Dowling wins the Christmas Blitz

Thanks to everyone who turned up for the Blitz, with special thanks being reserved for David Hulme without whose involvement the tournament could not have been ran.  On the night Dan Dowling won the prestigious title of Chester Chess Club Christmas Blitz Champion after a fine overall performance.  Going into the tense final round there were four players tied for first, including both young Sam Burchett and the slightly older Phil Crocker.  Dan emerged victorious against Sam and John likewise against Phil.

1st = Dan Dowling, John Carleton
3rd  James Lee

Thanks go to Phil McKeown for his kind donation of a bottle of wine as the prize for the winner of the evenings festivities.  There was a good turn out of 24 people which we hope to see again in future years.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Chester and District League Individual Championship 18-19 – Open Section

The League Individual Championship was this year held on the 1st and 2nd Of December at the Town Crier in Chester. This year’s Open Section was appreciably stronger than last years competition, with 6 players entered being rated over 170.

The Open Section Entries were:

Phil Crocker – Chester
Colm Buckley – Chester
David Jameson – Colwyn Bay
Mike McDonagh – Chester
Nathanael Paul – Malpas & Oswestry
Richard Bryant – Malpas & Oswestry
Ray Williams – Chester
Steve Lloyd – Chester
Haydn Parry – Holywell
Dewi Jones – Holywell

Rd 1

Colm Buckley 1/2 Phil Crocker 1/2
Mike McDonagh 1 Dewi Jones 0
Richard Bryant 1 Steve Lloyd 0
Ray Williams 0 Nathanael Paul 1
David Jameson 1 Haydn Parry 0

Rd 2

Nathanael Paul 0 David Jameson 1
Haydn Parry 1 Dewi Jones. 0
Phil Crocker 1 Ray Williams 0
Steve Lloyd 0 Colm Buckley 1
Richard Bryant 0 Mike McDonagh 1

Rd 3

David Jameson 1/2 Mike McDonagh 1/2
Nathanael Paul 0 Phil Crocker 1
Colm Buckley 1/2 Richard Bryant 1/2
Dewi Jones 0 Steve Lloyd 1
Ray Williams 1 Haydn Parry 0

Rd 4

Phil Crocker 1/2 David Jameson 1/2
Mike McDonagh 1/2 Colm Buckley 1/2
Richard Bryant 0 Nathanael Paul 1
Steve Lloyd 1/2 Haydn Parry 1/2
Dewi Jones 0 Ray Williams 1

As has already been noted by Phil in the previous post to this the final round results left 3 players tied for first place.

Final Standings

P. Crocker, D. Jameson, M. McDonagh 3/4
C. Buckley 2.5/4
N. Paul, R. Williams 2/4
R. Bryant, S. Lloyd, H. Parry 1.5/4
D. Jones 0/4

The round-robin blitz play-off for the title was won in convincing fashion by our Club President Phil Crocker and thus he gained the title of Chester and District League Individual Champion for the 2018/2019 season.

Chester Successes in Wrexham Rapid and Chester League Championship

Mike McDonagh came joint second at the Wrexham Rapidplay. He conceded just two draws in reaching 4/5 without getting a chance to play the winner. Jixin and Jack Yang shared the slow starter prize.

Mike nearly added the Chester and District League Championship the following weekend. Unleashing his inner Magnus Carlsen all he needed to do was beat reigning champion Colm Buckley in a microscopically better R+N ending in the final round. Meanwhile on the top board David Jameson and Phil Crocker had already unleashed their inner Carlsens by contriving a move repetition a few moves out of the opening, confident of their chances in the blitz playoff. Ultimately Mike only managed a draw and, perhaps tired from these exertions, blundered into a mate in the final blitz match against your reporter.


Blitzed in Bolton

This weekend saw a series of regional qualifiers to be UK Blitz Champion. Chester were well represented in the Manchester qualifier held in Bolton with 4 of the 34 players.

It would be a lie to say we seriously challenged for one of the two qualifying places. However, notwithstanding the pressures of being designated driver, Colm stormed to a perfect 3/3 start. Despite a slower start Mike overtook the rest of us in the middle of the tournament. Most impressive was Steve who, playing in a fairly tough open field, was well in contention for one of the grading prizes and played well ahead of his rating.

As for your reporter, I had the consolation (?) of a 6 point upfloat in the final 15th round to play runaway winner Joe McPhillips on 13.5/14. Things didn’t end quite so well for him, as trying to defend with rook against rook and pawn he was judged after a little controversy to have placed his rook en prise.

All in all quite a fun tournament, and a good way of getting 15 games in only one day

England Calling

Keith Emerton recently returned from playing in the World Senior Team Championship in Germany. He was selected to play for England 4 in the Over 65 group.

Despite being out-rated in many of his games he nevertheless scored an impressive 50% including three wins!

Here are a few photos of him in action:

With such great results, and the last photo suggesting some serious last minute preparation, we’re sure Keith will be a force to reckon with when he returns to local league service in September…

For more details of the team results there is a report on the ECF website:


10 years of Wallasey Challenge Matches

As has been noted in a prior news post this year was the 10th Anniversary of the D&A Challenge Cup. David Hulme has shared some of his meticulous records of the event with me (Mike) which sustain sufficient interest upon further scrutiny.

Somewhat surprisingly despite being down 5-4 in the series Chester actually lead the series on board count. Of the 217 games played Chester are 3 up leading 110-107. Chester have used 79 different players, Wallasey 52 players, a total of 131 players. Chester having used substantively more players indicative of a strong Junior presence over the series.

Both teams possess only two players that have played in all 10 matches: David Hulme and Ian Clayton for Chester; Leon Wolszczak and Colin Rees for Wallasey. All four players deserve congratulations for their commitment to the match series and for Colin further applause is due for his attainment of the best overall score attained by any player (8/10).  The best score for Chester being attained by Graham Bromley (7.5/9) who  has only missed a single match in 2013.

Additional background provided by David Hulme:

“The idea got off the ground thanks to support of Leon Wolszczak, who sourced and procured the trophy for the initial match.  The first match in 2009 was played over 16 boards with the result decided only by the final game, as was the case in each of the first four years that the event was held.  Although more recent matches have been more decisive in the final count, the highlight for me so far was the 2013 contest which had 60 players involved in another close match.”

German Twins

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Markus Haag (president, right) and Andreas Kuglstatter (tournament organiser, left) from the Brombach chess club in Lörrach in Germany. Lörrach is Chester’s twin town and is situated in the bottom left hand corner of Germany very close to Basel. Their club is of a similar size to Chester’s and also has a significant junior component.

They were visiting Chester assisting a youth exchange programme and are pictured here outside their university accommodation. We discussed exchanging details of the tournaments we each run and maybe playing a match in future.

If you might in principle be interested in travelling to Germany to play a weekend tournament and/ or a match then please let me (Phil) know.