Buckley and Yang win Chester and District Championship

By Sunday several Chester players were in contention to win the league individual championship. In the morning round Colm Buckley beat Dave Bryan and Mike McDonagh won against reigning champion Chris Doran. In the final round Colm and Mike drew, joining Michael Vidler on 3 out of 4. In a tense blitz playoff Mike M quickly won a pawn against Colm but later blundered a piece as time ran short. A tricky manoeuvring game ensued between Colm and Michael V with Colm’s superior time management finally bringing home the win.

In the U130 section Jack Yang seemed on course to clinch the title in his final round game against Mike Whale. However, he ultimately lost his way in a fascinating to watch but extremely difficult to play knight v bishop ending. An Armageddon tie break followed with Jack taking the white pieces and winning on time in a superior position with just a handful of seconds on his clock remaining.

Well done to both the winners and thanks to Tim Soar from Colwyn Bay for organising the event!

Oldest Chester and District League Handbook?

Back in 1968 some of us weren’t even born. However, Graham Bromley was already collecting league handbooks. Could this be the oldest handbook in existence, or do you have an earlier one?

You can see that Chester (then YMCA) was already well-represented in the league grading list.


Lloyd and Doran win prizes in English Rapid Championships

Steve Lloyd and Chris Doran both came second in their sections in the impressive surroundings of the Cunard Building in Liverpool. Steve finished on 7/9, up with the leaders from the start in the Intermediate section. Chris finished on 4/5 in the one-day Sunday Open, conceding just a couple of draws.

In the U12 tournament Jack Yang finished on 3/5.

The two-day Open was particularly strong with over a third of players being titled. Mike McDonagh started creditably with 2/5 but faded on the final day to finish on 3. Chester players seemed to have the wooden spoon in the bag until the critical round 5 match-up pitted Crocker (0/4) against Lee (0.5/4). Accumulation of some points was inevitable with James finishing on 2.5 and gaining some useful open experience. The chess gods smiled more favourably on your reporter with a 5/5 finish.

Dave Robertson attended the opening ceremony and was praised for his accurate memory and attention to detail by the entertaining chess-playing mayor. All-in-all an excellent new tournament which will hopefully be repeated in future years.

The New Season

Now that the new season has finally arrived and the buzz of anticipation at the new [and indeed old] challenges fills the air, let us take a last  look back with fond memories of the season just passed. For last season was one of the most memorable in the long history of Chester Chess Club. In the Chester & District Chess League we lifted all four of the trophies on offer; Chester teams were champions of each of the three divisions and also won the Handicap K.O. Tournament. The Wirral League saw us win divisions 3 and 4 and win the Handicap K.O.  for a healthy haul of honours.
A particular feature of our success was felt to be the “K.O. double” achieved for the first time in the collective memory of the Club. It would be pleasant to be able to echo the tribute paid to the founder of the modern [i.e. post 1919] Chester Chess Club, Bill Turner, in evaluating our approach. Of him it was said [see upcoming History section of the website for further details]: ” Thus this modest gentleman influenced the development of chess by forward looking ideas allied to relentless determination and brisk efficiency”. Maybe we may at least claim a certain determination and briskness in our K.O. matches. For sure we appeared, at times, to lead a charmed life in these two competitions . In the C&DCL K.O. round 2, Rokas Valantinas’ incredible rear-guard action in our match against Wrexham  will live long in the collective memory of those who were there. Rokas had fought back from a dreadful position to secure the winning point in a tense time scramble which took the game just a few seconds short of the 3 hour session. Equally nerve-racking for the assembled players and spectators was the finish of the Wirral Chess League K.O. final: Steve Connor had turned down a draw in what appeared a somewhat dicey position earlier in the match but was left needing a win for Chester to lift the trophy from a position which had rather headed downhill ; miraculously Steve escaped a mating net by running up the board with his king which helped deliver a mating net at the other end. This victory was more leisurely with the best part of a minute left in the session.
It is early days of course but already the C&DCL shows Chester teams not having matters all their own way this season.. they, with us, are surely looking forward to a another year enjoying the struggles of our great game.