Thursday, 1 November 2001

Archive: UNCUT! 9

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


No. 9

Readers, dear readers, how faithfully (and silently) you have followed my writings since my chess column began, way back in 1985. Now, I fear my life is approaching its end. I could have as few as 50 years remaining.....

So it is time to reveal, in this first of an occasional series, some of thetruth behind a life totally immersed in chess. All of what follows is true(well, very nearly all). Only the names have been withheld to protect the guilty.

True Confessions From................

The Congress Weekend

The journey to a congress and the obtaining of accommodation are often thetwo hardest parts of the whole weekend. Either the map, or the navigator, is totally useless. On the vast majority of my expeditions, usually both. Once, a little bit astray on the way to the Cruddas Park Tyne & Wear Congress, wedecided to stop a passer-by to ask for directions. A tricky business in itself.We drove on past a tramp and stopped by a smartly dressed man in a suit. He scratched his head for a while, decided he didn’t know, and then called the tramp over....

Another time, to avoid the hassles of parking and navigating, we travelled tothe Scarborough congress by bus. Man, that quarter of a day certainly dragged.Then we had to change buses at Whitby. If the journey was going to be any longer it would have been just about time to turn around and go home again.

Scarborough journeys are prone to difficulties, due to the long distance andthe fact that the congress traditionally takes place in the winter (or very lateautumn) months. On one perilous journey, the car developed a serious faultsomewhere in the wilderness between Whitby and Scarborough, deep into the long,winding journey to nowhere. Steam billowed away from the engine like it was onits way to a Hammer Horror film set, completely engulfing an unluckymotorcyclist at one point. The car then conked out completely in the darkness ona narrow lane. It was so remote that we could find neither a Barclays Bank or a McDonalds. Now that is remote. It was so dark, it was impossible to see ahand in front of your face. Later, I doubted that there really was one there.Several modes of transport thundered past until eventually a kind soul stoppedto see what the problem was. My friend and I jumped straight in, leaving ourdriver to his fate, and issued the instruction, ‘The Corner Cafe on the North Bay. Play starts in five minutes!’ Fortunately we had found an obedient soul and we duly arrived more or less on time. Three hours later thedriver arrived. Luckily, he was a non-player.

Solo public transport journeys introduce the traveller to a very widecross-section of the Great British Public. Or at least, a wide cross-section ofthe biggest nutters you could ever hope to avoid. Standing in a queue next to adrunken Scotsman who claims you strangled his parrot 10 years ago is not theideal soother for a long bus trip and I’ve found that reading chess books at the bus stand is absolutely no deterrent. The lonely bus journey home, having lost a vital match in midwinter, is in no way made easier by the inebriated Elvis impersonators who threaten to smack people who don’t want to sing alongwith their own, highly unique, rendition of ‘Why Can’t Every Day Be Like Christmas?’ Worst of all was the glue-sniffer on the through-the-night coach back from London, with his two plastic bags full of solvent and his abusive behaviour. His idea of a night trip was evidently somewhat different toours. We were stuck with him all the way to Ferrybridge before he was introduced to the Boys in Blue.

Searching for accommodation is one problem; getting booked in is quite another.

Desperation sets in when play is due to start in a matter of minutes and still nowhere has been found. Nobody wants to take in people just for two nights, nobody wants to take in young people (this was all some time ago, ofcourse) in case of noise and trouble and nobody really wants to take in chessplayers. Chess players demand unreasonable things such as wanting breakfast 15 minutes earlier so they can get to the tournament hall by 9.00 a.m. Outrageous behaviour. They also eat all of the cornflakes and leave nearly all of their plate full of ‘Full Monty’ English breakfast. 100% grease and fat just doesn’treally set you up for a hard chess match and the less said about the baked beans the better.

I was once at a guest house where there was no plug for the bath, so I took the one off my room sink and used that. Later, a discrete sign was discovered saying that baths were extra, see them for the plug..... an extra couple of quid was stuck on my bill for this diabolical liberty.

