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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

16th Aug – Come Dine With Us

Every year the highlight of the chess season is the annual chess club dinner which invariably sees our Head of Equipment Director awarded as the Player of the Season. This is justly deserved given the meticulous preparatory work that he undertakes for setting up all the chess sets for every home match throughout the season. This year will be no exception and we can confirm that the dinner is scheduled to take place on Friday 7th September at the Dudley Arms in Ingleby Greenhow. We are booked in the Bistro and expect to commence from 7.30pm. The date was chosen by a majority vote in order to ensure that more people can attend that evening. We must say sorry to those folks who opted for an alternative date as they cannot make the 7th. In discussion with Gordon Dickinson, who was assigned the task to organize this event, we are expecting over 25 people to join in this festive occasion. Come along and join the fun.

16th Aug – Pointon Delivers

Last night a bumper crowd comprising of Kegan Harrison, US import Jim Rogers, Mike Hardy, top player Mike Hardman, Steven Booth, Steven Gatenby, Connor Wilson, Gordon Dickinson and Phil Semp joined me to be entertained by an excellent lecture from our newest chess tutor, Mike Pointon. It was a fascinating encounter featuring the Marshall variation of the Ruy Lopez in a recent game Mike and a young 12 year old girl played in the Soanes competition during the British Chess Championships in Hull. It was clear that Mike spent over six hours preparing the analysis (with a little help from Kegan) that contributed to another entertaining evening at our club. With Mike two pawns and a bishop up and the computer programme Fritz giving a score of +8, everybody thought it was game over. However, Mike made a catastrophic error losing his queen for a knight against his young opponent who spent most of the game doodling on her scoresheet and rattling off the prepared variation in double quick time and being clinical in the complex endgame.
It was very brave of Mike to cover a game that ended in defeat against a young girl but his confident lecturing approach was appreciated by the squad - then again he his a proper Maths teacher. Well done, and we look forward to the next time he stands in for our regular contributor Kegan. Afterwards Connor defeated Kegan with a neat checkmate in a quick game and Jim lost to rising star Steve Booth in tight closed game. However, I did defeat the plastics expert in a thrilling game which saw Steven miscalculate in a complex encounter.

15th Aug - Lecture Debut

Tonight the Big Board Analysis Team will be joined by Great Aytons own mathematical whizz Mr Mike Pointon who (fortunately) will not be discussing Second Order Partial Differential Equations nor the finer points of Fourier Transforms but instead will be presenting one of his games from the recent British Championships. In a nod to those who love a bit of theory the game is in one of the most studied theoretical lines know to man namely The Marshall Gambit of the Ruy Lopez. So a good turn out is expected for the débutant presenter and lively suggestions from the floor a necessity (especially ones involving bishop/knight sacrifices). So don't miss out! Also the Analysis Team would be delighted to have more presenters (mostly because they like a bit of a rest at the weekend) so if you have a game that you want to show off to the world please let the Presenter Rota Committee know and they with schedule you in at the earliest opportunity.

11th Aug - Intimate At The All Saints

It is well known that our club policy advocates spending recreation time doing non chess related activities and last night our Head of Equipment Director followed such sage advice by attending another excellent concert as part of the Watermill Sessions. This time the setting was the little known gem that is the tiny 12th century All Saints church that is situated across the graveyard from its much larger replacement church. Despite living almost 20 years in the village it was the first time I set foot in the building that has no elctricity and was simply lit by numerous candles. It was an intimate stage for the acoustic based folk concert featuring the organizer, Elaine Palmer, assisted by the lovely Harriet on cello. The opening act saw Jess Morgan from Norwich keep the small audience entertained. During the interval with wine in hand I toured the graveyard with the Boro fanzine editor, Rob Nichols of Fly Me To The Moon fame as we saw the resting place of the siblings of ace explorer, James Cook. Naturally we discussed the recent lack of signings as the transfer window closed. The second half of the show featured the superb M G Boulter from Southend who was a brilliant troubadour enthralling the audience with a great guitar playing technique. Afterwards along with friends Richard and Melanie we went around to the house of fellow music enthusiasts Stuart and Denise for more drinks and nibbles until the small hours. Another enjoyable way to relax from the rigours of pre-season training.

10th Aug - Archer Steps Up

We are delighted that we are now able to report that our club captain, Peter Archer, has been officially appointed the new county grader for the CCA. This follows the resignation of the previous incumbent, Paul Douglass of Thornaby chess club. Naturally Peter will excel in this role just as he does in keeping our club at the forefront of the local chess scene. We sent our ace reporter to discover why Paul had quit his role after appearing to do so well stepping into the big boots of the grading maestro Mike Creaney. It transpired that Paul had been constantly bombarded with emails, texts and unwanted late night phone calls from our Head of Research Director continually questioning as to why our Head of Equipment Director was graded two points lower than that of adversary Steve Ormerod of Darlington. Eventually, around the same time as a brown envelope full of tenners arrived at his house he agreed to amend the grades in the Great Ayton player's favour, but this was unfortunately confiscated by his wife that she subsequently spent on a shopping spree on herself. The last straw was when the new grades were published and he started to receive another barrage of unwanted emails and texts this time from the disgruntled Darlington player. Consequently, he decided to call time on performing the thankless task that involves tonnes of effort that goes unrewarded.

9th Aug - Another Busy Night

Last night saw another bumper crowd consisting of me, captain Archer, Alan Reed, Gordon Dickinson, Mike Hardy, Connor Wilson, Andrew French, Mike Pointon, Steve Booth and Steve Gatenby watch out ace lecturer Kegan present another action packed thriller. These lectures are proving so popular that are going to let our maths expert, Mike Pointon, have a go at covering one of his games from the British Chess Championship (hopefully) next week.

6th Aug - Gatenby's Triumph

Firstly, well done to the following squad players comprising of Steve Gatenby, Connor Wilson, Alan Reed, Gordon Dickinson, club legend Alan Jefferson, Jim Rogers, Andrew French and Steven Booth who made it to the Steinitz lecture presented by Kegan last week when I was crusing around the Med in searing hot temperatures. Now that I am back on home soil I will be at the club this Wednesday to witness the Steve Gatenby classic game against Mohammed Gouda of the Boro Bishops that proved controversial.

4th Aug - Tough Going For Maths Wizzard

It was tough going for our resident Maths expert, Mike Pointon, who managed to score 2 points playing in the Soanes event in the British Chess Championships at Hull. The event was won by Robert Clegg who also came joint first with me when I won the Major Section (under 166) at the Hull congress a few years ago. It would appear that all the players from our league failed to make a big impact but it is a very competitive event featuring players from across the globe. Well done for representing our club.

3rd Aug - A Life On The Ocean Wave

The first ever cruise holiday by our Head of Equipment Director and his family was a very enjoyable affair that was eventful from the start. In what appeared to be yet another cunning plan in order to prevent me from playing next season, our vice president, Peter Ridsdale, organized a strike by all the taxi drivers in Barcelona that almost succeeded in making us miss the cruise ship departure time. After getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning we caught an early flight from Leeds/Bradford airport only to find it exceedingly tricky to get from the Spanish airport to the port. After taking advice from a non English speaking policeman, obviously in the employ of Peter, we caught a bus crammed to the rafters in the extremely hot weather that proceeded to follow a convoy of the aforementioned troubled empty taxis into the city, travelling at less than 2 miles per hour. When the bus broke down due to the engine overheating things were starting to become anxious. A wait ensued before a second bus came along dropped us in the city centre and we took two train rides on the metro followed by a long walk dragging our luggage along the promenade to the docks when we eventually managed to get on board. Fortunately we were not the only passengers afflicted by the taxi dispute so the massive cruise ship departed later than scheduled with us on board. Thankfully life on the fantastic brand new ship (the MSC Seaview was commissioned in June) was excellent as we sailed around the Mediterranean calling at Marseille (where we visited the excellent museum), Genoa (took a trip around the aquarium), Naples (walked around Castel Nuovo), Messina in Sicily (climbed up the famous bell tower with its astronomical clock) followed by stopping off at Valletta in Malta (went on a bus tour of the island) before ending up back in Barcelona. Prior to going on holiday my neighbour Gary, the world’s most expensive joiner, remarked that since we had opted for the all-inclusive drinks package it would be first time in history that the cruise line would actually lose money for the trip. However, whilst I did imbibe, it was the excellent food options that contributed to me putting on extra pounds in weight. Basically you could eat whatever you fancied whenever you wanted and after each gourmet three course evening meal we were treated to a spectacular show in the large 700+ seat theatre featuring some attractive dancing girls. Although the weather was far too hot for me it was tempered by relaxing in one of the four swimming pools that enabled me to study a plethora of scantily dressed stunners in their bikinis showing off their magnificent derrieres. Sadly my constant string of appreciative comments did not go unnoticed by Samantha. Despite the majority of the five thousand odd passengers on board being Italian we did have some banter with a couple from Houghton-le-Spring and I had several beers with two lads from Durham in the Sports bar and casino. Needless to say my boys had a great time especially as we managed to keep it a secret that they were going on a cruise until we actually turned up at the ship. In conclusion, it is a great way to have a rest from keeping the chess site going during the summer break and was the reason that I did not attend the British Chess Championships in Hull.

26th July - Justice At Last With New Grades

At last justice has been done with the publishing of the new grades that can be viewed in the Squad Gradings section. I am pleased that my complaints have finally been heard as my grading has gone up to 161 which is 4 points higher than that of Steve Ormerod of Darlington. On the downside I am stuck with being a nominated A team player yet again.

26th July - Honours Even After 40 Years

Firstly, well done to the regulars (Kegan Harrison, Mike Hardy, club president Andrew French, club legend Alan Jefferson, Gordon Dickinson, US import Jim Rogers, Connor Wilson, Steve Gatenby and rising star Steve Booth) who turned up to make it another popular chess night despite the hot weather that made our antipodean guest, Moray Vincent, feel at home. After a gap of around 40 years since we last met it was a joy to meet up with Moray and play a 5 match series of 15 minute games washed down with a couple of beers. It was an exciting evening with first blood going to the man from down under as I went awry with black in the Sicilian before I stepped up a gear and bounced back with an easy win win the white pieces using the Milner-Barry gambit. Game 3 saw me force a draw with a perpetual despite being the exchange ahead as both of us were short of time. A gift of a bishop in an endgame saw Moray take the lead before I roared back with a crushing win using the correct move order in the Sicilian that I should of applied in the opening encounter. With the score at 2½-2½ each we called it honours even and allowed Moray to go on and defeat Connor in a messy game This was followed by Moray losing to our new superstar Steven Booth to an excellent prepared line from a previous lecture evening. Naturally, not wishing to end on a defeat Moray managed to turn the tables when Steven was too cavalier with his bold sacrifice in the final match of the night. It was evident that Moray clearly retains his chess playing ability from his early days as a top Cleveland junior. It goes without saying that I am looking forward to the return match, preferably me playing him over in Sydney, when hopefully we meet up again - without waiting another 40 years!

24th July - Good Luck Mr Pointon

With the British Championships being held in Hull it was decided that our club would be represented by sending our resident Maths teacher Mike Pointon to feature in the weekend congress that runs alongside the main championship event. Naturally we wish him well in his attempt to be successful in the city where our Head of Equipment Director was victorious when winning the Major Section (under 166) of the 51st Hull Congress back in 2014. Good luck Mr Pointon from all your pupils at school and fly the flag for our club.

