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3rd July 2015

Rapid-play Jamboree at Newcastle

Five teams from the club travelled to Newcastle Bridge Club tonight to take part in the annual North Staffs League Rapid-play jamboree.

There were sixteen teams in the competition with eight in the top section and eight in the Under-130 grade section. There were three Cheddleton teams in the top section and two in the other.

In the first round, Cheddleton’s number one, Rob Shaw, was drawn against IM Lawrence Cooper of Stafford who is the strongest player living in the county. Rob made the greatest start possible for the local team by beating Cooper handsomely. This was followed up by wins for Dave Buxton, Craig Whitfield and Simon Edwards, the other members of the team. This put the team in equal first place after the first round and set the pace for another four out of four in the second round which gave the A team a comfortable two point margin of victory in the top section.

The other two Cheddleton teams in the section both had a successful evening without getting amongst the prize winners. Jacob Boswell, as board one for the C team, was fortunate enough to draw Lawrence Cooper in round two but had to be satisfied with the experience of a good game against a top player before bowing to the inevitable. New recruit Richard Westwood made a useful debut on board one for the B team and had a good win over Christoph Kammerer of Crewe in round two.

In the second section, Sandra Blackburn led an inspired D team to the title with herself, Jon Blackburn, John Yee and Dominic Taylor only dropping half a point between them all evening. A young and inexperienced E team led by the ever-dependable David Shiers who won both his games, also gave a good account of themselves in the lower section.

Winning both trophies and gaining considerable useful experience for all twenty players – not to mention having an enjoyable evening ably organised as ever by Martyn Harris – could be considered another major success for the club.

Back at the club, a second 10-minute towards the Summer Grand prix was held. With twenty players away at Newcastle, there was plenty of opportunity for players to get good scores and Ebrahim Arshad duly cashed in with a score of four, closely followed by Josh Brown with three. Josh and Ebrahim were neck and neck after three rounds but Eb just edged the final head-to-head.


28th June 2015

The South Potteries Rapidplay Championship

The first South Potteries Rapidplay tournament was held today at Fenton chess club. The event was an outstanding success and will surely be repeated in the future. It was limited to twenty-four players who were all either members of or associated with the clubs of the North Staffs and District Chess Association.

Geoff Laurence of Macclesfield was in the lead throughout the tournament following his victory over Brian Birchall of Alsager in round one. A run of four successive wins was arrested in round five when Geoff was held to a draw by Jacob Boswell. Another draw in round six with Martin Frischer of Crewe gave him a final score of five out of six.

Jacob Boswell – Cheddleton’s only representative in the tournament – had started the day with a win over Frischer and then had conceded a draw to Kasian Capatina of Fenton. He followed this with wins over Steve Hill of Meir and Karl Lockett of Crewe in rounds three and four prior to the fifth round draw with Laurence. An impressive win over Christoph Kammerer of Crewe in round six brought him level on points with Laurence.

The arbiting team then decided that the two joint winners should play off twice to decide the final winner. In both of these games Jacob was successful and so was finally declared the champion. In his short career, Jacob has won innumerable junior tournaments but this was the first time he has won a major adult event. I suspect it will, in fact, be the first of many.

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Jacob Boswell in action against Geoff Laurence

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Receiving the trophy


26th June 2015

Opening of the Twenty-Minute Championship

At the club tonight, there was a further session of coaching for the juniors – and for a few seniors as well – all paid for by a grant from the Staffordshire County Council and through the good offices of Councillors Charlotte Atkins and Mike Worthington. This project seems to be going well and to be both enjoyed by and useful to all those taking part.

Also the first two rounds of the club’s annual twenty-minute championship were played with four of the usual suspects taking an early lead. We shall have more reports on this as the competition progresses and things look more interesting.

Elsewhere, plans were going on apace for the club’s participation in Leek Show at the end of July. Everybody must make an effort to go and see what it is all about!


19th June 2015

Coaching Sessions Begin

With the summer season upon us, tonight saw the beginning of the usual complete change of direction for cub nights.

To begin with, there was the first of a group of coaching sessions designed for the junior members but also welcoming adults who wish to take part. These have been generously paid for by grants from the Staffordshire County Council at the behest of Councillors Charlotte Atkins and Mike Worthington. Tonight’s was a great success for all concerned and we all look forward to the next.

Also, there was the first of the many ten-minute tournaments which constitute the summer ten-minute grand prix. With only twenty-three taking part, the first week finished with sole leading player. This was Dave Buxton – the only player with four points.


17th June 2015

St. Edward’s Border Reivers

In the absence of a similar event in Staffordshire, St. Edward’s Academy recently accepted the generous invitation by Derbyshire Junior Chess Association to take part in their Primary Schools’ Chess Team tournament.

The event is played in two parts – a series of preliminary tournaments and then a finals day when all the winners from the preliminary section are brought together to fight it out for the championship.