Worst of all was the awful time during the storm. Nowhere could be found, itwas dark, we were wet and we were cold. The last chance appeared at the end of along path; we rang the bell and after what seemed an eternity, a creepy,withered old butler creaked the door open, oh-so-slowly. Holding up his candlestick, a small light played about our faces as he peared into the gloom.


‘Er - can we stay here for the night, please?’

‘You can stay there as long as you like’, he said, and closed the door again. Twit.

Go on, have a laugh. It is the festive season. Enjoy a couple of weeks’break in the chess hostilities. Take care as you roast your chestnuts by the open fire (don’t stand so close next time). And for all of you reading this at home ........ what are you doing in my house?????

Friday, 19 October 2001

Archive: UNCUT! 8

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


No. 8

A recent weekend proved to be a double success for our junior stars.

First, at the annual H.M.C. Congress, held at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (‘QEGS’), Wafefield, Yarm school entered a team in the Under-9 and one in the Under-11 section.

Traditionally, Yarm are never at full strength for this event, as so many ofthe players have calendar clashes involving music festivals, rugby name it, tradition has it that chess loses out to it. It’s one of the ten commandments, set in stones for centuries; ‘Thou shalt find something else to do than play chess’. Ah-hum. Yes. Anyway, the first few rounds are usually agood indication of a teams chances, and the Under-9s started brilliantly with tight victory over hosts - and almost constant champions - QEGS A. Further victories over Bronte House, QEGS B and R.G.S. put them in an excellent and unexpected position, but still with tough matches to come. A very close struggle with Kings ended with a tied match but destiny was still in Yarm’s hands; they didn’t disappoint, and big victories over QEGS C and St. Olaves guaranteed a famous first place, one point ahead of QEGS A!

A sensation! Especially when you consider that playing on board one, andachieving a score of six wins and one draw, was five-year old Thomas Mavin!

The Under-11s had a day of fluctuating fortune, often following up a powerful victory with a heavy defeat. Eventually, they secured a very safe fourth place, some way off champions QEGS A but not too far behind RGS and QEGS B, who took second and third respectively.

QEGS are magnificent hosts. The event always runs very smoothly, with Graham Crowther in total control and the tea afterwards is superb!

The following day saw some of the same players involved in the 35th Southlands Junior Tournament, the first of the three 2001-2 Grand Prix events. This was in three sections, each of which produced many hard battles.All sections were run on the five-round Swiss system and the full scores are given below. These scores will be carried forward to the next two legs of the Grand Prix.


=1st Or Goldreich 4/5

=1st Thomas Mavin 4/5

=1st Matthew Williamson 4/5

Catriona Bruce 3/5

Tom Bulmer 3/5

Thomas Donald 3/5

Jenny Openshaw 2.5/5

Andrew Lodge 2/5

James Herbert 1.5/5

Jason Loveridge 1.5/5

Kane Moore 1/5

Emma Robinson 1/5


=1st Michael Davison 4/5

=1st Ben Harker 4/5

=1st Thomas Beckwith 4/5

Vijay Shyam Sundar 3/5

James Thorne-Wallis 3/5

Abbey Arnison 2/5

Jonathan Robison 2/5

Markus Waddoup 2/5

Michael Briggs 1.5/5

Kenneth Kilburn 1.5/5

Michael Lau 1.5/5

Michael Lee 1.5/5


1st: Carl Shuttleworth 4.5/5

=2nd: Robin Killick 4/5

=2nd: Graham Shuttleworth 4/5

Nathan Huntley 3.5/5

Christopher Dale 3/5

Peter Harker 3/5

Matthew Jackman 2.5/5

David Gorley 2/5

Matthew Hammond 2/5

Dominic Leigh 2/5

Thomas Watson 2/5

Calum Arnison 1/5

Amy Dryden 1/5

The next two events are set for 24/2/2002 and 16/6/2002. Entry formsavailable there, or be square!!

