Club Blogs

7th September 2014


The August National Grading List is now confirmed after two previous provisional lists had been circulated. The highest graded player in the country this time is Matthew Sadler of Guildford with 280. Two of the Cheddleton players from the 4NCL team are in the list of the highest graded twenty players. Jonathan Hawkins who recently became the joint British Champion was ninth with a grade of 246 and Simon Williams was 239. Interestingly, of the top twenty players, seven were from Guildford and six from Wood Green – the two strongest clubs in the country.

At a local level, the strongest player was Laurence Cooper of Stafford at 218 with Cheddleton’s Rob Shaw second at 204. Other highly-rated Cheddleton players were Craig Whitfield with 198, Dave Buxton with 189 and Simon Edwards with 181. There were six other North Staffordshire League players over 175.

The summer ten-minute chess tournament finished last Friday. The joint winners, predictably, were Rob Shaw and Dave Buxton on twenty points each. Bill Armstrong was third with nineteen and a half points and Simon Edwards was fourth with seventeen and a half. With seventeen points, Jacob Boswell was fifth out of the sixty two players who had taken part. The winner of the section for players graded 100 and less, after a very close struggle, was Oliver Snape with thirteen points with Joe Alcock second on twelve and a half. Will Sanzeri, Sian Jones and Jack Snape were all equal third on twelve points.

The September Congress begins at Westwood Old Hall on Friday evening with room still available.

31st August 2014


With only one week to go, the summer ten-minute chess tournament is in a very interesting state. Sixty two players in all have taken part this year and thirty five of these were in action last Friday. Only Dave Buxton achieved a perfect four score on the night and maintained his position as joint leader of the whole event with twenty points. In the section for players graded 100 and less, the leader is Oliver Snape with thirteen points with Will Sanzeri, Sian Jones and Jack Snape all a point behind. By the complicated scoring method of the competition, a score of three next week by any of these four could win – providing the other three don’t also score three or more. All making for a fascinating finale!

Elsewhere, plans are well ahead for the September Congress with an encouraging increase in entries over last year. However, there is still plenty of room available and entry forms are still available from the Congress Director, Robert Milner.

The club’s Annual General Meeting will take place at this year at Westwood College New Hall on Friday 26th September at 7 p.m. when plans for the new season will be discussed. Foremost among these will be the entry of three teams in the National League once again and ten teams in the local North Staffordshire and District League. All members are very welcome to come and have their say.

25th August 2014


The 2014 British Chess Championships recently drew to a close at Aberystwyth University. Several Cheddleton players took part. The most successful was Jonathan Hawkins who led the main Championships all the way through and then was caught by 2013 Champion David Howell of Wood Green and so finished equal first. Jonathan is the strongest player in Cheddleton’s team in the National Chess League – the 4NCL – and lives in Consett, County Durham. England International player Keith Arkell who also plays for Cheddleton in the 4NCL finished a creditable equal third.

The Club President, Roger Edwards, who recently retired from the position of President of the English Chess Federation, took part in two tournaments at the Championships this year after half a lifetime of helping to organise them and he excelled himself by gaining fourth place in the second week morning Open tournament. Elsewhere, Thivyaa Rahulan who is a member of the club finished equal first in the under 11 girls’ championships. Four other Cheddleton players also took part in the British Championships this year.

On the local front, there were thirty five playing in the Friday evening tournament and it was again notable for some giant-killing performances, particularly those by Will Sanzeri and Jack Snape. The joint winners were Rob Shaw, Bill Armstrong and Simon Edwards, whilst Rob Shaw and Dave Buxton retain the overall lead.

IM Jonathan Hawkins playing on top board of the British Championship

17th August 2014


Preparations for the Fifteenth Leek Chess Congress are now well underway. This major event in the National Chess calendar will take place on 12th, 13th and 14th September at Westwood College Old Hall.

There are usually three sections for players of differing abilities but the number of sections depends on the number of entries. Entry forms are available from the Congress Director, Robert Milner, 411 Cheadle Road, Cheddleton, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 7BH, email:

Players come from all over the country with a lot being local entries As usual, we are pleased to welcome anyone who is prepared to try their hand whether they are members of a club or not.

In the top section last year, the winner was Alex Richardson of Fenton with four points and the joint runners-up were Ali Jaunooby of Denton, Rob Shaw of Cheddleton, Mike Surtees of Bolton and Mark Talbot of Wigan – all with three and a half points. In the middle section, the winner was Mick Connor of Great Lever with four and a half points and the joint runners-up were Bill Armstrong of Cheddleton and Andrew Lake of Boldmere St. Michael with four points each. The lower section was won by recently enthroned Channel Four Child Genius of the Year Sharon Daniel of Bolton with four and a half points with Sam Beardmore of Cheddleton and Tom Robson of Macclesfield as joint runners-up with four points each.

7th August 2014


During the summer months, the club holds a ten-minute chess tournament most Friday nights at its headquarters at Westwood College. In this, each player plays four games in which he or she and the opponent have only ten minutes on the clock. The results are counted up and there is a weekly winner. In addition, each week’s results are added together and the five best are taken out to be used as part of a grand prix event. This is the third year that the club has done this in the summer.

