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We are a small friendly club of around twenty members who play chess in the Concert Room of the Great Ayton Working Men's Club. Our club night is Wednesday and operates during the chess season of September through to May. We start from 7pm and end along with last orders in the bar at 11pm. We run 4 teams that play in the Cleveland Chess League. Our goal is for our 'A' team to survive in the 'A' division, the B team to remain in the B division and the C and D teams to have fun in the C division. Consequently with our mixture of playing strengths we welcome new players of any standard to come along and join us.

Latest News

Read all about it...get your Ayton chess news here

14th Dec - Top Of The Tree

Last night the A team secured a memorable 3-2 win against the mighty Boro Rooks. The win elevates the A team to the top of the tree alongside our opponents who have played an extra match. I had a fascinating encounter against the smartly attired Chris Duggan who had obviously come straight from work in collar and tie. However, he was outshone by the outfit worn by the CCA President, Ron Stather, who came from an event in York wearing a bow tie. With poor Mike Hardman having to get brushed aside by the excellent Nick Tavoularis the tables were turned when A team captain, Kegan Harrison, zugzwanged Robert Harding into defeat and the maestro, Suresh Keswani, just back from his long drive through the snow all the way from the south of France, put our former colleague, Peter Ridsdale, looking a shadow of his former self, to the sword. This left B team captain, Peter Archer, filling in on bottom board as couple of our top stars were unavailable for selection, and me on board 2 having to acquire the necessary point between us in order to get over the winning line against the two overdressed Middlesbrough players. This was duly achieved in the form of two draws. Peter's game was somewhat more straightforwardly a clear draw whereas my game was exceedingly complicated. At one stage I was about 30 minutes ahead on the clock but my position was slightly worse with an undeveloped queenside. However, my knight sacrifice was followed on move 27 by a Bishop move making its' first foray into the game that netted my opponents queen for a rook. However, the tables were soon turned when a neat knight move ensured that either my rook, queen and king or a combination thereof were about to be forked. Forced to give up the exchange and with my king being checked into the middle of the board I found a great resource that, with both clocks running out of time, enabled me to obtain a perpetual and so we won the match.
Meanwhile, alongside the epic clash between the C and D sides saw the C team runaway comfortable 3½-½ winners causing them to be top of the table in the C division. Despite the D team having a squad of 7 players to choose from only 3 players turned up giving the C team a point start. Gracefully Mike Hardy opted to stand down and the other 3 players move up a board since it should of been top board where the default occurred given the absence of D team captain Phil Semp. This means that in the 5 clashes between the two internal teams on three occasions we have been unable to field a full complement of players! Clearly this is a worrying statistic that needs to be addressed when squad allocation takes place in the off season. The defeat for the D team keeps them firmly near the wrong end of the table and they are in danger of winning the wooden spoon. By the time we cleared everything away the bell for last orders had already been rung and so for the first time in living memory I left the chess club completely sober but happy all the same.

13th Dec - Return Of The Odour

This is neither a reference to the new Star Wars film nor is it an unkind reference to body odours of our visitors this evening, the Boro Rooks, but a warning that the hideous smell in the Concert Room has returned. This would be an ideal opportunity for any Muslim chess players to wear the burqa in a wise attempt to prevent the vile smell effecting their performance over the board. Hopefully the Rapid Response team are on the case this afternoon and are able to stifle the disgusting aroma. It transpires that the Working Men's Club is built on shale and a pipe running underneath the Concert Room has cracked. This has the unfortunate combination of human excrement being mixed with shale gas causing a revolting smell to permeate throughout the room. If the fracking protesters need proof of shale gas harming the environment then we have the perfect example under our feet this evening. The cleaners have issued a can of deodorant that maybe used to gain temporary relief and if the smell remains intolerable it is possible that we could move all the equipment, painstakingly already set up by our Head of Equipment Director this morning, to the Lounge and/or Committee Room. Apologies to our opponents for the smell which is beyond the control of the chess club but we are taking steps to remedy the situation by tonight.

12th Dec - All Set For Big Clash

Hard to believe but the A team are actually in action tomorrow evening for the first time since the end of October. However, the most eagerly anticipated event is the big clash between the C and D teams. Last year the D team managed to do the double against the C team and so it will be no walk in the park for the high flying C team. To date there have been a total of 4 previous encounters with the D team ahead with 2 wins a draw and a loss. It should be an enthralling evening where our star players expect to replicate the excitement of the London classic of last evening when Fabio Caruana won the final blitz game to secure the first prize of $75,000 dollars. No such money on offer tomorrow night except the pride of being top dog amongst your peers. Brave the snow and come along for a great night.

9th Dec - Ukulele Magic

After devouring a slow cooked beef brisket washed down with a glass of Shiraz our Head of Equipment Director bid a good evening to his wife and two boys and headed off down to the Royal Oak last night to witness the magical ukulele playing of the Great Ayton Ukes. It was a pleasure to see the Christmas concert performed by the group heavily influenced by the spectacular lead ukulele skills of my friend Richard. Surely a world tour must now be in the pipeline? The group that contained some of my neighbours, featuring Paul the policeman and Michele from Canada along with Carter's cousin Dave, all ended up in the bar to watch the headline act, the Dicemen, perform an excellent set of popular covers. It was here that I sank 7 pints of Timothy Taylors Landlord in the company of the gorgeous Sharon and Tracey along with friends David and Dianne, Glen (of Redcar races fame) and his wife Stephanie, Conors' brother Steve, the pretty sextet of Suzanne, Sharon T, Catherine, Clare, Angela and Melanie (the club legends daughter), plus former neighbours Marty and Maria, the wonderful Melanie from across the road out on her crutches following a knee operation, music aficionado Carl and the world's most expensive joiner Gary Bibby. It was a great night with the place jumping that encapsulates vibrant village life. It was a much needed form of release at the end of the working week for the ever busy Head of Equipment Director.

8th Dec - Table Claimed

As most of our readers are aware the job of the Head of Equipment Director is full on 24/7. Today, for example, he loaded up his car with the gifted antique chess table and transported it to the home of the club legend, Alan Jefferson, in Stokesley. After Kegan, wearing his auctioneers hat, had indicated that he was unlikely to sell the table for anywhere near its' reserve price of £2 million in a Tennants sale, it was decided that Alan could be the beneficiary of the gifted table with the in-built chessboard. I am sure that it will be well utilized for either playing chess or as a coffee table. In Alan's case it will most likely be used for resting his pint glass on it. Alan has indicated that the Air Ambulance charity will profit from a donation as a token payment from him for this delightful object.

8th Dec - Classic London

In order to keep ahead of our competitors it is vital that we continue our relentless progress and with this in mind we sent our club lecturer, Kegan Harrison, down to London to follow the chess classic event, featuring the top players in the world, to catch up with the latest action in chess theory. Hopefully he will digest the action and translate the thinking behind the moves into simple language for the rest of the squad to benefit from when he delivers his highly entertaining summer lectures. This is an excellent example of the dedication by Kegan to the cause of benefitting the future of Atyon chess in that the preparation is undertaken in the winter months some six months in advance.

7th Dec - Bees Start To Climb Up Table

Last night we had more supporters watching the B team continue their relentless climb up the table than players actually playing. A list comprising of Kegan Harrison, Mike Hardy, Gordon Dickinson, Connor Wilson, Andrew French and club legend Alan Jefferson joined me to witness the quickest match in B team history as the Bees recorded a 3-2 victory over Thornaby B team. It was all done and dusted by 8.30pm as US import, Jim Rogers, recorded his first ever smothered checkmate in a league game with victory over this website's number one fan Nick Tadd. Jim's win made the score 2-0 as captain Peter Archer had won his game by default as the unfortunate Chis Carabine phoned during proceedings to explain that his car had broken down outside Wigan. The match was secured with two draws from the top two boards that saw Mike Pointon and Nick Hall both playing the same opening. Mike was too conservative in his match with Ray Honeybourne and Nick, who was playing his first match since April, messed up the move order against the injured CCA Chairman Brian Whitaker, so was content to keep his unbeaten record in tact that ensured the points belonged to the B team. Finally, in what must be another first, Gordon Middlemiss was the last to finish losing in a game where he unnecessarily went astray against Bill March but still ended exceptionally early. This early finish enabled a contingent to spend the evening perpetuating the drinking culture myth surrounding the club as we staggered home after last orders.

5th Dec - Whip Round

Several seasons back our A team captain, Kegan Harrison, won the prestigious U145 trophy for the Cleveland Individual, a prize that would grace any mantelpiece. Kegan took the trophy to be engraved and even got the name of the previous winner of event, Brian Ellis, added with the year that Brian won the competition. At the same time also he took a couple of trophies that his daughter had won for her show jumping exploits. Recently he enquired as to whether the CCA would reimburse him for the chess related engraving portion of the bill as at the time of collecting his prize he had been informed that the CCA would pay for the engraving but they never did anything about it. Normally most organizations would simply cough up the monies out of the petty cash tin and the matter be concluded. Alas, this was not be the case with the CCA who actually got together to discuss the matter and despite concluding that they should pay Kegan, correctly overriding the policy of being informed in advance of any procurement expenses, decided that they needed a VAT receipt as proof of payment even though the trophy has physically been inscribed with the names of Brian and Kegan. As we all know that banks are becoming increasingly vigilant in the area of money laundering and the fact that the CCA adopts such an equally rigorous approach to finance is admirable. Unbelievably Kegan has not kept a copy of the VAT receipt from several years ago and as a result is unable to fulfil the CCA request to provide the paper evidence trail and as a consequence has had to withdraw his request. Since Kegan is out of pocket to the tune of £7.95 (yes, we are talking the extravagant sum of seven pounds and ninety five pence) I have proposed that our club picks up the tab by having a whip-round. Our treasurer has calculated that it would cost each player 40 pence to cover the massive expense. The worrying underlying message behind this latest CCA fiasco is the fact that a once money rich outfit, that squandered the funds by giving its' members a windfall enabling people like our Head of Equipment Director to gamble and drink it all away at the races, is using an accounting regulatory procedure as an excuse as it appears unable to meet a simple request for less than eight quid. I have put this request to our club president who, upon hearing the case for the whip-round, said 'I was not a member of the club when Kegan won the trophy so do not think you will be getting 40 pence from me'.