19th July - Triple Scotch Proves A Good Hit

Last night our ace lecturer, Kegan Harrison, delivered a triple hit demonstrating his 3 winning games over Darlington's Jonathon Sams that used 3 alternative variations of the Scotch Opening in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Joining me were the respective B and C team captains Peter Archer and Alan Reed along with the club president Andrew French, Gordon Dickinson, Mike Hardy, US import Jim Rogers, Steven Gatenby and Connor Wilson. Another enjoyable evening with contributions from the floor that kept everybody entertained. The lecture about the Steinitz variation has been put back two weeks in order to cater for the visit next Wednesday evening of our special guest, Moray Vincent, who has travelled all the way from Australia especially in a vain attempt to exact revenge from his painful defeat back in 1978 against our Head of Equipment Director.

18th July - Titans Set For Classic Rematch

The 1970's witnessed some legendary sport clashes such as in the world of boxing with the brilliant Muhammed Ali defeating George Foreman in the Rumble In The Jungle and followed up by defeating Smokin' Joe Frazier in the Thriller In Manila. Similarly, the tennis world was gripped by the epic Wimbledon finals between Bjorn Borg and his American opponents John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. In the golfing arena who could forget the Duel In The Sun at Turnberry between golfing greats Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson? The list goes on. However, above all these classic encounters the most revered without doubt was the rivalry that first occurred back in the late seventies in the world of junior chess in the Cleveland League between our hero and Moray Vincent. The two teenagers were the undisputed rising stars of the local chess scene before further education intervened and both of us got a life away from the chess board. I packed in playing for around 25 years before returning to the action and being instrumental in creating this magnificent chess club. Meanwhile Moray decided to make his fortune around the world also neglecting to pick up the chess pieces until a decade ago. However, after 39 years since our first ever encounter in the Cleveland under 18 schools championship on 26th November 1978 (in which I won in 30 moves - obviously) I am delighted to announce that for one night only Moray will be at our chess club evening to participate in a re-match. This is an open invitation to rival chess opponents who may remember the former Billingham chess star to come along and share a beer and catch up with Moray next Wednesday 25th July before he heads off back down under.

17th July - Riddle Solved

The chess club psychologist has solved the riddle that has plagued the A team with the bizarre requests to send members of the elite squad to play chess in extremely dangerous environments. The vice president is clearly worried about his adopted team, the Middlesbrough second string called the Boro Knights, being humiliated next season due to the enforced action of being promoted to the top flight in the Cleveland League. A cunning plan by such a cunning over-the-board player who obviously realizes that he made a mistake several seasons ago by jumping ship.

16th July - The Scotch Lecture Series

Football may not be coming home but it will no doubt be great compensation to know that after their epic adventure in Weymouth and The Tank Museum the Big Board Analysis Team are now actually home. So with the difference between HESH and HEAT ammunition clarified, Chobham armour mulled over and different tank suspension types compared they are now ready to resume some proper analysis again. So this week we will start to look at some theory of the Scotch based on my three games with Jonathon Sams in the Kasparov variation and next week the more off the wall Steinitz variation (games with Dave Richardson and Sean Cassidy). So if you have recovered from the complexity of Glocky's game and feel the need of some gentler entertainment the the GAWMC on Wednesday night at 7.30 is the place to go.

15th July - Thailand Tickets

There was more confusion when members of our elite A team received flight tickets to Thailand that included a pre-booked trip to the Chang Rai region that involved going on an underground tour of some caves. Our publicity officer managed to contact the tour operator and discovered that the credit card used belonged to a Mr P Ridsdale. Our vice president appeared to forget that I really have visited the region 30 years ago and foolishly did go on such a tour of the caves that have recently involved the dramatic rescue of the young boys football team and have no such desire to return. Consequently, we have cancelled the generous trip offer.

14th July - Trip Cancelled By Mystery Poison Scare

Our publicity officer was left baffled when he was contacted by somebody sounding like a russian calling himself Ilkiluwiv Novichok who had invited our A team to play against Salisbury chess club. Suspicions were raised when the venue for the match was a pizza restaurant in the town rather than at their chess club. We contacted the restaurant, recently involved in the posioning of a former russian KGB agent, that informed us that the booking was made by a Mr P Ridsdale. Our vice president knows perfectly well that I do not like cheese so there was no chance of me visiting a pizza restaurant and we were left with no option but to cancel the trip.

12th July - Not Coming Home

It was not to be for Sir Gareth and his boys last night as our world cup dream evaporated against the mighty Croatia. My bets went down as Samantha's team in the sweepstake proceeded to the final. The chess club was cancelled as I was joined by our club president, Andrew French, as well as Connor and his wife Eileen that also had the legends daughter, Melanie, sat on the adjacent table. Unfortunately there was no seat for US import, Jim Rogers, who ended up sat by the pool table and disappeared when it went to extra time! We started drinking at 6.30pm and left when Andrew's taxi arrived after 11.30pm to take hime home. A good night was had by all except for the terrible result. Back to normal next week.

8th July - England Gets A Semi

With the excellent victory over Sweden yesterday it looks like football is coming home at last. It is anticipated that there will be a packed club on Wednesday as the England semi-final match against Croatia will be shown in the Sports bar. However, there is a chance that the Concert Room may also be used to screen the game if there is an overspill of punters turning up. If this is the case then the chess club will not be operation that evening. With me backing England at 15/1 before the tournament started as well as betting Belgium at 8/1 to be the top European team coupled with Samantha drawing Croatia in the sweepstake everything points to a victory for France. You have been warned.

5th July - Glocky Outfoxes Fritz

Last night a whopping 12 squad members turned up to witness some excellent detailed analysis of the superb victory of our club historian. Joining me to watch Kegan explain how his version of Fritz was simply outwitted by a level of complexity displayed by our club statistician were Jim Rogers, Alan Reed, Gordon Dickinson, club president Andrew French, Steve Booth, Mike Hardy, Peter Archer, Steve Gatenby, Mike Pointon and top player Mike Hardman. It took over two hours to follow a variety of lines of analysis that had the squad amazed at the bishop sacrifice for two pawns - when already two pawns down in the opening - that required the additional computer analysis of Stockfish to comprehend the subtlety and nuances that outfoxed Kegan's initial analysis that had been provided by Fritz 14. Well done to Kegan for putting on another gripping lecture and for devoting so much of his spare time to produce so much detailed analysis. As a consequence we are giving him a night off next week and expect to resort to having a series of quick practice games.

4th July - New Record Hit

This is not a reference to the England football team finally winning a penalty shoot out in a world cup but news from our brilliant computing department that has a revealed that for the month of June the site had a record 3016 hits. Despite the euphoria surrounding the progress of the national team in the world cup and that Wimbledon has got underway there appears to be no let up in the hordes of chess fans that visit our site in their droves even though there are no scheduled chess fixtures until October. However, don't forget to turn up tonight for an expert analytical diagnosis of the superb game our Head of Equipment Director displayed with his unique take on the French Defence in destroying Robert Harding last season.

1st July - Top Treat In Store

Next week the Big Board team are off on their Summer Holidays for a week at the Tank Museum in Bovington to look at the history of armoured warfare; so this week it has been decided to go out with a bang and have a look at another form of attack and defence. We will be covering what has already been described as "The Game Of The Century" (The Times), "The Massacre In Middlesbrough" (The Guardian), "Armchair Armageddon" (Soft Furnishing Weekly) and "Love Island God In Con Club Romp" (The Sun); yes it is Martin 'Glockmeister' McLoughlin against Robert Harding. Without wishing to give too much away our hero rewrites opening theory and points out where Mr Milner-Barry got it wrong with his Gambit, completely wrong foots his opponent in the middle game and finally sac's a lot of wood for a crushing finale. Unmissable action. But don't just take our word for it, see what Champions past and present have to say:

"As a lad in Tbilisi I used to rush home from school to follow his games broadcast live on the BBC World Service. In those days of course it was on short wave radio so we huddled around the receiver and the artistry and poetry were transmitted through the crackle and hiss. It was unforgettable. It is no exaggeration to say that the inspiration I got from Glocky literally turned me from a street urchin into a World Champion" - GK.

"I still have the copy of his seminal work 'Glocky's Greatest Games' I was given as a birthday present when I was 8. Even today it still conjures the majesty of the glory days of Cleveland Chess; I have taken it all round the world with me on my chess adventures and always found something in there to inspire" -AK.

"During the long Norwegian winters I had plenty of time to study Glocky's endgame technique which was sublime. Today I have improved greatly but still consider myself a pupil to the master" - MC

Wednesday. 4th July. 7.30pm. The Big Board.

30th June - Reflection On The AGM

Firstly, many thanks for the 4 delegates that we sent to attend the CCA AGM and especially to Phil Semp for sending out a brief synopsis of the outcomes agreed even though his email list still includes players no longer associated with our club. With no sign of any official report of what occurred back on the 21st of June we thought it wise to update our vast hordes of readers before they head off for their summer holiday vacations.
In a nutshell, Phil managed to defeat the proposal to promote 3 teams into the A division which would of seriously impacted on our club. Fortunately only the top two teams from the B division are to be placed in the A division for season #9. Obviously this means that next season the B team have an excellent target in that they should concentrate on coming third place again. Ideally we hope that champions Redcar replicate the sensible and honourable move that rivals Middlesbrough made years ago when they were by far the dominant club in the league (when at one stage they had 3 teams in the A division) and split their A and B teams into equal strength sides to make it more competitive rather than watch their B team get hammered. Otherwise I predict that the two promoted teams will go straight back into the B division and congratulate Redcar A on winning the title yet again. Yawn.
Furthermore, the dreaded nomination rule has been amended by being reduced from 4 down to now only having 3 players that get restricted to only being allowed to play a few games all season. Meanwhile, our chances of the A team ever winning a knockout trophy have been severely diminished as the cup competitions are to be divided by a grading of 130 indicating which event a player can enter. Thus, our policy of deliberately losing in the opening round of the Tom Wise knockout cup in order to have a chance of winning the Jeremy Burnett Plate will no longer be a viable option. The only highlight of the evening was the C team being awarded the C division title prize. The £50 has been credited to our club and will be used to pay our league entry player fees for the following season. Yes, I am glad I didn't go either.

28th June - Shield On Show

Firstly, well done to captain Archer, club legend, Jim, Connor, Steve and Mike Hardy for turning up in the sweltering heat to attend Kegan's lecture. Not a bad crowd given that the summer has arrived this week. Meanwhile, as I enjoyed my meal at the Treebridge along with another 17 badminton enthusiasts we have Mike Hardy to thank for bringing the winning shield for the C team capturing the C division title that has now been put on show in our trophy cabinet.

27th June - Deal With Dickinson

One of the highlights of being a member of our chess club is that every season we celebrate with a team meal that includes wives and girlfriends. It is a great honour to be asked with the role of organizing the annual dinner and it is with great pleasure that I can announce that following a meeting of our board of directors the squad player burdened, I mean honoured, with the task for season #8 is the ever popular Gordon Dickinson. The specification for the role requires that a different venue is chosen from previous club dinners and that as many folk as possible attend. The preferred date is Friday 7th September (the week that my boys go back to school) thus players have a couple of months notice to clear their diaries for this much loved evening when the squad and their partners let their hair down. Gordon will be in touch regarding availability, location and menu choices nearer the date and time. Please co-operate by replying to his email and try to attend to ensure that our unique annual tradition continues to make us the best club in the league to play for.