League, Cup and Individual Highlights

Meanwhile, in our local league scene, things are really hotting up. Middlesbrough Knights dented the armour of the A division champions when they held Middlesbrough Rooks to a 3-3 draw, but Elmwood’s delight was short lived, when they copied their main rivals shortly after, also drawing 3-3 with the pesky Knights.

The Rooks still trail table-toppers Elmwood by two points, but have a game inhand, against Darlington, which should enable them to erase the defect.

Elmwood play Middlesbrough Rooks on Friday, 14th December. No prisoners taken.

Middlesbrough Knights are also doing well in the TomWise K.O. Cup. In the latest round, they avenged their only league defeatand KO’d Redcar. It was a tough match, with Andrew Killick’s shock mid-board checkmate, the exchange down, changing the course of the match. For a Middlesbrough Knight, he certainly made good use of his two Bishops..

Middlesbrough Rooks had to rummage around to get a team out but still hadlittle trouble easing past Stokesley. They now face Peterlee, who were fortunateto go through against Elmwood B on the board-count tie-break rule. In the tie ofthe next round, set for Monday 21st January, Elmwood will take on Guisborough,who despite being in the B division have one of the strongest teams around.Their line up could be Norman Stephenson, Richard Hall, Tim Blake, Andy Corbynand Andrew Henderson. Scary...

Norman Stephenson showed real class in defending a tricky position against your correspondent in round two of the Individual Championship. Under tremendous pressure on the board and in serious time-trouble, Norman still forced the game into a drawn ending. With David Wise being held to a draw by Steve Dauber, this leaves Mike Closs in sole lead with2/2, with a big pack of wannabes snapping at his heels. It’s going to be avery close contest again.......

Thursday, 18 October 2001

Archive: UNCUT! 7

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column No. 7

Local chess man wins top award!

Congratulations to Alan Brown!

Deaf and blind, Alan, 54, started using a computer just a year and a half ago but has already developed the skills necessary to produce a chess column for ‘Rainbow’, Deafblind UK’s magazine.

Alan was recently presented with the prestigious LibraryAssociation & learndirect E-Learning Community prize for 2001. He is the North East regional winner and has every chance of becoming thenational winner later in the year.

Alan received his prize at the Open Technology & UK Online Centre,Stockton Central Library, on 1st November. Terry Bean, Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, presented the award.

Alan says: ‘I was born disabled and have been totally blindsince the age of 14. I really believed that I would never be able to takeadvantage of what a computer could offer. I now have a major new interest in mylife. I am able to communicate with people in ways I would not have believed possible. The written word has been given back to me and I intend to take fulladvantage of the opportunity that has been presented to me through the Ann Kallagher Suite in the Open Technology Centre at Stockton Library.’

learndirect is the network of learning services being developed by UfiLtd, the government flagship for lifelong learning.

Alan’s achievements are absolutely inspirational. Let’s hope he can go onto even greater success at the national stage of the awards.

New Chess Book With Local Connection

Who won the first Redcar Chess Congress? If you can remember as far back as the weekend of 6-8 February 1981, when the current series started, you will say Colin Crouch and Ian Wells. However, the 1st Redcar Tournamentwas won by Reverend Arthur Bolland 1865!

The 2nd Redcar Tournament was much stronger and was won by the enigmatic Cecil De Vere. De Vere was the very first British Chess Champion and, in a famous match, he defeated the great Steinitz 8-4. Steinitz had given odds of pawn and move and De Vere was just too strong.

TB claimed De Vere was he was just 29 but his short life contained much mystery. In a great new book, ‘TheEnglish Morphy’? The Life and Games of Cecil De Vere byOwen Hindle and Bob Jones, De Vere is put under the spotlight like never before. This is, I believe, the first book to deal solely with the first British Champion.

