shown as poor Norman never won a single game during his tenure as club president. In the aftermath the club historian and Head of Equipment director have stood down from the judging panel.


With the judging panel in disarray following the defection of several members an early decision was made at the start of season #6 that would be adhered too regardless. It was that the best game would be selected from our new overseas star, Martin Carter from New Zealand. I believe that we are the only team in the league that features a player from another continent and so it was with special interest that we followed his progress in his first season with our squad. Fortunately out of the 3 games he played for us he did manage a single victory against Alan Stockley. Unfortunately Martin is now travelling in a camper van around Australia and we are unable to contact him. Consequently we regret that without his scoresheet we are unable to display this fine victory.


Angered by the complete ineptness of the judging panel to ever come up with displaying the best game of a squad player throughout the season the Head of Recruitment Director scrapped the panel and requested that Head of Research Director take matters in hand. Consequently the Head of Research Director appointed the chess club psychologist to undertake the selection process with a specific remit of concentrating on the home form of a sub-group of players that have served the club so well since the club was formed in 2010. Alarmed at the fact that the Head of Research Director had left matters to the club psychologist he was overheard in a heated discussion to have said 'what are you doing leaving it to that useless git?' However, he was reassured that the select contingent of Phil Semp, Mike Hardman, Gordon Dickinson and club legend Alan Jefferson would not disappoint and, furthermore, it was about time that the club psychologist actually did something useful. Imagine the horror that ensued when it was discovered that for some inexplicable reason the club secretary and LGBT officer, Phil Semp, failed to win a single game all season. Undeterred the games of the second name upon the list, Mike Hardman, were reviewed and panic started to set in as all Mike's home games either turned out to be draws or defeats. The next name on the list, Gordon Dickinson, also revealed that he had been unable to win a match on home soil and suddenly everything hinged on the club legend, Alan Jefferson, to deliver the goods. Needless to say Alan never won a home game although he insisted that he was actually in the building when he won his game against newcomer Bob Porritt in the cup fixture between our A and C teams. Unfortunately this did not count within the remit issued by the Head of Research Director as technically Alan was playing for the away team. In a last gasp attempt attention was switched to the former ruling of featuring the best game of a new signing. Fortunately Bob had won a game in the clash between our C and D teams by recording a remarkable victory over Mike Hardy. It is with bitter regret that Bob threw away his scoresheet and Mike refused to hand his copy over, as a consequence we are unable to display the best game. Subsequently the club psychologist has gone on the sick with depression.

The Opposition

This section lists the clubs that feature in the Cleveland League.
The tables associated with each club indicate how our teams have fared on our travels. Results shown in blue are the A team league matches. Results shown in purple are the A team cup matches. Results shown in red are the B team league matches. Results shown in turquoise are the B team cup matches. Results shown in orange are the C team league matches. Results shown in pink are the D team league matches.

Billingham Synthonia

Address: Billingham Synthonia Club, Belasis Avenue, Billingham.
Distance from our club: 15 miles Journey time 25 minutes

Club night is WEDNESDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS23 1BG

Paul Weightman120
Paul Frank117
Phil Whittingham106
Vince Skillcorn103
Bernie Callaghan96
Dave Frank94
Martin Curry93
Keith Harrison91
Graham Edwards78
Stuart McLaughlin74
Frank Brown70
Walter Greenwood68

Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
2½-1½ win,draw5-0 win 5-0 win5-0 win4-1 win3-2 win4-1 winno games


Address: Cockerton Band and Musical Institute Club, Woodlands Road, Cockerton, Darlington
Distance from our club: 25 miles Journey time 40 minutes

Club night is MONDAY for teams A,D and E and WEDNESDAY for teams B and C

Click on postcode to view map DL3 9AB

Steve Dauber179
Kevin Wilson168
Jonathan Sams162
Steve Ormerod158
Mike Evans152
Dave Dixon149
Alexis Solanas146
Bob Donner140
Richard Harris133
Brian Robinson130
Carl Stephens129
Garry Hewitt127
David Harris123
Peter McKay123
Alan Fell117
Sue Fraser116
Bill Metcalfe116
Jim Garner109
Phil Shaw105
Rod Gilpin104
Alec Cinamon95
Harry Wilson (jr)95
Richard Kuby90
Aiden Garner72
Shrish Nair27

Against Darlington A
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
4-1 loss 3-2 loss ,draw4-1 loss3-2 win3½-1½ loss,3½-1½ loss4-1 lossdraw3-2 loss

Against Darlington B
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
4-1 loss3½-1½ loss4-1 win3-2 loss3-2 lossno games4-1 loss

Against Darlington C
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ loss3½-1½ loss3½-1½ win3-2 lossno gamesno gamesno games

Against Darlington D
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
2½-1½ loss 3-1 win3½-½ lossdraw no gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno games

Against Darlington E
Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-1 loss ,2½-1½ win3-1 lossno gamesno gamesno gamesno games


Address: Athenaeum Club, Church Street, Hartlepool
Distance from our club: 23 miles Journey time 34 minutes

Club night is MONDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS24 7DH

Ray Stonehouse176
Bill Wilson151
Bernie Price148
Peter Harker147
Keith Smith144
Graham Matthews121
Kevin Waterman116
David Lowcock111
David Smith96
Mark Priest95
Eddie Glass75
David Finer20

Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-2 win 3-2 loss3½-1½ win3-2 lossno gamesno games4-1 loss4-1 loss


Address: Middlesbrough Conservative Club, 21 Orchard Road, Linthorpe
Distance from our club: 8 miles Journey time 15 minutes

Club night is MONDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS5 5PN

Nick Tavoularis207
Chris Duggan188
Paul Gregory176
Paul Perret160
Robert Harding159
Steve Cole157
Ernie Lazenby146
Peter Ridsdale137
Ron Stather137
Ray Pallister122
Nikhil Bhandari122
Dave Appleyard121
Mohamed Gouda118
Ged Murphy114
Ihsaan Mahmood (jr)86

Against Boro Rooks
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
4½-½ loss,3-2 windraw3½-1½ loss5-0 loss4½-½ loss,3-2 loss3-2 loss3½-1½ win

Against Boro Knights
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ loss5-0 loss4½-½ win,3½-1½ loss4-1 lossdraw,3-2 loss3-2 loss4-1 loss

Against Boro Bishops
Season #7 Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-2 win3-1 loss3½-½ lossdrawno gamesno games3-2 lossno games

Against Boro Wasps
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
2½-1½ loss 4-0 lossno gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno games


Address: The Literary Institute, Lord Street, Redcar
Distance from our club: 14 miles Journey time 25 minutes

Club night is WEDNESDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS10 3EN

Sean Marsh212
Julain Allinson208
David Baillie182
Andrew Smith176
Dave Edmunds167
Matt Jackman166
Steve MacCormack149
Brian Myers142
Jason Gentle132
Royce Parker122
Richard Moore119
Gerry Walsh118
John Bunyan113
John Suscens110
Ian Kitchen104
Martin McLoughlin (snr)95
John Cowle94
Alan Hare92
Stuart Barry84
Tim Foley83
Tibor Loborik82
Nikolai Benson32

Against Redcar A
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ loss4½-½ loss3-2 loss4-1 loss3-2 loss3½-1½ win5-0 loss

Against Redcar B
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
draw3½-1½ win3½-1½ loss4½-½ win,3-2 lossno gamesno games4½-½ win,4½-½ win

Against Redcar C
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
2½-1½ loss2½-1½ loss4-0 win3½-½ winno gamesno gamesno gamesno games

The Buffs

Address: Buffs Social Club, 60 Norton Road, Stockton, TS18 2BX
Distance from our club: 13 miles Journey time 25 minutes

Club night is THURSDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS18 2BX

John Garnett175
Andrew Killick156
Nick Webb145
Yash Gulve127
Sean Cassidy125
Derek Simpson112
Mercia Baldea103
Geoff Garnett100
Alan Stockley99
John Littlehailes97

Against Stockton A
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
4½-½ win3½-1½ win3-2 win, drawdraw3-2 loss3½-1½ loss,drawdraw

Against Stockton B
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-1 loss 2½-1½ loss4-1 windraw4-1 win3½-1½ win3½-1½ lossno games

Against Stockton C
Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
no games3-1 winno gamesno games4-1 winno games


Address: Wrightson House, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees TS17 9EW
Distance from our club: 10 miles Journey time 17 minutes

Club night is TUESDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS17 9EW

Paul Douglass166
Francis Batchelor161
Dave Richardson137
Mike Creaney128
Ray Honeybourne124
Chris Carabine123
Brian Whitaker122
Bill March109
Geoff Howsden84
Nick Tadd59

Against Thornaby A
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-2 loss5-0 lossdraw4½-½ loss3-2 win,4½-½ loss3½-1½ lossno games4-1 win

Against Thornaby B
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ win2½-1½ loss 3-1 win2½-1½ lossno gamesno gamesno gamesno games


In order to join Great Ayton Chess Club you must become a member of Great Ayton Workingmen's Club (GAWMC). The GAWMC Committee have deemed that the chess club can use the premises free of charge providing each chess player becomes a member of the Workingmen's club. The cost is £10 per year (subscriptions to be renewed every January) or £3 if you are classified as a pensioner. There is a one-off £3 joining fee for the red pass book that allows entry into the club. This GAWMC subscription fee is soon recouped by taking advantage of the cheap beer prices and benefit of the other entertainment on offer, such as playing bingo or watching live bands.
Thanks to the GAWMC we not only get use of the Concert Room for free to host our matches we get a £60 donation in order to pay for 4 teams to be entered in the Cleveland Chess League. The registration fees are £3 for each player for the season. At the start of season #8 when the annual donation came into force we had 21 players registered. Thus, an additional £3 was to be paid out of existing club funds.
Finally, the ECF requires that each player must be registered with the national organisation. The minimum form of membership is classified as a bronze member. Payment via the internet costs £15 or £16 via the telephone. Silver membership costs £22.50 and is suitable for those players wishing to regularly participate in weekend congresses. Gold membership of £33 is for players residing overseas (e.g Suresh Keswani) or playing at international level representing England (e.g Richard Hall). It is the responsibility of each individual squad player to pay their own level of membership prior to the start of our chess season in October.