After St. Edward’s had safely navigated their way through the earlier part of the competition, the finals day was fixed for yesterday at the Royal School for the Deaf Derby.

The other three schools were the hosts, together with the Mundy School from Heanor and the Elms Preparatory School from Long Eaton.

In the first match, St. Edward’s defeated RSDD by 3 boards to one and then had a tough second match against the Mundy School which they had to struggle hard to draw. In the last match, they were playing the favourites – the Elms – who were, at that stage a point ahead of them. AS it turned out, St. Edward’s were winning by 2 to 1 and all hung on Tim Nilsson’s game. He needed to win in order to win the championship. With all other games in the room finished, Tim fought on through thick and thin and kept his nerve against all the odds to win the game and the event – a truly heroic performance.

As a result, it was a successful foray over the border for St. Edward’s as they narrowly became the Champions. The Elms deservedly won the trophy for the Derbyshire Championship but St. Edward’s felt suitably satisfied as they returned home as the tournament winners.

The team members – Josh Brown, Tim Nilsson, Jamie Jones and Roan Critchley - each had a good day with Roan being the highest scorer with two and a half.


16th June 2015

ECF Player of the Year

The thirty first annual ECF player of the year was announced today. Last year the title was won by Cheddleton’s Keith Arkell for the first time in his long career. This year, Keith was again one of the nominees along with three other Cheddleton players. The deserved winner was Jonathan Hawkins who had gained his final GM norm during the year and who was joint British champion at Aberystwyth a year ago. Keith finished in second place and Cheddleton’s board one, David Howell finished in third place. To have the ECF player of the year was very satisfying for the club and an amazing achievement for Jon but to have all the top three players on the club’s books surpasses all dreams.

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Picture of Jon Hawkins by John Upham

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Facing the camera, Keith Arkell on right, Jon Hawkins in centre and David Howell on left all in action for Cheddleton against Oxford in the National Chess League in November. In the foreground is Keith’sopponent, David Zakarian. Picture by Fiona Steil-Antoni.


16th June 2015

Keith Arkell’s Simultaneous Display at Fenton

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of te foundation of Fenton Chess club which, under the skilful guidance of Steve Emmerton, has grown into one of the most go-ahead and successful clubs in Staffordshire. Cheddleton’s senior professional, Keith Arkell, was invited to perform a simultaneous display at the Fenton club-room against twenty-eight players some from Fenton and some from the other clubs in the area. This took place last night and included three players from Cheddleton.

Keith arrived fresh from his victory in the Rapid-play on Sunday and immediately surprised his massed ranks of opponents by offering to play with black pieces on alternate boards – the performer at a simultaneous display usually requires the white pieces on each board.

He worked away for over five hours before the event drew to a close and Keith had abundant opportunity to show why he has become one of the best grandmasters in England by winning twenty-four of the games.

The four who proudly emerged with draws were our one and only Roger Edwards, together with Gerald Acey of Stafford, Karl Lockett of Crewe and Glyn Valentine who carried the banner for the home club – Fenton.

I believe that a good time was had by all.


14th June 2015

Twelfth Annual Leek Rapidplay

The twelfth annual Leek Rapidplay took place today at St Edward’s Academy. It was again a great success and was well-supported although the organisers always feel that a little over a hundred entrants would be ideal.

As usual, there was a good turnout from the home club with eighteen Cheddleton players taking part. Many of the other participants were regular players from previous years and it is thought that at least four have played in all twelve events. It is good to see so many old friends but it would be good to have just a few more.

The top tournament is called the “Cheddleton” section in honour of the club which sponsors it and the other section is called the “St. Edward’s” section to honour the school that hosts it.

The Cheddleton section was stronger than in most years with six players graded over200 taking part, led by grandmaster Keith Arkell and it did not come as a great surprise that Arkell was the eventual victor with five points, having conceded draws to Andy Reeve of Stockport and Rob Shaw of Cheddleton. Pablo Padilla Cabero of Sutton Coldfield and Reeve shared second place with four and a half points each. The Alan Wilshaw Rosebowl which is awarded to the highest placed player from the North Staffs and District Chess Association went to Rob Shaw on tie-break as he shared fourth place with three other eligible playerson four points. The slow starter prize went to Tony Soames of Macclesfield who also scored four points.

The St. Edward’s section was won by Richard Dixon of Gloucester with a perfect six score. Bill Armstrong of Cheddleton and Karl Lockett of Crewe shared second place with five points. There were three slow starter prizes in this section, won by Steve Swajkun of Telford, Sam Davies of Southport and Greg Willett of Crewe.

Leek Rapidplay 2015 Results: Cheddleton

Leek Rapidplay 2015 Results: St.Edward's



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The Cheddleton and Leek Chess Club, Westwood College, New Hall, Westwood Park Avenue, Leek, Staffordshire.

Club Chairman Robert Milner - 01782 550112.