The first half of the book comprehensively covers the story of his life, complete with tournament tables, rare photos and anecdotes. There then follow 101 entertaining De Vere games, most with annotations.

His opponents include Anderssen, Steinitz, Zukertort, Blackburne and many other chess giants of the 19th Century.

Published by Keverel Chess Books,this extremely interesting and entertaining book is a must for any chess historian and I guarantee that a lot of the material will be new to the vastmajority of players. Even if you are not particularly interested in the history,the bright games will make a refreshing change from the modern day theoretical, heavyweight Grandmaster clashes.

For us locals, it is a pleasant change to see one of our local events covered in a historical tome. Chess history is created everywhere, not just in Moscow and Reykjavik.

For further details, contact:

Keverel Chess Books,

Keverel Lodge,

40, Phillips Avenue,



(tel: 01395 223340)

Web site:

While you’re at it, ask for the latest Keverel Chess Books catalogue - more recommended reading!

Archive: UNCUT! 6

Sean Marsh - Uncut!

No. 6

Early Season Local Round-Up

Middlesbrough Rooks or Elmwood? These are surely the only two teams in the hunt for the Cleveland league A division title this year. After the first two matches, both teams had maximum points, stood jointly at the top of the table and had already opened up a gap between themselves and all other teams.

Defending champions Middlesbrough Rooks may have lost David Spence, whofinished his university course and is now back happily watching the Tractor Boys in his native Suffolk, but they snapped up Guisborough player Ian Elcoate as a replacement between seasons. Ian was a Guisborough regular many years ago - even before my time there - and recently returned to chess after a very lengthy break. So the Rooks are not far from the strength they enjoyed last year.

Elmwood, runners-up more times than Jimmy White, are slightly stronger than last season but know that they must somehow overcome the Rooks in this season’s head-to-heads and also not let things slip against any other team. It is now four seasons since Elmwood took the title and they are hungry for more.

The first matches of the season are never as straight forward as they appear. In the first round, Elmwood struggled to overcome newly-promoted Darlington, being in trouble on at least three of the six boards before winning by a big margin. As usual, the final score never does justice to the losing team in suchmatches. Darlington fought well and must be hoping to continue to do so if theywant their current spell in the top flight to last longer than when they werelast here.

Meanwhile, the Rooks crushed Athenaeum 6-0. The second round of fixtures saw both of the top teams produce strong performances; the Rooks bashedthe Bishops and Elmwood managed a convincing victory over the new, improved Redcar side.

The Middlesbrough v Sunderland football match led to the postponement of the Rooks v Darlington match and Elmwood duly jumped clear at the top of the tablewith a 6-0 demolition of Peterlee.

I honestly cannot see any other team reaching the level of consistency necessary to challenge for the title this year, although one or two teams may well put of spanner in the works along the way.

The relegation battle looks set to be a three-way scrap between Athenaeum,Darlington and Peterlee. Athenaeum, a small club, are struggling to put a full side out and have twice had to default boards. Not a promising start to the season for them.

The Tom Wise K.O. Cup will be starting very soon and there is at least one other team capable of upsetting the big two.

Elmwood, as defending champions and also as the team with the best cupperformances over the last four years (three finals, two titles and a semi-final), must start as favourites. However, as well the threat from the Rooks, everyone must also look out for Guisborough. Surprisingly relegatedlast year, they have regrouped and secured the services not only of Norman Stephenson but also Richard Hall. This gives them the luxury ofplaying former top board Tim Blake as low as board three, where he should cause lots of damage. They should be a looking at a swift return to the top flight of the league and they must also be fancying their chances in the five-board cup matches.

The Individual County Championship is also up and running once again and the first of the seven rounds has been successfully completed. The lack of surprise results in round one has set up some excellent pairings for the second round. Mike Closs takes on John Garnett (John beat Mike in the same round last season), David Wise plays Steve Dauber and your correspondent faces Norman Stephenson. So early in the tournament, and some of the favourites will surely sample the bitter taste of defeat....