26th June - Small Crowd Expected

Unlike the large crowd that attended the races on Saturday it is anticipated that there will only be a small select crowd for the chess lecture tomorrow evening. With the C team captain playing tennis and D team captain away as well Steve Gatenby visiting Southport and me dining with my badminton friends it is hoped that some other squad members make the effort to see a game featuring our rising superstar. Here is our lecturer's take on the forthcoming encounter: The Big Board Analysis Team have put down their sticks of rock, taken off their Kiss-Me-Quick hats, polished the trophy for third place in the Knobbly Knees Competition and have finally got down to some graft at the analysis board. So this Wednesday’s feature game will be a début on the Big Board for last seasons Star Rookie, the King of Co-Extruded plastics, the Prince of Polyetheretherketones, the Master of Polymethyl Methacrylate and the man who put the zing into Polymerizing: Mr Steven Booth. The game is a Sicilian Najdorf - English Attack with our man as Black against former Magyar David Appleyard in 'If you don't know the theory at least learn the basics'. So if you can tear yourself away from the tension of Serbia v Brazil and the glamour of Switzerland v Costa Rica (in Nizhny Novgorod) then come and see some pawns pushed with meaning.

24th June - New Guinness Record

Yesterday was the annual trip to Redcar Races for Ladies Day which was combined with celebrating my painter and decorator's 50th birthday. Thus there were two mini-buses containing a gang of around 30 lads that set off from the GAWMC car park at 10.30am arriving at the Plimsoll Line pub in Redcar high street in order to commence the drinking onslaught at 11 o'clock and finished about 13 hours later. The bus ride cost £4 and entrance to the racecourse was £16 and it was not a productive betting day with eight straight losers taking another £80 from the wallet. Fortunately the pub sold Guinness at an amazing £2.19 per pint unlike at the race track that charged a ridiculous £5.40 for the same drink. After watching all my selections fail to make the winner's enclosure and viewing the fillies in all their finery I grabbed some fish and chips on the hoof crossing the railway bridge before joining the party at the Crown and Anchor pub. With the Guinness price back down a respectable £2.25 several more pints were consumed before Glenn and I headed to the Hop and Grape with his ex-girlfriend and her mate. After a few more beers a taxi took me to the Ship Inn at Guisborough to catch up with the birthday boy and several of the crew and I ended the evening dancing with the gorgeous Valerie. Finally I caught a taxi back to the village with Mally who was completely smashed as evidenced by handing me a £20 note to pay his share before getting in the cab and then trying to pay the driver again en route. I crashed into bed just before one o'clock in the morning having sank a record 13 pints in a single session. I hope that my doctor doesn't read this website.

22nd June - Club On Fire

Yesterday is officially recognized as the longest day of the year and I suspect that for those poor souls who had to endure the CCA AGM held in Stockton last night it must have felt even longer. Fortunately I spent the evening watching Croatia demolish Argentina - inevitable given that Samantha has drawn the former Yugoslavian team in the office sweepstake - followed by a few pints of Landlord in the Royal Oak with the regular Thursday Night Gang of Four which was much needed following the drama of the day. In the morning the cleaners switched on the lights in the windowless sports bar of the GAWMC and went to collect their mops and buckets as per usual. However, they decided to clean the Concert Room first and it was pure luck that the regular club member who cleans the snooker tables with an iron turned up when he did as he found the sports bar full of black smoke. It transpired that an electrical fault set the ceiling on fire. Luckily the light fitting dropped to the floor, damaging the tiles rather than setting the wooden roof ablaze. Needless to say out of all the light fittings to be faulty it had to be the one nearest the recently re-covered snooker tables that now have ruined cloths given a sprinkling of soot like material, as well as the new pool table for good measure. Thankfully I was not in the office at the time otherwise had the fire got out of control I would of been in a tricky predicament of attempting to squeeze through a port hole sized window. Luckily no chess equipment was damaged since we now play all our matches in the Concert Room rather than the Committee Room which was adjacent to the affected fire damaged area. With the club secretary away on holiday I was left with task of contacting the insurance company and sending pictures of the damage. The club is still open for business but the area to the snooker tables has been cordoned off until further notice.

21st June - Practice Night

Last night the weekly lecture was replaced by an evening of match practice in the form of a mini quick play (20 minutes each) tournament that saw Kegan remain undefeated against some of the rivals comprising of president Andrew French, US import Jim Rogers, rising superstar Steve Booth, Mike Hardy, Steve Gatenby and Connor Wilson. It never got to be an all-play-all event as Mike Hardy disappeared around 9pm and they called it a day around an hour later joining me in the bar. I arrived at the club at the half time interval during the Spain v Iran clash and of the few snippets of chess I witnessed concluded that Connor needs to practice a lot more. Next week there will be another lecture, which rumour has it that it will feature a game played by the club legend. Alas, I will not be in attendance as I am pre-booked, as I am going out to dine with my fellow badminton associates at our annual summer meal.

18th June - Overloading With Mojitos

Whilst some of our squad no doubt spent their weekend studying the intricacies of the Panov-Botvinnik attack in the Caro-Kann Defence I preferred to attend my friend Hazel's big birthday bash near Stone in Staffordshire overloading with mojitos cocktails. We met back in 1983 when she went on to marry my landlord Robert when I was doing my computing science degree and she became a very successful lawyer, as evidenced by the trout lake at the bottom of their massive garden. It was an excellent party that saw me strut my stuff on the dancefloor with a plethora of attractive young ladies. Apparently when I clambered into bed with Samantha in the early hours I announced that I was going to be sick but thankfully I just rolled over and proceeded to snore all night!

16th June - Parking Issue Could Spell Name Change

With the CCA AGM looming next week several readers have expressed concern with regard to item 6 on the agenda which specifically relates to the consequences of the alterations to the car parking procedures associated with member club Darlington. Firstly, in my capacity as treasurer of the GAWMC, I can assure our chess squad players and to visiting teams to our club that we have no such problems in that we provide ample free parking throughout the year. When rivals Stockton moved to their latest venue they were forced to adopt a change of name to the Buffs in order to obtain free usage of one of the many function rooms after it was discovered that the chess team made very little use of the bar facilities. The worry that could possibly affect the Darlington team is that they could suffer a similar fate once the bar staff get irritated by the vast number of chess visitors having to report their arrival at the building but do not purchase any drinks. If the committee at the Darlington Cockerton Band and Musical Institute Club get wind of this they could demand a similar change of name for the club. However, given that it is such a mouthful in all probability it will be condensed and in all likelihood they will simply be referred to as a load of cocks from Darlington. Fingers crossed it does not come to this.

14th June - Another Full Complement

A total of 11 squad players attended the fourth chess summer lecture last night. This is more than the number of graded players who represent the likes of Thornaby and the Buffs and is a testament to how great a club we are in the local chess world. I was joined by president Andrew French, club captain Peter Archer, club legend Alan Jefferson and his son the Mark II along with Gordon Dickinson, Connor Wilson, Steve Gatenby, Steve Booth and US import Jim Rogers to watch Kegan demonstrate his excellent strategic plan to defeat former county grader, Mike Creaney, in the rarely seen Owen's defence. As usual the suggestions from the floor provided a fascinating and sometimes perplexing insight into the way some of our players actually process chess thoughts that kept the crowd enthralled for well over 90 minutes. Another good night had by all.

12th June - Awesome Sight

When I tuned into Sky News this morning I thought that the sight of a mad tyrannical dictator shaking hands with a tubby chap dubbed 'Little Rocket Man' who leads the democratic people's republic of Korea at an historic summit in Singapore would be the most memorable observation of the day. However, when I went for my weekly 50 lengths swim at Stokesley Leisure Centre at lunchtime I did not expect the awesome sighting that would supersede that of the Trump Kim Jong-un meeting. As I stood chatting up two old dears with my swimming coach Ken (who regularly competes in triathlon events including against the famous Brownlee brothers) as we waited for the security barrier to be lifted for the adult only general session to commence I was relieved that I was not wearing my glasses when I was approached by our victorious winning C team captain, Alan Reed, dressed only in a pair of budgie smugglers and flip-flops. He was dripping with sweat having just come off the squash court and was about to enter the sauna when he saw me. Thankfully our conversation was relatively brief, like the trunks, and we send our best wishes to his wife, Pauline, hoping that she makes a quick recovery after recently breaking her ankle when making the descent from Roseberry Topping the other day. Obviously I will be having an extra few beers tomorrow evening whilst attending the lecture in an attempt to eradicate the image from my memory.

11th June - Love Island

It is beyond my comprehension why anybody would waste their time watching the utter drivel of the voyeuristic television programme called Love Island. It is complete tosh that highlights the sad state of the generation known as the millennials that are addicted to the celebrity culture that pervades our society these days. Fortunately, this Wednesday evening there is a perfect opportunity to escape having to endure that mind-numbingly tedious crap that is projected nightly on our TV screens by attending the 4th chess lecture of the summer. This week it features former county grader, Mike Creaney, challenging our A team captain and the tutor himself, Kegan Harrison, in an epic encounter of a seldom seen opening called the Queens Fianchetto Defence. Just for the record I think the winner of Love Island will be the one with the big tits.

10th June - Changing The Team Numbers

With the impending CCA AGM on the horizon we got our expert, Kegan Harrision, to give us his take on the proposal, labelled 4.3 on the agenda, with regard to the format of the number of teams in each division. What follows are the views of our resident chess lecturer and A team captain:

Following on from last season there was a general view that the A Division did not contain enough teams and hence did not provide the A Division nominated players with enough games (8 league plus at least 2 in the Cup/Plate). Presumably as a response to this a proposal has been put forward to the 2018 AGM (Number 4.3) along the lines of – Problem: there are not enough teams in the A Division. Solution: Put more teams in the A Division. QED. Simple. Simple? Well … no. Simplistic yes.

Even at a superficial level this proposal is flawed. The three Divisions currently contain 5, 8 and 8 teams respectively and 4.3 would restructure this to 8, 8 and 5 which, even allowing for the possibility that Darlington may enter a D Team giving 6 in the C Division, seems only to have transported the shortage of teams/games from the A to the C Divisions. Whilst it can be said that some of these players will play up for the higher teams of the club, which is of course true, it should not be forgotten that C Division Teams are pure squad teams typically comprising 7 or 8 players and if you divide the greatly reduced number of available games between these players, and it is safe to assume that it will be the higher graded players who play up when required, then it doesn’t require too much imagination to see that the lower graded members will be getting only a handful of games per season and certainly far less that the current position of the A Team nominees.

Quite apart from this obvious iniquity if we look at the detail of how the Divisions will be made up (which teams they will contain) we see further serious problems; for this I will only use Great Ayton as an example although other clubs may well be similarly afflicted. In short 4.3 forces Great Ayton to have two teams in the A Division and quite simply for a club with our resources this is impossible. What seems always to be forgotten, or more likely ignored, is that A teams and B teams are not distinct entities: half of the B Team is the A Team and half of the A Team is the B team and hence forcing them into the same Division diminishes both. The current Great Ayton A Team is hardly a major force in the top tier and given our rather problematic player availability we are at best a marginal team and a B team (now deprived of the players required to sustain the A team) would be little more than a shadow of its former self and nothing more than the proverbial cannon fodder. Given that this ‘promotion’ is to be enforced Great Ayton B would be left with the choice of either spending a year being slaughtered and then relegated or pulling out of the league altogether. It is worth remembering here that we are an amateur league, this is our hobby and we do it for enjoyment – win a few, lose a few – and spending a whole year losing is not enjoyable. As a club we are happy to enter four teams into the league as A1, B1 and C2, however if we are forced to take the latter option then we would have A1, B1 and C1, in effect losing the D Team and not the B Team; this proposal could needlessly deprive the already short on teams C Division of a perfectly viable team. I look forward to an explanation of how this makes any sense.

With regard to the enforcing (with draconian penalties attached) of promotion and relegation then teams not already afflicted by the above would be in constant peril of having a team promoted or relegated to a Division where they already have a team and hence to oblivion. Is this really what is needed to address the problems of the league? It is clear that if you look at the currently available players teams have then only Redcar have a sufficiently strong squad to enter two decent teams in the A Division any further addition(s) would be purely cosmetic and of no chess value whatsoever.

