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Proposed new North East Individual FIDE rated Championships

Tim Wall is proposing to start a new North East of England FIDE rated individual championship.

Three sections are planned, open, major (under FIDE 1975 or under ECF 170 if not FIDE rated) and minor (under FIDE 1750 or under ECF 140 if not FIDE rated). Each section would be played as a 6 round Swiss with 2 rounds played on each of 3 Sundays during the season at 3 separate venues in Northumberland, Durham and Cleveland. All players who are resident in, or play for clubs in Northumberland, Durham or Cleveland would be eligible.

The playing schedule would be 10:30 to 14:30 for the Sunday morning games and 15:30 to 19:30 for Sunday afternoon games. The time control would be all moves in 90 minutes plus a 30 second increment from move 1. All games would be FIDE rated.

Players are required to have either ECF Gold membership, in the case of ENG players, or ECF Silver membership in the case of players from other federations.

Proposed new North East FIDE Rated League

Tim Wall is also proposing to start a new FIDE rated North East chess league.

6 teams of 5 players each would play an all-play-all league on 5 separate Sundays during the season at 5 separate venues. The 6 teams would be made up of 2 teams from Northumberland, 2 teams from Durham and 2 teams from Cleveland. Teams would probably be club based although obviously players from 2 or more clubs could join together to form one team. Teams would either be required to field one U18 player and one female player or a bonus point could be awarded per match to teams which do field both a junior and a female player.

Playing time would be all moves in 90 minutes with a 30 second increment from move 1. Games would aim to start at 14:30 and finish about 18:30. Games would be FIDE rated and players would either be required to have ECF Gold membership, in the case of ENG players, or ECF Silver membership for players with FIDE affiliation to other federations.

Ron Evers 2019

South Shields 2 managed to overcome all the competition , despite their lower average grades and brought back the Ron Evers Trophy to South Shield once again . South Shields 1 came in joint second . The Trophy will be presented at the Durham Chess Association AGM in May and a fuller report will follow .

Congratulations! A team finishes 2nd in NCA Division 1

A convincing finish saw the A team beat Morpeth B by 4.5 – 0.5. This leaves them in clear second position behind runaway league champions, Forest Hall A, who let slip only one drawn match and won the rest.

Here is one of the games from the Morpeth B victory.

Congratulations! DCCA Division 1 Champions

With 8 wins from 8 matches the South Shields ‘Galacticos’ have sewn up division 1 with 2 matches remaining. Their nearest rivals, Durham City ‘Bishops’ have 4 wins and a draw from 7 matches and can’t close the gap. Well done to the players and to the captain, Chris Sayers, for keeping his galacticos happy! Eat your heart out Jose Mourinho!

Congratulations are also in order for the South Shields C team for their giant-killing effort in NCA Division 2, beating Forest Hall C 3-2 despite being outgraded by an average of over 33 grading point per board. Well done, Colin, Gary, Mike, Ben and Jay.

The Secrets of the Chess Club Photograph Revealed

The story so far.  A few  months  ago,  the  South Shields Historical Society  received  a  donation  of  documents regarding  the  Davidson  family  of  South  Eldon  Street,  mostly  from  WW1  onwards.
However, in amongst family photographs and postcards from the 20th century there is an older photograph of chess players from what appears to be the Victorian era.  At recent informal meetings members have been trying to determine if the photograph below is South Shields Chess Club, when it was taken and ultimately identify the members.

South Shields Chess Club had its opening night on 1st October 1866, at the club’s room in the Mechanics Institute, which would eventually become the town’s library and museum.  Its President was none other than Alderman John Williamson, twice Mayor of South Shields.
The archive of the Shields Gazette reveals that the club’s Treasurer was John Scott and his brothers Alex Scott and Councillor William Scott are also members.  Another brother George Scott  (not a member of the club)  becomes  Mayor  of  South  Shields  in  1887.
All four of them were sons of the South Shields marine artist John Scott. Finally, the club’s secretary Thomas Kell was their brother-in-law, since he married their sister Eleanor Scott.