Wednesday, 17 October 2001

Archive: UNCUT! 5

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Hartlepool Rapidplay

Grand Prix leads change hands!

The fourth event in this season’s North East Rapidplay Circuit was held at The Touchdown, Hartlepool, on 13th October. Approximately 40 players competed, split into the usual three sections.

The Minor section was dominated by Victoria Crompton,a very young lady from Cheshire. She won her first four games before losing her fifth round game to Gary Clarke. However, she recovered well to defeat StanJohnson in the final round. Graham Matthews and Ron Ratter shared second place. Incidentally, next time you see Ron, ask him to tell you his story about catching polar bears - it’s worththe entry fee alone!

‘Dangerous’ Dave Richardson was on great form again in the Majorand he shared first place with A. Dilley.They drew with each other in round two but beat everyone else. FredWilkinson and David Ross shared third place, one and a half points behind thewinners.

The Open was, as usual, the smallest section. It started off with nine players, but a first round loss was enough to send one competitor home. Oh well, that meant that nobody could then get a bye and the tournament became almost an all-play-all, with each player missing out just oneother. It was an interesting selection of players. Your correspondent raced toan early lead with three straight wins and ended up with 5/6 (four wins, two draws) to take clear first place. David Eggleston and Jonathan Hawkins both played well all day and shared second place with three and a half points.

The day’s play changed the leaders in two of the three Grand Prix circuits.I now lead the Open with 16.5 points, leapfrogging over former leader Bret Addison (12.5) who was not at this event.

Dave Richardson’s first place hoists him into the Major driving seat with 12.5, just ahead of Bernie Price (12).

Graham Matthews still leads the Minor circuit, with 17.5 points, a point ahead of Ron Ratter.

Thanks to Graham Marshall and his trusty crew, this series of tournaments keeps going from strength to strength.

The next junior tournament in our county is the 35th Cleveland Schools’ Chess Association event at the Southlands Leisure Centre, Ormesby Road,Middlesbrough on Sunday 18th November.

There are categories for all ages from Under-9 to Under-18, with trophy prizes in all sections.

Be there - or be square!

Friday, 5 October 2001

Archive: UNCUT! 4

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


No. 4


Grandmaster in the North East

Local tournaments are very much on the agenda at the moment, with a busy schedule of events in which to sharpen our skills.

The Northumberland Congress recently came and went and coming up very soon there is another Hartlepool Rapidplay and the three-day Prince Bishops congress.

I was at the Northumberland congress but there were very few others from our local league participating. What a pity - the venue (The Parks Leisure Centre) was excellent, with plenty of room, superb facilities and just around 50 minutesdrive from here. The control team, with Lara Barnes at the head, must be one of the best and most experienced around.

Lara is currently one of the most important chess people in our region. Apart from being a top-class arbiter, she is also a national correspondence chesschampion, a grader and a very fine over-the-board player, never better demonstrated than when she won the South Lakes Major a few months ago. The full story of her first Major success can be found in the most recent edition of the Northumberland Chess Association bulletin.

To cut a long story short as regards my own performance at Northumberland, I played well for the first half of the tournament but lost my last two games to finish out of the prizes. Oh well, there’s always next year. Compensation wasprovided by being able to watch most of Grandmaster Keith Arkell’s games. He won the Open with 5/5 and it isalways very instructive to see him at work. Consistently strong, no - verystrong - moves with a positional grip that tightens with every turn. He is a Capablanca rather than an Alekhine, content to keep the game simple (to him!) and seek his opportunity deep into the endgame if necessary. Even his round 4 Queen sacrifice was reminiscent of one of Capablanca’s famous back-rank deflecting efforts.