Here are some exciting chess photographs!!!!

Click on each thumbnail image in turn to display the respective full-sized photograph:

These young fans are enthusiastic chess players and are welcome to join our chess club without having to pay the annual subscription.

Captain's Log

This section features the divine wisdom of our captain.

Captain's log for season #8

Redcar B vs Great Ayton B – KO Cup First Round (14th Feb)

As ever, our reports aim to inform, entertain and educate! The more erudite readers of our captains’ logs will be aware of the paradox of Schrödinger’s Cat. This states that certain quantum systems (such as Great Ayton Bees) can simultaneously exist in more than one state (North Yorkshire, Redcar and Cleveland) and have different outcomes (win  and lose ☹). Congratulations to Beeleague on gaining two valuable points at home to The Buffs while we, the Beecups, lost to a strong Redcar Bcup team. All is not lost however, as cats have many lives and we live on to fight another day to help the club retain the Jeremy Burnett Plate Trophy.

On a day when we could have been literally blown away, I lost the toss and we played with black on odd boards. As my opponent was much stronger than me, I did not have much time to wander round and see how things were going on. By half past nine, though, all boards were still battling away with little to choose. Gradually things changed, with Gordon getting the upper hand on board 5 to secure a full point, and Alan allowed his opponent to get two rooks on the seventh rank which gave him a strong position and so it was 1-1. Andrew and Jim were both being pegged back with kings rather exposed and so soon after ten o’clock we were in the Plate at 1-3. My game went right to the wire with both of us in the last couple of minutes before I lost on time, but was material down at that stage.

On the way home there were more Sounds of the Seventies playing (my more modern music), but passing Lackenby Works perhaps Chris Rea’s Steel River would have been more appropriate.


Great Ayton B v The Buffs A (14th Feb)

Due to an excess of Bee games this week I was put in charge of what could possibly be(e) described as the Bee B Team for the second time this season. As ever the GAWMC was a hive of activity with numerous squad members (worker bees?) surrounding the team to cheer us on to against my former club The Buffs. Due to an unfortunate mis-scheduling by Cupid of Valentines Day on a CCA Match Night (come on Cupid surely there are other days to get smoosy on!) the Buffs arrived lacking their enigmatic star Mitch Baldea whose wife had reminded him at the last minute that his priorities lay not on the chess board but elsewhere; hence we started with a default on Board 5 which left D Team Supremo Semp free to play a few games with the other supporters (1-0). The match did not begin on time.

Guisborough's Tal Gordon Middlemiss (Board 4, White) played Alan Stockley and inevitably began with one of his idiosyncratic openings. Black failed to deal with it and rapidly found himself not only under pressure but an exchange down. In true Middlemissovian style the White pieces dominated the board and a loose move by Black allowed a Rook to win a pawn on the 7th rank, an invasion followed, a Black Knight returned to the box and with threats everywhere the towel was thrown in (2-0).

My game (Board 3, Black) was with regular adversary and all round good guy Sean Cassidy. Having prepared over the weekend assuming I would be on Board 2 against Andrew Killick I discovered on Monday that I would actually be Board 3 and so switched to plans with Black against Nick Webb. I played Sean so all the preparation was out of the window. It was an very interesting game in which after a opening move order error Black was in a very awkward position and the White pieces started to occupy menacing positions. Kingside pawn advances by White threatened to rip apart the Black position but the Black King evacuated just in time and the advances loosened Whites King just enough ... White then had to capture a pawn with either Queen or Rook ... the Rook was selected. A discovered attack with check led to the White Bishop being lost and a piece up Black finished the game off with a further check this time with a discovered attacked on the Queen. I felt fortunate at the time and that White was a lot better, if not winning, but subsequent attempts by Captain Killick to prove this all led to different variations of loss. Lesson: keep your pieces active! (3-0).

International Superstar Suresh (Board 2, White) having spent the week assisting Carlsen with his preparations in the Chess 960 Challenge against Nakamura was undoubtedly off balance as the pieces were returned to their normal starting squares for his game with Buffs Captain Killick. White misplayed the opening, attempting to hang on to the 'gambitted' pawn which just gives Black too muck play. In typical style Black established an advantage then gradually increased the pressure causing White great difficulty, a neat Queen manoeuvre started to net Black material and with the White pieces almost as uncoordinated as it is possible to be the sky fell in (3-1).

This left Nick Hall (Board 1, Black) on his second outing for the Bees this season against John Garnett (by far the strongest player in the CCA with the surname Garnett). Before the start I was told that Black had prepared an opening surprise for White, but White was up for it and in no time it was Black that was out of book and on the back foot. In true John Garnett style a pawn was won and thereafter the best that Black could hope for was to be ground down to defeat, as it was some nice tactics allowed White to claim a much quicker victory (3-2).

Thanks to the Buffs for their company tonight and they were as ever gentlemen, I say this in spite of the fact we were reminded that they won the reciprocal fixture 4-1 early in the season! A good result for us that keeps the B Division tight.

As previously when I am O/C Bees I like to select some retro music in honour of the true Captain so this evenings log was against the backdrop of an album that is probably not to be found in Captain Archers collection but is none the less a classic from 1972: Tangerine Dream - Zeit.



Great Ayton D vs Middlesbrough Bishops

This was definitely not the D team’s finest hour, against the current league leaders. If we got a good result, it would help our high-flying C team. Good club man that he is, Allan bravely turned up with a heavy cold, but was not in top form and was beaten fairly quickly. I played the opening badly, leaving myself weak on the white squares around the king, and was well beaten by half past eight – a game to learn from and quickly forget. Andrew seemed to be getting into his game, but things were also draughty around his king which enabled his opponent to create lots of threats to win major pieces. Eventually the pressure told and so the score went to 0-3 and we were looking to escape a whitewash. Earlier in the evening, I had heard a kerfuffle at Steve’s game, but did not know what it was about. Anyway, it became apparent that his opponent had made a poor move, realised it quickly, and tried to move the piece further along. Steve was sportingly supported by another Middlesbrough player that the moved had been completed, and so he won material. By the time I was watching, Steve had built up an unstoppable attack on the lonely king and soon won the game. This gave us a chance to look at the C team who were all still playing, but looking good, and ended up deserved 3½ - 1½ winners.

I was so disappointed in my game that I forgot to tune in to “Sounds of the Seventies” CD on the way home, but at least Spurs had managed to beat Newport in their FA Cup replay!


Great Ayton C v Redcar C (7 February 2018)

Well-contested match which was closely fought right up to the end – 3.5-0.5 Win.

Anyway, as ever and as we have all come to expect, Gordon D returned from his now usual, brutally early start and from the small matter of a full-on day’s work/sojourn in Manchester to battle manfully (or should we say . . . personfully) on Board 4 for the Team . . . two sound players ceding nothing and making no mistakes right up to a nailed-on draw being honourably agreed around move 30. (0.5-0.5)

Amazingly, Gordon M was made to play at a much slower rate than is his norm. Our suspicion was that this particular manifestation was, in fact, an imposter. Nevertheless, after around 30 rather dolefully slow moves he nicely eased ahead by a B. After that, our highest-graded player was not to be denied, going on to secure the win as he has so often done this season. (1.5-0.5)

Carrying our Board 1 responsibilities tonight, Jim was inspirationally solid . . . despite his opponent playing accurately and giving no quarter through the first 30 moves. As we all know, the Board 1 torch in any team is so important for the rest of the team in setting the overall umbrella and envelope for their efforts. From the mid-game onwards Jim achieved the breakthrough, gaining several Ps on the bounce and then steadily applied increasing pressure to pick up pawns and pieces in his own inimitable, lateral-thinking style. Game over through dignified resignation around move 45 . . . the match won through Jim’s unstinting efforts in closing in on his prey. (2.5-0.5)

Board 3 gave us a much more evenly-balanced affair, with Alan and his opponent showing nothing between them well into the middle game and with both players using oodles of time to try to unravel the complexities and potential threats/opportunities being faced. As is often the case in these close-fought scenarios, around move 25 just one slip and one lucky punch did the trick . . . this opened up a K-side Q/B/R attack for Alan which then settled the matter soon after. (3.5-0.5)

Thanks to Redcar for their usual well-fought battle. As always, we are looking forward to the next one. Always a pleasure to welcome Redcar to our shores . . . as is common knowledge, we have tried so hard to recruit their cerebral Board 4 to our Club Team, given his residence in GA . . . but to their credit these Guys have great Team spirit and huge loyalty to their cause. No chance there then !!! In all seriousness, exactly as it should be, we look forward to our next meeting . . . only 7 days away . . . in the Cup !