4th Dec - Ticket Numbers

Having managed to sell additional Christmas Draw tickets to Connor last night I am well on my way of flogging £50 worth. Given the fantastic deal agreed between our treasurer and the treasurer of the GAWMC that ensures that we get free use of the rooms to play chess all year round it is only fitting that as a club we partake in the annual prize draw that this year will see almost £2K going to the specialist Alzheimers day care centre based in Stokesley. Each player is allocated ten tickets costing ten pence each and a total of 24,000 have been printed. Starting with Peter Archer having tickets 7701 to 7710, followed by Andy Corbyn on 7711 to 7720 and going alphabetically through the list outlined in the Club Player's Statistics section ending with Howard Whitehead having 7881 to 7890 and Connor having 7891 to 7900. This means that £20 will be taken from the club funds and handed to the GAWMC sports secretary. The draw takes place on Thursday 21st December and a list of winning tickets with associated prize will be placed upon the noticeboard the following day. The top prize is £500 and there are usually at least 50 other prizes from meat vouchers, spirits and hampers. Good luck.

3rd Dec - Monitoring Units

As a club we pride ourselves in the meticulous preparations that are undertaken prior to playing a match. With our beleaguered Head of Research Director under investigation for incidents involving phone harassment texts and indecent images allegedly found on the computer used to type this, we decided to monitor the number of alcoholic units consumed in the run up to the next A team match as the executive are worried that excessive abuse may effect his performance. Last week there was a total of 45 units consumed for beer only, as we are unsure how much he consumed of a bottle of Prosecco he shared when watching Strictly Come Dancing with his wife last night. We contacted former club president (and now Middlesbrough superstar), Peter Ridsdale, for his views on this worrying statistic. Peter stipulated that the reason he left our club was because of what he called the 'excessive drinking culture'. Since he left he has become a changed player as his weight has decreased to the extent that he has dropped several dress sizes. We believe that this number of units maybe above the recommended weekly limit imposed by the club and that the blame for this lies solely with the CCA for not providing sufficient fixtures for the A team thus forcing the player to seek solace in a pint glass. A spokesman for the club said that a proposal to reduce the number of nominated A team players down from 4 to 3 is the minimum action to be undertaken in order to resolve this terrible situation.

2nd Dec - On Target

The first round cup draw for the Tom Wise Knockout Cup was kind for both our top two teams. The A team are expected to host Boro Rooks on Wednesday 10th January whilst the B team have to travel to the seaside to take on Redcar B. Our B team have already lost in the league to a strong Redcar B team and the Boro Rooks are the next visitors to play our A team and will be favourites. This means that we are on target to lose both cup encounters enabling us to concentrate on retaining the prestigious Jeremy Burnett Plate.

2nd Dec - Julio's First Go

Last Monday morning following breakfast with Elisabeth and Linda I ended up in the Golden Lion pub having a couple of pints with the two John's as the four badminton ladies went shopping in York. At the end of the working week, yesterday evening, I found myself worse for wear clambering out of a minibus back from attending a Sportmans dinner at Chilton in county Durham. The occasion was as a guest courtesy of an engineering company based in Bowburn that I have no idea what they are called. I went with my mate Mark and his son Robbie and we collected Nathan en route in Middlesbrough before picking up John and Ben from Billingham. We were treated to a soup starter followed by the first festive dinner of the season which was only slightly spoiled by serving it with cheese dauphinoise potatoes. However, I managed to wash everything down with a gallon of free Guinness as we were entertained by ex-Sunderland and Boro player Julio Arca making his first stab at being a speaker on the circuit. This was followed by the comedian Kevin Connolly who specializes in impersonating football characters. Overall it was an enjoyable evening, although marred by a few morons constantly chatting whilst the acts were on stage, that provided me with a welcome distraction from the chess scene as I still wait for the third match of the season.

30th Nov - Mixed Fortunes

It was a case of mixed fortunes for our teams in action last night with a win for the C team and a loss for the D team. Firstly, thanks to the quartet of Kegan, Connor, Mike Hardy and club legend Alan Jefferson for joining me too support the teams. That line-up alone would make a great team except that as nominated player I would not be allowed to participate. It is ironic that at the end of November the genius known as Gordon Middlemiss has already completed 9 games. This is a total that I am unable to reach being restricted to a meagre 8 matches all season in the A division. Also on 9 games already is US import Jim Rogers and not far behind on 8 are captains Peter Archer and Alan Reed. It was another enjoyable evening with a few interesting encounters. The C team were always well in control of their match against the Buffs B team. Fortunately Gordon Middlemiss waited until I arrived to enable me to witness his emphatic win with a wonderful checkmate against his hapless opponent Derek Simpson. However, it was rival Sean Cassidy that managed to win the game of the evening against Jim. Although behind on material Jim set up a plethora of traps that Sean cleverly managed to avoid and eventually Jim blundered to defeat. In the other match, an early loss by Stephen Gatenby was followed by a couple of draws by B and D team captains Archer and Semp. This left the undefeated club president, Andrew French, with the task of salvaging a point against young master Harry Wilson. Andrew had previously defeated the Darlington C team board 1 Peter McKay last week when representing our B team so it should have been a formality playing a 13 years old boy. Needless to say, Andrew messed up and recorded his first ever defeat for the club he proudly heads. Thus, the C team moved into second place in the C division table whilst the D team slumped to second bottom. The next match sees the two teams play each other and the D team will hope to repeat the feat of last season by doing the double over the more fancied C team.

28th Nov - Double Action

Tomorrow night we have double the action with visitors from Darlington C team and admirers of the Royal East Kent Regiment aka the Buffs B team. Unfortunately there is still no action for nominated players of our A team. However, on this occasion it is probably no bad thing given the amount of real ale I consumed with my fellow Badminton players over the weekend. There cannot be many wives who appear happy waving their husbands off in the car when picked up by two women but in the case of Samantha she clearly was delighted. Normally you would expect Badminton players to be athletes treating their bodies like a temple. This does not appear to be the case with the clique that celebrated the birthday of John, the husband of my regular playing partner Bronwyn, in the pubs of York. When my driver Linda started on the first cocktail of the day at 11.15 in the morning sat by the river in the Pitcher and Piano pub I knew my liver was going to be under attack. I managed to persuade the group to consume some excellent real ales at the Blue Bell before dining in the evening and ending up watching a lookalike Seasick Steve blues act in another packed pub. Obviously what goes on tour stays on tour so I am unable to provide any details of action that occurred back at the hotel suffice to say I am looking forward to the next excuse for a trip away.

21st Nov - Text Trouble

The Head of Research Director appears to be in hot water again! It has been alleged that prior to club legend, Alan Jefferson, appearing on Countdown our Hear of Research Director apparently sent him a text saying that he would be more than willing to give the pretty hostess Rachel Riley one. If this proves to be true then despite the event occurring months ago he could face a one match ban. However, allies rushing to his defence have insisted that the rest of the offending text went on state that it was merely a maths question for Rachel Riley to solve from a specified set of six numbers. As we await the outcome of the impending investigation we can inform you that tomorrow evening our B team face a tough fixture against B division runaway leaders, Darlington B. However, there will be no chess activity at our club on Wednesday evening.

19th Nov - Antique Chess Table

The club has been donated an antique chess table from the daughter of the late Peter Bell who was a member of the Working Men's Club and a keen chess player. In fact, Peter was on the verge of joining our club but his terminal illness prevented him making his debut. He used to play many moons ago, recalling a time he won a game when playing for Stokesley away at the posh ICI club in Norton. He did pop in to watch the odd game when we frequented the Committee Room and was a delightful character with typical Geordie wit. Any squad member can have the table so long as they make a charitable donation. Otherwise, we will get Kegan to auction it at Tennants hopefully to raise a similar fee to the recent sale of the Leonardo Da Vinci painting. It is currently being stored in the chess cupboard. Please see of Head of Equipment Director if you wish to acquire the table with the board in-laid within.

16th Nov - Hat Trick Complete

With the games coming thick and fast our B, C and D teams coped more than admirably by securing a hat trick of victories. The club tradition of a team playing and winning on their 100th encounter was continued by the B team with an easy cup victory against a suspiciously weakened Thornaby side. No offence to our number one fan but eyebrows were raised when their line-up featured Nick Tadd as a replacement for David Wise. It was as if they had made a conscience decision to forfeit winning the Tom Wise Cup and instead concentrate on attempting to take the prestigious Jeremy Burnett Plate off us. It will be interesting to see if the same line-up features in the latter stages of the plate event. Having said that our Head of Research Director expects that we will adopt a similar losing strategy in the first round proper so that we can engineer to have both our cup teams attempting to keep the trophy in the cabinet. Meanwhile, with the C team riding high following their win against Darlington C it was left to the D team to obtain their first win of the season which they duly delivered last night. I was at our club last evening with Kegan, club legend Alan Jefferson, club President Andrew French and US import Jim Rogers that involved several pints as we analysed recently played games. Later we were joined by Stephen Gatenby and Conor Wilson who turned up after featuring in the victorious match away at Billingham to show us their games. Three of the four games were draws with Conor gaining the decisive point with a win against Walter Greenwood. At the start of the season our club managed a solitary win and six defeats. The next seven matches saw the club win five and draw two. We are on a roll. Bring it on, except you have to wait another month for some action if you are a nominated A team player.