Apart from his tremendous playing strength, Keith is actually a very pleasant (and modest) person. In an era overshadowed by spoiled brats who seem todominate every sport and game, it does make a very refreshing change to meet athoroughly nice champion. Between rounds on Sunday, he even made time, between two tough games, to play a lot of juniors in a simultaneous display.

More of our players should really make the effort to support this finecongress next year.

Meanwhile, I hope to see all the usual suspects at the Hartlepool and Prince Bishops events over the next few weeks. Full entry details can be found elsewhere on this site.

Thursday, 4 October 2001

Archive: UNCUT! 3

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


No. 3

Grandmaster at Yarm School !

The Yarm School Chess Festival took place over the weekend (21-22 Sept.) and featured a very special guest. Grandmaster Daniel King, known to most of you as not only a great player but also as a top author, TV chess pundit, video and radio presenter, was at the school throughout the festival.

First up was the Grandmaster simultaneous display, which attracted 19 participants, all hoping to defeat the great man. However, GM King swiftly demolished most of the opposition and gradually outplayed the vast majority of his opponents in the tougher games. Only your correspondent managed a draw; nobody won. There were some classic moments, such as the dramatic pawn breakthrough in King’s game with Andrew Killick, but mostly it was one-way traffic. I am hoping to show one or two of the games in a column in the very near future.

The following day saw the main event - the 7th Yarm School Team Championship.14 teams (of four players) entered the Primary section, and nine competed in the Secondary section. As well as these championships, eight senior players entered the friendly Rapidplay. Grandmaster King was present throughout the day to run coaching sessions, which were very well received by all.

Primary Section

The Primary section was split into three groups, with the top team in each group and best second-placed team all qualifying for the semi-finals.

Yarm AXX2.5-1.54-04-0
R.G.S. C1.5-2.5XX3.5-0.54-0
Yarm E 4-00.5-3.5XX2.5-1.5

Thus Yarm A qualified for the semi-finals, as did Royal Grammar School(Newcastle) C, as best second-placed team.

Newcomers Crookbarn gave a very good account of themselves against much moreexperienced opposition. They are at the start of their chess journey but notafraid to have a go. The interesting thing is that the head teacher, who runs the chess at the school, is an old chess rival of mine. We played each other in a school match about 20 years ago but had not met for 18 years. He has gone onto great things, becoming head of a school... I have done little but chess in those same 18 years.


Group 2 was clear cut, with R.G.S. A qualifying in style.

Yarm BXX3-13-13-14-04-0
R.G.S. B1-3XX1-33-14-03-1
Yarm D1-33-1XX2-23-14-0
The Links1-31-32-2XX2-22-2
Yarm F0-41-30-42-21.5-2.5XX

The biggest group, and the toughest. Yarm B did very well to force their waythrough to the next stage; they were helped by Yarm D’s surprise demolition ofR.G.S. B.

Elsewhere, The Links and Normanby really got stuck in against their experienced rivals. The Links seemed to be on course to force a 2-2 draw in every match before they tired at the end. Normanby, whose top players all leftschool last summer, are having to rebuild. At first they struggled but by theend of the tournament they had improved admirably and finished with a fine last-round victory. A good lesson to all us all.

The Semi-finals and Final

Tough matches, but on balance of play the right teams qualified for the big final. Yarm A were outgunned by R.G.S. A but Yarm B defended the honour of the school with victory over R.G.S. C.

The final was even tougher, with Yarm B putting up a much grittier performance than their A team. Eventually, they were ground down and R.G.S. successfully defended their title. Yarm A salvaged some pride when they beat R.G.S. C in the 3rd/4th place play-off.

So, that left the final standings as:

1st: R.G.S. A

2nd: Yarm B

3rd: Yarm A

4th: R.G.S. C

It was fortunate that R.G.S. Won this section, as they had forgotten to bringback the trophy!

Secondary Section

The entry was slightly up in this section. The two all-play-all groups werehard fought. The top two teams qualified for the semi-finals.