Alan R

Thornaby A v Great Ayton A (6th Feb)

This week saw us travelling to Thornaby and the venue that holds the record for the highest altitude above sea level of any in the CCA. As regular readers of this log will recall last year we sent our pampered Superstars off to a training camp at the Grand Hotel, St Mortitz but due to minor difficulties with the procurement of bubble bath they returned somewhat dissatisfied. So this year faced with the gruelling prospect of ‘walking up all them steps’ they chose this week for their training and are currently residing at the Hot-Tub and Pedalo Emporium in the Azores and are doubtless studying the finer points of Rook and Pawn ending as I write. The result of all this is that it was the popular 1960’s beat-combo of Martin And The Bees that grasped the carabiners and scaled the North Face of Thornaby Pavillion.
US Import Jim Rogers (White, Board 5) was playing against Ray Honeybourn, White made a small error early on allowing Black to double his Pawns on the d file. Despite numerous attempts Black was unable to put any real pressure on these and a Draw was agreed (0.5-0.5).
Captain Marvel (Black, Board 4) sat opposite the now definitely former CCA grader Mike Creaney, the position looked fairly innocuous with the two sides both occupying their own territory. At some point in the middle game Black won a Pawn but this gave White sufficient compensation to more or less force its return to allow Black any play and peace was agreed (1-1).
My game (White, Board 3) saw me against Dave Richardson in what is surprisingly only our second ever game (ignoring Rapid Play). The opening was somewhat unorthodox but led to a tense early middlegame with White possibly having the initiative, an interesting Queen advance caused sufficient uncertainty in the Black rear guard for him to sacrifice a Bishop for two pawns leaving White in a much better position. Then it was the turn of uncertainty to hit White, looking for a win a loose move followed by a horror led to a Queen check which also attacked an unguarded Rook … a handshake followed (1-2).
Positional Maestro McLoughlin (White, Board 1) played his successor as CCA Webmaster Paul Douglass in what I believe is the only opening named after a Swiss player. As is common White castled Queenside leaving both sides to force pawns down the flanks towards the opponents King. Black seemed to have the edge here with the a and b pawns making rapid progress. But White had an idea … put a Queen on h6 … with the Rook on h1 supporting … this would be winning! But as Napoleon discovered at the Battle of Borodino sometimes even really good ideas can be thwarted if your opponent doesn’t play ball; Black, in the manner of General Kutuzov declined to exchange the Knights and established his own Utitsa and the game went on. The Black pawns pushed on but the White King melted away to the Queenside leaving little for them to attack (1.5-2.5).
This left International Superstar Suresh (Black, Board 2) back from assisting Levon Aronian to win the Gibraltar Open in fine style against one of the rising stars of the CCA Francis Batchelor. White pushed hard down the Queenside and established a horrible Knight on c6 supported by a d Pawn. This proved extremely annoying for Black as these Kasparovian Octopus Equines do; Black found great difficulty trying to remove it and all the time the pressure grew … eventually something broke and that was that (1.5-3.5).
Disappointing perhaps but as ever Thornaby proved excellent hosts and we enjoyed a good chat and post mortem after the match whilst watching the bowlers do their stuff, so many thanks to them.
Eagled eyed followers of the Pop-Pickers section will have noticed the misattribution of last weeks album which was in fact Atomos by A Winged Victory For The Sullen, the Belgian/German duo, and not by Kiasmos, the Icelandic duo, as stated. The issue was caused partly by not paying attention at the late hour of writing and partly because the two duos share a record label (Erased Tapes) and so appeared together in the play list folder. I, the proof reader and the editor all apologise for this error and for any confusion caused in your trying to order the album on Amazon. This week the music was definitely Max Richter’s The Blue Notebook.

Redcar B vs Great Ayton B on Wednesday 31st January

It was clear when we arrived, that this would be a tough match, with a strong Redcar side out-grading us on average by more than ten points per board. I was there, but playing my individual match against league organiser Dave Edmunds, and not getting too much opportunity to watch what was happening. First to finish was Gordon against the tricky Brian Myers, both of them elegantly sporting hats despite the pleasantly warm room. Although he has had some good results against Brian, Gordon lost this one and spent some time watching other games. Other games looked fairly equal, but it was half past nine by the time I lost my game and had another look at progress. Kegan was down a bishop, and despite a few tricks was unable to get back level and subsided to leave us 0-2. Alan was now getting into a winning position, as a loud sigh from his opponent signalled that he had won a knight. It was still tricky, though, but eventually Alan found a way to swap off rooks leaving him with a won position. (With three wins out of three in January, Alan is unlucky not to be awarded the title of “Player of the Month” due to the brilliant bishop move played by our head of recruitment at Redcar a week earlier.) Suresh battled well against a tough opponent, who was able to make more of his passed pawn than our eastern overseas star who eventually lost on time trying to find the best defence. And so to the titanic struggle of the evening between Jim and the Redcar captain. I saw the game with Q, B and many pawns each, but Jim was on the defensive and lost a couple of pawns getting free. When the queens went there were stills lots of pawns but opposite coloured bishops. Jim created some pressure which put the brakes on his opponent’s progress so with 4 pawns to one he took a lot of time to find a solution to getting a pawn home. Jim finally ended up with just a bishop against a (second) queen. However, there were only seconds left and the clock ran down to give Jim a hard fought draw.

The final score of 1½ - 3½ was a fair reflection of the relative strengths of the teams, and so the Bees need to wait for some warmer weather before getting some sting back into their results.


Redcar v Great Ayton A

And so to Redcar for what we expected to be something of a catch-weight competition with the League and Cup Double Winners Elect fielding one of their stellar line-ups, as it was they were missing Messrs Baillie, Smith and Jackman and due to a mix up about whether or not they would be playing a Cup match tonight Brian Myers was replaced by B team Captain Royce Parker on Board 5, even so Redcar managed to average a none too shabby 175 compared to our 149.

Unusually the first game to finish was Mike Hardman (Board 1, White) with Chess Magazine contributer and Clevelands No.1 Sean Marsh. White gained a clear space advantage from the opening but Blacks position looked compact and well organised, as the middle game progressed the position started to loosen with Black attacking down the Kingside and White having heavy pressure in the Centre, White proposed a draw and Black agreed (0.5-0.5).

My game (White, Board 3) was with CCA Match Organiser Dave Edmunds and after an opening that was frankly an embarrassment to White I found myself a pawn down, with no discernible play and a mass of Black pawns hovering over my centre. Somehow White managed to convert this unholy mess (described often as 'strategically lost') into a Bishop v Knight ending still only a pawn down, but against strong opposition any sense of salvation is illusory and after various zugzwangs a further pawn returned to the box and shortly thereafter it seemed wise end the game (0.5-1.5).

Gordon Middlemiss (White, Board 5), the Tal of Guisborough, played one of his longest games of the season against Redcars B Team Skipper Royce Parker. It all looked fairly even in the middle game but at some point a couple of White Pawns disappeared, along with most of the pieces, leaving a R5vR3 endgame. Despite game resistance from White the position was always hopeless and shortly after the Queens Rook Pawn promoted a handshake was offered (0.5-2.5).

International Superstar Suresh (Black, Board 4) having returned from helping Magnus Carlsen at Wijk an Zee with his opening preparation which led to the World No.1 being 'surprised' that Gawain Jones played the Sicilian Dragon, 'losing' a piece and then due to the undoubted brilliance of the homework pulling off a AlphaZero style victory, was paired with Steve MacCormack. After a tense opening a middle/endgame was reached with the centre devoid of pieces and pawns, a Q2RBN6 material equality, and 4v3 Kingside advantage to Black and a 3v2 Queenside for White (with the Black pawns split). All seemed set for a close battle. Black played Re7, White played Qxe7. Black could not recapture and unlike Magnus's game there was no counterplay (0.5-3.5).

Once again the last game to finish was Positional Maestro McLoughlin (Black, Board 2) and 200+ Star Julian Allinson. It is always difficult to comment on such games when one, as the humble observer, is too ignorant to fully appreciate the finesse, the technical brilliance, the nerve, the sheer joie de vivre of what is going on the 64 squares, but as a chronicler of the GACC I am compelled to do so. Black won a pawn early on, a doubled passed pawn on the d-file, which White stated had been given up to prevent a strong initiative. Thereafter Whites pieces seemed uncoordinated with a Knight on a4. White seemed to be slowly untangling when Black once again upset the equilibrium by more or less forcing White to sacrifice the exchange for a couple of pawns. Was this wise? It left the Black light squares very weak and the pair of White Bishops started to look menacing, in the post-mortem White stated that had a draw been offered here he would 'have bitten his hand off' to accept, but, with another pawn hanging which could have been defended with either the Queen or Bishop. Black chose the Bishop missing a powerful Queen move. After that the technical details of the ending where not difficult for White and in the same manner that Kasparov once lost a game to Karpov a pawn on g6 was left unguarded and was taken by the Queen with check (0.5-4.5).

It looks like a bad result but all the games were hard fought, the C team match taking place at the same time was finished and packed away before the first result from the A team was in. In particular our Boards 1 and 2 did exceptionally well against the two highest grade players in the CCA. At the half way stage in the league we are equal second with 4 points which is as much as we could have wanted at the beginning of the season.

Mr President had hoped to be with us this evening but unfortunately he is currently having some domestic difficulties. After the festive season he and his wife (Mrs President) always treat themselves to a little something to celebrate the New Year and this year Mr President had decided that a Minelab GPZ 7000 Metal Detector would be just the ticket; Mrs President expressed a certain level of disappointment at this having set her heart on a Spa Weekend with Luxury Massage. In order to placate her and in the spirit of compromise Mr President offered her “a good 25-30% of ‘phones-time” since her “Lewis Vit-ton heels” were not ideal footwear for digging in heavy ground. It seems that even this generous offer did not cut the mustard. So a further solution was proposed that instead of the single GPZ 7000 unit two GPX 5000s could be bought for around the same price and, although these were not the cutting edge of the GPZ 7000, they could share the fun. Since then Mr President tea has either been late, non-existent, fed to the cat or salad. Their neighbour the Hairdresser Mr Kim finds all this very amusing. We will keep you informed.