Members of our group are of the opinion that there are a number of siblings present, so could some of the chess players be from the Scott family?

There is more of this story to follow .

Grateful thanks to Jim Mulholland and the members of the South Shields History Group for allowing us to recount this story .





Christmas Themed Blitz – The Black Knights’ Tango

To help fill the winterval chess gap, made worse by the cancellation of the Durham Congress, we’re having a themed blitz tournament on the Thursday 20th December at the New Ship Inn. As usual, no entry fee, no prizes, no rating just lots of chess fun.

The theme is the Black Knights’ Tango. No, I hadn’t heard of it either until I saw John Boyd playing it in a league match a couple of weeks ago. Books (plural) have been written on this opening and John probably has them all. For the rest of us here is a video from the St Louis Chess Club explaining the opening.

Play will start after the moves 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 Nc6 with white to play.

Results can be found here

Dave Mooney had a good Knight .. and danced off with first place winning all 9 of his games , leaving Paul Bielby and Eddie Czestochowski to tango in joint second place with 7 wins a piece .




Top of the Christmas Tree


Happy Christmas Chess Friends. The  Chess  season has now reached the halfway point and it’s great to see  our teams  doing well , topping both the Northumberland and the Durham Chess leagues Division 1 and with our other teams sitting confortably in mid table in the other divisions. In the the early stages of the Ron Evers Quickplay one of our teams sits joint top .

Results and tables and remaining fixtures can be found on the top banner or on the respective Association websites.

Keep up the good work , have a great Christmas and come back refreshed in 2019 .






Carlsen-Caruana Redux – AlphaZero’s Take

12 games at normal time controls, 12 draws. A lot of people just looked at the result and said “Boring!“. For those of us (layabouts) who actually watched the games live, online there was a lot of exciting chess. It’s just that at key moments the players either rushed their moves and missed their opportunity (giving hope that they are, at least in that respect, just like us patzers) or they thought long and hard and then chickened out (again, something we can all can identify with). Then there was that winning move that Sesse identified which none of the experts could understand until they had sat in a darkened room for several hours studying the computer analysis.

Somebody who particularly enjoyed the games was GM Matthew Sadler. He and WIM Natasha Regan have been given access to AlphaZero to write a book about it which is coming out next year. Sadler, meanwhile, was allowed to maintain access to his new toy for the World Championships and followed the games with the benefit of analysis of AlphaZero. He has produced a number of videos examining AlphaZero’s analysis of the 12 games, themed according to the openings.

DeepMind’s AlphaZero on Carlsen-Caruana Games 1, 3, 5 & 8 (Sicilian Defence)

Games 2 & 7 (the QGD)

Games 4 & 6 (English & Petroff)

Games 10 & 12 (Sveshnikov Sicilian)

Games 11 & 9 (Petroff & English)

For contrast here are the thoughts of former world champion and reigning rapid world champion, Vishy Anand on the first 12 games given before the playoffs.

Chess is The Word .

The Word , National Centre for the Written Word

South Shields Chess Club, with the support of South Shields Library Services and the Charity Chess in Schools and the Community , now extended a 6 week trial and will continue until the end of April 2019  at least.Chess is played at The Word , South Shields Central Library in the Atrium Area on the ground floor between 2pm and 3.45pm on a Saturday afternoon . We have players of all abilities turn up to play ,from children  and complete novices to  champion chess players who have been more than happy to spare some time to pass on their skills .  This is a great opportunity to get Chess more widely seen , to possibly attract more members and most of all gives us a fantastic new venue to play chess in, it would really be appreciated if our members can support this initiative.


October – 20th 27th

November – 3rd 10th 17th 24th

December – 1st 8th 15th 22nd

January – 12th 19th 26th

February – 2nd 9th 16th  23rd

March – 2nd 9th 16th 23rd 30th

April – 6th 13th 20th 27th