At present, there are fifty five club members taking part in what seems a popular and successful event. The winner last week was Alex Richardson who was the only player to score a perfect four. Joint runners-up were Rob Shaw and Dave Buxton each with three and a half points. There were some fine examples of giant-killing as is often the case in this kind of game which is a great leveller. Two notable destroyers of giants this week were Vicky Sheldon and Charlie Chevaux who are both aged only nine years.

There have now been ten rounds in the event and the ten leading players are:-

  • 1st equal Dave Buxton 20 points

  • 1st equal Rob Shaw 20

  • 3rd Bill Armstrong 17

  • 4th Jacob Boswell 16

  • 5th Dave Millington 15

  • 6th David Hallen 14

  • 7th Sam Beardmore 13

  • 8th Frank Bruce 12½

  • 9th Simon Edwards 12

  • 10th Joe Alcock 11½

This means that three juniors are amongst the top ten players in the grand prix, 12 year-olds Jacob Boswell and Joe Alcock and 15 year-old Sam Beardmore.

The club will be pleased to have anyone to turn up on a Friday evening at 7.30 p.m. at Westwood College New Hall to take part in the tournament. Remember, anyone is welcome. You do not have to be a member of the club to take part on a Friday evening and, if you just wish to come and watch (in silence, of course!) you are equally welcome.

Dave Buxton in play

24th July 2014


The recent league AGM of the North Staffordshire and District Chess Association helped to turn thoughts towards the new league season which begins in October.

Currently eight players from the club are at Aberystwyth taking part in the 2014 British Chess Championships. The club will again be running three teams in the National Chess League – the 4NCL. The 1st team which took fourth spot in the first Division for the fourth successive season again excelled themselves. The team will continue in the First Division under the careful eye of Fiona Steil-Antoni who is a Luxembourg International player and the only female captain in the League. The overwhelming desire will be to claim the third spot in the First Division behind Guildford and Wood Green who are the eternal first and second teams. The Cheddleton second and third teams will continue in the Third Division North for another season with Simon Edwards acting as Captain of both teams. Last year, both teams had successful seasons and gave debuts to four local juniors who all did well. This season we hope for even better and would like to get a team promoted.

In the local league, Cheddleton A will be endeavouring to win back the first division Championship, whilst the B and C teams will be fighting another close struggle in the second division. The D team will be out to retain the third division crown and the E and F teams are likely to be in at the death when the fourth division is decided. The G team will also be counted upon to give a good account of themselves in the fifth division. On top of this, there are four county cups to be fought for as well as four cups at the varying grade levels in the North Staffordshire League. All in all, yet another tense and very full season beckons.

Fiona Steil-Antoni playing for Cheddleton.

16th July 2014


The Cheddleton and Leek Chess Club recently held the eleventh annual rapidplay Congress at St. Edwards Academy in Leek. This popular event is becoming one of the highlights of the year and attracts entries from many local players as well as players from all over the Midlands and Manchester together with a scattering of players from more distant parts of the country and a few foreign entrants as well.

The chief controller was again Roger Edwards of Chell, former president of the English Chess Federation and the other arbiters were Matthew Carr and Andrew Davies. The youngest player taking part was nine-year old Susie Wang from Nottingham and the oldest was ninety-year old Patrick Curr of Macclesfield – demonstrating once again that chess is the only sport at which the old and the young can compete against each other on a “level playing field”.

The tournament was divided into two sections as usual – a top section called the Cheddleton tournament for players graded under 210 and a lower tournament called the St Edwards tournament for players graded under 145.

The competition in the Cheddleton section was more fiercely-fought than in any previous tournament and at the end of Round 5 there were still ten players in with a chance of winning. One of the favourites, Ali Jaunooby of Denton, Manchester, had lost spectacularly in Round 2 to Dave Buxton of Cheddleton and another, Oliver Jackson of Poynton, had lost in Round 2 to Phil Cattermole of Macclesfield and again in Round 5 to Simon Edwards of Cheddleton and thus left himself out of the running.

In the crucial last round, only one of the ten potential winners managed to win his game and this left five equal winners with one lone sixth place behind them. The joint winners were Jonathan Blackburn of Church Lawton, Pablo Padilla Cabero of Spain, Ali Jaunooby of Denton and Rob Shaw and Simon Edwards both of Cheddleton all with four and a half points. The Alan Wilshaw Memorial Rosebowl for the highest placed North Staffordshire player went on tiebreak to Rob Shaw. The slow starter’s prize – awarded to the player with the highest finishing score after starting with one or less points after three rounds went to Tom Darling of Leamington Spa with three and a half points.

The competition in the St. Edward’s section was also good but not so many players were in contention as, at the end of Round 4, there were only five players who could have taken the first place. In the end, the outright winner was Pawel Los of Poland with five and a half points, with David Broadbent of Wilmslow and Geraint George of Wrexham sharing second place. The slow starter’s prize went to Jacob Cartlidge of Cheddleton with a perfect four points.

Rob Shaw in action for Cheddleton in February.