To sooth the night away Kiasmos's Atomos - A Winged Victory For The Sullen provided the background for the log.



Hartlepool B 1 Great Ayton D 3

This was a night of unsound sacrifices and crucial pins - as well as a most improbable result!
After half an hour it looked quite lost on our two bottom boards and the top two were hardly off the mark.

Steve was playing their captain, Mark Priestley, on third board. His run of impressive form was brutally halted. Somehow, he thought that he would sac a bishop on f2 then follow up with a knight check, unpinning his queen and winning the bishop that had been pinning the knight to the queen - a well known ploy. However, he overlooked the small fact that mark's knight had already been developed to protect the bishop. There were no Tal- like tactics to whistle up and from there a succession of pins whittled away Steve's plastic so that he was left with a queen and pawns against a queen, both rooks and minor pieces. Steve tried in vain for a perpetual, but surrendered after this failed. 0-1

Alan J was playing Dave Finer. After 13 moves, having built up a decent position, he moved his pinned knight and gave away his queen for bishop. Dave had many chances to inflict more damage, but instead inexplicably gave back his queen, having won back a bishop. Alan was now back in the game, with a bind on Dave's pieces and active knights. However, he let Dave whittle away his central pawns and was looking distinctly lost once more against a phalanx of passed pawns. Once more Dave came to Alan's rescue. He walked into successive discovered checks in which Alan won both rooks. After that, Alan gobbled up Dave's pawns and won the game - at last! 1-1

Kevin was playing Dave Smith. He gave Dave a doubled pawn on the c file and soon after sacked a pawn to make it a tripled pawn. A nice bishop move consolidated Kevin's centre and soon afterwards he won back one of the tripled pawns, following this with a doubling of f pawns. Kevin's position was looking good, but there was no immediate crunch. Dave had little play and out of the blue he sacked his rook on f7, but there was no obvious follow up - except a bishop check which skewered Kevin's king and rook. It seems to me that Kevin could safely have interposed a pawn, but instead chose to accept the rook for bishop and keep his pawn formation intact. From there it was a slow grind, but eventually, having swapped off queens and pieces, Kevin's extra knight gobbled up pawns and left him with two passed pawns on the a and b files. There was a possible silly mating net Kevin could have walked into at the end, but he kept his cool and won. 1-2

Peter played Dave Lowcock on top board. This was a nice game of chess. Peter established a good centre and also had the queen's side nicely secured. Both made minor forays which were easily parried. However, after a series of swaps, the queen side was freed up a little and Dave probably had a slightly better position, but the odds were on a draw. The game took a turn when Dave overlooked a knight sac which would have unpinned a queen takes rook move - giving check on the back rank. From there Peter kicked on with a further knight takes pawn sac that won the game. 1-3

One of those nights where if I'd bet my shirt on the result I'd have got a wardrobe full in return!

Phil Semp

Middlesbrough Bishops v Great Ayton C (22 January 2018)

Tight match which saw us out-graded on all boards . . . Bishops came through with the points – 3-1 Loss.

Gordon M was again first to finish on Board 1. After a tough start involving seeing himself go 2P down around move 15, Gordon continued to battle well through to the later stages but succumbed to growing pressure around move 60. (1-0)

On Board 4 Mike started really well against an opponent who sits 35 points above him in the rankings, going 2P up within 10 moves. Unfortunately his plans were later solidly countered by his opponent, who regained the lost material and then pushed on to win more pieces in some neat exchanges, eventually winning in around 30 moves. (2-0)

After a relatively tight and even start on Board 2, during several key exchanges in the middle game Jim unfortunately slipped a piece down around move 40, which led to some excellent pressure from his opponent who then eventually secured the resignation in around 50 moves. (3-0)

Alan was last to finish on Board 3, with both players taking long, chin-stroking timeouts to battle through a complex middle game, with Bs, Ns, Rs and Qs all involved in numerous threats and counters through a very open centre. Neither player had too much time on the clock even around move 20 and a sudden kill for either player looked equally feasible until move 25 when Alan managed to exploit f7 pressure from 2N/B on a K-side fianchettoed castle, which then allowed sufficient containment of his opponent’s attacking potential such that he could then develop a Q/R/B/2N push on his opponent’s back 2 ranks. This eventually resulted in him developing an overall edge. Resignation came on move 27 following a R-fork on K/Q. (3-1)

A fair result overall, especially given the grading gaps we were facing individually. Congratulations to Bishops, with whom we have lost both our matches this season and who are now worthy leaders of Division C . . . along with Hartlepool, they are as expected proving extremely tough to beat.

Alan R

Bees versus Middlesbrough Knights – Monday 15th January

As usual, we were all there in good time and helping the opposition to set up the boards (don’t they have a “director of Equipment” ☹). Looking at their team sheet, I wondered if they should be re-named “M’bro Presidents” with Messrs Lazenby and Stather (both of CCA) on boards 1 and 3 and Peter Ridsdale (of GAWMC) on board 2. Anyway, we started in good time, and moves were made rapidly on all boards for the first half an hour. I did not see much of the play, but was surprised to hear shortly after 8pm that three games had been drawn, which just left Suresh and I cosily sharing the larger coffee table with two boards on it. Suresh struggled for most of the game as PeterR built up threats both on the kingside and down the a file. Eventually he won material and the game finished quickly. That left us 2 ½ - 1 ½ down with my game getting very interesting. I had much the better of the early game with plenty of pressure from bishops on e4 and b2 targetting the castled king, which led to going a pawn up. I probably had a win at one stage, but did not see it, and eventually agreed a draw when Ron only had seconds left on the clock. The Bees seem to struggle when the weather is cold, so we are keeping our fingers crossed for an early Spring when we can have a late surge!

Various hits from the 70’s played on the way home including Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, and Suzie Quatro.


Great Ayton A v Boro Rooks (10th Jan 2018)

And so a near repeat of our last game prior to the festive break against Middlesbrough Rooks, there were a couple of team changes, D Team supremo Phil Semp stood in for Cup Tied Captain Marvel for us and to complete a brace of former Hungarians Dave Appleyard replaced former GACC President and well known limousine owner Peter Ridsdale; Middlesbrough won the toss and elected to play White on Odds, the match then began on time.

Once again Mike Hardman (Black, Board 1) was paired with Mighty Nick 'The Greek' Tavoularis, whose views on Caissia are always entertaining and for us lesser mortals a revelation. Once again he outplayed Black, adopting an early deviation from standard theory, gaining a significant space advantage and huge pressure on the Kingside (0-1).

International Superstar Suresh (White, Board 4) played CCA President and debonnaire man about town Ron Stather who confirmed to me that his socks in the last match were indeed Superman and in addition he was wearing Santa Claus braces; my daughter suggested that this combo was not in fact fashionable (once she had finished laughing). Back to the game and after a bright opening White managed to get a Rook to the open 7th rank trapping the Black King on back rank, this was followed by a serge of central pawns eventually establishing a pair of connected passers on the 6th in front of the King and the end followed swiftly (1-1).

My game against Robert Harding (Black, Board 3) took a very early deviation from out previous encounter, White established an annoying Knight on e5 which once remove left the position tense but fairly level. Shortly afterwards a fantasy occurred to Black that he could win a pawn following a Queenside advance by White, this in fact lead to not only the loss of a pawn but a very difficult position. In the grind that followed White won further pawns and pressure forced resignation (1-2).

Phil Semp (Black, Board 5) making a rare appearance in the A team was against Dave Appleyard. The game after the opening looked fairly even but Black lost a pawn. This then lead to a poor position where White pressed hard and with his remaining pieced (Queen, Rook and Knight) all threatening the Black Kings position the pressure became such that large material loss was inevitable (1-3).

This left Position Maestro McLoughlin (White, Board 2) with the Rooks Captain Chris Duggan. According to reports a Queen trade was misplayed leaving Black with a strong initiative, the resulting two Rooks and pawn ending, a pawn up, was always favourable to Black. White jettisoned a further pawn to try to create some pseudo-activity but this was futile and the game ended soon after (1-4).

Once again Middlesbrough were excellent guests and the evening was an enjoyable one, we have achieved our goal of defending the Prestigious Jeremy Burnett Plate and look forward to doing so later in the year.

Mr President had hoped to be with us tonight but he has been busy this week assisting at a Baking and Icing Course in Roswell, New Mexico. He is in charge of the ‘Bake To Impress!’ section and has been teaching his pupils how to make the perfect Cheese Soufflé. Unfortunately one of the pupils, Amy-Erica from Calhoun Falls, Georgia had a accident with a cheese grater when she was five years old which resulted in a nasty cut and a trip to the Emergency Room where two stitches were applied. This has left her traumatised and unable to use the implement again, since cheese is a vital part of the recipe Mr President has had to spend much of the week trying to make Amy-Erica grate again.

Tonights music was As Falls Wichita So Fall Wichita Falls by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays



Hartlepool B v Great Ayton C (8 January 2018)

Tight game between two well-matched sides – 2-2 Draw.