Yarm A dominated group 1.......

Yarm AXX4-04-04-0
R.G.S. B0-4XX3-12-2
Richmond 0-41-3XX3-1
Yarm C0-42-21-3XX

R.G.S. AXX3.5-0.53-13-14-0
H’pool Juniors0.5-3.5XX2-23-14-0
R.G.S. C1-3 2-22-2XX3-13-1
Yarm B 1-3 1-3 1-3 XX2.5-1.5
Richmond B0-4 0-4 1-3 1.5-2.5XX

Dramatic stuff here, as Hartlepool Juniors, making their debut in this event,scored just enough form a tense last match to go through to the nest stage.

Semi-finals and Final

Yarm A and R.G.S. A both forced their way to the final, with smooth victories over Hartlepool and R.G.S. B respectively.

Yarm A ended up worthy champions, beating R.G.S.A, their permanent rivals, 3-1 in the final. Hartlepoolsecured a fine third place with a surprise victory over R.G.S.B in the 3rd/4th play-off.

The adult sectionwas a five-round Swiss. The patience and concentration of the seniors were stretched to the very limits - they played in the same noisy hall as the juniors! I was delighted to see them all just enjoying their games; they never complained once about the conditions. (Except, sorry Gordon, you never did get your cup of tea.)

Jim Simpson, one of the strongest players in the whole of the North East, was the worthy winner with 5/5. His concentration must be superb, unless he is very deaf. Robin Killick, Gordon Middlemiss and ‘Dangerous’ Dave Richardson all shared second place on 3/5

Comment 17/7/2007

The Yarm Festival of chess continues to this day and I'm pleased to announce that we have another Grandmaster lined up for this year's event. We have already enjoyed the services of GMs King and Bronstein and IM Hartston. Full details of the 2007 event will be posted here as soon as they confirmed.

Wednesday, 3 October 2001

Archive: UNCUT! 2

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


No. 2

Hartlepool Quickplay

The Touchdown

8th September 2001

It was good to be back in chess action following a lull over the summer. For most locals, the last event was the Middlesbrough congress back in July so it was with a feeling of new-season freshness that all the usual suspects entered the latest in the long-running series created by chess impresario Graham

21 players contested the Minor section (under-101 grade). Stan Johnson continued his run of successes with another great first place, dropping just half a point from six games.

Ron Ratter secured second place following a very tough last round battle with Colin Gilroy. Colin needed a win to share first with Stan - they had drawn their earlier game - but had to be content with third. Youngsters Vicky Crompton and Matthew Hammond both scored a terrific tally of four points and took a special junior prize each. This must come as a great relief to Matthew following a very difficult year for health reasons.

Andrew Killick was the dominant force in the 16-player Major section, winning his first five games (including one against his own son, Robin!) and drawing his last one. Robin
recovered well to take second place and
Alan Trotter took third.

The Open was, as usual, small but strong; with seven players and six rounds, it was almost an all-play-all. Despite the low number, there was a good mix of players and styles, with highly promising juniors competing all the way with established stars. The young Eggleston twins are progressing swiftly and soon nobody will be
safe from them!

Your correspondent started with three straight wins but then slowed down and drew the next three. This was enough to share first place with Bret Addison, who did well to catch up after a slow start.

Jonathan Hawkins, the only one to have me in trouble before time-trouble allowed me to scramble a draw, is an excellent but sometimes overlooked player, because he is very quiet. He has been a tough competitor for a number of years and frequently does well in our local tournaments. Here he lost only to Bret and shared third place with Michael Round.

Well done to Graham Marshall and his team for keeping his long-standing series running. The next event will be at The Touchdown on Saturday 13 October.

The New League Season

Yes, it’s time to dust off your chess bits and get ready for the new
season. Promotion races, title battles and relegation dogfights will be upon us very soon. The fixture lists are available elsewhere on this site if you have not already seen them down at your club. The top of the A division will very likely be another battle between defending league champions Middlesbrough Rooks and cup winners Elmwood.

