Monday, 28 December 2015

Best of the Year

Of the many gigs I attended and enjoyed from last December to this, I would say these we're the highlights...

PiL at The 02, London. Somehow I found myself deep in the mosh pit instead of being seated upstairs. Quite an experience; quite a show.

Sparks - two nights at the Barbican, London. They played Kimono My House all the way through followed by some other hits, backed all the way by a massive orchestra.

Woody Woodmansey's Holy Holy, The Lexington, Pentonville Road. Woody, the drummer from the Spiders From Mars, led an ensemble through the classic songs of David Bowie. Steve Norman (of Spandau Ballet) was part of the band.

The Transatlantic Sessions at The Sage, Gateshead. An annual treat, enhanced even more by the addition of Patty Griffin.

Spandau Ballet at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle. A class act.

Deep into Brixton for Jah Wobble and the Invaders of the Heart. Jah was celebrating the release of Redux, a highly recommended box set covering 1978-2015.

A fabulous double-header at the Americana Festival (the Sage again) saw Emmylou Harris with Rodney Crowell one night, followed by...

...Rosanne Cash (who had been in the audience for Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell) the following evening.

Culture Club managed to put their differences behind them to rock the Hammersmith Apollo in style.

I was at the London Palladium for the final English show for Jerry Lee Lewis. What a show!

Back to London again - this time the King's Place - for the return of Patty Griffin. Patty was showcasing the new songs from Servant of Love.

Florence + The Machine put on a very theatrical and memorable show at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.

Closer to home, Space came to the Georgian Theatre, Stockton to blast away any lingering 2015 cobwebs. They clearly had as much fun as we did.

Tommy Scott had been at The Green Room (around the corner from the Georgian Theatre) for a solo acoustic show earlier in the year. Hopefully he will back next year.

I wonder what 2016 will bring...?

Sunday, 4 October 2015

New Blog

We have a new blog, which will be dedicated to the adventures and activities of CSC Teesside.

A report on yesterday's tournament can be found here:

CSC Teesside Blog

We have a new Facebook page too:

CSC Teesside on Facebook

We are also now on Twitter:

CSC Teesside on Twitter

Sunday, 9 August 2015

6th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament

The 6th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament saw four players battle it out over 12 rounds of 5-minute chess.

Mike's son, Elliot, had given the tournament his personal blessing and sent a lovely message of support.

‘‘I hope the tournament does go well and send thank you to all the players contending and congratulations to the winner. They are carrying on his passion for chess.’’

Elliot Closs


The scene was set and we awaited the arrival of the four specially invited participants.
The pairings were decided when the four players selected an envelope, with each one containing a hidden number.
The defending champion, Julian Allinson, was back in action and hoping to defend his title against David Baillie, Dave Edmunds and Kevin Winter.

Kevin playing his pet Black Lion opening
Julian, looking to dominate the light squares
Each person played the others four times, with the rounds split into two cycles. The games were fabulously entertaining, with all four players entering into the spirit of the competition and playing lots of uncompromising chess.

Five minutes is all they got for all of their moves!
The King's Indian Defence - an old favourite of Mike's.
Kevin upheld the honour of the defence in excellent fashion.

The scores at the end of the first cycle were:

4.5: Julian and Kevin
3: Dave Edmunds
0: David Baillie

We then had a break for TV (an episode of The Master Game), nibbles and a chess quiz. The positions used for the quiz were based on an article Mike Closs wrote for Guisborough Knights, the old club bulletin we used to produce for Guisborough Chess Club back in the late 1980s.

When the contest resumed, Julian started to pull away from the pack but was then held to two extraordinary draws by Kevin, who perhaps should have won at least one of the games.
Four black pawns occupy the central squares!
Yet still Julian kept his cool and a 2-0 final-round victory over Dave Edmunds guaranteed him first place.

Final Standings

9.5: Julian Allinson
7: Kevin Winter
5.5: Dave Edmunds
2: David Baillie

Thank you, everyone, for a very enjoyable and memorable day.
Julian is the champion again!
Mike Closs: Never Forgotten
Photo © Elliot Closs

Reports on previous events:

5th Memorial Tournament

4th Memorial Tournament

3rd Memorial Tournament

2nd Memorial Tournament

1st Memorial Tournament