On Board 1 Gordon M was, as is often his blessing, first to finish . . . by around 8pm. Both started with gusto but cancelled each other out to force an honourable draw as the position became locked up around 30 moves in. (0.5-0.5)

Next up was Alan on Board 4. After his Opponent launched a promising Q/R/R central attack, with N’s buzzing around the centre and dark-squared B temporarily held back but waiting to join in, unfortunately a couple of errors crept in to allow Alan just enough room to slip into a Q/N/B foray against a weakened K-side castle. A savage battle ensued but Alan pressed through the mate in around 35 moves. (0.5-1.5)

On Board 2 Jim was locked from the early stages in a tight, even game, with chances for breakthrough being constructed by both players. He was unlucky not to press home his potential advantage but succumbed around move 35 to his Opponent’s resilience and pressure. (1.5-1.5)

And so, as so often before, after multitudinous travel and a long, hard day’s work, our perennial super-batsman was yet again carrying the flag to determine the overall result for the Team. After 8 moves, Gordon D was a P down. As usual, he grafted until the position was pulled back into sight . . . R/5P v R/5P. In an ideal world it might have been a great reversal, however his Opponent played solidly and had his own say also in the ending . . . a nailed-on draw around move 35. (2-2)

A fair result in the end, leaving both Teams looking forward to the end-of-season rematch ! And also one of the biggest points of pride in our Team . . . Mike has made himself available and faithfully tracked Gordon D’s work/travel progress directly to ensure that we would have a full Team out whatever the weather, travel problems, etc. Above and beyond isn’t even in it !!! One happy Captain.

Alan R

Great Ayton Bees vs Hartlepool A on Wednesday 3rd January 2018

Our visitors had wanted to cancel the match as they were struggling to get a full team. However, they got five players and the teams looked fairly equal on paper. The concert room was fairly buzzing with excitement as the New Year greetings were made and a large crowd turned out to watch – President, Legend, The American and Stato were joined by Steve, Gordon, and Alan’s son Mark. GordonM went in for a tricky opening, playing d5 to the e4 push. He got a bit bogged down with his queen stuck in front of his pawns on the king side. Eventually he managed to get his opponent’s rook tangled up with no moves to break clear and won the piece and the game. Unusually, Gordon was not the first to finish as Mike’s game saw the minor pieces all swapped off early on, and a draw agreed. Suresh went a pawn up in his game early on, but at the expense of not castling, and the sorry sight of his opponent’s major pieces creating numerous threats until the queen fell and the game concluded. At this stage the score was 1.5-1.5. On top board Kegan was playing against an opening which could be described as good technically, but the draw had nothing to set the pulses of the onlookers racing. So, at two games each it was down to me. I definitely had the best of the opening, with my opponent making several weakening pawn moves on the king side. But he then castled queen side, and with rooks on g8 and h8 pushed his pawns towards my castled monarch. It was rather tense for a while until I managed to trade a couple of major pieces and had the better end game. With only a couple of minutes each left on the clock (and a win for me if I had more time!) we agreed a draw which also left the match drawn. A fair result against the league leaders, and we look to repeat last year’s strong push in the second half of the season.


Footnote: After my game had finished the club’s Head of Recruitment suggested that I had missed a chance to make a significant gain in material (see “Latest News” for details). However, I stayed up to the early hours running the game through Fritz15 who disagreed, and refuted the suggestion by playing a little pawn move from e6 to e5 blocking the threat of B takes c7 check and taking the queen. Also, my winning of the bishop and knight for a bishop on the h1-a8 diagonal would be followed by pawn takes bishop on f4 maintaining equality.

3 1/2 vs 1/2, (C beat D)
With the unfortunate last minute withdrawal of team captain Phil Semp, the matches required rearranging
C team gained their first point after 5 minutes (the time taken to decide who would stand down) with the unanimous decision to drop Vice Captain Mike
It took a good hour for Gordon Dickinson to take advantage of a blunder by Alan Jefferson and raise C team’s score to 2 points, thus guaranteeing a draw. Then the heavy duty stuff started.
Jim Rogers and Stephen Gatenby were circling round each other, with all pieces still on the board. Gordon Middlemiss and Kevin Wilson were creating more of a blood bath on board 1, and eventually Gordon became a piece behind, at which point he started to pay attention.
Swap after swap followed, with Gordon wriggling madly to avoid defeat, until both players had a rook left, no pawns, with Kevin also sporting a knight. “I’ll offer you a draw” said Gordon “Let me think about it” responded Kevin. But Gordon was having none of it “This is the last time I’ll offer you a draw and if you don’t accept I’ll play on and win” said the struggler. A draw was agreed at which point Gordon expressed a huge sigh of relief and declared he had enjoyed the game much more than if he had won. Well done to Kevin for his strong play, leading to a draw after two hours
Board 2 was still in play. Stephen had put up a very solid response to Jim’s thoughtful and cunning technique, but eventually Jim pushed a pawn to queen one move before Stephen could do the same – and 10 minutes later we had the result.
So well done, C team, and get well soon, Phil,

Great Ayton A v Middlesbrough Rooks

Today was my last day at work prior to Christmas and the New Year, so looking forward to a well deserved long break I arrived in good spirits at the GAWMC and for the first time experienced the drain pong as described at length by our studious Head of Drain Management; fortunately it was not as bad as it clearly had been earlier. The match was to be played alongside the highly anticipated CvD team clash in the C Division, reports of which are to be found elsewhere and after a little delay the match began.

Mike Hardman (Black, Board 1) was as ever paired with Mighty Nick Tavoularis, sadly I didn't witness much of this game but it seems Black lost a pawn and shortly thereafter the game (0-1).

My game (Black, Board 3) was against Robert Harding the former Hungarian and our game began in a manner reminiscent of Carlsen's Exchange Slav against Nepomniachtchi but ended up as Fritz has now informed me as a Queens Indian (!) the opening of choice of the new silicon chess phenomenon Alpha Zero. After some early manoeuvring Whites position became rather difficult with his Bishop pair locked in behind Blacks pawn chains and although his Rooks controlled the only open file the entry squares were all covered. With White struggling to find anything constructive to do Black was able to force open the h file, triple his heavy pieces and deliver the coupe de grace (1-1).

Since the Grand Chess Tour has now concluded with the London Chess Classic International Superstar Suresh (White, Board 4) was freed from his normal role as Magnus Carlsen's second and able to return to his spiritual home at the Great Ayton Working Mens Club. Needless to say he chose an off beat opening (no doubt to conceal any analysis he had done with the World Champion) against former GACC President Peter Ridsdale which contained some interesting tactics. When I return White had a clear advantage in a QRB6 v QRB4 ending; after much toing and froing White found the best course of action and a back rank check lead to the Black Bishop being pinned against his King and with all the White pieces piling up against it the Bishops was returned to the box and the now exposed King was chased to resignation (2-1).

And so to the extraordinary goings on in Positional Maestro McLoughlins (White, Board 2) game with highly rated Chris Duggan. Many things have already been written about how the man who put the 'Great' into Great Ayton performs on the board (and if one reads the various accounts on this site in other places too) but this effort will be long remembered. When I first looked at the game the position was fairly tight but the White King was a little loose. Black established a horrible pin on the Rook to the King with the Queen which would have left many a player quaking in their boots; but not our man. Unbelievably up on the clock and with his totally undeveloped Queenside on the brink of collapse White lost a Knight ... or did he ... a clever discovered attack left the Black Queen somewhat embarrassed and with no squares to retreat to was lost. This left a bizarre material imbalance of QRBN6 v 2R2NB7 ... after this all manner of mayhem ensued and with who knows what going on when Draw was agreed (2.5-1.5).

So this left Captain Marvel (Black, Board 5) against CCA President Ron Stather who was curiously and inexplicably wearing a bow tie and what appeared to be Superman socks; an unusual combination that I will be checking tomorrow morning with my daughter to find out if this is actually fashionable. In the game the later middlegame had a very blocked position with White having the space advantage, the Black Rooks controlling the only open file and Black had a very bad Bishop. Exchanges simplified matters and the resulting QB ending was clearly drawn ... but White pressed on ... pressed too hard and allowed a Black Pawn to promote ... and with 28 seconds left a Draw was agreed (3-2).

So a remarkable win! Outgraded on 4 of the 5 boards and with 3 Blacks this is an surprising achievement. Middlesbrough were as ever excellent guests but due to the late finish of the games the social side was rather curtailed and Martin and I slipped and slided our way home across the ice.

Mr President had hoped to be with us tonight but unfortunately relations with his neighbour the hairdresser Mr Kim have deteriorated. The latest events started when Mr President averred that Mr Kim 'was a short fat gnome', taken aback Mr Kim retorted that Mr President 'looked like an accident with a tin of Ronseal Woodstain with a Weetabix stuck on top'; a counter-retort then followed that 'gnomes should sit on mushrooms not the other way round' and the counter-retort was parried with 'a half-man half-breakfast cereal should keep his mouth shut if he didn't want it filled with a bunch of fives'. As the diplomatic exchanges continue we will keep you informed and we hope that Mr President will be available for the next match in the New Year.

Tonight’s music began with DDT's Periferiya and concluded with Arvo Part's Spiegel im Spiegel.

