Club Blogs

18th November 2014

K Team Go To Top

Last night, the K team travelled to Meir C in the North Staffs ½ and came back with both points after a convincing victory. Colin Abell and Jacob Smith won handsomely whilst Paul Shelley ground out an impressive win on board two. This victory moves the team to the top of the table at least for the moment!

17th November 2014

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The top three boards for Cheddleton against Oxford. Left to right, David Howell, Jonathan Hawkins (the two joint British Champions) and Keith Arkell – the ECF player of the year 2014.

Narrow Wins for Cheddleton 1 in 4NCL

Cheddleton 1 played their first match of the season in the National Chess ½ – the 4NCL - at Hinckley Island on Saturday. After finishing in fourth position in the top Division for four successive seasons, hopes are high that the club can go one better and get into the top three. To this end, the club has signed the other joint British Champion, David Howell. David is a very welcome acquisition and will strengthen the team considerably as he joins forces with his fellow joint British Champion, Jonathan Hawkins who has been a member of the club for several years.

Opponents in the first match were Oxford, a strong and worthy but apparently beatable team. On the Friday, it was discovered that Vlad Hamitovici was unavoidably delayed on the continent which led to a rejigging of the board order and the welcome first appearance for the team of David Oswald who came in as a very last minute substitute and acquitted himself very well on the day on the seventh board. As it turned out, Oxford made the Cheddleton camp sweat rather more than they had perhaps anticipated and after wins by David Howell, Jon Hawkins and Keith Arkell, there was little joy for many hours. Fiona Steil-Antoni played a captain’s innings to hold a draw on the bottom board, but the score stood at 3½-3½ for over two hours while the indomitable Jovica Radovanovic fought every inch of the way to win the last game in a truly heroic performance.

Meanwhile at Darlington, the 2nd and 3rd teams were also playing their first matches in the Third Division North. Cheddleton 2 started the season with a fairly even match which brought victories for Paul Wallace on the top board, Alex Richardson and Simon Edwards, with Gerald Acey joining in with a drawn game to give the local team a 3½-2½ victory. Cheddleton 3 were somewhat unlucky in having one of the Division’s red-hot championship favourites – North East England 1 based in Newcastle-on-Tyne in their first match. Jack Healings excelled himself in picking up a draw on the bottom board but no-one else bothered the score-keepers in a match that gave considerable experience to the substantially junior 3rd team.

Sunday saw Cheddleton 1 in similar patchy form against a good and determined Grantham side. The two British Champions both won again and were soon joined in the analysis room by David Eggleston but then things started to go wrong. Saturday’s hero, Jovica Radovanovic and Simon Williams both brought welcome draws to the score but, in the end, just as on Saturday, one player was left to win the match. This time, it was debutant David Oswald who also stood alone for over an hour fighting to get the draw which won Cheddleton the match. Much to the relief of all the Cheddleton players and supporters, he finally achieved this and, after Jovica on Saturday, became the hero of the day.

At Darlington, Cheddleton 2 followed in the footsteps of their col½s by playing North of England 1 and echoing their fearsome beating from the day before. This time it was Malcolm Armstrong who managed to salvage a little pride with a draw.

Cheddleton C did better than on Saturday and gained four draws against Manchester 2. Chris Sizeland, Jacob Boswell and debutant Rob Taylor – who was interestingly playing his namesake all drew whilst Jack Healings completed a successful weekend undefeated by also drawing on the bottom board.

14th November 2014

Cup week leaves Cheddleton with mixed feelings

This week the Chess Club took a break from ½ chess to partake in the first round of the cups. There are four cups in the North Staffs Chess ½: the Eight Board Open Cup; the Major Cup (grades under 150); the Intermediate Cup (grades under 130) and the Minor Cup (grades under 110). Ideally each club would enter a team in each but some clubs do not have the strength in depth to do this. Cheddleton were lucky enough to receive byes to the next round in the Minor and Major cups but in the other two cups the draws were not so kind to them.

