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One week to go for South Shields Blitz!

9 rounds, 5 minutes + 2 second increment, FIDE rated, £10 entry fee, generous prizes (first 3, plus grading prizes plus best junior and best senior), 11 am 3rd July at The Word

Enter by emailing We’ll send you the club’s bank details so you can pay online. Or if you prefer you can pay on the day.

Don’t miss it! Enter now if you haven’t already!

If you have been sheltering from Covid and are tempted but don’t want the added cost of ECF membership note that ECF membership is not required for blitz tournaments whether FIDE rated or not. Now, in the middle of summer, with the sun’s UV light killing off viruses like Covid is a great time to rejoin the chess playing world.

Club Success in DCCA Darlington Congress

First of all, massive congratulations to Mick Riding for organising the biggest and best DCCA congress ever with almost 160 entries. A big “Thank you”, too, to Alex Macfarlane for managing such a large event all by himself. A tribute to both that everything went smoothly.

It was a successful tournament for South Shields. Our representation in the Open was limited to part-time Durham League players, Tim Wall and Dave Walker, but they both finished equal second on 4/5 behind sole winner IM Brandon Clarke on 4.5/5

In the Major Anthony Sweeting also finished equal second on 4/5 behind Durham University’s Luke Elliot on 5/5. Brian Towers finished fourth equal on 3.5/5 (after losing a winning position against tournament winner, Luke Elliot) and Eddie Czestochowski was unlucky to finish on 0.5/5 having managed to gift his much higher rated opponent a draw in round one when Eddie was also completely winning.

It was a similar story in the Minor where Michael Allen finished equal third on 4/5 having managed to lose a winning position against the tournament winner, Maksym Kryshtafor. Dave Patterson finished 11th equal on 3/5 and Stan Johnson scored 1.5/5.

Here is one of Anthony’s games with annotations by him.

Friends Bowl – Entries by 28th October, Please

First, a reminder of what the Friends Bowl competition is. The Friends Bowl is a large silver cup which has been in the club since 1947 when it was donated to the club by the then president of the club, Arnold Friends. The annual competition for the cup is a knock out handicap based on grading. This year the rules are being tweaked slightly to accommodate the changes in the ECF rating system.

For each game the players are given a material handicap according to the difference in their rating. The ratings used will be the ratings on the ECF website for the players at the time (ratings updated monthly). Where a player doesn’t have an over the board standard rating, for instance because they haven’t played enough rated games, then in the first instance a provisional rating will be used if one exists for the player. Failing that an OTB rapid rating will be used and finally online ratings will be used.

The handicaps are as follows for different rating differences:

0-99 – no handicap, first named player in the draw has white
100-199 – colour, lower rated player has white
200-299 – 2 moves, lower rated player has white and makes two moves instead of one to start the game
300-399 – f pawn and move, lower rated player has white, remove f7 pawn
400-499 – f pawn and 2 moves, remove f7 pawn, lower has white and makes two moves instead of one to start the game
500-599 – knight, remove b1 knight, higher rated player has white
600-699 – rook, remove a1 rook, higher rated player has white
700-799 – queen, remove d1 queen, higher rated player has white
800-899 – queen and knight, remove b1 knight, remove d1 queen, higher rated player has white
>=900 – queen and rook, remove a1 rook, remove d1 queen, higher rated player has white

Time control: all moves in 60 minutes with a 10 second increment.

Games are not gradeable. Recording is not required.

FIDE laws apply apart from handicap related (i.e. initial position and possible double first moves). In cases 600+ and 900+ white may castle queenside provided the king has not moved, none of c1, d1, e1 are under attack and a1 through d1 are vacant.

This is a knockout competition. Players not completing their matches before the deadline are eliminated. In the case of a draw a rematch with the same handicap is played with 30 minutes for the game with no increment. In the case of 0-99 handicap colour alternates.

Entries to Brian Towers by 28th October, please.

B Team wins the Northumberland Summer Knock Out

Congratulations to the B team players, Dave Patterson, Lewis Self, Stan Johnson, Jay Steel and Michael Allen for winning the summer knock out. The competition is a handicap knock out where weaker teams receive a point start which depends on the the difference in strength between them and the stronger team. Hence with a large strength difference the weaker team can win the match by scoring just one draw.

Here are the results the B team achieved on their way to overall victory with handicap points in brackets.

South Shields B 3.5 (2.5) – 3 (0) Forest Hall A
Dave Patterson (1705) 0 – 1 Tim P Wall (2260)
Lewis Self (1660) 1 – 0 Stuart Skelsey (1893)
Jay Steel (1495) 0 – 1 John (jnr) Wall (1780)
Stanley Johnson (1458) 0 – 1 Rose Wabuti (1705)

Tynemouth 3 (0) – 4.5 (3.5) South Shields B
David Henderson (2118) 1 – 0 Dave Patterson (1705)
Paul AG Dargan (2110) 1 – 0 Jay Steel (1495)
John S Clarke (1780) 0.5 – 0.5 Stanley Johnson (1458)
Simon Matthews (1758) 0.5 – 0.5 Michael EI Allen (1405)