Goodnight, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Great Ayton B vs Thornaby B on Wednesday 6th December
The Concert Room was sumptuously decorated for the festive season, and with all the boards set up by the tireless Equipment Director, it was a very welcoming sight.  After a slow start to the season, the Bees have started to create a buzz recently, and we were looking forward to moving up the table.  Unfortunately, my opponent was held up with work/traffic and never turned up, giving us a 1-0 start. MikeH, Alan, GordonD, Andrew, Kevin, Kegan and Martin all turned up to cheer the team on, and it was not long before Jim pulled off a brilliancy on bottom board by a smothered mate: knight moving giving discovered check from queen to king on g1; king moves to h1 and checked by knight on f2; king moves to g1 and double check from queen and knight on h3; king back to h1 and checked by queen on g1; rook takes queen and the checkmate given by knight on f2!!!! (2-0).  Both the top two boards opened with e4,d5 and exd, known variously as Scandinavian and centre counter gambit. After such exciting starts though, both games got a bit bogged down and led to draws, leading to 3-1 and the match was won. All this took us to about 8:20pm and only GordonM was still playing – surely a first, even though he had only used 15 minutes. Even after swapping queens and bishops, there were threats and forks galore and eventually Gordon conceded, meaning the match was concluded by 8:28pm.  So, the recovery is underway, and we are swarming up the table with strong reserves to come in after the transfer window. Will we reach the land of milk and honey by the end of the season.
As I am running out of new references to bees, these reports are starting to bumble along!  New music tracks to play on the way home from matches will have to include: anything by the BeeGees, Nut Rocker by Bee Bumble and the Stingers; Be(e) Bop a Lula by Gene Vincent. 
Merry Xmas from the Bees to all our readers!

Gt Ayton D 1    Darlington C 3

Unfortunately, this was a disaster on the bottom boards.

Steve lost a bishop very early on and went on to lose further material until he was put out of his misery against Rod Gilpin.

I needed to play carefully into the middle-game to parry possible traps. However, I managed to get a passed pawn on c6 which was supported by a pawn on d5. Phil Shaw then swapped these two pawns for a knight, but this left him with two dangerous central pawns. We ended up defending our own position so a draw was agreed.

Peter's game proceeded calmly swapping pieces, but finishing up with rooks and a bishop for Pete McKay against rooks and knight for Peter. Once again this season, the pawns on each side engaged in a mutual blockade and a draw.

Andrew was playing Harry Wilson (probably aged about12 - I can't tell these days - doctors, policemen and weather men and women look like 14 to me...). Andrew threw caution to the winds, sacking three pawns to try to get an attack. Harry didn't play the usual kiddy's 90 m.p.h. game and thoughtfully parried all Andrew's attempts, going into a winning endgame. Andrew found a terrific resource in the endgame which could easily have led to a perpetual - or even a win if Harry had made the wrong move. However, Harry took his time and escaped to safety: he's obviously going to be a rare talent. Andrew resigned soon afterwards - a rare defeat.

Phil Semp

Great Ayton C v Buffs B (29 November 2017)
Evenly balanced match, in which we just managed to gain the upper hand – 2.5-1.5 Win.
Gordon M started with gusto, going a P up early. In characteristic style, he continued to attack with his usual imagination and netted a very neat win around move 50. (1-0)
On Board 4, Gordon D started solidly and looked to have a slight edge in the middle game. The key moments in the game centred on decisions around a Q-swap . . . after this was pushed through, options to drive home a clear win evaporated on a very tight board . . . draw agreed around move 40. (1.5-0.5)
Two longstanding friends battled it out on Board 3, with attacking possibilities being developed very early in the game. After a great holding action from his opponent up until move 30, Alan then managed to use central file pressure and a passed P to gain a useful advantage, which turned into material gains and a resignation on move 37. (2.5-0.5)
By far the most exciting game of the evening came fittingly on Board 1, as Jim, playing Black, succumbed to great pressure from his higher-graded opponent to go R-for-N plus 3P down by move 40. Nevertheless, exactly as we have come to expect from our most resourceful player under pressure, he fought back brilliantly to even up the heavy artillery and set up a real fighting chance with Q/R/2P v Q/R/3P and even set up the possibility of levelling the P numbers. However his opponent played accurately and held off the turning tide to nail the win in a superb 60-move thriller. Jim Nil-Desperandum Rogers take a bow . . . hugely impressive and inspirational fight-back which was highly appreciated by both Teams and the numerous GACC supporters who all enjoyed this absolute thriller. (2.5-1.5)
A cracking match overall between two well-matched Teams, which could easily have gone either way . . . just what the doctor ordered !!!
Alan R

Darlington B vs Great Ayton B – Wednesday 22nd November
We arrived in a heavy downpour, and four of us got soaked waiting for the security doors to open.  But the room was warm and all the boards set up.  When we exchanged teams, I saw why our opponents are leading the B division with an unbeaten record.  We were outgraded by around 15 points per board, but the mild weather has meant the Bees are restless and woe betide anybody who gets in their way. Kegan on top board played the Morra Gambit as white, and Steve Ormerod obliged by accepting the offered pawn which meant a sharp game was in prospect.  Every time I looked at it Kegan had more threats, but was still a pawn down.  Nerves were settled, however, when Andrew first won the exchange with a bishop on f4 and knight on b5 heading for c7 and the un-castled king.  His opponent tried for counter-play, but that only gave Andrew more material and a quick win. Jim played a great game on board three against tournament maestro, real ale aficionado Gary Hewitt, and got to being N+4p to N+3p. Solid play by Gary meant that a draw was agreed, and Jim went to get a pint. On board two I was facing the man our esteemed webmaster calls “the wily Bob Donner”.  After a closed Sicilian and great pressure on my knight pinned on f6 I managed to swap off some minor pieces and then both rooks on the open f file, and we agreed a draw. Not long after Phil agreed a draw on board 4 giving us 2 ½ points.  Whenever I saw his game it seemed that not many pieces were taken after an early swap of Q’s, and so it was really solid play from our Club Secretary.  Kegan’s game (unusually the last to finish) got to an exciting stage with 2R+4 to 2R+3, with the early pawn gambit never being recaptured.  In many cases this would be a draw, but Kegan’s king was a bit exposed which just gave enough play to allow his opponent to prevail.  So, the match ended in a draw which was an excellent result that gives us momentum going into the festive season when more of our nominated players become available.

This match was a story of blockades.
Kevin was a knight up after 6 moves. However, soon afterwards Walter Greenwood missed a combination that would have won a queen. That danger past, Kevin mopped up and finished before any of the rest of us had reached the middle-game.
Steve was the exchange up, but he reached  a position where all the pawns were blockading each other and stopping anything else getting through. A draw was agreed.
In Peter's game, which was even on material, a similar situation to Steve's arose and again a draw was agreed.
I had what I thought was a won game, having won a pawn, soon afterwards followed by the exchange. However, the pawns were blockading each other and despite my rook manoeuvres, his mobile knight held the fort. After 50 moves I reluctantly agreed a draw.
Our first win of the season!
Phil Semp

Thornaby A vs Great Ayton B – KO Cup Preliminary Round Wednesday 14th November
It was apparent as soon as we arrived that Thornaby wanted to depose us as Plate Cup holders.  This meant they had picked a team of similar strength to our own and an exciting match was in prospect.  We were outgraded on the top three boards, but had the edge on boards 4 and 5. Captain, Nick Tadd, won the toss and Thornaby chose to play with three blacks.  GordonD was fairly fresh, only driving to and from Preston (Lancs.) to do a day’s work.  Anyway, his game quickly settled into rooks and pawns and a draw was agreed.  At this stage other games looked equal.  However, Club President Andrew French built an unstoppable attack with two rooks and queen down the “a” file where Nick T had castled queenside and so we were ahead. Jim was on top form on board 2 against CCA Chair Brian Whitaker, where the expected French Defence was played.  Jim managed to get a bishop for a pawn, and gradually reached an ending with B + 3 pawns vs 4 pawns, and skilfully used his king to bring home the full point.  Alan also had a position with his rooks and queen attacking the king with material equal.  Eventually his pressure told and the match was won.  On top board, I played former CCA grader Mick Creaney and a steady game developed.  After 25 moves a draw seemed the most likely result, but I did not offer it as Thornaby still had a chance to win the match on having three black piece boards.  He would have accepted, but we played on and I lost in time trouble.  So, the final result was 3 ½ - 1 ½ and we progress into the first round proper.  Let us see what the draw brings before deciding tactics for the next round.

Darlington C v Great Ayton C (13 November 2017)
Team firing on all cylinders . . . 0-4 Win.
After rattling off close to 60 moves in record time, Mike was first to finish on Board 4. The early exchanges saw attacks and ripostes from both parties but as the game wore on Mike nicely pressurised his opponent’s defensive capabilities and rounded things off with a Q/R mate on a denuded K. (0-1)
Next to nail the win was Gordon M on Board 1. In true Gordonesque style, not only did he not waste time or moves but also he did not flinch when going 2Ns down, with Q/2R/plenty of Ps still on the board. Instead he beautifully engineered a centralised swap-fest , involving Qs, Rs, Ns and a multitude of complex threats, hanging checks and counter-threats. The swap-out shook down heavily in his favour, stranding his opponent’s major pieces and putting Gordon in pole position after only 30 moves, thereby securing the resignation after around move 40. (0-2)
On Board 2 Jim used his strategic endgame awareness superbly to pin down a single P lead around move 30, with his N/7P v N/6P. He then nicely split his opponent’s K-centred defence between the two sides of the board to force through a queening drive. Resignation came around move 40. (0-3)
As the slow-coach of the night, Alan finished last on Board 3 soon after 9pm, gaining a resignation on move 25. Having gone B for 2P up after 10 moves, it was then down to R pressure down several open files to open up an error whereby a further R was conceded. Resignation came soon after. (0-4)
Nice Team performance overall, with some encouraging highlights within each of the games, possibly worthy of consideration within Kegan’s coming summer sessions.
Alan R

Great Ayton B vs Synthonia A – Wednesday 8th November
Firstly, congratulations to Synthonia on putting two teams in the league this year when some big clubs are reducing their number of teams.  As usual the concert room was nice and warm and all laid out ready for the match which got off to a prompt start.  It was good to see several of the playing squad watching, and before long they were treated to the sight of Gordon seizing on his opponent’s mistake and getting the full point to settle any nerves.  While the onlookers played through Gordon’s game the rest of us were engaged in the usual tight battles.  However, Alan and then Phil gradually played some neat tactical moves to win their games and make sure the Bees got their first league points of the season.  I developed a strong attack on the king’s side, and when my opponent then castled queen’s side I was able to switch play to gradually increase pressure on his king and gain material.  So at 4-0 we all watched the game on top board where Mike was in a “back to the wall” struggle to hold off a fierce attack on his king.  A small slip from his opponent allowed Mike to find a clever potential queen sacrifice in order to set up a winning attack.  Short of time to find the best response a draw was agreed and the score was 4 ½  – ½ .  Also on the night, well done to Mike Hardy on getting a draw in his Individual match against Graham Edwards.