14th Nov - High Flying C Team

The C team temporarily flew to the top of the C division with a comprehensive whitewash over Darlington C last night. It was an excellent win for Alan Reed's tight knit squad that has seen the C team on a roll as they are unbeaten in their last 3 matches. A couple of the players are also expected to be engaged in tonight's preliminary cup round against Thornaby when the B team play their one hundredth match. There is plenty of action unless you are a nominated A team player.

13th Nov - Three On The Trot

With still another month until the A team are in action our club continues to concentrate on having matches for teams outside the A division. The C team play tonight away at Darlington, the B team play the preliminary round in the cup tomorrow night away at Thornaby and on Wednesday our D team are in action away at Billingham. A busy week for the club unless you are a nominated A team player.

12th Nov - Festival A Hit

When I climbed out of the taxi yesterday evening I did not expect to drop my commemorative beer glass onto the road which smashed to pieces nor that my wife would send me back outside with a dustpan and brush. However, it was evidence of a great day at the Saltburn Beer Festival that continues to be more popular each year. The day started when me, uncle Pete up from Derby for the weekend, computer Dave and his son John along with Simon and his son Josh sat down for cod and chips at the excellent Seaview Restaurant. This was vital preparation for the afternoon onslaught of fine real ales. I know that our number one fan, Thornaby B team captain Nick Tadd, takes a keen interest at the beers that I consume during each festival. For the record I tried Crazy Horse, Manta Ray, Papa Junior, Paradigm Shift, Regather Pale, Scarlett, Space Hopper and Trafalgar. Also in attendance was my lawyer Andrew, my fellow Badminton players Bronwyn, John and a very drunk Karen who found the Roadkill (ABV 6.5%) far too strong but drank plenty of it anyway. There were an extra two special guests David and Jim who had moved down from Dumfries to Redcar when ICI Wilton started along with my grandfather. They had been 6 years old along with uncle Pete and all went to school together and had lost touch in their early twenties. The reunion after some 40 years apart was a big success and several of us continued drinking in the Victoria pub when we got kicked out of the beer festival. It was here we were joined by the lovely Debbie and Kay who plied me with some excellent Strongarm Ale. I thought I was in but then discovered that they were both married, to each other! Disappointing as they both looked quite attractive and not your usual stereotypical todger dodger. Still, it was a fun day with new friendships formed and old ones renewed.

Click here for old news.


The club officials are:

PresidentAndrew French 
Vice PresidentPeter Ridsdale 
Hon. Life VP Peter Archer 
SecretaryPhil Semp 
TreasurerMartin McLoughlin 
Club Captain:Peter Archer 
Captain 'A' TeamKegan Harrison 
Captain 'B' TeamPeter Archer 
Captain 'C' TeamAlan Reed 
Captain 'D' TeamPhil Semp 
WebmasterMartin McLoughlin 
Junior Development Gordon Dickinson 
Club Statistician Martin McLoughlin 
Legal Officer Richard Hall 
Club Historian Martin McLoughlin 
European Club Scout Suresh Keswani 
Publicity Officer Martin McLoughlin 
Australasia Club Scout Martin Carter 
Chess Psychologist Martin McLoughlin 
Medical Officer Norman Cole 
Head of Equipment Martin McLoughlin 
LGBT Officer Phil Semp 
Editor In Chief Martin McLoughlin 
Chess TutorKegan Harrison 
Auditor Martin McLoughlin 
Club LibrarianMike Hardman 
Head of Recruitment Martin McLoughlin 
North America Club Scout Jim Rogers 
Head of Research Martin McLoughlin 
Club Poet Peter Archer 

Squad Gradings

The ECF gradings for club members eligible to play in the league this season are as follows:

  Name Grade MedalCode 
Peter Archer118Bronze105801A 
Norman Cole96none179606K 
Andy Corbyn155Gold158145E 
Gordon Dickinson102Bronze148343C 
Andrew Frenchu/gBronze0000000 
Stephen Gatenby70Bronze306971A 
Nick Hall151Bronze308466J 
Richard Hall184Gold125039F  
Mike Hardman177Bronze112087G 
Mike Hardy80Bronze179814F 
Kegan Harrison144Bronze269588B 
Alan Jefferson52none285975A 
Suresh Keswani144Gold127515L 
Martin McLoughlin155Silver274327K 
Gordon Middlemiss118Bronze146823G 
Mike Pointon139Bronze308468B 
Alan Reed103Bronze269872K 
Jim Rogers113Bronze136160A 
Phil Semp104Bronze118701G 
Howard Whitehead62Bronze303007G 
Conor Wilson79Bronze223070H 
Nominated Player Lists  

A Team

1.Richard Hall 
2.Mike Hardman 
3.Andy Corbyn 
4.Martin McLoughlin 

B Team

1.Nick Hall 
2.Kegan Harrison 
3.Suresh Keswani 
4.Mike Pointon 

C Team Squad

1.Gordon Middlemiss 
2.Jim Rogers 
3.Alan Reed 
4.Gordon Dickinson 
5.Norman Cole 
6.Mike Hardy 

D Team Squad

1.Peter Archer 
2.Phil Semp 
3.Kevin Wilson 
4.Stephen Gatenby 
5.Alan Jefferson 
6.Howard Whitehead 
7.Andrew French 

Club Players' Statistics

This table shows the performance of each club player during current season #8

  Home   Away  
Peter Archer91300324
Norman Cole0000000000
Andy Corbyn1001000000
Gordon Dickinson51111103
Andrew French61113003
Stephen Gatenby50030011½½
Nick Hall1010½0000½
Richard Hall2001000100
Mike Hardman2011½0000½
Mike Hardy3011½1001
Kegan Harrison4101110112
Alan Jefferson3002000100
Suresh Keswani1100100001
Martin McLoughlin3110010½2
Gordon Middlemiss11322430137
Michael Pointon50210010
Alan Reed8301330136
Jim Rogers112223230
Phil Semp5120202013
Howard Whitehead0000000000
Kevin Wilson5021110112

The table below highlights the cumulative performance of every club member since the club commenced.
Latest update:27th May 2017

  Home   Away  
  NamePWDLPtsWDLPtsTotal_Value %_WhiteMaxBlackMax 
Peter Archer120172024271818232754(45)33½6420½56
Norman Cole364810829314½(40)17619
Andy Corbyn213636342511(52)156
Gordon Dickinson761018111911151118½37½(49)194218½34
Stephen Gatenby131041314(27)815
Nick Hall11320442059(82)4556
Richard Hall2472189231018(75)12½177
Mike Hardman107930162412251524½48½(45)20½452862
Mike Hardy304084531010½(35)10820
Kegan Harrison661471117½1213918½36(55)21321534
Alan Jefferson4631166218710½(23)25321
Suresh Keswani73147817½1971822½40½(55)24½431630
Martin McLoughlin1171724182919172227½54½(48)31½662551
Gordon Middlemiss60991013½116151427½(47)16321228
Mike Pointon9320422037(78)54
Alan Reed9013132419½19111024½44(49)20412449
Jim Rogers24714444613½(56)14610
Phil Semp61415711½719916½28(46)16½3411½27
Howard Whitehead141061133(25)4210
Kevin Wilson32431230103(26)16516
Ex-Squad Members
Mike Botterill (RIP)12422530138(66)2468
Martin Carter3100100201(33)1201
Tom Hall1000000100(0)0100
Dave McCabe3001000200(0)0201
James Morley82121021(44)126
Bob Porritt4103100001(25)1202
Ian Richardson (RIP)9712171920½1614192343½(45)22½452152
Joe Richardson (RIP)9014½1122(23)1712
Peter Ridsdale701391217½9171017½35(50)15312039
Carl Shuttleworth27447614739(33)513414
Graham Shuttleworth1000010011(100)1100
Phillip Whittingham7102120223(42)1225
Players in
red played season #1
purple seasons #1 to #3
orange played season #4
turquoise played #1-2-4
pink seasons #1 to #5
green seasons #1 to #6
salmon season #6
violet season #7
A team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Mike Pointon22002100
Nick Hall11001100
Richard Hall2416441875
Suresh Keswani562510213053
Andy Corbyn21610511½52
Kegan Harrison3913131319½50
Peter Ridsdale652024213249
Martin McLoughlin10531353948½46
Peter Archer692218293145
Mike Hardman10721553148½45
James Morley621341
Carl Shuttleworth265813934
Kevin Wilson3102133
Gordon Middlemiss821531
Ian Richardson1223729
Phil Semp4022125
Gordon Dickinson2011½25
Alan Jefferson5104120
Alan Reed400400
Tom Hall100100
Mike Hardy100100
Jim Rogers100100
Mike Botterill100100
Martin Carter100100
B team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Mike Hardy22002100
Howard Whitehead11001100
Graham Shuttleworth11001100
Martin McLoughlin12561866
Mike Pointon3120266
Kegan Harrison28147717½63
Mike Botterill5302360
Peter Ridsdale5221360
Suresh Keswani1675459
Jim Rogers1253454
Phil Semp41923920½50
Martin Carter2101150
James Morley2101150
Gordon Dickinson4412191321½49
Gordon Middlemiss34128141647
Alan Reed531716202547
Ian Richardson652020253046
Peter Archer491318182245
Phil Whittingham7304343
Norman Cole18387739
Joe Richardson912623
Alan Jefferson19211613
Kevin Wilson12111013
Dave McCabe300300
Carl Shuttleworth100100
C team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Suresh Keswani11001100
Mike Botterill6420583
Nick Hall10640880
Gordon Middlemiss1767456
Gordon Dickinson1447353
Jim Rogers11524654
Alan Jefferson8404450
Norman Cole12363650
Alan Reed229451150
Ian Richardson8323450
Phil Semp13265538
Mike Hardy25631630
Howard Whitehead6024117
Stephen Gatenby200200
Bob Porritt100100
D team performances onlyPWDLPts%
Mike Pointon4220375
Alan Reed1163268
Gordon Dickinson11542764
Ian Richardson12363650
Phil Semp303050
Stephen Gatenby1141641
Kevin Wilson175210635
Bob Porritt3102133
Howard Whitehead711521
Norman Cole5023120
Alan Jefferson152211320
Games defaulted 51
points gained 23½ and
points conceded 27½