New boys Athenaeum and Darlington A will have their work cut out to establish themselves, but they both have good players and it will be interesting to see how they do. They both have a tough test in the first round of fixtures; Athenaeum have the pleasure of testing the strength of Middlesbrough Rooks and Darlington face Elmwood.

Elsewhere, last season’s sensations - Middlesbrough Knights - take on Redcar and Peterlee play Middlesbrough Bishops.

Follow the season here!

‘Chess pieces in our time’

Neville Chamberlain with an advance copy of the fixture list. The
Middlesbrough Rooks can be seen in the background, eager to see when they will play Elmwood.

Comment 17/7/2007

Stone me...these old columns are bringing back quite a few momories.Note the prediction of the rise of the Eggleston twins and early recognition of the oncoming force of the chess monster now known as 'The Hawk', who won the Major Open section of the British Championship (matching an Alekhine achievement!) last year (in addition to all of his other 'Open' successes).A division newcomers Athenaeum went on to yo-yo between divisions over the years but just today I read that they have disbanded. Neville Chamberlain is still criticsied for making things easy for Mr Hitler but the truth is naturally more complicated than that.

Tuesday, 2 October 2001

Archive: UNCUT! 1

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Well, it took a long while but now it has happened. Yes, the internet is finally big enough for me to bother with and I have decided to dedicate my chess articles of the near future to this electronic medium.

As readers may know, this breaks a long run I had in ‘The Herald & Post’ (1985-2001). The paper has been a little inconsistent with the chess column over the last couple of years and I felt the time was right for a change. All I had to do was find the right website and make an approach....

In fact, Dave Richards had already kindly offered to put the column on-line, but I was reluctant to do so until I had access to the net myself. Then we connected and I called him to discuss terms. Luckily, he agreed to everything.

‘Don’t forget Dave, I want at least twice as much money as ‘The Herald & Post’ paid me.’

‘We’ll give you three times as much,’ he replied and I agreed at once.

It was only then that I remembered I didn’t ever get paid for my paper articles. Another get-rich scheme down the drain. Still, Dave kindly gave me some tips about placing bets over the net, so you never know.

‘Who do you fancy in the 2.30 at Redcar?’

‘None of them, they’re all horses,’ I replied. Looks like I’ve got a lot to learn.

Anyway, down to chess. I hope to produce an article on a weekly basis, just like I did for the paper, but this time there’s less chance of it being cut to ribbons. I want to write about all aspects of chess and will enjoy the greater scope offered by this medium. You can expect tournament reports, inside stories from league, cup and championship matches, wit and controversy. You might even expect a picture of me in the top corner when I find a suitable one. You can certainly expect this chess site to take its place as one of the best on the entire net. Just stay tuned and see.

Grandmaster In Local Events!

An important event is coming up very soon and all of you can take part. The Yarm School Festival of Chess will take place on 21st-22nd of September. On the Friday night, starting at 7.00 p.m., there will be a simultaneous display by Grandmaster Daniel King. He did a similar display last year and lost only to Redcar’s Jason Gentle after the latter brilliantly sacrificed a Rook. Can you do as well as Jason? If you don’t want to play, then why not come along and spectate? Just drop into Yarm School to join the fun.

On Saturday 22nd, there will be all sorts going on at the school. The main part is the 7th Yarm Schools team tournament, featuring Primary and Secondary school teams of four players. There will also be an individual senior tournament (format to be decided when entries received). All of this starts at 9.15 a.m. The Primary teams finish play around 2.30 p.m. And the other two sections will finish for 5.00 p.m. GM Daniel King will be present throughout the day to present lectures and coaching!

Spectators are welcome. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy the presence of a Grandmaster! Your support is important; if the Festival is a success there is a great chance of repeat next year.

Contact me for full details and entry forms.