This was a match we should have won.
I played rubbish, having made two very passive moves in quick succession (I was seeing"ghosts") allowing John Cowell to take the initiative. However, after a series of exchanges in the middle in which it looked as if he'd win a piece, I found a resource and the game petered out to a draw.
Kevin had a very comfortable, if congested, game against Tibi Loborik and was probably shading it. However, he walked into a knight fork and was soon the exchange down. He won a pawn back and it was clear that neither player could break through without letting the other in. The draw was soon agreed.
Andrew looked like he was coasting to another victory. He won a rook for knight and pawn early on and should have swallowed up Stuart Barry's passed h pawn. However, he walked into a knight fork which permitted  Stuart to gobble up most of  his pawns. It was looking as if he'd snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Stuart was a knight and five pawns up against a rook and a pawn. However, he then allowed Andrew to gobble up most of his pawns and a draw was eventually agreed.
Peter played Martin McLoughlin Senior. This game went into the middle-game with only the minor pieces removed by each side. The full complement of pawns rendered the heavy artillery impotent. It might have become interesting had Peter lined up his rooks behind his advanced h pawn and swapped this pawn for Martin's g pawn. However, Peter advanced his h pawn, totally seizing up the position and it was not long before a draw was agreed.
This was an evening of congested positions and silly forks. A drawn match was just about right.
Phil Semp

Great Ayton C v Synthonia B (1 November 2017)
Tough match, with a good battle overall resulting in both Teams sharing the spoils – 2-2 Draw.
Jim finished first on Board 1, having started well to go a P up early . . . however later he lost R-for-B on the exchange and gradually succumbed to increasing pressure, conceding in around 30 moves. (0-1)
On Board 2, Gordon M played at a quick pace and with great imagination. His early sacrifices mounted, including R and minor pieces as he carried on wrong-footing his opponent to seal the win in around 40 moves, having, as usual, used relatively little time on the clock. (1-1)
Mike played the early game well, setting himself up for a probable win through the middle game. Unfortunately, a late slip-up cost him a major piece and the power balance flipped around to leave him in too weak a position late in the game for a recovery to be mounted. (1-2)
Board 3 saw a strong early attack from Alan’s opponent, resulting in Q/Rs teamed up along the f-file to apply solid pressure to a K-side castle. Slowly fighting back to secure a defensive platform to stem the tide, Alan then swapped material to create breathing space for a counter, which fortunately resulted in a R/B mating push on the h-file around move 40 to stem the Visitor’s flow and secure the honourable draw overall. (2-2)
A good competitive encounter between the Teams, resulting in honours even. Our only major concern was the advice from the legendary Walter Greenwood that this may be his last season . . . we wish him all the best and naturally we are all hoping that he continues for many more years.
Alan R

Darlington A v Great Ayton A

And so to my favourite away venue who always give the best welcome to visitors. Tonight we faced a team we do not have a great record against, we are usually close but not quite enough and compared with last week our team was weaker and theirs was stronger than Thornabys; but we had the three whites...

Gordon Middlemiss (White, Board 5) as ever finished his game first against real ale enthusiast Gary Hewitt. It is often difficult to tell through the Middlemissonian Murk what has actually gone on in a game but this time I saw nothing at all of it except the handshake at the end and a victory for White. It could have been a ponderous positional slog with Gordon winning by half a tempi in a beautifully played technical pawn ending ... but I doubt it (1-0).

My game (White, Board 3) was once again with Jonathon Sams, I seem to get more than my fair share of Whites against him although our last encounter saw him play first. As ever we played our standard opening but Black surprised on move six with the least common recapture (we have spent some considerable time discussing this position and I don't believe I have played this exact line before). Blacks early d5 allowed the game to open up somewhat and White having the better coordination this was I felt to my advantage, but a pretty tactic in the middle scooped White at least a Rook and we retired to the bar for a further post-mortem (2-0).

Then there was a long wait for The Judge (White, Board 1) playing Darlington Captain Steve Dauber. When I first looked at the game it was a closed position with all 16 Pawns still on the board, but both sides still had pawn breaks available at the right time. Black manoeuvred skilfully to put pressure on the backward White pawns. With time running out White controlled the open A file but had nothing else and all the play was on the Kingside; pressure, pressure, pressure and with a well timed Pawn advance the White defences collapsed (2-1).

Captain Archer (Black, Board 4) once again lived up to his epithet Captain Marvel with an extraordinary game with Rob Harris. On my first inspection it seemed White had won a pawn in some kind on Benoni/Benko type position and was significantly better placed to put pressure on the loose Black King. Indeed White was able to triple Queen and 2 Rooks on a backward pawn on a semi open file, further exchanges lead to an endgame with two Rooks each and a 6 v 4 advantage in pawns to White; I should also mention that the four Black Pawns were isolantis and I made a note: "Blacks position makes the Forlorn Hope at the Battle of Badajoz seem like a good place to be". A further pawn fell and at two Rooks and 4 v two Rooks and 1 a Draw was agreed as it seems that White only had 28 seconds left on the clock! (2.5-1.5).

This left Positional Maestro McLoughlin (Black, Board 2) to play Mike Evans whose grade has improved rather dramatically over the last year. Our man played a very adventurous opening which had been demonstrated in our summer training camp (note to those who don't attend our summer training camp: In Future Attend The Summer Training Camp So You Can Learn Stuff Like This) although I should say the demonstration was done by American import Jim Rogers rather then myself. Sharp play ensued and possibly for the first time ever Martin was up on the clock!!! White commenced a Kingside pawn storm backed by a Queen and Bishop battery on the a1h8 diagonal which lead directly to Black sacrificing a Pawn to try to relieve the pressure, the Queens came off and it seemed that the 4v2 majority White held on the Kingside would win the day. White still had a strong initiative but Black found some wriggles and some annoying moves and with the White clock showing 60 seconds a Draw was agreed (3-2).

We won. We achieved our seasons goal to not finish on zero points. We have the clock and the tenacity of our players to thank for this and Richards battle against the odds to be with there at all. Darlington were of course excellent hosts and we look forward to welcoming them to the Cauldron of the GAWMC in the New Year.

It is very late now but tonights music was Olafur Arnald's Island Songs a stunningly beautiful album that turned the A66 into the empty lanes of the Icelandic coast on my return.



Great Ayton B vs The Buffs A – Thursday 26th October

Instead of playing in the “mixed games room” we were sent upstairs to the posh “function room”. It was spacious, quiet and warm and the drinks are cheap – so, everything that we could want for a game of chess. After finding things a bit hot in the A division last year, The Buffs decided to play in the competitive but less strong B division this year. They proved much too strong for us, as their grades were more than 20 points above us on average. We did get on the board quickly, though, as Jim got a draw with Sean Cassidy on board 4. Mike struggled in the opening, and was always behind before losing more material and had no option but to resign. Alan finished next, and fought hard in the middle game to get an advantage. He took too long to get ahead though, and lost on time. I was next to lose after going a pawn down in the opening, and eventually Buffs captain Andrew Killick made this count. Gordon had also got into a good position in the middle game, but just when I thought he was going to win, his opponent got counter-play with rook and queen to finish things off. So, the final score was ½ - 4½. The Bees are still in hibernation, and will have to find some early Spring sunshine to get the season underway.


Redcar C v Great Ayton C (18 October 2017)

Good overall performance against a solid Redcar Team . . . easing us nicely into the new season – 0.5-3.5 Win.

Gordon D finished first on Board 3 . . . having ‘only had a mere 2-hour drive back from Scunthorpe’ this particular evening, he sprang into the game like a spring chicken, sprung the odd trap or two and went a P up quite early. He pushed on to gain further Ps to his advantage and then secured a drive for enhanced material which proved irresistible, gaining the resignation around move 50. (0-1)

On Board 2, Gordon M was next to gain the upper hand. From the off he had kept a range of threats bouncing around the board as he nicely pressurised his opponent and the ensuing resignation came within 50 moves. (0-2)

After a tight and even early game, Alan on Board 4 managed to win R for B in a mutual Q-threat fandango and then followed this up with a forced Q swap. Despite a weakened P structure, positional play in a N-v-R game later on allowed his queening drive to succeed . . . resignation from his opponent came within 40 moves. (0-3)

The most intricate play came fittingly on Board 1, as Jim and his higher-ranked opponent traded thrusts and parries towards the endgame. Although late in the game Jim was B for R down, even when P numbers on both sides started to dwindle Jim played coolly and accurately to engineer the superior threat, which prompted the offer of a draw around move 60 . . . an offer which Jim took up. (0.5-3.5)

Overall, the whole Team punched its weight and we are now off the mark in the new campaign.