The overall record of the teams after 7 seasons is as shown:

A team: Played = 115, Won = 37, Drawn = 21, Lost = 57, For = 273½, Against = 301½

B team: Played = 096, Won = 35, Drawn = 06, Lost = 55, For = 220½, Against = 259½

C team: Played = 040, Won = 15, Drawn = 07, Lost = 18, For = 075½, Against = 085½

D team: Played = 026, Won = 06, Drawn = 08, Lost = 12, For = 045, Against = 059

A Team Scores The number of matches played after 7 seasons = 115. The breakdown of match scores is as highlighted in the table below (Great Ayton scores shown first):
5-0 Whitewashed4½-½ Spanking4-1 Hammering3½-1½Thrashing3-2 Destroyed 2½-2½ Steady Draw2-3 Unlucky Loss1½-3½ Unfortunate1-4 Not At Races½-4½ Embarrassing0-5 An Off Day

B Team Scores The number of matches played after 7 seasons = 96. The breakdown of match scores is as highlighted in the table below (Great Ayton scores shown first):
5-0 Whitewashed4½-½ Spanking4-1 Hammering3½-1½Thrashing3-2 Destroyed 2½-2½ Steady Draw2-3 Unlucky Loss1½-3½ Unfortunate1-4 Not At Races½-4½ Embarrassing0-5 An Off Day

C Team Scores The number of matches played after 3 seasons = 40. The breakdown of match scores is as highlighted in the table below (Great Ayton scores shown first): (One 2½-2½ draw and one 0-5 in cup)
4-0 Slaughter3½-1½Drubbing3-1 Whopped 2½-1½ Easy2-2 Steady Draw1½-2½ Hard Luck1-3 Not Good½-3½ Tragic0-4 Shocking

D Team Scores The number of matches played after 2 seasons = 12. The breakdown of match scores is as highlighted in the table below (Great Ayton scores shown first):
4-0 Slaughter3½-1½Drubbing3-1 Whopped 2½-1½ Easy2-2 Steady Draw1½-2½ Hard Luck1-3 Not Good½-3½ Tragic0-4 Shocking

Team Fixtures

The following fixtures have been arranged for the current season: Dates marked in red indicate a re-arranged match date from original list.

A team  
Oct 18thAyton A_v_Thornaby A___LOSS (1½-3½) 
Oct 30thDarlington A_v_Ayton A___WIN (2-3) 
Dec 13thAyton A_v_Boro Rooks___WIN (3-2) 
Jan 24thRedcar A_v_Ayton A 
Feb 6thThornaby A_v_Ayton A 
Mar 7thAyton A_v_Darlington A 
Apr 23rdBoro Rooks_v_Ayton A 
May 9thAyton A_v_Redcar A 
B team 
Oct 11thAyton B_v_Redcar B___LOSS (1½-3½) 
Oct 26thThe Buffs A_v_Ayton B___LOSS (4½-½) 
Nov 8thAyton B_v_Synthonia A___WIN (4½-½) 
Nov 22ndDarlington B_v_Ayton B___DRAW (2½-2½) 
Dec 6thAyton B_v_Thornaby B___WIN (3-2) 
Jan 3rdAyton B_v_Hartlepool A 
Jan 15thBoro Knights_v_Ayton B 
Jan 31stRedcar B_v_Ayton B 
Feb 14thAyton B_v_The Buffs A 
Feb 26thSynthonia A_v_Ayton B 
Mar 14thAyton B_v_Darlington B 
Mar 27thThornaby B_v_Ayton B 
Apr 16thHartlepool A_v_Ayton B 
May 1stAyton B_v_Boro Knights 
C team 
Oct 4thAyton C _v_ Boro Bishops ___LOSS (1-3) 
Oct 18thRedcar C _v_ Ayton C___WIN (½-3½) 
Nov 1stAyton C _v_ Synthonia B___DRAW (2-2) 
Nov 13thDarlington C _v_ Ayton C___WIN (0-4) 
Nov 29thAyton C _v_ The Buffs B___WIN (2½-1½) 
Dec 13thAyton C _v_ Ayton D___WIN (3½-½) 
Jan 8thHartlepool B _v_ Ayton C 
Jan 22ndBoro Bishops _v_ Ayton C 
Feb 7thAyton C _v_ Redcar C 
Feb 21stSynthonia B _v_ Ayton C 
Mar 7thAyton C _v_ Darlington C 
Mar 22ndThe Buffs B _v_ Ayton C 
Apr 11thAyton D _v_ Ayton C 
Apr 23rdAyton C _v_ Hartlepool B 
D team 
Oct 4thAyton D _v_ Hartlepool B ___LOSS (1-3)  
Oct 16thBoro Bishops _v_ Ayton D___LOSS (3-1) 
Nov 1stAyton D _v_ Redcar C___DRAW (2-2) 
Nov 15thSynthonia B _v_ Ayton D___WIN (1½-2½) 
Nov 29thAyton D _v_ Darlington C___LOSS (1-3) 
Dec 13thAyton C _v_ Ayton D___LOSS(3½½) 
Jan 10thAyton D _v_ The Buffs B 
Jan 22ndHartlepool B _v_ Ayton D 
Feb 7thAyton D _v_ Boro Bishops 
Feb 21stRedcar C _v_ Ayton D 
Mar 7thAyton D _v_ Synthonia B 
Mar 19thDarlington C _v_ Ayton D 
Apr 11thAyton D _v_ Ayton C 
Apr 26thThe Buffs B _v_ Ayton D 
Preliminary Round. 
Nov 14thThornaby _v_ Ayton B___WIN (1½-3½)  
First Round. 
Ayton A v Boro Rooks 
Redcar B v Ayton B 

Match Results

The match results are as follows:

Board  Ayton C   v  Ayton D  Result  Date:13th Dec 2017   
1  G Middlemiss (118)   v   K Wilson (79)  ½-½   
2  J Rogers (113)   v   S Gatenby (70)   1-0   
3  G Dickinson (102)   v   A Jefferson (52)  1-0   
4  M Hardy (80)   v   default  1-0   
Board  Ayton A   v  Boro Rooks  Result  Date:13th Dec 2017   
1  M Hardman (177)   v   N Tavoularis (206)  0-1   
2  M McLoughlin (155)   v   C Duggan (179)  ½-½   
3  K Harrison (144)   v   R Harding (164)  1-0   
4  S Keswani (144)   v   P Ridsdale (136)  1-0   
5  P Archer (118)   v   R Stather (135)  ½-½   
        3-2   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton B   v   Thornaby B  Result  Date:6th Dec 2017   
1  N Hall (151)   v   B Whitaker (127)  ½-½   
2  M Pointon (139)   v   R Honeybourne (127)  ½-½   
3  P Archer (118)   v   default  1-0   
4  G Middlemiss (118)   v   B March (109)  0-1   
5  J Rogers (113)   v   N Tadd (62)   1-0   
        3-2   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton D   v   Darlington C  Result  Date:29th Nov 2017   
1  P Archer (118)   v   P McKay (120)  ½-½   
2  P Semp (104)   v   P Shaw (106)  ½-½   
3  S Gatenby (70)   v   R Gilpin (107)  0-1   
4  A French (u/g)   v   H Wilson (97)  0-1   
        1-3   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton C   v   The Buffs B  Result  Date:29th Nov 2017   
1  J Rogers (113)   v   S Cassidy (119)  0-1   
2  G Middlemiss (118)   v   D Simpson (107)  1-0   
3  A Reed (103)   v   A Stockley (101)  1-0   
4  G Dickinson (102)   v   J Littlehailes (100)  ½-½   
        2½-1½   (WIN)   
Board  Darlington B   v  Ayton B  Result  Date:22nd Nov 2017   
1  S Ormerod (156)   v   K Harrison (144)  1-0   
2  R Donner (137)   v   P Archer (118)  ½-½   
3  G Hewitt (130)   v   J Rogers (113)  ½-½   
4  C Stephens (124)   v   P Semp (104)  ½-½   
5  P McKay (120)   v   A French (u/g)  0-1   
        2½-2½   (DRAW)   
Board  Billingham Synthonia B   v  Ayton D  Result  Date:15th Nov 2017   
1  B Callaghan (91)   v   P Archer (118)  ½-½   
2  G Edwards (83)   v   P Semp (104)  ½-½   
3  W Greenwood (78)   v   K Wilson (79)  0-1   
4  S McLaughlin (u/g)   v   S Gatenby (70)  ½-½   
        1½-2½   (WIN)   
Board  Thornaby A   v   Ayton B  Result  Date:14th Nov 2017 (Cup)   
1  M Creaney (129)   v   P Archer (118)  1-0   
2  B Whitaker (127)   v   J Rogers (113)  0-1   
3  B March (109)   v   A Reed (103)  0-1   
4  G Howsden (104)   v   G Dickinson (102)  ½-½   
5  N Tadd (62)   v   A French (u/g)  0-1   
        1½-3½   (WIN)   
Board  Darlington C   v  Ayton C  Result  Date:13th Nov 2017   
1  C Stephens (124)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  0-1   
2  R Gilpin (107)   v   J Rogers (113)  0-1   
3  P Shaw (106)   v   A Reed (103)  0-1   
4  S Nair (u/g)   v   M Hardy (80)  0-1   
        0-4   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton B   v  Billingham Synthonia A  Result  Date:8th Nov 2017   
1  M Pointon (139)   v   P Weightman (122)  ½-½   
2  P Archer (118)   v   B Callaghan (91)  1-0   
3  G Middlemiss (118)   v   V Skillcorn (91)  1-0   
4  P Semp (104)   v   D Frank (98)  1-0   
5  A Reed (103)   v   K Harrison (u/g)  1-0   
        4½-½   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton D   v  Redcar C  Result  Date:1st Nov 2017   
1  P Archer (118)   v   M McLoughlin (snr) (95)  ½-½   
2  P Semp (104)   v   J Cowle (94)   ½-½   
3  K Wilson (79)   v   T Liborik (83)   ½-½   
4  A French (u/g)   v   S Barry (85)   ½-½   
        2-2   (DRAW)   
Board  Ayton C   v  Billingham Synthonia B  Result  Date:1st Nov 2017   
1  J Rogers (113)   v   V Skillcorn (91)  0-1   
2  G Middlemiss (118)   v   G Edwards (83)  1-0   
3  A Reed (103)   v   W Greenwood (78)  1-0   
4  M Hardy (80)   v   K Harrison (u/g)  0-1   
        2-2   (DRAW)   
Board  Darlington A   v   Ayton A  Result  Date:30th Oct 2017   
1  S Dauber (179)   v   R Hall (184)  1-0   
2  M Evans (163)   v   M McLoughlin (155)   ½-½   
3  J Sams (162)   v   K Harrison (144)  0-1   
4  R Harris (129)   v   P Archer (118)  ½-½   
5  G Hewitt (130)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  0-1   
        2-3   (WIN)   
Board  The Buffs A   v   Ayton B  Result  Date:26th Oct 2017   
1  J Garnett (176)   v   M Pointon (139)  1-0   
2  A Killick (156)   v   P Archer (118)  1-0   
3  N Webb (146)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  1-0   
4  S Cassidy (119)   v   J Rogers (113)   ½-½   
5  M Baldea (113)   v   A Reed (103)  1-0   
        4½-½   (LOSS)   
Board  Redcar C   v   Ayton C  Result  Date:18th Oct 2017   
1  G Walsh (118)   v   J Rogers (113)  ½-½   
2  I Kitchen (109)   v   G Middlemiss (118)  0-1   
3  M McLoughlin (snr) (95)   v   G Dickinson (102)  0-1   
4  J Cowle (94)   v   A Reed (103)  0-1   
        ½-3½   (WIN)   
Board  Ayton A   v   Thornaby A  Result  Date:18th Oct 2017   
1  R Hall (184)   v   P Douglass (165)  0-1   
2  M Hardman (177)   v   F Batchelor (162)   ½-½   
3  A Corbyn (155)   v   M Creaney (129)  0-1   
4  M McLoughlin (155)   v   B Whitaker (127)  1-0   
5  M Pointon (139)   v   C Carabine (123)  0-1   
        1½-3½   (LOSS)    
Board  Boro Bishops   v   Ayton D  Result  Date:16th Oct 2017   
1  D Appleyard (122)   v   K Wilson (79)  1-0   
2  R Pallister (124)   v   S Gatenby (70)  1-0   
3  M Gouda (115)   v   A Jefferson (52)  1-0   
4  I Mahmood (90)   v   A French (u/g)  0-1   
        3-1   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton B   v   Redcar B  Result  Date:11th Oct 2017   
1  K Harrison (144)   v   M Jackman (161)  0-1   
2  M Pointon (139)   v   S MacCormack (153)  ½-½   
3  G Middlemiss (118)   v   B Myers (146)  ½-½   
4  J Rogers (113)   v   J Gentle (134)  ½-½   
5  A Reed (103)   v   R Parker (119)  0-1   
        1½-3½   (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton D   v   Hartlepool B  Result  Date:4th Oct 2017   
1  K Wilson (79)   v   P Harker (136)  0-1   
2  S Gatenby (70)   v   G Matthews (125)  0-1   
3  A Jefferson (52)   v   K Waterman (115)  0-1   
4  A French (u/g)   v   M Priest (88)  1-0   
        1-3  (LOSS)   
Board  Ayton C   v   Boro Bishops  Result  Date:4th Oct 2017    
1  J Rogers (113)   v   D Appleyard (122)  ½-½    
2  G Middlemiss (118)   v   N Bhandari (122)  0-1   
3  G Dickinson (102)   v   M Gouda (115)  0-1   
4  M Hardy (80)   v   G Murphy (114)  ½-½   
        1-3  (LOSS)   

Glocky's Pieces

Welcome to this unique corner on the web featuring the views of our webmaster.

This picture shows a possible venue for future annual general meetings of the CCA:

Corner Cafe

Glocky's Progress

This section features the sequence of results of our most successful individual player to date, Martin McLoughlin, winner of the Major Section in the 51st Hull Chess Congress.
The colour code used indicates the board number as shown for the A team, pink board 1, red board 2, blue board 3, green board 4, orange board 5.
Similarly for the B team. purple board 1

Season ONE   0_1_0_0_1_1_0_1_0_½_1_½_0_½____(6½/14)   
Season TWO   ½_0_½_½_1_1_½_½_½_½_0_0_1_1____(7½/14)   
Season THREE   ½_½_1_½_0_1_1_0_½_0_0_0_1_0_½_½_0____(7/15)   
Season FOUR   0_½_½_1_1_0_½_½_0_0_0_½_1____(5/13)   
Season FIVE   ½_1_1_1_½_½_1_0_½_0_½_0_1_1_0_½_½_½_½_½_½_0_0_1_0____(12½/25)   
Season SIX   1_0_0_0_0_½_½_1_1_1_0_0_½_½_0____(6/15)   
Season SEVEN   1_½_1_0_0_½_1_1_1_1_½_1_0_½_1_½_0_0_1____(11½/19)   
Season EIGHT   1_½_½_   

Archive Results

Click here for season #7.

Click here for season #6.

Click here for season #5.

Click here for season #4.

Click here for season #3.

Click here for season #2.

Click here for season #1.