27th February 2011


The 2010-2011 4NCL campaign resumed for Cheddleton last weekend at Wokefield Park near Reading.  The two results proved to beyond the wildest dreams of the club but are still not quite enough to ensure Premiership Chess remains at Cheddleton for another year. 


Saturday saw the local club playing against The ADs  who are a team of strong senior players.  The Cheddleton players were almost unstoppable in a match which on paper looked to be very even.  Danny Gormally defeated Grand Master and former British Champion Jonathan Mestel, Robert Bellin and Jason McKenna both won handsomely and Luxembourg International Fiona Steil-Antoni made a fine debut for the club with a fourth win.  Not to be outdone, the other four players all agreed draws.  This gave Cheddleton a spectacular 6-2 victory.


Cheddleton 1 6 2 The ADs

Daniel W Gormally 1 0 A Jonathan Mestel, Jonathan Hawkins ½  ½ Jiri Jirka, Keith C Arkell ½  ½  Lukas Cernousek, Robert Bellin 1 0 John R Richardson, David J Eggleston ½  ½ Ian L Snape, Paul A Wallace ½  ½  David W Anderton, Fiona Steil-Antoni 1 0 Jonathan E Swindells, Jason P McKenna 1 0 Jana Bellin


A performance such as Saturday’s does not occur very often, but even that was eclipsed with the 7-1 victory over Warwickshire Select on Sunday.  Again on paper, this looked a close match but, in the event, it was another comfortable victory.

Danny, Robert and Jason all recorded their second win of the weekend and this time were joined by Keith and Paul.  Possibly the most encouraging thing about the whole weekend was that no-one lost a single game. 

These two results lift Cheddleton into fourth place in the Division 1A table.  After the next round, the top four in each of the two First Divisions are creamed off and all eight then play for the rest of the season for the League Championship.  The bottom four in each section play off to avoid relegation which is waiting for four out of the eight teams.  The next match, therefore is crucial for Cheddleton as they need to draw or win to ensure a place in the top four.  Unfortunately, the next match is against London giants Barbican.


Warwickshire 1 1 7 Cheddleton 1

Guntram Hainke 0 1 Daniel W Gormally, Donald J Mason 0 1 Jonathan Hawkins, Nicholas Thomas 0 1 Keith C Arkell , Stewart K Fishburne 0 1 Robert Bellin, Brandon GI Clarke ½ ½  David J Eggleston, Richard Weaving 0 1 Paul A Wallace, Andrew JD Baruch  ½ ½  Fiona Steil-Antoni, Astghik Stepanyan 0 1 Jason P McKenna


In the 4NCL Northern League, at Harrogate, Cheddleton 2 were also fighting to stay in the top half of their League.  On the Saturday, they played Aigburth and squeaked through by the narrowest of margins.  Martyn Harris scored an invaluable victory on board 4 and all the others agreed draws.


Cheddleton 2 3½ 2½ Aigburth

Alex Richardson ½ ½  Miroslav Gruca, Gerald Acey ½ ½ Roger G Williamson, Malcolm J Armstrong ½ ½ James NH Hawkins, Martyn J Harris 1 0 Brandan D Kane, William G Armstrong ½ ½ Robert J Frith, William J Taylor ½ ½ Bob Amos


Sunday, however, was not to be so good as the local side faced League leaders, Bradford.  Again, it was a very close match but two narrow defeats brought a lost match and moving down a place in the Division.


Bradford DCA Knights A 4 2 Cheddleton 2

Benjamin J Hague ½ ½  Alex Richardson, Winston Williams ½ ½ Simon R Edwards, Denis Molofej ½ ½ Malcolm J Armstrong, Adam R Lang 1 0 William G Armstrong, Louis Brijmohun 1 0 John Y Yee, David A Patrick ½ ½  William J Taylor  



The North Staffs League campaign this week started off on the wrong foot on Monday evening with the G team needing to win at Meir C to go to the top of the Fifth Division table.  A good win by Jack Healings and a solid draw by Vlade were not enough to bring this about.


Meir C 2½ 1½ Cheddleton G 

Anthony D Cooling ½ ½ Vlade V Luzajic, Edward D Burke 0 1 Jack Healings, David Hackney 1 0 Jacob C Boswell, Robert Perry 1 0 Skye Wiggins


Wednesday’s match was something of a damp squib as well.  The local team was due to play Lichfield in the Semi Final of the Staffordshire Under-160 Cup and had agreed a half-way venue at Stafford, which was just as well for when they got there they found that the Lichfield team had been struck down by flu and had forfeited the match.  John Yee’s woes were not yet complete as he suffered a puncture on his way home after the “match”.


The A team played another First Division fixture on Friday and gave a very good account of themselves even though they were savagely out-graded on four boards.  Excellent draws by Craig, Dave, Bill and John were not quite enough to grab a well-earned point.


Cheddleton A 2 3 Holmes Chapel A

Craig M Whitfield ½ ½ Jonathan LB Blackburn, David E Buxton ½ ½ Patrick J Bennett, Philip N Birks 0 1 John M Turner, William G Armstrong ½ ½ Ian W Bates, John Y Yee ½ ½ Jon EW Blackburn


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.