Alan R

Great Ayton A v Thornaby A

There was some confusion at the start as to whether Thornaby would be playing four or five players, first Chris Caradine was on Board 5, then he wasn't, then Nick Tadd was, then he wasn't and finally Chris turned up whilst awaiting the news of a new grandchild that had caused all this in the first place. So with The Judge arriving 10 minutes late for us the 2017/18 season got off to a strange start. I had dropped myself for this fixture in favour of the in form Mike Pointon. Steve Gatenby, Mike Hardy, Connor Wilson, Andy French and myself turned to spectate and play a few quick games.

Position Maestro McLoughlin (White, Board 4) got the season off to the perfect start against new CCA Chairman Brian Whitaker. An unfamiliar opening for White lead to an open position with him having jettisoned a pawn for a lot of play. Black was always behind in development and misjudged a discovered attack on his Queen which led to a decisive material advantage and the mopping up operation was swift (1-0).

Mike Hardman (White, Board 2) played Thornaby's new Captain Francis Batchelor and played a very aggressive opening, castled long and commenced a King side pawn storm. Black defended admirably and accurately and ended up in a Queen and Rook endgame only a pawn down; but White controlled the open g file. The Rooks were exchanged, White lost a pawn and the resulting Queen and 6 v Queen and 6 ending was rapidly agreed a draw (1.5-0.5).

Andy Corbyn (Black, Board 3) was paired with the now definitely ex-CCA grader Mike Creaney. A touch of the Nimzo-Larsens and a very modest set up from White left the position looking fairly uninteresting with Black possibly having the slight advantage of Bishop and Knight v two Knights. However Whites Queen became very active and put immense pressure on the loose Black pawns, which eventually led to a King and Rook fork by the Queen and Vienna was wished 'Bon Nuit' (1.5-1.5).

Mighty Mike Pointon (Black, Board 5) played the expectant-grandfather Chris Carabine and after a fairly standard opening managed to lose two pawns. Mysteriously at this point White offered a draw; even more mysteriously Black declined. After all the pieces left the board the King and 3 v King and 1 ending was hopeless and our star Rookie lost his first ever game for the club (1.5-2.5).

This left the Judge (Black, Board 1) against the new CCA webmaster Paul Douglass whom we believe will be trying to include some content on their website for the first time in years (subject to an official ruling that players will not be upset by statements such as 'they lost a game' or 'he made a bad move'; we wait with baited breath). A fairly classical start changed character with a sharp Queen advance by White which led to a complicated middle game with lots of tactics appearing all over the board. Black lost a pawn for nebulous compensation and White gradually began to improve his position, another pawn fell and with his metaphorical digital flag hanging assorted threats including (but not limited to) Checkmate and the loss of a Rook forced the handshake (1.5-3.5).

We lost. Again. Against a weakened Thornaby team whom we outgraded on every board. To be fair this was probably our best chance this season to win a match and avoid a Norwegian Eurovision style Nil Points. But our opponents outplayed us and congratulations to them for doing so; in addition we enjoyed their company in the bar afterwards and look forward to the next match above the bowling green.

This week we where able to talk to Mr President prior to the game and he was able to send this message of encouragement to us:

Fellow Aytonians! Hi there good to be back with you folks. I heard tonight that the A Team were starting a new season; ‘bout time. I was hoping they could help me with my little trouble with my little neighbour Mr Dim but their number ain’t in the book! Anyways it will be good to see old B A Maracas, Mad Dog Murdoo, Cannibal Stiffy and Faceache back on my new 52” Plasma screen; pretzels and beef jerky are ready. Go guys, give ‘em hell!

The music tonight was Eduard Artimev's Siberiade.



Great Ayton D Team were away to Middlesbrough Bishops;

Kevin “ Conner” Wilson, Board 1, playing Dave Appleyard; Kevin went on the attack from move one only to be thwarted by a knight fork on his Queen and rook on move 22, having to forfeit his rook to check and expose his opponent’s King to further attack. Eventually a Queen and Knight v Queen and Rook end game ensued; Kevin having his Knight pinned against his King on the back rank by his opponents Rook, a pawn ending seemed inevitable but to Kevin’s surprise Dave took the Knight with his rook exposing a back rank mate trap if he captured the rook with his King. With a rook ahead his opponent went on to an easy win.

Steve Gatenby playing Board 2 went ahead in material having 2 minor pieces and a pawn ahead of his opponent. With a Steve having a potential Checkmate in sight his opponent offered Steve a draw which was quickly declined by Steve. Only for Steve to make a blunder and grasp defeat from the jaws of Victory!

Alan Jefferson had a solid attack going in the early stage of the game only go onto offer his opponent his Queen for free after a blunder!

Andrew French, on board 4, had to steadily grind down his opponent to save the day with a win. Giving him a nice second win to start the season.


Great Ayton B v Redcar B

Once again Great Ayton Chess club was a hive of activity as the Bees made their debut in the 2017/18 season against one of the pre-season favourites Redcar B. Captain Archer was otherwise engaged enjoying himself in an extinct Tanzanian volcanic crater; a possible venue for next years CCA AGM? Anyway in his absence I was honorary Captain for the night so with one American, only one Gordon and a Vice-Captain what could go wrong?

The night began with Gordon Middlemiss (Black, Board 3) playing Brian Myers. Black developed a good position (needless to say rapidly!) and actually had a threatening passed pawn on the A file, White showed his usual resilience in defence and when Black offered a draw the handshake took place less than a millisecond later (0.5-0.5).

My game (Black, Board 1) against Matthew Jackman was an interesting affair. White grabbed a pawn in the opening which gave Black a lot of play and with the White King in the centre and his Kingside undeveloped a series of possible tactics arose, White managed to dodge everything but I felt he couldn't Castle because I would immediately break open his Kings position by taking the Knight on f3. He Castled anyway. After some thought I took the Knight, but as White had correctly understood this left my Queenside light squares very weak ... and more importantly my Queens Knight was on an awful square and stuck there. Having gained the initiative White played very accurately and won an exchange then the sad Knight (0.5-1.5).

C Team Captain Alan Reed (Black, Board 5) was paired with Redcar Captain Royce Parker. From what I saw of the opening Black stood well enough but, as Alan said, each move White played was better than Blacks reply; this eventually netted a Knight and a Pawn. Then in the endgame Black blundered an exchange, got pinned along the back rank and lost a Bishop (0.5-2.5).

American import Jim Rogers (White, Board 4) possibly off balance following the USA's failure to qualify for the World Cup (in football) played against the enigmatic Jason Gentle. After the opening it looked like a tight closed position but by the time I returned Black had won the exchange and had a dangerous passed pawn on the sixth rank. This was defended by a dark squared Bishop and Rook against a pair of Knights. Showing both tenacity and how irritating Knights can be in an endgame when you are only one fork away from disaster White stood firm and with Blacks clock running down he offered a draw which was accepted (1-3).

This left one of last years star Rookies Mike Pointon (White, Board 2) against former Hungarian Steve MacCormack. White won a pawn early on but was unable to hold onto it and numerous exchanges followed leaving a Queen and opposite Bishop ending with both sides having a lone A pawn. This always looked drawish but Black, a la Carlsen, persisted with a microscopic edge and the Kingside pawns were swapped leaving each side with a single pawn, White had to take the Black Pawn before peace was finally agreed (1.5-3.5).

We lost. But outgraded on every Board and with the 3 Blacks this was a creditable performance and we can take some encouragement for the rest of what will be a very tough season.

Mr President had hoped to be with us tonight but unfortunately he is engaged in a dispute with his neighbour the hairdresser Mr Kim. It seems that Mr Kim had thrown a ball over the fence into Mr Presidents garden which narrowly missed his cat and landed in the hydrangeas. Mr President has not only refused to give the ball back but threatened that if it happens again he will throw a bigger ball back into Mr Kim's garden and see how he likes it. Mr Kim has not taken this well and is currently in his shed building a very large ball, a Superball, to throw back across the fence; in addition with all the strain his normally beautifully coiffured hair has turned into a strange mushroom shape, Mrs Kim is not happy.

In honour of the absent Captain Archer I thought some retro music would be in order for tonight and I am currently listening to the brilliant Bob Dylan and The Band's Before The Flood.



“ Great Ayton C vs Middlesbrough Bishops. One American, two Gordons and a Vice-Captain – what could go wrong?

Plenty, as it turned out. C team was outgraded on every board, the discrepancy increasing as we moved down to board four, where the Vice-Captain trembled in the face of Ged Murphy.

And the Bishops showed little in the way of churchly charity – more like Crusaders hacking their way across Europe

30 – 45 minutes in, Jim agreed a draw on board one, and some minutes later Gordon D gave a huge sigh next to the Vice-Captain and conceded board 3

Then it got serious, with the ex Guisborough guys battling it out to the end

The Vice Captain offered Ged a draw in a timid voice only to be turned down, so the game progressed exchange by exchange until the two sides a had a king and six pawns each.

Most possible moves having been made, Ged offered a draw which was gratefully accepted. Jim, who had been watching from the side-lines, immediately showed him a winning route, but as our U S import was thoughtful enough not to make his comment until the game was over, that left the score 1 – 2 with Gordon M still battling it out

Gordon’s opponent was in time trouble, and hit his clock with increasing frequency. Gordon became excited, and moved equally quickly as piece by piece dropped off the board, leaving Gordon’s last pawn being matched by his opponent’s queen, with inevitable results.

Enough said – GA C 1 Midd B 3 – heres’ to the next time”

Mike Hardy

Click here for season #7 Captain's Log Reports.

Click here for season #6 Captain's Log Reports.

Click here for season #5 Captain's Log Reports.

Click here for season #4 Captain's Log Reports.

Click here for season #3 Captain's Log Reports.

Click here for season #2 Captain's Log Reports.

Log not available for season #1.

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