The chess club was formed from the remnants of Stokesley Chess Club.They used to play upstairs in a dimly lit function room of the Queens Head pub in Stokesley. However, rumours of the possibility of having to pay a room rental in order to play matches coupled with there being no guarantee that they could complete a whole season in the same venue prompted the change. In his capacity as club treasurer at Great Ayton Working Men's Club, Martin McLoughlin persuaded the Committee to allow use of the Committee Room free of charge.
Subsequently the players decided to pick up their chess sets and change their club premises and hence their club name. Thus, Great Ayton Chess Club was founded at the end of September 2010.
Overall in the first season there was mixed fortunes for the two teams as the 'A' team managed to avoid relegation by a single point but the Knights were comprehensively relegated from the B division. Here are a series of firsts....
The first team kicked off their inaugural campaign on October 6th in their excellent new premises with a 5-0 drubbing by the league champions Peterlee.
The first player to lose was Peter Ridsdale who ironically went on to become the season's best performer in terms of points won. He played 16 matches and notched up 10½ points.
The first player to record a half point draw was Ian Richardson for the Knights in their defeat against Hartlepool.
The first player to actually win a game was also Ian Richardson in the 'A' team's debut away win against Middlesbrough Rooks.
The first player to win a game on home soil was Martin McLoughlin in the 'A' team's first drawn match against Thornaby Griffin.
The first (and only) victory in the inaugural season for the Knights was away against Redcar B.
The first player to win a game for the Knights was Alan Reed away at Whitby.
The first time the Knights were relegated was at the end of the first season.
The first season concluded with the chess club hosting the AGM for the Cleveland Chess Association, held in the Concert Room on Tuesday 5th July 2011. A total of 27 members attended the event (17% of the registered membership - but still managed to eat all of the free buffet!!).
The first end of season chess dinner took place at the Y'Thai restaurant in Stokesley. Five players and their spouses had an enjoyable meal where the topic of chess was hardly mentioned. The conversation centred round what on earth had possessed Samantha to marry Martin McLoughlin as he sat there with his forehead dripping in sweat from a very hot curry!
The first club AGM took place on September 7th 2011. It comprised of Phil Semp as acting chairman. It appointed Martin McLoughlin as treasurer and also featured Peter Ridsdale, Ian Richardson, Alan Reed and Gordon Dickinson.
The first release of the website was launched on October 3rd 2011 just in time for the start of our second season. Many thanks to computer wizard Dave Hendry for helping Martin McLoughlin to set up the site.
The first ever appearance in a cup final was at the end of season #3 where a team comprising of Mike Hardman, Martin McLoughlin, Peter Ridsdale, Suresh Keswani and Peter Archer (capt) lost 3-2 against Middlesbrough Rooks in the Tom Wise Knockout Cup on 27th May 2013 at Middlesbrough Rugby Football and Cricket Club, Acklam.
The first time the A team was relegated was at the end of season #3 but re-instated before the start of season #4. The Knights were christened the B team in conjunction with the creation of the C team at the start of season #5.
The first C team match played out a 2-2 draw in their away encounter against Middlesbrough Bishops at the start of season #5.
The first player to win a game for the C team was Alan Reed against Middlesbrough Bishops
The first player to represent all A, B and C teams was Ian Richardson.
The first C team player to win a game at our home venue was Alan Jefferson in their 3-1 defeat by Darlington E.
The first ever trophy win was the Jeremy Burnett Plate which the A team achieved on May 19th 2015 against Thornaby A at the Thornaby Pavillon. The winning team (that drew the match but won on the 3 blacks rule) comprised of Mike Hardman, Martin McLoughlin, Kegan Harrison, Peter Ridsdale and captain Peter Archer.
The first D team match was at the start of season #6 with an away match 2½-1½ victory against Darlington E.
The first player to record a win for the D team was Gordon Dickinson against C Lishman of Darlington E.
The first ever encounter between two Great Ayton teams took place on 25th November 2015 an saw the D team draw against the C team. The first player to inflict a defeat on a fellow squad member was Mike Botterill with his victory over Kevin Wilson.
The first ever former Great Ayton player to defeat a Great Ayton B team player was Peter Ridsdale on 30th November 2015 with his win over Ian Richardson that saw Boro Knights thrash us 5-0.
The first ever former Great Ayton player to defeat a Great Ayton A team player was Peter Ridsdale on 6th January 2016 with his win over Peter Archer that saw Boro Rooks triumph by 3-2 against our A team.
The first ever encounter between the A and B teams occurred on 24th February 2016 in the semi-final of the Jeremy Burnett Plate. The A team ran out comfortable 4½-½ winners in the end after a sterling performance from the B team.
The first ever player to play on board 1, board 2, board 3, board 4 and board 5 in a season was Martin McLoughlin who completed this unique feat in season #6 by playing in the A team.
The first player to reach the milestone of 100 appearances for the chess club was Martin McLoughlin who achieved the historic feat on 19th October 2016 having contributed 46½ points. This comprised of playing 88 times for the A team and a dozen times on top board for the B team.
The first player to accumulate a half century of points was Martin McLoughlin who recorded this superb contribution on January 10th 2017.
The first player to play 100 games for the A team was Mike Hardman who reached the milestone on 1st Feb 2017 amassing a total of 46½ points.
The first time the A team won a trophy outright was in season #7 on May 24th 2017 when they defeated Boro Knights 3½-1½ at our venue winning the Jeremy Burnett Plate with a team comprising of Mike Hardman, Andy Corbyn, Martin McLoughlin, captain Kegan Harrison and Mike Pointon.
The first player to win using the new digital clocks was Martin McLoughlin in his straightforward no nonsense victory over the CCA Chairman, Brian Whitaker of Thornaby A team on 18th October 2017, recording the 24 move win with 1 hour and 13 minutes left on his clock and Brian with 1 hour and 9 minutes.
The first player to amass 50 points for the A team was Martin McLoughlin who achieved this extraordinary feat on 30th October 2017 at Darlington. The A team had played 117 matches and accrued a total of 278 points of which the excellent contribution applied.

Outstanding Individual Performances

There have been several outstanding individual performances by squad members throughout the Club's history.
The first player to win joint first place in a Minor (under 135) was Peter Ridsdale who was graded 133 when scoring 4/5 at the 48th Northumbria Chess Congress in September 2012.
The first player to win joint first place in a Major (under 166) was Martin McLoughlin who was graded 148 when scoring 4/5 at the 51st Hull Chess Congress in October 2014.
The first player to be selected to represent England (Seniors) at international level was Richard Hall who played for England in a competition over in Vienna in July 2015.

Club Honours

The following lists the achievements of our chess club by each season.

Season #1. Nothing Season #2. Nothing Season #3. Cup final runners-up: Lost 3-2 to Middlesbrough Rooks. Season #4. Cup final runners-up: Lost 3½-1½ to Darlington A. Season #5. Plate final winners: Drew 2½-2½ with Thornaby A (won on 3 blacks rule) Prize: Jeremy Burnett Plate Season #6. Plate final runners-up: Lost 3½-1½ to Middlesbrough Rooks. Season #7. Plate final winners: Won 3½-1½ against Middlesbrough Knights. Prize: Jeremy Burnett Plate

Each season the top five performing players, based on their individual points scored throughout the season, are listed in the prestigious Team Of The Season. In the event of a tie the player who regularly plays on a higher board comes first.

Team Of The Season.
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
1. Jim Rogers - 13½ points 1. Gordon Middlemiss - 13 points1. Martin McLoughlin - 12½ points1. Peter Archer - 8½ points1. Peter Ridsdale - 8 points1. Ian Richardson - 8½ points1. Peter Ridsdale - 10½ points
2. Kegan Harrison - 12½2. Ian Richardson - 122. Kegan Harrison - 12½ 2. Peter Ridsdale - 6½2. Mike Hardman - 72. Martin McLoughlin - 7½2. Mike Hardman - 7½
3. Martin McLoughlin - 11½3. Suresh Keswani - 11½3. Alan Reed - 11½ 3. Mike Hardman - 63. Martin McLoughlin - 73. Gordon Dickinson - 73. Suresh Keswani - 7
4. Nick Hall - 94. Kegan Harrison - 114. Peter Archer - 10½4. Martin McLoughlin - 5½4. Peter Archer - 74. Mike Hardman - 64. Martin McLoughlin - 6½
5. Peter Archer - 85. Peter Archer - 115. Ian Richardson - 9½5. Phil Semp - 5½5. Ian Richardson - 65. Peter Archer - 65. Ian Richardson - 4½

Club Presidents

The following players have been honoured as Club President:

Season #1, Joe Richardson
Season #2, Alan Jefferson
Season #3, Dave Richardson (Teesside Hungarians) - admin error
Season #4, Carl Shuttleworth
Season #5, Norman Cole
Season #6, Peter Ridsdale
Season #7, Martin Carter
Season #8, Andrew French

Team Captains

The following players have been team captains

A Team, Peter Archer Seasons #1-5, Kegan Harrison Season #6-8,
B Team, Phil Semp Seasons #1-5, Peter Archer Season #6-8,
C Team, Alan Reed Season #5, Phil Semp Season #6, Alan Reed Season #7-8
D Team, Alan Reed Season #6, Phil Semp Season #7-8

Player's Debut

The following shows when each squad player wore the team shirt for the first time

01. Mike Hardman v C Walton (A team at home v Peterlee) 6/10/2010 - Loss
02. Carl Shuttleworth v J Simpson (A team at home v Peterlee) 6/10/2010 - Loss
03. Martin McLoughlin v D Armbruster (A team at home v Peterlee) 6/10/2010 - Loss
04. Peter Ridsdale v S Carter (A team at home v Peterlee) 6/10/2010 - Loss
05. Peter Archer v C Smith (A team at home v Petelee) 6/10/2010 - Loss
06. Ian Richardson v K Smith (B team away v Hartlepool) 13/10/2010 - Draw
07. Joe Richardson v B Price (B team away v Hartlepool) 13/10/2010 - Draw
08. Phil Whittingham v B Wilson (B team away v Hartlepool) 13/10/2010 - Loss
09. Alan Reed v D Smith (B team away v Hartlepool) 13/10/2010 - Loss
10. Alan Jefferson v E Glass (B team away v Hartlepool) 13/10/2010 - Loss
11. Suresh Keswani v J Heeley (A team at home v Thornaby Griffin) 3/11/2010 - Loss
12. Phil Semp v A Lau (B team at home v Redcar A) 10/11/2010 - Loss
13. Gordon Dickinson v B Robinson (B team at home v Redcar A) 10/11/2010 - Draw
14. James Morley v M Evans (B team at home v Darlington B) 15/12/2010 - Loss
15. Graham Shuttleworth v J Suscens (B team away v Redcar B) 2/2/2011 - Win
16. Kevin Wilson v M Kirkpatrick (B team away v Middlesbrough Bishops) 17/11/2011 - Loss
17. Norman Cole v G Botwright (B team away v Teesside Hungarians) 3/10/2012 - Draw
18. Dave McCabe v A Fell (B team at home v Darlington C) 16/10/2013 - Loss
19. Richard Hall v A Corbyn (A team at home v Guisborough A) 6/11/2013 - Loss
20. Kegan Harrison v B Myers (A team away v Redcar A) 15/10/2014 - Win
21. Gordon Middlemiss v R Donner (B team away v Darlington C) 22/10/2014 - Draw
22. Mike Hardy v R Kuby (C team away v Middlesbrough Bishops) 27/10/2014 - Loss
23. Andy Corbyn v S MacCormack (A team at home v Westgarth),14/10/2015 - Win
24. Mike Botterill v S Hewapathiran (C team at home v Middlesbrough Bishops) 14/10/2015 - Win
25. Martin Carter v D Dixon (B team away v Darlington C) 21/10/2015 - Loss
26. Howard Whitehead v C Lishman (C team away v Darlington E) 9/11/2015 - Loss
27. Mike Pointon v G Botwright (B team at home v Middlesbrough Knights) 12/10/2016 - Win
28. Nick Hall v A Fell (C team away v Darlington D) 31/10/2016 - Win
29. Stephen Gatenby v N Tadd (D team at home v Thornaby B) 2/11/2016 - Loss
30. Jim Rogers v M McLoughlin (Snr) (C team at home v Redcar C) 7/11/2016 - Win
31. Bob Porritt v H Wilson (D team at home v Darlington D) 21/12/2016 - Loss
32. Tom Hall v M Hardy (A team away v B team in Plate) 1/2/2017 - Loss
33. Andrew French v M Priest (D team at home v Hartlepool B) 4/10/2017 - Win

Annual Dinner Venues

The following restaurants have hosted the chess club dinner (number of attendees in brackets)

Season #1, Y'Thai, Stokesley (10)
Season #2, Bay Horse, Great Broughton (13)
Season #3, Blackwell Ox, Carlton-in-Cleveland (14)
Season #4, Whinstone View, Great Ayton (13)
Season #5, Treebridge, Nunthorpe Village (19)
Season #6, Royal Oak, Great Ayton (28)
Season #7, Shirovi Indian, Guisborough (19)

Best Games


This section features the best games of Carl Shuttleworth that he played during the first season. Unfortunately Carl did not manage to win a single match so there are no games to display.