To quote the Honourable Devereux Lyminster this is a ‘fumacious stencher’ of a proposal. Even at its best it solves nothing, it merely transfers the shortage of teams/games from one place to another and leaves in its wash unnecessary problems for clubs already in difficulty trying to match players to games. It is, although phrased differently, a complete return to the previous system which proved to be a failure and as such is retrograde in addition to being simplistic and dogmatic in allowing no flexibility or common sense to show its head.

I have long advocated that if any solution to the problems within the CCA is to be found then it must be done by consensus; an inter-club discussion with ideas passed around and potential solutions properly modelled to understand what they will look like and their consequences, rather than any further vaguely guessed at proposals such as 4.3.

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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 
Richard Hall180180Gold125039F  
Mike Hardman177175Bronze112087G 
Martin McLoughlin161157Silver274327K 
Andy Corbyn153154Gold158145E 
Nick Hall149149Bronze308466J 
Suresh Keswani143145Gold127515L 
Kegan Harrison137144Bronze269588B 
Mike Pointon131132Bronze308468B 
Peter Archer125122Bronze105801A 
Gordon Middlemiss119122Bronze146823G 
Jim Rogers118118Bronze136160A 
Andrew French115113Bronze312870C 
Alan Reed108106Bronze269872K 
Steven Booth105u/gBronze315595L 
Phil Semp104105Bronze118701G 
Gordon Dickinson98101Bronze148343C 
Conor Wilson8783Bronze223070H 
Mike Hardy8179Bronze179814F 
Stephen Gatenby6962Bronze306971A 
Howard Whitehead6262Bronze303007G 
Alan Jefferson5151Bronze179212L 
Chris Furyu/gBronze315612L 
Nominated Player Lists  

A Team

1.Richard Hall 
2.Mike Hardman 
3.Martin McLoughlin 

B Team

1.Andy Corbyn 
2.Nick Hall 
3.Suresh Keswani 

C Team Squad


D Team Squad


Club Players' Statistics

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

  Home   Away  
Peter Archer25262527610½
Steven Booth93102126
Andy Corbyn3001002011
Gordon Dickinson131413430
Andrew French152136217
Chris Fury3100100201
Stephen Gatenby132151222
Nick Hall2011½0000½
Richard Hall2001000100
Mike Hardman6112011½2
Mike Hardy6011½2022
Kegan Harrison162233315
Alan Jefferson8006010111
Suresh Keswani8202200402
Martin McLoughlin91122213
Gordon Middlemiss27634464714½
Michael Pointon80412012½
Alan Reed21413725812½
Jim Rogers2642357641015
Phil Semp81212130
Kevin Wilson110333023

The table below highlights the cumulative performance of every club member since the club commenced.
Latest update:21st May 2018

  Home   Away  
  NamePWDLPtsWDLPtsTotal_Value %_WhiteMaxBlackMax 
Peter Archer1451926253220252932½64½(44)39½7524½70
Steven Booth93102126(66)63
Andy Corbyn243646362612(50)81648
Gordon Dickinson89112212221518112446(52)24492240
Andrew French152136217(63)6105
Chris Fury3100100201(33)1201
Stephen Gatenby263194369(27)815
Nick Hall133314205(73)458
Richard Hall2672289241018(75)12½188
Mike Hardman11310311825½1226162550½(45)21½482965
Mike Hardy36419731213(36)413923
Kegan Harrison821691420½1514142242½(52)24½391843
Alan Jefferson5431227219811½(21)29425
Suresh Keswani811671019½1972222½42(52)26½491632
Martin McLoughlin12618252030½21192330½61(48)34½7226½54
Gordon Middlemiss87151214211512192142(48)26511636
Mike Pointon173616232(55)958
Alan Reed1111714272426131532½56½(51)255131½60
Jim Rogers50113712½111081628½(57)142414½26
Phil Semp69517813½82291932½(47)193813½31
Howard Whitehead141061133(25)4210
Kevin Wilson43461576012613(30)2121
Ex-Squad Members
Mike Botterill (RIP)12422530138(66)2468
Martin Carter3100100201(33)1201
Norman Cole364810829314½(40)17619
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
grey played #3-5-6-7
A team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Martin McLoughlin1143438425346
Mike Hardman11322573450½45
Peter Archer7222212932½45
Suresh Keswani602710233253
Kegan Harrison4515131721½48
Richard Hall2616461869
Andy Corbyn2461261250
Gordon Middlemiss11326436
Mike Pointon3201266
Nick Hall11001100
Kevin Wilson4103125
Phil Semp5023120
Alan Jefferson6105117
Gordon Dickinson2011½25
Steven Booth2011½25
Jim Rogers2011½25
Alan Reed400400
Mike Hardy100100
Chris Fury100100
Steven Gatenby100100
Ex-Squad Members
Peter Ridsdale652024213249
Carl Shuttleworth265813934
Ian Richardson1223729
James Morley621341
Mike Botterill100100
Martin Carter100100
Tom Hall100100
B team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Alan Reed622016262845
Peter Archer621424242642
Gordon Dickinson4713211323½52
Kegan Harrison381710112258
Phil Semp43102492251
Gordon Middlemiss451612172249
Jim Rogers2410861458
Suresh Keswani2075847
Martin McLoughlin12561866
Andrew French641175
Mike Pointon1017245
Steven Booth44004100
Alan Jefferson19211613
Mike Hardy22002100
Kevin Wilson12111013
Howard Whitehead11001100
Nick Hall2011½25
Ex-Squad Members
Ian Richardson652020253046
Norman Cole18387739
Mike Botterill5302360
Peter Ridsdale5221360
Phil Whittingham7304343
Joe Richardson912623
Graham Shuttleworth11001100
Martin Carter2101150
James Morley2101150
Dave McCabe300300
Carl Shuttleworth100100
C team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Alan Reed30177620½68
Gordon Middlemiss301111816½55
Gordon Dickinson2481241458
Jim Rogers2411491354
Mike Hardy3194181135
Nick Hall10640880
Phil Semp13265538
Alan Jefferson8404450
Suresh Keswani11001100
Chris Fury2101150
Howard Whitehead6024117
Stephen Gatenby200200
Ex-Squad Members
Norman Cole12363650
Mike Botterill6420583
Ian Richardson8323450
Bob Porritt100100
D team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Kevin Wilson27751535
Stephen Gatenby237412939
Alan Reed1163268
Gordon Dickinson11542764
Peter Archer9342555
Andrew French9423555
Phil Semp817056
Alan Jefferson223217418
Mike Pointon4220375
Steven Booth311150
Howard Whitehead711521
Ex-Squad Members
Ian Richardson12363650
Bob Porritt3102133
Norman Cole5023120
Games defaulted 56
points gained 27½ and
points conceded 28½

The overall record of the teams after 8 seasons is as shown:

A team: Played = 124, Won = 39, Drawn = 22, Lost = 63, For = 289, Against = 331

B team: Played = 113, Won = 42, Drawn = 10, Lost = 61, For = 262½, Against = 302½

C team: Played = 054, Won = 23, Drawn = 09, Lost = 22, For = 110, Against = 106

D team: Played = 040, Won = 11, Drawn = 11, Lost = 18, For = 070½, Against = 089½

A Team Scores The number of matches played after 8 seasons = 124. 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 8 seasons = 113. 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 4 seasons = 54. 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 3 seasons = 40. 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.

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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___default win 
Apr 23rdBoro Rooks_v_Ayton A___LOSS (3½-1½) 
May 9thAyton A_v_Redcar A___LOSS (1-4) 
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) 
May 9thSynthonia A_v_Ayton B___DRAW (2½-2½) 
Mar 14thAyton B_v_Darlington B___WIN (3-2) 
Mar 27thThornaby B_v_Ayton B___WIN (1½-3½) 
Apr 16thHartlepool A_v_Ayton B___WIN (2-3) 
May 2ndAyton B_v_Boro Knights___DRAW (2½-2½) 
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___WIN (½-3½) 
Mar 7thAyton C _v_ Darlington C___LOSS (1½-2½) 
Mar 22ndThe Buffs B _v_ Ayton C___WIN (1½-2½) 
Apr 11thAyton D _v_ Ayton C___WIN (3-1) 
Apr 18thAyton C _v_ Hartlepool B___LOSS (1-3) 
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___WIN(1½-2½) 
Mar 7thAyton D _v_ Synthonia B___WIN (3-1) 
Mar 19thDarlington C _v_ Ayton D___DRAW (2-2) 
Apr 11thAyton D _v_ Ayton C___LOSS (1-3) 
Apr 26thThe Buffs B _v_ Ayton D___WIN (1-3) 
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) 
Apr 4thDarlington_v_Ayton B___LOSS (3-2) 
Apr 3rdHartlepool_v_Ayton A___DRAW (2½-2½) 

Match Results

The match results are as follows:

Board  Billingham Synthonia A   v  Ayton B  Result  Date:9th May 2018   
1  P Weightman (120)   v   K Harrison (144)  0-1   
2  P Frank (117)   v   P Archer (125)  1-0   
3  V Skillcorn (103)   v   A French (116)   ½-½   
4  D Frank (94)   v   A Reed (108)  1-0   
5  K Harrison (91)   v   S Booth (u/g)  0-1   
        2½-2½   (DRAW)   
Board  Ayton A   v  Redcar A  Result  Date:9th May 2018   
1  M Hardman (177)   v   S Marsh (212)  1-0   
2  M McLoughlin (157)   v   D Baillie (182)  0-1   
3  K Wilson (83)   v   M Jackman (166)  0-1   
4  S Gatenby (61)   v   D Edmunds (167)  0-1   
5  A Jefferson (51)   v   J Bunyon (113)  0-1   
        1-4   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton B   v   Boro Knights  Result  Date:2nd May 2018   
1  K Harrison (144)   v   E Lazenby (146)  ½-½   
2  P Archer (125)   v   P Ridsdale (137)  0-1   
3  A French (116)   v   R Stather (137)  1-0   
4  A Reed (108)   v   N Bhandari (122)  0-1   
5  S Booth (u/g)   v   D Appleyard (121)  1-0   
        2½-2½   (DRAW)   
Board  The Buffs B   v   Ayton D  Result  Date:26th Apr 2018   
1  D Simpson (112)   v   A French (116)  0-1   
2  M Baldea (103)   v   P Semp (105)  0-1   
3  A Stockley (99)   v   K Wilson (83)  1-0   
4  K McGrother (u/g)   v   S Gatenby (61)  0-1   
        1-3   (WIN)   
Board  Boro Rooks   v   Ayton A  Result  Date:23rd Apr 2018   
1  N Tavoularis (207)   v   M Hardman (177)   1-0   
2  P Gregory (176)   v   A Corbyn (157)  ½-½   
3  R Harding (159)   v   M McLoughlin (157)  0-1   
4  E Lazenby (146)   v   K Harrison (144)  1-0   
5  R Stather (137)   v   S Booth (u/g)  1-0   
        3½-1½   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton C   v   Hartlepool B  Result  Date:18th Apr 2018   
1  J Rogers (119)   v   P Harker (147)  0-1   
2  G Middlemiss (123)   v   G Matthews (121)  0-1   
3  A Reed (108)   v   K Waterman (116)  ½-½   
4  G Dickinson (102)   v   P Hollis (u/g)  ½-½   
        1-3   (LOSS)   
Board  Hartlepool A   v   Ayton B  Result  Date:16th Apr 2018   
1  R Stonehouse (176)   v   M Pointon (132)  1-0   
2  B Wilson (151)   v   P Archer (125)  1-0   
3  P Harker (147)   v   G Middlemiss (123)  0-1   
4  K Hill (144)   v   J Rogers (119)  0-1   
5  G Matthews (121)   v   S Booth (u/g)  0-1   
        2-3   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton D   v   Ayton C  Result  Date:11th Apr 2018   
1  P Archer (125)   v   G Middlemiss (122)  ½-½   
2  A French (116)   v   J Rogers (119)  0-1   
3  S Gatenby (61)   v   G Dickinson (102)  0-1   
4  S Booth (u/g)   v   A Reed (108)  ½-½   
5  A Jefferson (51)   v   M Hardy (77)   0-1   not included in match score   
Board  Darlington A   v   Ayton B  Result  Date:4th Apr 2018 (Plate)   
1  S Dauber (179)   v   P Archer (125)  ½-½   
2  S Ormerod (159)   v   J Rogers (119)  1-0   
3  R Donner (140)   v   A French (116)  0-1   
4  G Hewitt (127)   v   A Reed (108)  1-0   
5  C Stephens (129)   v   G Dickinson (102)  ½-½   
        3-2   (LOSS)   
Board  Hartlepool A   v   Ayton A  Result  Date:3rd Apr 2018 (Plate)   
1  R Stonehouse (176)   v   A Corbyn (157)  ½-½   
2  B Wilson (151)   v   M McLoughlin (157)  0-1   
3  B Price (148)   v   G Middlemiss (122)  ½-½   
4  P Harker (147)   v   S Booth (u/g)  ½-½   
5  G Matthews (121)   v   C Fury (u/g)  1-0   
        2½-2½   (DRAW) lost 3 blacks rule   
Board  Thornaby B   v   Ayton B  Result  Date:27th Mar 2018   
1  M Creaney (128)   v   K Harrison (144)  0-1   
2  R Honeybourne (124)   v   M Pointon (132)  ½-½   
3  C Carabine (123)   v   P Archer (125)  ½-½   
4  B Whitaker (122)   v   G Middlemiss (122)  ½-½   
5  C Bourchier (u/g)   v   J Rogers (119)  0-1   
        1½-3½   (WIN)   
Board  The Buffs B   v   Ayton C  Result  Date:22nd Mar 2018   
1  D Simpson (112)   v   G Middlemiss (122)  ½-½   
2  G Garnett (100)   v   J Rogers (119)  0-1   
3  A Stockley (99)   v   A Reed (108)  0-1   
4  J Littlehailes (97)   v   C Fury (u/g)  1-0   
        1½-2½   (WIN)   
Board  Darlington C   v   Ayton D  Result  Date:19th Mar 2018   
1  A Fell (117)   v   P Archer (125)  0-1   
2  H Wilson (95)   v   A French (116)  ½-½   
3  B White (85)   v   P Semp (105)  ½-½   
4  G Hutchison (u/g)   v   S Booth (u/g)  1-0   
        2-2   (DRAW)   
Board  Ayton B   v   Darlington B  Result  Date:14th Mar 2018   
1  K Harrison (144)   v   S Ormerod (158)  0-1   
2  P Archer (125)   v   D Dixon (149)   ½-½   
3  G Middlemiss (122)   v   R Donner (140)  ½-½   
4  J Rogers (119)   v   G Hewitt (127)   1-0   
5  S Booth (u/g)   v   P McKay (123)   1-0   
        3-2   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton D   v   Billingham Synthonia B  Result  Date:7th Mar 2018   
1  P Archer (125)   v   V Skillcorn (103)  1-0   
2  K Wilson (83)   v   K Harrison (91)  ½-½   
3  S Gatenby (61)   v   G Edwardes (78)   ½-½   
4  S Booth (u/g)   v   S McLaughlin (74)  1-0   
        3-1   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton C   v   Darlington C  Result  Date:7th Mar 2018   
1  G Middlemiss (122)   v   A Fell (117)  0-1   
2  A Reed (108)   v   J Garner (109)  0-1   
3  G Dickinson (102)   v   H Wilson (95)  ½-½   
4  C Fury (u/g)   v   B White (85)  1-0   
        1½-2½   (LOSS)   
Board  Redcar C   v   Ayton D  Result  Date:21st Feb 2018   
1  R Parker (122)   v   P Archer (125)  1-0   
2  J Bunyan (113)   v   A French (116)  0-1   
3  I Kitchen (104)   v   K Wilson (83)  0-1   
4  A Hare (92)   v   S Gatenby (61)  ½-½   
        1½-2½   (WIN)   
Board  Billingham Synthonia B   v  Ayton C  Result  Date:21st Feb 2018   
1  B Callaghan (96)   v   J Rogers (119)  0-1   
2  V Skillcorn (103)   v   A Reed (108)  ½-½   
3  S McLaughlin (74)   v   G Dickinson (102)  0-1   
4  W Greenwood (68)   v   M Hardy (77)  0-1   
        ½-3½   (WIN)   
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 (61)   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 = 9, drew = 17, lost = 24, points = 17½ out of 50
BOARD 3 is won = 19, drew = 17, lost = 12, points = 27½ out of 48
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____(5½/13)   
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_1_1_0___(4½/9)   

Archive Results

Click here for season #8.

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.
The first time the C team won the C division championship title was in season #8 captained by Alan Reed with his squad of Jim Rogers, Gordon Middlemiss, Gordon Dickinson, Mike Hardy and Chris Fury.
The first player to reach a total of 50 defeats was Peter Archer at the end of season #8.

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 Season #8. C team C division winners of the Tony Kiddle Memorial Sheild.

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 #8
1. Jim Rogers - 15 points
2. Gordon Middlemiss - 14½
3. Alan Reed - 12½
4. Peter Archer - 10½
5. Andrew French - 9½

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
34. Steven Booth v S McLaughlin (D team at home v Billingham Synthonia B) 7/3/2018 - Win
35. Chris Fury v B White (C team at home v Darlington C) 7/3/2018 - 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.


Given the ineptness and inability of the club psychologist and Head of Research Director club officials being unable to display a best game of the season the Head of Recruitment Director decided to designate the task to his reliable publicity officer. It was agreed that a sub-set of star players would be monitored throughout the campaign and the club was pretty confident that the elite sub-group comprising of Richard Hall and his son Nick, mathematical supremo Mike Pointon, club superstar Andy Corbyn and former rookie of the year Steve Gatenby between them would guarantee a game well worth reviewing. Unfortunately, the campaign of Richard, our highest rated player, was curtailed by injury and he was unable to record a victory. Somewhat surprisingly Nick, who was unbeaten in his first season with us failed to record a win in his second. Alarm bells started ringing when Mike Pointon proceeded to produce a series of draws and was unable to cross the winning line. The stress levels were increased when our superstar Andy Corbyn also failed to record a win all season. Fortunately, the statistics revealed that Steve Gatenby has notched up 3 wins but sadly the moves he had written down on his scoresheets proved to be indecipherable and did not accurately reflect the moves actually played. Incandescent with rage our Head of Recruitment Director has to regrettably announce that for the 8th season in a row we are unable to display our best game and the publicity officer was last seen visiting hospital with a boot stuck up his arse.

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

Against Billingham A
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
draw2½-1½ win draw5-0 win 5-0 win5-0 win4-1 win3-2 win4-1 winno games

Against Billingham B
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
2½-1½ win 3½-½ winno gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno 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 Ormerod159
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
Brian White85
Aiden Garner72
Shrish Nair27
Gregor Hutchisonu/g
Ashwin Amitharaju/g
Troy Tezu/g
L Owenu/g

Against Darlington A
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-2 loss 3-2 win4-1 loss 3-2 loss ,draw4-1 loss3-2 win3½-1½ loss,3½-1½ loss4-1 lossdraw3-2 loss

Against Darlington B
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
draw4-1 loss3½-1½ loss4-1 win3-2 loss3-2 lossno games4-1 loss

Against Darlington C
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
draw 4-0 win3½-1½ 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 loss draw 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
Peter Hollisu/g
D Vos-Batesu/g

Against Hartlepool A
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-2 win draw3-2 win 3-2 loss3½-1½ win3-2 lossno gamesno games4-1 loss4-1 loss

Against Hartlepool B
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-1 win drawno gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno games


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 #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ loss 4-1 loss4½-½ loss,3-2 windraw3½-1½ loss5-0 loss4½-½ loss,3-2 loss3-2 loss3½-1½ win

Against Boro Knights
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-2 loss3½-1½ loss5-0 loss4½-½ win,3½-1½ loss4-1 lossdraw,3-2 loss3-2 loss4-1 loss

Against Boro Bishops
Season #8Season #7 Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-1 loss 3-1 loss3-2 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 #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
4½-½ loss3½-1½ loss4½-½ loss3-2 loss4-1 loss3-2 loss3½-1½ win5-0 loss

Against Redcar B
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ loss 3½-1½ lossdraw3½-1½ win3½-1½ loss4½-½ win,3-2 lossno gamesno games4½-½ win,4½-½ win

Against Redcar C
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
2½-1½ win 3½-½ win2½-1½ 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
Cliff Harlandu/g
Kevin McGrotheru/g

Against Stockton A
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
4½-½ loss4½-½ win3½-1½ win3-2 win, drawdraw3-2 loss3½-1½ loss,drawdraw

Against Stockton B
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-1 win 2½-1½ win3-1 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
Chris Bourchieru/g
Julio Calcinau/g

Against Thornaby A
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ win 3½-1½ loss3-2 loss5-0 lossdraw4½-½ loss3-2 win,4½-½ loss3½-1½ lossno games4-1 win

Against Thornaby B
Season #8Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ win3½-1½ 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 Working Men'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 Working Men'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

Great Ayton Bees vs Billingham Synthonia A on Wednesday 9th May

Bees Medal for Second Year Running

Despite the roadworks on the approach to Synthonia Club almost closing the road, we all arrived by 6:45, keen to play the final match of the season. Once we had got some refreshments, we were shown through to the room beyond the pool tables which was splendidly set out for a banquet, and bedecked with “union jack” bunting – perhaps they are hosting the festivities after the forthcoming Royal Wedding! The first time I looked at the other games they were all closely fought except Steven on board five who was a piece up and pressing. Eventually he got us on the board with a fine win in what will probably his last game on board 5. He has provided the Bees with a real sting in the tail this season. On the board next to me, Andrew was playing with flamboyant style and had rook and two pawns for two minor pieces in an open game. His opponent played with much determination to hold the position together despite his king being in the middle of the board and so the game was drawn. The other games were all very tight, and it looked as though Kegan would have to settle for a draw despite building a good attack, but his opponent played a rash move which left his knight en prise and resigned immediately. After a tricky opening, I was on the back foot for most of the game, until I also blundered a minor piece and despite playing on with some traps had to resign. Alan and his opponent played most of the game with all eight pawns each on the board so things were very tight. With just a bishop and six pawns each Alan played an enterprising move offering a bishop sacrifice to get a pawn free to march towards glory. However, this was rejected and with the two extra moves before Alan could queen his pawn, Dave managed to get his own king, bishop and passed pawn to provide a mating net. The final result then was a drawn match 2½ - 2½. This was enough to take us to six games unbeaten, jumping above Hartlepool A into third place and a podium position for the second year running. Billingham played well, were as welcoming as always, and we wish them every success in trying to field two teams again next year.

Thanks to all the players who have supported the Bees (and me) this year. Next season we need to get out of the blocks quicker in the Autumn, to see whether we can get into gold or silver medal position.

There was no music on the way home as Alan and I discussed more important things such as warm holidays, and coping with aching joints after strenuous exercise.

The next chapter entitled “Return of the Bees” will begin in October.