In the Open Cup, they were drawn at home on Friday to the current ½ champions and the strongest team in the ½, Stafford. This was without doubt the tie of the round as Cheddleton were the holders of the cup and had won it thirteen times in the last seventeen years. It was also a repeat of last year’s final, where Cheddleton were victorious by 4½ -3½ . This time the score remained the same but was reversed and finished as a win in Stafford’s favour. Both teams were forced to field weakened sides and there was perhaps a slight weighting in favour of the home side.

In the end, there were five draws in the match and only the ever-improving Jacob Boswell managed to win for the home team. With seven games finished and scores level, John Yee was left to fight it out for the whole match. He needed to win as a drawn match would still have gone to the visitors on the tie-breaking system used. In the end, it was a little too much for him and after a titanic fight, the time element got the better of him and he had to concede defeat.

In the Intermediate Cup, Cheddleton faced a potentially tricky tie against holders Newcastle, who defeated them 3-2 in the semi-final last year. This was also played on Friday evening – unusually away at Newcastle. This year, Cheddleton boasted a much stronger side than last year which probably caught their opponents off guard. It could not have been a great shock, therefore, that the visitors exacted their revenge with a very convincing 4-1 victory. Captain Sam Beardmore scored his ninth draw in a row in all competitions, equalling Alex Cartlidge’s record from last season, after failing to capitalise on a basic pawn advantage endgame! If Beardmore and Jacob Cartlidge who had earlier settled for a safe draw on the top board had managed to win, then that El Dorado of chess teams – a whitewash could have been achieved. Nevertheless, Cheddleton still progress to the semi-final, where they will face Stafford.

11th November 2014

Prestigious Chess Award for St Edward’s

St Edward’s CE Academy in Leek has been presented with an award by the British Chess Educational Trust, in respect of the school’s outstanding enthusiasm and achievement in chess over a considerable number of years. The school was nominated for the award by Staffordshire County Chess Association via the Midland Counties Chess Union.

The roots of this success go all the way back to when the school first opened, as St Edward’s Middle School, in 1981. The first head teacher, Miss June Wrathall, knew of the benefits chess could bring to young minds and so included chess on the curriculum as just one of the school’s distinctive features. Over the years the school evolved, first into St Edward’s Junior High and then St Edward’s Academy, but successive head teachers continued to recognise the value of chess, as both an academic discipline and a sport, and it has continued to be taught to all pupils during year 5. Over 6000 people have been taught chess during the schools 33 year existence.

The chess club has also been a feature of the school since the beginning and has been particularly popular in recent years with over sixty pupils currently attending on most Fridays, including more than twenty girls. School teams have competed at both local and national level for many years with varying levels of success; last year the under-19 girls’ team finished joint third in England. This year the academy has entered a total of twelve teams into the various ECF national schools competitions. The North Midlands’ Regional Final of the ECF under-11 open championship took place last weekend and the St Edward’s teams finished 1st, 2nd and 4th, with the A team earning the title of North Midlands’ Champions and qualifying for the National under-11 Final in July. Pupils have also played for Staffordshire County teams and in one case the England under 11 team (Molly Moruzzi in 2000). At an individual level the school has produced many Staffordshire county champions, including the current under-11 boys’ and girls’ champions and the current under-14 girls’ champion.

The academy enjoys strong links with Cheddleton and Leek Chess Club. Two retired members of the club help with coaching at the school and pupils are invited to join the club when they reach a high enough standard. Several current pupils of the academy play for the club’s teams in the North Staffs and District Chess ½, as do two members of staff.

The award consists of an inscribed wooden chess board with felted and weighted wooden pieces as well as an electronic chess clock. It was presented, in a full school assembly, on Monday 10th November by the ECF Director of Junior Chess and Education Mrs Traci Whitfield.