This season we decided to highlight the best games of our new signing Kevin Wilson. His sole victory was against a young boy, S Hewapathiran of Middlesbrough Bishops. Unfortunately Kevin has mislaid his scoresheet so we are unable to display his memorable win.


It has been a longstanding tradition that whenever the club appoints a new club President the best game by the new incumbent is featured in this section. Allen Jefferson was installed in this prestigious post in the summer of 2012 when last seen propping up the bar in the White Swan in Stokesley. Unfortunately there is no best game to display as not only did our new President win a match he never even played a single game throughout the entire season. In fact he did not make a single appearance to our chess club as he preferred to work off shore near Nigeria instead. Subsequently, it was decided to draw a name out of the hat and display the best game of the lucky recipient. Kevin Wilson was the lucky player chosen but unfortunately Kevin never managed to win a single game out of his four losing appearances.


In an attempt not to be bereft of displaying an actual game the judging panel comprising of the club treasurer and webmaster decided not to conform to the longstanding tradition of featuring the games of a new club President. It decided to bypass the new incumbent, Carl Shuttleworth, as the panel were aware that he never made a single appearance during the season. Instead the agreement was to encourage new talent to shine and feature the best game of any new club player. In this case Dave McCabe was selected as the only new blood to join the squad but unfortunately he failed to win a single point. To add insult to injury he decided to quit playing for the club mid-season. In a hastily convened committee meeting the judging panel unanimously agreed the former club President be given the opportunity to feature his best game. We regret to announce that despite featuring in six matches Alan Jefferson never managed to win a game and so there are no matches to display.


In light of previous efforts that resulted in no best game being shown the judging panel was trebled in size in a valiant attempt to display the best game by one of our players throughout the campaign. It was increased to comprise of the club historian, club statistician, publicity officer, Head of Equipment director as well as the original members of club treasurer and webmaster. In an extraordinary committee meeting they spent hours pouring over the plethora of options available to them. It was a very heated debate that eventually ended with the treasurer using his casting vote to insist that the constitutional ruling regarding the longstanding tradition of featuring the games of the new club president was to be adhered too. In this case the best game of club president, Norman Cole, played during the season #5 campaign was to be displayed. It is with bitter regret that the judging committee has to announce that there is no game to be shown as poor Norman never won a single game during his tenure as club president. In the aftermath the club historian and Head of Equipment director have stood down from the judging panel.


With the judging panel in disarray following the defection of several members an early decision was made at the start of season #6 that would be adhered too regardless. It was that the best game would be selected from our new overseas star, Martin Carter from New Zealand. I believe that we are the only team in the league that features a player from another continent and so it was with special interest that we followed his progress in his first season with our squad. Fortunately out of the 3 games he played for us he did manage a single victory against Alan Stockley. Unfortunately Martin is now travelling in a camper van around Australia and we are unable to contact him. Consequently we regret that without his scoresheet we are unable to display this fine victory.


Angered by the complete ineptness of the judging panel to ever come up with displaying the best game of a squad player throughout the season the Head of Recruitment Director scrapped the panel and requested that Head of Research Director take matters in hand. Consequently the Head of Research Director appointed the chess club psychologist to undertake the selection process with a specific remit of concentrating on the home form of a sub-group of players that have served the club so well since the club was formed in 2010. Alarmed at the fact that the Head of Research Director had left matters to the club psychologist he was overheard in a heated discussion to have said 'what are you doing leaving it to that useless git?' However, he was reassured that the select contingent of Phil Semp, Mike Hardman, Gordon Dickinson and club legend Alan Jefferson would not disappoint and, furthermore, it was about time that the club psychologist actually did something useful. Imagine the horror that ensued when it was discovered that for some inexplicable reason the club secretary and LGBT officer, Phil Semp, failed to win a single game all season. Undeterred the games of the second name upon the list, Mike Hardman, were reviewed and panic started to set in as all Mike's home games either turned out to be draws or defeats. The next name on the list, Gordon Dickinson, also revealed that he had been unable to win a match on home soil and suddenly everything hinged on the club legend, Alan Jefferson, to deliver the goods. Needless to say Alan never won a home game although he insisted that he was actually in the building when he won his game against newcomer Bob Porritt in the cup fixture between our A and C teams. Unfortunately this did not count within the remit issued by the Head of Research Director as technically Alan was playing for the away team. In a last gasp attempt attention was switched to the former ruling of featuring the best game of a new signing. Fortunately Bob had won a game in the clash between our C and D teams by recording a remarkable victory over Mike Hardy. It is with bitter regret that Bob threw away his scoresheet and Mike refused to hand his copy over, as a consequence we are unable to display the best game. Subsequently the club psychologist has gone on the sick with depression.

The Opposition

This section lists the clubs that feature in the Cleveland League.
The tables associated with each club indicate how our teams have fared on our travels. Results shown in blue are the A team league matches. Results shown in purple are the A team cup matches. Results shown in red are the B team league matches. Results shown in turquoise are the B team cup matches. Results shown in orange are the C team league matches. Results shown in pink are the D team league matches.

Billingham Synthonia

Address: Billingham Synthonia Club, Belasis Avenue, Billingham.
Distance from our club: 15 miles Journey time 25 minutes

Club night is WEDNESDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS23 1BG

Billingham gradings

Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
2½-1½ win,draw5-0 win 5-0 win5-0 win4-1 win3-2 win4-1 winno games


Address: Cockerton Band and Musical Institute Club, Woodlands Road, Cockerton, Darlington
Distance from our club: 25 miles Journey time 40 minutes

Club night is MONDAY for teams A,D and E and WEDNESDAY for teams B and C

Click on postcode to view map DL3 9AB

Darlington gradings

Against Darlington A
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
4-1 loss 3-2 loss ,draw4-1 loss3-2 win3½-1½ loss,3½-1½ loss4-1 lossdraw3-2 loss

Against Darlington B
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
4-1 loss3½-1½ loss4-1 win3-2 loss3-2 lossno games4-1 loss

Against Darlington C
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ loss3½-1½ loss3½-1½ win3-2 lossno gamesno gamesno games

Against Darlington D
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
2½-1½ loss 3-1 win3½-½ lossdraw no gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno games

Against Darlington E
Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-1 loss ,2½-1½ win3-1 lossno gamesno gamesno gamesno games


Address: Athenaeum Club, Church Street, Hartlepool
Distance from our club: 23 miles Journey time 34 minutes

Club night is MONDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS24 7DH

Hartlepool gradings

Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-2 win 3-2 loss3½-1½ win3-2 lossno gamesno games4-1 loss4-1 loss


Address: Middlesbrough Conservative Club, 21 Orchard Road, Linthorpe
Distance from our club: 8 miles Journey time 15 minutes

Club night is MONDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS5 5PN

Middlesbrough gradings

Against Boro Rooks
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
4½-½ loss,3-2 windraw3½-1½ loss5-0 loss4½-½ loss,3-2 loss3-2 loss3½-1½ win

Against Boro Knights
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ loss5-0 loss4½-½ win,3½-1½ loss4-1 lossdraw,3-2 loss3-2 loss4-1 loss

Against Boro Bishops
Season #7 Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-2 win3-1 loss3½-½ lossdrawno gamesno games3-2 lossno games

Against Boro Wasps
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
2½-1½ loss 4-0 lossno gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno gamesno games


Address: The Literary Institute, Lord Street, Redcar
Distance from our club: 14 miles Journey time 25 minutes

Club night is WEDNESDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS10 3EN

Redcar gradings

Against Redcar A
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ loss4½-½ loss3-2 loss4-1 loss3-2 loss3½-1½ win5-0 loss

Against Redcar B
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
draw3½-1½ win3½-1½ loss4½-½ win,3-2 lossno gamesno games4½-½ win,4½-½ win

Against Redcar C
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
2½-1½ loss2½-1½ loss4-0 win3½-½ winno gamesno gamesno gamesno games

The Buffs

Address: Buffs Social Club, 60 Norton Road, Stockton, TS18 2BX
Distance from our club: 13 miles Journey time 25 minutes

Club night is THURSDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS18 2BX

Stockton gradings

Against Stockton A
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
4½-½ win3½-1½ win3-2 win, drawdraw3-2 loss3½-1½ loss,drawdraw

Against Stockton B
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-1 loss 2½-1½ loss4-1 windraw4-1 win3½-1½ win3½-1½ lossno games

Against Stockton C
Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
no games3-1 winno gamesno games4-1 winno games


Address: Wrightson House, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees TS17 9EW
Distance from our club: 10 miles Journey time 17 minutes

Club night is TUESDAY

Click on postcode to view map TS17 9EW

Thornaby gradings

Against Thornaby A
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3-2 loss5-0 lossdraw4½-½ loss3-2 win,4½-½ loss3½-1½ lossno games4-1 win