Without much to play for in the final match of the season - Redcar having already been crowned champions, and we having little chance of overhauling the Rooks for second place - our captain took the opportunity of giving some of the squad players a run out. As a result, we were heavily outgraded on most boards, but gave the champions a run for their money.

Club legend Alan Jefferson was the first to finish. He was somewhat flummoxed by his opponent's choice of opening (the Grob), and soon found himself in a difficult position, from which he never recovered. 0-1.

Meanwhile, Martin was creating a work of art on Board 2. With rare skill, he left Black with tripled f-pawns, which contrasted sharply with his own classical pawn structure. Unfortunately, in the meantime, David Baillie, with less regard for the aesthetics of the position, won the exchange and a few pawns, after which resistance was futile. Ars longa, vita brevis, as Martin was heard muttering afterwards (at least, that's what it sounded like). 0-2.

Steve was undaunted by his illustrious opponent, and his game looked level for some time. After the game, Dave Edmunds was very complimentary about how Steve had played, but eventually Dave's class told. 0-3.

In my game, Sean Marsh delayed the development of his KR and KN in order to build up an impressive looking position from the opening. However, that allowed me a tactic where my bishop was able to capture the undeveloped rook, which also left White's king in the centre. After a few alarms, I managed to convert these advantages into a win. 1-3.

Like Steve, Kevin played excellently, and for most of his game was if anything probably slightly better. In the end, however, he over-pressed on the Q-side, which allowed his opponent a neat tactic giving Kevin the choice of losing his queen or getting mated. 1-4.

Congratulations to Redcar for their convincing victory tonight and for retaining the championship, and well done to our players for putting up such spirited resistance.

Great Ayton B vs M’bro Knights on Wednesday 2nd May

We always needed to be on top form against the Knights, as they are better than most other clubs in the division at getting their top players out. However, once the weather warms up, the Bees start buzzing and don’t fear reputations. Top board was a re-run of Kegan against Ernie Lazenby from the previous week at the Rooks. Moves were rattled off quickly and lots of pieces swapped off before Ernie announced “this is a stone cold draw” and Kegan agreed. In my game against former GAWMC star Peter Ridsdale, things started OK but I let him get a knight established on d3 supported by a pawn on c4 ( a bumble on my part). This enabled him to build up pressure and gradually win material and eventually the game. Fortunately, Steven was playing a blinder on board five, and got a strong attack with queen and knight on his opponent’s exposed king (while his own monarch was tucked safely in the corner). This led to the winning of a piece and so he levelled the scores. Next game to finish was Mr President (GAWMC) versus Mr President (CCA) and what follows is not “fake news”. In a game worthy of being replayed on the “big board” over the Summer, MrP (GAWMC) managed to get a knight on g3, a bishop on h4 and a rook on the first rank about to deliver mate by moving to h1 and surrounding the white king on h2. At the far side of the board the pawn on a7 was one move behind becoming a queen! So, at 2 ½ - 1 ½ we were guaranteed at least a draw with Alan playing young Nikhil in an equally exciting game. With time running out, Alan had to give up a rook for a bishop, and went down fighting. A drawn match was a good result for us, and congratulations to the Knights on securing second spot in the league. If we can win or draw our last game, we will leap into bronze medal position, and conclude a run of six games undefeated.

Tonight’s trivia: Players with the black pieces won 4 ½ points out of five in the match!

Unfortunately most of my CD’s are starting to show their age, so I have now put the latest into the drive, and future references will be to tracks from LEDZEPPELIN’s Mothership.



After Andrews sat nav sent us all round Stockton we eventually got to the Buffs - on time- and settled down to what proved to be an eventful evening in which the theme for the night was the danger of over-pressing.

Andrew was playing Derek Simpson on board1. After about 14 moves the position was looking very solid on both sides. Derek then tried an agressive knight move in an effort to break the deadlock - which gave Andrew a tactical sacrifice - winning a pawn and mopping up. A few moves later, Derek resigned as his position had become hopeless.

Stevie G was playing Kevin McGrother. I had my work cut out, so did not have much time to walk about. However, after about an hour I had a quick look round. Steve looked totally finished. I went back to my game and a few minutes later, they were analysing the game. I assumed Steve had lost. However, in his haste to deliver mate, his opponent gave his queen away!

Kevin was playing the evergreen Alan Stockley, who must be one of the oldest players in the league. He built up a fantastic attack. However, he allowed Alan to swap off most of the pieces, leaving a bad knight and five pawns against a good knight and five pawns - and it was goodnight for Kevin! Kevin couldn't move his knight from the back rank, which was mopped up by Alan's king, after which his pawns were snaffled.

I was playing Mitch Baldea on board 2. He established a blockade on the queenside with his advanced pawns and then castled queenside! I had previously castled kingside and was reduced to shuffling my pieces around the back two ranks. He obviously thought he could now marshal his pieces for a kingside assault. However, I forced a swap off of the queens and after that it was a dead draw - objectively- as I was still cramped, yet had an impregnable position.
Mitch then attempted to force the issue, giving me a pawn and totally freeing my position. After all the pieces were subsequently swapped (he initiated the final swap in which he miscalculated the potency of his king) I won the endgame. A captain's innings? Perhaps...

A nice end to a good season in which all members of the squad played a part.

Phil Semp

So to our last meaningful A team game of the season the winner of which would obtain the prestige of being second and effective Champions of the competitive bit of the Division. The Rooks were as ever their usual friendly and welcoming selves; the same cannot be said about the venue. The normal hub-bub from the bar was tonight dominated by a crushing bore (boar) droning on and on and on and on in a very loud voice about football. His argument, as best I understood it seemed to be, if I may dare to précis such a wise and learned fellow, that if only he were manager of Middlesbrough they would win everything, all the time, forever. He did later move on to Muslims, Cigarettes and Taxation but I wont go there other than to say that this is not a conducive environment for chess. There was some speculation between myself and Captain Archer (who had taken a night out to come and support us) as to whether the effect of gravitational lensing also applied to bullshit and his ruminations were being focused on the chess room by the screen placed between ourselves and the bar.

So to the match. Mike Hardman (Board 1, White) was once again paired with Mighty Nick 'The Greek' Tavoularis, whose views on Cassia are held in high regard within the Great Ayton chess community. As I first looked at the game it was reduced to a Rook and two Knights endgame but in typical style Black had an edge ... kept it ... and won (0-1).

My game (Board 4, Black) against model maker and arbiter Ernie Lazenby was over rather quickly we played a line I was convinced was sound (remind me to burn whichever book I got this from!) but turned out to be lost. Having now checked it with the advise of Fritz it really is rubbish ... White won a piece early on and from that point played very accurately to deny Blacks hopes of counter play (0-2).

This leads us to Positional Maestro McLoughlin (Board 3, White) and his game against the strong Robert Harding. As a preamble (and in an effort to gain at least some credit for this evening) a couple of weeks ago I had spent some time working on a weakness I had in a particular opening and as a result came across an interesting gambit line which looked promising. I was able to show this to club members (including Martin) that week and despite shaking his head in despair at move 2 Our Hero saw some merit in it after I had demonstrated a couple of games; so much so that it was on the board tonight. White managed to forget the best move at move 10 but the spirit of the gambit remained: Black had an undeveloped Kingside and those pieces that were in play were uncoordinated and lacking purpose. Our man given such an initiative needs no second asking and sac'd a further pawn and then a piece to develop an irresistible attack and with what can only be described as a piece of brilliance destroyed Blacks last remaining resources and delivered the Coup de Grace. I look forward to having this game on the Big Board this summer (1-2).

New Star Steven Booth (Board 5, White) was paired with CCA President and debonair man about town Ron Stather, tonight lacking both a bow tie and Superman socks. I was able to watch a good amount of this and it looked tight for much of the evening but Black always seemed to have a bit of initiative. A close middle game with unbalanced pawns led to a few exchanges and at a critical moment White decided to open a second front which left the Queen offside; this allowed Black to pseudo-sacrifice the exchange and gain a completely winning position (1-3).

This left Andy Corbyn (Board 2, Black) with veteran Paul Gregory. A tight opening left White with the Bishop pair and it seemed Blacks pawns were loose and floating all over the board. Checking a little later Black had established a Queen and Rook battery on the semi-opened f-file and his pawns had mysteriously reformed themselves into a coherent grouping. It would be interesting to have another look at this game as it seemed that at least one of Blacks threats must be decisive, but White held on and with the clocks running down to zero a Draw was agreed (1.5-3.5).

Our thanks to Middlesbrough for their hospitality tonight they are as always good company and my congratulations on a well deserved Second Place in the A Division, but they must also consider their venue and its numerous down sides ... enough said.

Mr President would have liked to have been with us this evening but it seems relations between himself and his neighbour the Hairdresser Mr Kim have improved rather dramatically. Since we reported on their previous spat Mr President went round to the Kim's for Supper and afterwards they played the ancient game of Mah-Jong (at which Mr President excels at since it involves building walls). In return The Presidents are having the Kims round for a 'Bar-B-Q' tonight followed by a game Mr President calls 'Diplomacy'; this involves floating a number of yellow plastic ducks on an inflatable paddling pool and seeing who can shoot the most in thirty seconds using a pump action shotgun. Mr Kim thinks this is an excellent game. Mr President's Cat is also very much more settled since he can now sit on the fence between the neighbours and not have to dodge the balls and other items flying from one garden to the other. We hope this happier state of affairs remains and we look forward to having Mr President with us for the next match.

Tonights music was the eponymous first album by Liquid Tension Experiment, described by one critic as 'This is what happens when Tony Levin forms a band with God, Merlin and Thor'.



Great Ayton C v Hartlepool B (18 April 2018)

Beaten by a strong Hartlepool team, despite a good scrap overall – 1-3 Loss.

Jim finished first on Board 1 with Black after a battle royale, having given it his all. Pushing to be a R up after 8 moves against an opponent who out-graded him by around 30 points gave him a great start, however his opponent dug in well and finally turned the tables to claim the win. (0-1)

On Board 2 Gordon M was next to gain the upper hand. From the off he had kept his opponent guessing and had chances to win his Q before losing his own to a clever combination from his opponent. A real up-and-down battle ensued, with chances on both sides. Rousing stuff . . . but it was unfortunately not to be for us on the night as Gordon’s opponent sealed the deal with Q/B v R/B to push Hartlepool into a strong overall position. (0-2)

Gordon D had travelled what was, for him, a paltry 150 miles to sunny Barnsley before putting in his now expected solid shift for the Team on Board 4. Against a well-experienced and talented opponent the game was tight from the off, yielding little opportunity for breakthrough on either side of the eight-sided square. Eventually, despite having the extra P Gordon had to concede the draw, since lock-down ruled the board and there was no clear way through for either player. (0.5-2.5)

On Board 3, Alan held off the attack from his higher-graded opponent and worked towards a possible counter . . . not surprisingly both players used up copious amounts of time in a complex mid-board exchange. After castling and major piece swaps the position still showed pressure galore for all concerned and both sides had borrowed quite heavily from the clock-god, although still no clear breakthrough was visible for either player. Draw offered and accepted on move 33. (1-3)

Well, we didn’t get the final win we might have hoped for. We were instead well-beaten by a very strong Hartlepool team . . . so well done to Hartlepool for a really solid performance. As a Captain, I have to record immense pride in our overall performance this Season. Gordon M showed himself to be a stunning Team player as he broke the record on total games played in the Season – fabulous stamina, imagination and performance throughout. Jim smashed all before him in winning a record number of points during the Season – fantastic drive and consistency. Gordon D continues to inspire us all with his determination and sheer energy . . . driving umpteen miles before even playing each week and then unbelievably recording only 1 loss all Season. Mike is without doubt the strongest and most dedicated Team player of our bunch . . . always supportive of us all in so many ways; always ready to step into the breach and captain the Team when needed. And our latest find, Chris, has shown the sort of talent we all appreciate going forward . . . with, in addition, a great sense of humour which has impressed and inspired us all. Overall, we ain’t done too bad, what, Carruthers ?!? ‘Seems like we have more than punched our weight this year in a pretty tough Division. Time now to recuperate and engage in Kegan’s inspiring and uplifting tutorial sessions . . . in order to revitalise ourselves and replenish our flagging energy reserves before getting into battle again next year !!!