Also in attendance at the presentation were: Mr Ray Dolan, the Chief Executive of Midland Counties Chess Union, Mrs Eunice Dolan, the Secretary of Midland Counties Chess Union, Mr Andrew Davies, the General Secretary of Staffordshire County Chess Association, Mr Roger Edwards, the President of both Cheddleton and Leek Chess Club and North Staffs and District Chess Association (and a former President of the ECF) and Mr William Armstrong, the Director of Junior Chess for Cheddleton and Leek Chess Club, together with school governors and other friends of the school.

10th November 2014

On Saturday, St Edward’s Academy in Leek hosted the North Midlands’ Regional Final of the ECF under-11 open championship. It proved to be a good day for the home teams with St Edward’s claiming 1st, 2nd and 4th places. Third place went to The Elms Primary School from Long Eaton. St Edward’s A team are now Under-11 North Midlands Champions and go on to the National Final in the summer.

8th November 2014

It was a hectic week for the club last week with six matches played - five of these being at home on Friday, which is the first time that has occurred since the 1980s.

Division Three saw Cheddleton G’s first home game of the season, against Stafford B. Cheddleton were hoping to use this game as a platform to make up for what has been a terrible start to the season, with three 3-1 losses from three games. It got nervy for the home side as star player Jacob Boswell drew against Denis Nesbitt. Although Nesbitt is a good player, he excelled himself to hold off the in-form Boswell. A move that he will wish to forget helped Andrew Leadbetter to defeat by Jack Healings which kept Healings’ 100% record intact and then Dominic Taylor and Sam Beardmore only had to hold out for draws to give Cheddleton G their first win this season. Although, Cheddleton’s win could have been more emphatic, as Beardmore wasted an advantageous position to leave him winless from five games this season. However, with only one loss in fourteen for all ½ and tournament matches, he can hope that he will soon start to be able to hold on to winning positions. The G team’s next match is at home to Kidsgrove, and they will hope the momentum from this match can see them produce a turnaround similar to that achieved by Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United from a similar start to the season.

In the one of two matches in Division Two, Cheddleton C climbed to the top of the table with a 3½-1½ win over the team propping up the table – new boys Crewe A. The Crewe side ultimately proved no match for a fired-up Cheddleton team, and should be satisfied to amass the amount of points they did. Cheddleton C’s home form was excellent last season, as it has been this season; however, they will be hoping significantly to improve on last season’s one solitary point away from home.

Cheddleton D were involved in the Second Division’s other match, and managed to embarrass champions Macclesfield 4-1. The result was in stark contrast to last season, and so far this season Macclesfield have not been able to maintain anything like last term’s form with just one point from two games.

The last two of the week’s matches were both Division Four battles with Cheddleton H defeating Crewe C 2½-1½ and Cheddleton I beating Fenton B 3-1. A first win for the I team sees them climb off the foot of the table, and a second win for the H teams results in them rising to the top of the table. Both sides will be hoping continued momentum can see them both at the top end of the table.

Six wins from six sees Cheddleton performing at their finest, and will hope that they maintain this excellent form for the duration of the season.

6th November 2014

Bonfire night saw Cheddleton F travel to Newcastle and return home with both points – a rare event these days. This was in a Division Three affair on Wednesday against Newcastle C, which the visitors won 3-1. John Yee and the Blackburn family all came back victorious. The F team currently sit in fourth place and if they can win their games in hand they could rise to the top of the table.

3rd November 2014

The British Rapidplay Championship took place at Beckett University, Leeds, over weekend of the 1st and 2nd November. It was won by Jonathan Hawkins for the second time. There were two local Cheddleton representatives in the shape of Jacob Boswell, in the Major Section, and Sam Beardmore, in the Intermediate Section. Both were seeded considerably low in very strong competitive tournaments. Even so, both managed to hold their own, with Boswell achieving 5 out of 11, and Beardmore 6½ out of 11. Beardmore was just half a point away from the prize money. Now, both players will be hoping that this tournament can spur their team, Cheddleton G on to a run of good form in the ½


Puzzle of the Day

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

Club Chairman Robert Milner - 01782 550112.