Gosforth B 2.5 (0) – 3 (1.5) South Shields B

Mark McKay (1750) 1 – 0 Dave Patterson (1705)
James McKay (1630) 0 – 1 Jay Steel (1495)
Ian B Chester (1660) 1 – 0 Stanley Johnson (1458)
Luke Fletcher (1458) 0.5 – 0.5 Michael EI Allen (1405)

Gosforth A 3.5 (0) – 4 (3.5) South Shields B

David Armbruster (2132) 1 – 0 Dave Patterson (1705)
Michael J McBeth (1953) 1 – 0 Jay Steel (1495)
Mick D Riding (1960) 1 – 0 Stanley Johnson (1458)
John Liddle (1818) 0.5 – 0.5 Michael EI Allen (1405)

Top scorer for the team and scorer of the crucial draw which won them the final was Michael Allen. Here is his game from the final. It’s worth first noting that one of the chess ideas which may have come from the apocryphal “Soviet School of Chess” is that of “playing for two results”. It basically means making error free chess the priority so as to always keep the possibility of drawing or winning the game.

Michael refined this in this game to “playing for one result”. Perfectly understandable since drawing the game meant winning the match. What was rather more surprising was that his opponent copied him! Michael, feeling perhaps that the game spoke for itself, left it to the post author to add comments.

Northumberland League Fixtures up to Christmas

The Northumberland League is starting up this month. We are running 3 teams this year. Here are the fixtures up to Christmas. Please make a note in your diaries and let your captain know your availability. The full fixture list is available here.

19th October B Team vs Tynemouth B (away)

21st October A Team vs Gosforth (home)

26th October A Team vs Leam Lane (away)

4th November B Team vs Morpeth (home)

10th November A Team vs Morpeth (away)

18th November C Team vs Leam Lane (home)

26th November C Team vs Forest Hall (away)

9th December A Team vs Tynemouth (home)

Club Championships – Entries by 14th October, Please

Could all players who want to enter the 2021-22 South Shields club championships email Brian Towers before 14th October, please? If we have enough entries we will run two separate competitions, an open section for the Stanley Johnson trophy and a rating limited section with a cut-off depending on entries but likely to be in the region of 110 to 120 in old money. If your rating is likely to be below this level then please indicate on your entry if you want to enter the Open.

Hopefully by 14th October the Northumberland Chess Association league fixtures will have been published and we can pick dates for championship rounds. Games will be ECF rated (unless there are major objections) so please also make sure you renew / take out ECF membership at Bronze level or above.

Themed Blitz – 7th October – Lucchini Gambit

Paul put in a request for the Siesta Gambit in the Ruy Lopez but I couldn’t find any decent YouTube videos (which I need otherwise I don’t know what to do in these highly tactical openings). So I’ve gone for something similar in the Italian Game which also involves black sacrificing a pawn with f5. Apparently the engine’s first reaction is that this is a blunder because of the reply Ng5 but this leads to some wild and wooly play.

Anyway, play will start with White to move after the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 f5!. I found two YouTube videos covering this opening, one where White declines the pawn and one where White accepts.

AGM – 30th September

There will be no themed blitz this Thursday as we will be holding our AGM. Please try and get there for 7:30pm. It looks like the Northumberland league will go ahead this year, albeit with teams of 4 instead of 5 and with fewer teams per division, but there is still no word as to what is happening with the Durham league.

Please come along to discus league participation, particularly if you want to play, also if you are interested in having a club championships this year.

Last Thursday’s themed blitz, From’s Gambit, produced a three-way tie for first between Yaroslav Kolodiy, Brian Towers and Bede Porter on 5/7.Ben Wood finished 4th with 4/7 despite having forgotten how the pieces move during the last 18 months! Fortunately it all came back to him after one of the members sat down with him and showed him some of the From’s Gambit lines. Apart from anything else this meant that Ben didn’t fall for the two move mate (1. Nf3 g5 2. h3 Bg3#) which caught out 3 of the 4 white players in round 1. Full results here.

Themed Blitz 23rd September – From’s Gambit Accepted

Congratulations to Paul Bielby who won last week’s Chigorin themed blitz with 6/7. Well done to Anthony Sweeting who finished second with 5/7 and to Michael Allen in third with 4.5/7. Full details here.

Inspired by Michael Allen’s annotated game from the Northumbria Masters tournament where he played Bird’s Opening this week’s theme is what might have been – From’s Gambit Accepted (to avoid Paul playing 2. e4! as white). Play will start with white to move after 1. f4 e5 2. fxe5 d6 3. exd6 Bxd6.

Hard to find instructional videos on this opening but IM Miodrag “The Butcher” Perunovic obliges with a typical bloodthirsty video.

Northumbria Masters

Congratulations to Tim Wall for making the first post Covid other-the-board tournament to be held in the North East the biggest ever NE event with almost 200 players. A tough 9 rounds in four and a half days was ameliorated by the possibility of taking up to 3 byes.

We had three club members playing in this tournament. Paul Bielby played in the Challengers and took two byes to finish on 4.5. Dave Patterson played in the Major and finished in 6th place on 5. Michael Allen was joint winner in the Minor with an excellent 7/9. Well done!

We got Michael, Paul and Dave each gave us one of their games with their thoughts and annotations.