Alan R

Hartlepool A vs Great Ayton B on Monday 16th April

As the race for places goes into the home straight in the B division, things are hotting up quicker than the weather forecast. So, it was with great excitement that we travelled to Hartlepool to continue our impressive league form and see whether we could start to climb up into a medal position. As they have done for home matches all season, Hartlepool put out a strong side, with an average grade on the top four boards of nearly 30 more than the Bees. On board 1, Mike was allowed to develop the white pieces how he liked whilst his opponent shuffled around until ready to strike. Despite playing stubbornly, Mike eventually went a pawn behind and this was enough to give Pools the point. Steven settled the nerves by levelling the score after getting the upper hand against Graham Matthews. Gordon was drawn against Peter Harker who has a good record in Ayton matches, and he made a comment about whether the first move would be b4. Not put off by this Gordon confidently pushed f4 to present a completely different set of problems. By the time I looked up from my game, Gordon had lined up his bishop and queen on g7 and the castled king. Mate could only be avoided by sacrificing a piece and Gordon went into top gear. The next time I saw the game he was queen and 6 pawns versus queen and 4 pawns. But even better, after some manoeuvring he was able to give check and force the exchange of queens and have a simple win to put us 2-1 ahead. I was pleased with my defence to a closed Sicilian, saw off the attack on the king’s side, and then won the exchange. With plenty of pawns on the board, it looked like a draw, but I made a couple of casual moves allowing my opponent to line up his big pieces down the h file and it was all over. I had considered tightening the position by giving back the exchange which we decided would probably have led to a draw but that was a lesson to be remembered! At 2 games each we all stood around watching our man in form, Jim Rogers, to see if we could win the match. Although a former Hartlepool player, Jim was not in a generous mood, and had fought well with the black pieces to be up in material but his opponent had a dangerous attack. Under time pressure Keith Smith did not find the best moves and Jim saw us home to a great victory. Hartlepool had started the match with an outside chance of finishing second, but they are not the first team to be stung by the Bees as Spring gets underway. Next up is the strong M’bro Knights team, who are in with a shout of winning the division.


Great Ayton D vs Great Ayton C on Wednesday 11th April

Firstly, some CCA trivia. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our esteemed Head of Recruitment, we are the only club in the league which can play a league match between two of its teams. In addition there was a graded game (not counting to the match score) played by C and D team stalwarts Mike Hardy and Alan Jefferson. On top board I faced Gordon Middlemiss who played b4, the Orangutan (or Polish) opening, a favourite of his. I had looked at this recently in case I played him and so was prepared although we soon got out of the book and there were numerous threats being set up. After the swapping off of pawns on the “a” file, all six major pieces quickly followed the same fate. This left a curious position with all four minor pieces and lots of pawns left. After a couple of minor pieces each were swapped off we agreed a draw. For a long time Andrew and Jim were fairly even, until Jim got a bishop entrenched on g3 stopping Andrew’s castled king from running away. Once Jim got his queen onto the “h” file it was all over as the king had no escape square to get out of Qh2+ and Qh1 mate as e2 was blocked. Now for some general chess trivia. This is a version of the spectacular Damiano’s mate which was first published more than 500 years ago in 1512! SteveG had started well against GordonD, but blundered a piece, and although he made some threats Gordon played steadily to gradually get the upper hand and secure the full point and ensure the C’s won the match. The most keenly fought match was on board 4 between new recruit Steven Booth and C captain Alan Reed. When I looked Alan had spent a lot of time and won a pawn, but several threats from Steven won the exchange. The game then turned again as Alan forked two rooks with his knight and was two pawns ahead. Steven had an attack going and won back a pawn and with Alan’s time ticking away they agreed a draw. This left the C’s winning 3-1 and puts them in a great position to take the C division title. Final piece of real trivia. The four games were finished neatly in board order – not often that happens.


Darlington A vs Great Ayton B – Jeremy Burnett Plate Semi-Final

It is a good job that I do not believe in omens: Did the high river level on the Tees at Croft mean that we would be swept away by stronger opposition? Was the Blood Transfusion Service vehicle at the club door a sign that there would be a bloodbath over the board?

I had remembered to bring my two-headed coin for the all-important toss to see which team played with black pieces on odd boards, but this was foiled by the wily Steve Dauber calling “tails”. We were out-graded by about 32 points per board, but the Bees are not put off by such things. On my first stroll round there was plenty of aggression on all boards with positions fairly equal. The first real progress was for the Beecups, as a groan from board three meant that Bob Donner was conceding to Andrew French. A little earlier Andrew had gone a knight up and had now delivered check with his queen as part of an unstoppable attack. Andrew has played well against some tough opponents this year, but this was a real step up to higher level chess. Some time later, Alan succumbed on board four to make the scores level again. It must have been half past nine when Gordon agreed a draw with king, rook and six pawns each and no real weaknesses on either side. Shortly before ten o’clock Steve Dauber offered me a draw when the position was about equal with rook, bishop and six interlocked pawns each – needless to say I agreed before the sentence was finished and he had time to change his mind! I really enjoyed the game, and managed to parry all the threats Steve made and responded with some attacking chances of my own. At two points each we were still in with a chance, but Jim was playing a rampant Steve Ormerod on board two. Although the material was level, Steve had been attacking most of the match and eventually secured the point and victory for Darlington, who are now my tip to take the Plate trophy. We made them sweat for the victory, though, and I was proud of how all five of us have played in every round.

It is now back to the serious business of league points for the remaining month of the season.


Hartlepool A v Ayton A (3rd April 2018 - Plate Semi-Final)

The making of Church Street into a pedestrian only zone resulted in traffic being diverted around to the back of the Athenaeum Club but this did not prevent me and the quartet from Guisborough arriving before our hosts for the evening. In fact, our Head of Equipment Director who was acting as stand-in A team captain for the match felt obligated to set up the single chess table for the top board whilst chatting with his opposite number. The venue is a quiet room with a large table accommodating 4 games in a row for boards two through to five. The top board is situated behind and as a consequence I was unable to see any of the action that unfolded between Andy Corbyn and their star player Ray Stonehouse.
They have some excellent large wooden sets with boards commemorating former great Hartlepool players but this did not suit Gordon Middlemiss who insisted on swapping his to a plastic one with the letters and numbers on to enable him to record the game.
The first game to be decided ended at around 8.40 with the defeat of our Glaswegain Chris Fury playing Graham Matthews who might as well be Glaswegian. Without a translator present I was unable to figure out what occurred during their encounter but it looked like a fairly comprehensible win for Graham. On reflection throwing Chris into the deep end was probably a step too far and suggests a season in the C division gaining confidence by winning games maybe the way forward. The second game to conclude was a fantastic draw from our other rookie, Steven Booth. At one stage Peter Harker had three pawns lined up on the e file and appeared on the back foot in a rook and pawns ending. It was a good solid performance showing that Steven will be a force to be reckoned with next season. The next game to complete was the draw on top board. Andy sent me a copy of his game and he was on top at the end but was running out of time so accepted the sensible option and took the half point. Next to me sat the genius known as Gordon Middlemiss who, as always, continues to amaze whenever he plays at the board. He was under pressure from Bernie Price for most of the match and fell a pawn behind into an ending of rook and 3 pawns against rook and 4 pawns. As usual he was over an hour ahead on the clock and when Bernie blundered a pawn away and left Gordon with a passed pawn the tables suddenly turned. Simple technique and better use of his time advantage should have seen Gordon record a win. Instead, Gordon reverted to type and lost the passed pawn by playing too fast and then tried to win on time by playing on in a dead drawn ending before eventually realising a draw was the only outcome. Finally, it was left to me (Martin McLoughlin, Positional Maestro) to restore some pride to the team by winning a wild encounter against Bill Wilson. It was an exciting game that saw me edge ahead in material before a slip allowing a nasty check almost let Bill steal it. However, I managed to seize back the initiative and swooped with a neat checkmate to ensure that the match score ended 2½-2½ but lost on account of the ridiculous 3 blacks rule decided on the toss of a coin.
It was an unfortunate way to fail to make a final for the first time in six seasons. If only I had taken Captain Archer's double-headed coin it could have been so different.

Thornaby B vs Great Ayton B on Tuesday 27th March

We, Aytonbee, got the usual friendly welcome from Thornabee skipper Nick Tadd, who was saving himself for an important individual match on Wednesday evening against our veteran C team star Mike Hardy. The usual cagey opening play went out the window on board 2 where Mike’s opponent sacrificed a pawn on third move for a big lead in development. On board 4 things were equally exciting with Gordon’s queen making an early sortie. As I got into my game, however, I did not see much for a while until Gordon got us on our way with a draw against CCA chair Brian Whitaker. Soon afterwards Jim kept up his recent good form by building up an unstoppable attack to win a full point. As often happens with open positions, minor pieces were swapped off in the middle game on Mike’s board which then settled into a draw with major pieces and plenty of pawns. Meanwhile, I had got the initiative from my opening, and was hoping to get a full point, but my opponent fought resolutely. In an attempt to break through I sacrificed a pawn to win the exchange but this left me rather exposed, and when offered the draw I took it, knowing the position in Kegan’s game. With at least a drawn match, it was time for a beer and to relax watching the final moves in Kegan’s match. His undoubted forte (apart from opening theory) is to create an attack, and it was a delight to see how he forced a win with bishops on the fifth and sixth ranks supported by pawns in contrast to his opponent’s feeble defensive knights. Once the rooks were swapped off and he had avoided a perpetual check his attack was unstoppable. So, we ended up with a good victory 3½ to 1½ ensuring further progress up the table. This is the first time this year we have more points than games played, but with difficult matches against Hartlepool and Boro Knights to come we need to keep buzzing.


Beefact number 1: Bees are the only insect in the world that make food that people can eat (as opposed to growing into food!).
Beefact number 2: One bee will only make 1/12 of a teaspoon on honey in its entire life.

The Buffs, Stockton B v Great Ayton C (22 March 2018)

Good tight match against a solid Buffs Team which saw us just scrape through – 1.5-2.5 Win.

Chris played Black on Board 4 and was slightly wrong-footed during the opening . . . naturally this will all be fixed once, like the rest of the Club, he can gain the benefit of our fantastic Kegan theory sessions over the summer, especially regarding opening responses and background analysis. Being a little hampered and unable to castle he was drawn into a K-chase and finally a Q/N mate for his highly experienced opponent. As we all know, inevitably there is so much detail to imbibe on restarting a chess career after a long break, so this was undoubtedly an important stepping stone on the road to regular league play. (1-0)

On Board 1, Gordon M fought a gruelling battle with numerous ups and downs. After 20 moves Gordon was a P down, then R-v-N down, He then managed superbly to trap a B, following this up with a skilful N-fork to regain some level of equality. More pressure from Gordon then pushed him a P up but the 2P v 3P game proved a bridge too far, resulting in an honourable draw being offered and agreed after Gordon had first surveyed the remaining Team prospects at move 59. Superb balanced judgement from a great Team player. Indeed, just to emphasise the ups and downs of his game, Gordon explained afterwards that at different points both he and then his Opponent had offered a draw only to see it cruelly refuted by the opposing camp ! (1.5-0.5)

Board 3 was simpler. No quarter given by either player from a relatively steady opening until around move 30 when gradually things opened up to allow a concerted attack by Alan on an uncastled K. Q/R/B/N pressure from White then led to a vicious swap-off, yielding R/7P v B/6P which still was not enough for effective breakthrough until R was sac’d for B/P, yielding the potential to spread Black’s K-led defence too thinly to prevent a queening. Resignation from Alan’s Opponent came on move 40. (1.5-1.5)

A cracking game on Board 2 saw Jim keep constant pressure on his Opponent. Ebbs and flows early on led to a N for 2P swap in Jim’s favour, followed by a clever opening up of the board which then allowed Jim to regain the 2P. With more concerted pressure this resulted in him gaining a passed P on the h-file, which Jim brilliantly assessed and nurtured to become the telling factor, given his sympathetic B orientation and his skilful N support which brilliantly drove home what was originally merely a slight advantage in order to seal his own win and with it the favourable overall match result. Fabulous, nail-biting stuff from a real Pro ! (1.5-2.5)

Overall a great match and things were always tight . . . but the Team did its stuff in many different ways and together we brought home the bacon. Many thanks to the Buffs for their usual warm welcome and for a hard-fought but hugely enjoyable match.

Alan R

Darlington C 2 Gt Ayton D 2

A pleasant evening with a nice warm room for a change, preceded and finished off with a ride in Andrew's turbo charged motor.

Jim Garner stepped down and gave games to two of his juniors - which proved an inspired decision.

Andrew played one of the juniors (Harry Wilson) the super kid who beat him last time round. However, a hard fought game ended with each having two rooks,a same colour
bishop and six pawns. Clearly going nowhere -so they agreed a draw.

The next game to finish was between, probably, the two oldest players in the room - Brian White and me. I played Birds Opening for the first time in a serious game just to take him (and me) out of the book. It certainly did that; but the game ended, after thrusts and parries on both sides, in a position where neither of us felt any progress could be made -so a draw.

Peter had a game where he was a (doubled) pawn up with most pieces on the board and looking like a congested draw. Howevr, he produced a bit of magic at the end offering a rook for knight. Understandably, Alan Fell did not take, but Peter missed a quick win in the follow up. However, in the end, Peter's material advantage told.

Steven Booth, who we think of as a banker on board four, played the other kid - Gregor Hutchison - resplendent in school uniform. Both played the opening quickly and competently and went into the middlegame with quite a complex position. Steven engaged in a swap, but in the wrong move order, and lost a knight. He battled on and Gregor made an uncharacteristic blunder, allowing Steven to fork king and rook. This left two knights, a rook and five pawns to Gregor versus two rooks and five pawns to Steven. A rook was quickly exchanged. Soon after, Gregor offered Steven a draw, which he declined. However, what would in chess theory be regarded as a win for Gregor,was far from easy. In fact Gregor played his hand brilliantly and Steven had to concede defeat.

Honours even.

Phil Semp

Great Ayton B vs Darlington B – Wednesday 14th March

Further to my recent ramblings on Quantum Mechanics, today’s challenge is to identify the next item in the following series: 0, ½, ½, 1, 1 ….. answer at end of the report.

As soon as the opposition arrived, we could see this would be a tough evening as we were outgraded by an average of 16 points per board. However, we found last year that when the warmer weather arrives, the Bees started to buzz. The match started slowly like two sumo wrestlers facing off, but gradually players got to grips with each other, and on my second walk around the boards I noticed that Jim (in a great run at the moment) had got the edge and was a minor piece ahead. Not long after he secured the full point and set us on our way. The next excitement came as Gordon’s opponent offered him a draw. As usual, I left it up to him as I prefer players to make up their own mind by balancing any team situation with their own feelings. The draw was accepted, and so we moved on. About this time I saw that Stephen had lined up all his major pieces and had a strong attack. A bit later Jim signalled that the point was ours, and we were guaranteed at least a draw in the match. My opponent played the Dutch opening to my d4, and I was glad I had looked at this before an earlier game in this year’s individual tournament. I got a knight on e5, and he placed one on e4. Eventually all the knights were swapped off, then the black bishops and the queens and a draw ensued, guaranteeing we won the match. Meanwhile, Kegan’s game was much more exciting. He went an exchange and a pawn behind, fought back brilliantly, but then blundered as the clocks ran down. The final result was 3-2 and a welcome two league points.

…. and so
Answer 1 The are no more items in the series as these are the scores, in board order, that we got in this match.
Answer 2 …is 2, which is the number of league points from this famous win.

More exciting facts after our match at Thornaby B on Tuesday 27th March.


Great Ayton C v Darlington C (7 March 2018)

Darlington played well and got the upper hand – 1.5-2.5 Loss.

Gordon M was first to finish on Board 1 . . . by around 8pm. Having started solidly, a few errors crept in and by around move 40 Gordon found that his attack had not gone as well as expected and so was facing a position where he was several Ps and a piece down. His opponent established Q/R on the 3rd rank against an isolated K and resignation followed swiftly. (0-1)

Next to finish was Gordon D on Board 3. Having not had to travel too far today, instead our Superhero had been into hospital for an operation but still came through the anaesthetic successfully and turned out for the Team . . . inspirational. Also worthy of note was how solidly his young opponent played . . . a nailed-on honourable draw was agreed after around 30 moves. (0.5-1.5)

On Board 2 Alan was outclassed by a solid and accurate performance from his Opponent. The game wound on towards 30 moves requiring patience and resolve, with little opportunity for any clear breakthrough. Alan’s Opponent played with the right approach throughout, blocking off any chance of a win and then capitalising on mistakes around move 35. In the end, Alan ran out of time but was positionally well-beaten several moves before that. (0.5-2.5)

And so it was left to our newest player on his debut to steal the show, as Chris demonstrated his clear ability to adapt to the pressures of league play despite a lay-off of several decades. His intensity was good right from the start and he opened up a range of winning combinations throughout the game. Finally he secured a superb win around move 40 with Q/R combining along the G-file to both isolate and pin a castled K . . . resignation offered soon after. Brilliant opener for Chris against a solid and experienced league player. Definitely Chris has earned his place in the Team at a single roll of the dice. There seems no doubt also that higher level play is well within Chris’ grasp . . . so B Team or higher, here we come ! (1.5-2.5)

Overall we were well beaten . . . probably missing Jim’s presence and solidness on the higher boards. Nevertheless, high respect goes to Darlington, whose recent results show they are finishing the season in good style, despite a relatively slow start to their campaign. We look forward to the rematch next season. Nevertheless, with one player coming out to gain points from his hospital bed and our newest player showing his class under fire, the Team has much to celebrate and be pleased about for the future.

Alan R

Great Ayton D vs Billingham Synthonia B on Wednesday 7th March

Billingham were the usual cheerful crowd, getting pints in before the match started. As our A team match was cancelled, I wondered if some of them were moonlighting as the opposition had a K Harrison and a McLaughlin (subtly different spelling) playing. We welcomed Stephen Booth to his first match for the club, and he set off in fine style with the white pieces, first gaining material, and then pressing home the advantage to get an excellent win. SteveG has started to show a much more solid approach to his game to complement his dynamic use of the big pieces. However, after a while several pieces were swapped off and with no way for either player through the ranks of pawns a draw was agreed. Kevin had an exciting evening: firstly he arrived late, and then entertained the whole concert room with the loudest mobile ring tone in the North of England; then he went material down – two bishops at one point; then as his opponent pressed he hit back with a perpetual check to get a draw. So, at 2-1 I needed to get something from my game. I have been rather poor with the black pieces recently, and although I was never behind in material, I was always struggling to hold things together. At one stage I offered a draw (not accepted as I was short of time), and then my opponent offered me a draw (also not accepted as I had won a pawn by lining up major pieces and swapping some off on the h file, and had some advantage but with a bishop which was inferior to his knight). It should have been a stone cold draw, but after swapping his knight for my bishop, I was able to queen a pawn and won the game. A 3-1 result was rather more than we deserved at one stage, but it leaves us firmly in mid-table.


Redcar C vs Great Ayton D on Wednesday 21st February

Our route from the GAWMC to the venue took us through the Redcar suburbs, allowing Steve and Allan to name all the pubs that we passed. We still arrived in good time and helped set up the chess boards. In addition to our four-board match, Phil had arranged with Martin M(snr) for Allan to play a game against one of the Redcar beginners and Andy Corbyn was playing his Individual match against Matt Jackman.

I wandered round after 20 minutes and everything was fairly equal with most of the pieces off the board in Allan’s match (finally ending in defeat at 7:41pm). I did not see much play for a while as I played the opening badly again and got my pieces tangled up. However, when I looked across at Andrew’s game he was material up, but his opponent was pressing. He pressed too hard, allowing Andrew to gobble up his queen and get us on the board (1-0). At this stage Steve was doing well, and Kevin had a knight for pawn advantage. Then Steve went from a winning position, to losing, and then fought back to get an important draw. Later Kevin managed to hold his position together with king, knight and pawn against a rook and two pawns on the kingside, allowing his own rook to create winning threats on the queenside, and brought home the full point. Meanwhile I had gone material down due to the poor opening, and lost, but with the other results it meant that we had won the match. This match result takes us into mid-table security, but congrats to the C team on going top after a fine win against Synthonia.

No music on the way home as Allan and I have a serious discussion about racism and Brexit!


Billingham Synthonia B v Great Ayton C (21 February 2018)

Close-fought game which saw us gain the overall win, despite being under severe pressure on all 4 boards during the early stages of the evening - 0.5-3.5 Win.

Unbelievably, first to finish was Alan on Board 2. His opponent had sallied forth with a strong Q-side attack, which at first seemed destined for more, however potential pressure on his Q and the risk of a Q-trap led to an honourable swap-off of almost all the artillery by move 20. Carefully placed and unruffled P structure on both sides gave little chance of any breakthrough and a draw was agreed soon after. (0.5-0.5)

On Board 4, after steadily pressuring his opponent in the early game Mike prevented his opponent from achieving a nice, sound castled defence and, after locking down a steady K-side castle for himself, he attacked with vigour. A series of B/R checks around move 25 exposed his opponent’s positional weaknesses and the win for Mike came soon after. (0.5-1.5)

As in our previous outing, Jim again carried Board 1 for the Team. Early exchanges did not go well and he was stung by the loss of a N as his opponent played the opening well. Nevertheless, as we have come to expect now Jim gradually and steadily grafted his way back into the game, picking up material with a number of sharp exchanges such that by move 35 he was back on terms and more, lying R and N ahead and looking favourite to win. A few more moves and the resignation came his way. (0.5-2.5)

On Board 3, Gordon D had returned from Rotherham with gusto to face the fire. Despite having to navigate himself away from his early position in the debacle where he found himself languishing a P down, he was not to be denied, gaining positional strength as the game wore on, in spite of the locked-up P structure of the early/middle game. Slowly he turned the tide and by move 30 Gordon was sitting R v N/P up, with increasing potential for attack. By move 40 he had sealed the resignation. (0.5-3.5)

Big thanks to Synthonia for their perennial friendly welcome and especially for the Club’s super-low beer prices, which had generously been extended well beyond their originally expected pre-Xmas plan. Chess-wise we were pushed hard . . . and with just a little more luck on Synthonia’s part things could have been very different. Nevertheless, on a night of surprises elsewhere near the top of Division C, we were glad to have come through a toughie just tired and slightly dented but overall unscathed, despite not having with us half of our dynamic top-board duo. Onwards and upwards . . . hopefully !!!

Alan R

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.

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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.

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