Against Thornaby B
Season #7Season #6Season #5Season #4Season #3Season #2Season #1
3½-1½ win2½-1½ loss 3-1 win2½-1½ lossno gamesno gamesno gamesno games


In order to join Great Ayton Chess Club you must become a member of Great Ayton Workingmen's Club (GAWMC). The GAWMC Committee have deemed that the chess club can use the premises free of charge providing each chess player becomes a member of the Workingmen's club. The cost is £10 per year (subscriptions to be renewed every January) or £3 if you are classified as a pensioner. There is a one-off £3 joining fee for the red pass book that allows entry into the club. This GAWMC subscription fee is soon recouped by taking advantage of the cheap beer prices and benefit of the other entertainment on offer, such as playing bingo or watching live bands.
Thanks to the GAWMC we not only get use of the Concert Room for free to host our matches we get a £60 donation in order to pay for 4 teams to be entered in the Cleveland Chess League. The registration fees are £3 for each player for the season. At the start of season #8 when the annual donation came into force we had 21 players registered. Thus, an additional £3 was to be paid out of existing club funds.
Finally, the ECF requires that each player must be registered with the national organisation. The minimum form of membership is classified as a bronze member. Payment via the internet costs £15 or £16 via the telephone. Silver membership costs £22.50 and is suitable for those players wishing to regularly participate in weekend congresses. Gold membership of £33 is for players residing overseas (e.g Suresh Keswani) or playing at international level representing England (e.g Richard Hall). It is the responsibility of each individual squad player to pay their own level of membership prior to the start of our chess season in October.


Here are some exciting chess photographs!!!!

Click on each thumbnail image in turn to display the respective full-sized photograph:

These young fans are enthusiastic chess players and are welcome to join our chess club without having to pay the annual subscription.

Captain's Log

This section features the divine wisdom of our captain.

Captain's log for season #8

3 1/2 vs 1/2, (C beat D)
With the unfortunate last minute withdrawal of team captain Phil Semp, the matches required rearranging
C team gained their first point after 5 minutes (the time taken to decide who would stand down) with the unanimous decision to drop Vice Captain Mike
It took a good hour for Gordon Dickinson to take advantage of a blunder by Alan Jefferson and raise C team’s score to 2 points, thus guaranteeing a draw. Then the heavy duty stuff started.
Jim Rogers and Stephen Gatenby were circling round each other, with all pieces still on the board. Gordon Middlemiss and Kevin Wilson were creating more of a blood bath on board 1, and eventually Gordon became a piece behind, at which point he started to pay attention.
Swap after swap followed, with Gordon wriggling madly to avoid defeat, until both players had a rook left, no pawns, with Kevin also sporting a knight. “I’ll offer you a draw” said Gordon “Let me think about it” responded Kevin. But Gordon was having none of it “This is the last time I’ll offer you a draw and if you don’t accept I’ll play on and win” said the struggler. A draw was agreed at which point Gordon expressed a huge sigh of relief and declared he had enjoyed the game much more than if he had won. Well done to Kevin for his strong play, leading to a draw after two hours
Board 2 was still in play. Stephen had put up a very solid response to Jim’s thoughtful and cunning technique, but eventually Jim pushed a pawn to queen one move before Stephen could do the same – and 10 minutes later we had the result.
So well done, C team, and get well soon, Phil,

Great Ayton A v Middlesbrough Rooks

Today was my last day at work prior to Christmas and the New Year, so looking forward to a well deserved long break I arrived in good spirits at the GAWMC and for the first time experienced the drain pong as described at length by our studious Head of Drain Management; fortunately it was not as bad as it clearly had been earlier. The match was to be played alongside the highly anticipated CvD team clash in the C Division, reports of which are to be found elsewhere and after a little delay the match began.

Mike Hardman (Black, Board 1) was as ever paired with Mighty Nick Tavoularis, sadly I didn't witness much of this game but it seems Black lost a pawn and shortly thereafter the game (0-1).

My game (Black, Board 3) was against Robert Harding the former Hungarian and our game began in a manner reminiscent of Carlsen's Exchange Slav against Nepomniachtchi but ended up as Fritz has now informed me as a Queens Indian (!) the opening of choice of the new silicon chess phenomenon Alpha Zero. After some early manoeuvring Whites position became rather difficult with his Bishop pair locked in behind Blacks pawn chains and although his Rooks controlled the only open file the entry squares were all covered. With White struggling to find anything constructive to do Black was able to force open the h file, triple his heavy pieces and deliver the coupe de grace (1-1).

Since the Grand Chess Tour has now concluded with the London Chess Classic International Superstar Suresh (White, Board 4) was freed from his normal role as Magnus Carlsen's second and able to return to his spiritual home at the Great Ayton Working Mens Club. Needless to say he chose an off beat opening (no doubt to conceal any analysis he had done with the World Champion) against former GACC President Peter Ridsdale which contained some interesting tactics. When I return White had a clear advantage in a QRB6 v QRB4 ending; after much toing and froing White found the best course of action and a back rank check lead to the Black Bishop being pinned against his King and with all the White pieces piling up against it the Bishops was returned to the box and the now exposed King was chased to resignation (2-1).

And so to the extraordinary goings on in Positional Maestro McLoughlins (White, Board 2) game with highly rated Chris Duggan. Many things have already been written about how the man who put the 'Great' into Great Ayton performs on the board (and if one reads the various accounts on this site in other places too) but this effort will be long remembered. When I first looked at the game the position was fairly tight but the White King was a little loose. Black established a horrible pin on the Rook to the King with the Queen which would have left many a player quaking in their boots; but not our man. Unbelievably up on the clock and with his totally undeveloped Queenside on the brink of collapse White lost a Knight ... or did he ... a clever discovered attack left the Black Queen somewhat embarrassed and with no squares to retreat to was lost. This left a bizarre material imbalance of QRBN6 v 2R2NB7 ... after this all manner of mayhem ensued and with who knows what going on when Draw was agreed (2.5-1.5).

So this left Captain Marvel (Black, Board 5) against CCA President Ron Stather who was curiously and inexplicably wearing a bow tie and what appeared to be Superman socks; an unusual combination that I will be checking tomorrow morning with my daughter to find out if this is actually fashionable. In the game the later middlegame had a very blocked position with White having the space advantage, the Black Rooks controlling the only open file and Black had a very bad Bishop. Exchanges simplified matters and the resulting QB ending was clearly drawn ... but White pressed on ... pressed too hard and allowed a Black Pawn to promote ... and with 28 seconds left a Draw was agreed (3-2).

So a remarkable win! Outgraded on 4 of the 5 boards and with 3 Blacks this is an surprising achievement. Middlesbrough were as ever excellent guests but due to the late finish of the games the social side was rather curtailed and Martin and I slipped and slided our way home across the ice.

Mr President had hoped to be with us tonight but unfortunately relations with his neighbour the hairdresser Mr Kim have deteriorated. The latest events started when Mr President averred that Mr Kim 'was a short fat gnome', taken aback Mr Kim retorted that Mr President 'looked like an accident with a tin of Ronseal Woodstain with a Weetabix stuck on top'; a counter-retort then followed that 'gnomes should sit on mushrooms not the other way round' and the counter-retort was parried with 'a half-man half-breakfast cereal should keep his mouth shut if he didn't want it filled with a bunch of fives'. As the diplomatic exchanges continue we will keep you informed and we hope that Mr President will be available for the next match in the New Year.

Tonight’s music began with DDT's Periferiya and concluded with Arvo Part's Spiegel im Spiegel.

Goodnight, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Great Ayton B vs Thornaby B on Wednesday 6th December
The Concert Room was sumptuously decorated for the festive season, and with all the boards set up by the tireless Equipment Director, it was a very welcoming sight.  After a slow start to the season, the Bees have started to create a buzz recently, and we were looking forward to moving up the table.  Unfortunately, my opponent was held up with work/traffic and never turned up, giving us a 1-0 start. MikeH, Alan, GordonD, Andrew, Kevin, Kegan and Martin all turned up to cheer the team on, and it was not long before Jim pulled off a brilliancy on bottom board by a smothered mate: knight moving giving discovered check from queen to king on g1; king moves to h1 and checked by knight on f2; king moves to g1 and double check from queen and knight on h3; king back to h1 and checked by queen on g1; rook takes queen and the checkmate given by knight on f2!!!! (2-0).  Both the top two boards opened with e4,d5 and exd, known variously as Scandinavian and centre counter gambit. After such exciting starts though, both games got a bit bogged down and led to draws, leading to 3-1 and the match was won. All this took us to about 8:20pm and only GordonM was still playing – surely a first, even though he had only used 15 minutes. Even after swapping queens and bishops, there were threats and forks galore and eventually Gordon conceded, meaning the match was concluded by 8:28pm.  So, the recovery is underway, and we are swarming up the table with strong reserves to come in after the transfer window. Will we reach the land of milk and honey by the end of the season.
As I am running out of new references to bees, these reports are starting to bumble along!  New music tracks to play on the way home from matches will have to include: anything by the BeeGees, Nut Rocker by Bee Bumble and the Stingers; Be(e) Bop a Lula by Gene Vincent. 
Merry Xmas from the Bees to all our readers!

Gt Ayton D 1    Darlington C 3

Unfortunately, this was a disaster on the bottom boards.

Steve lost a bishop very early on and went on to lose further material until he was put out of his misery against Rod Gilpin.

I needed to play carefully into the middle-game to parry possible traps. However, I managed to get a passed pawn on c6 which was supported by a pawn on d5. Phil Shaw then swapped these two pawns for a knight, but this left him with two dangerous central pawns. We ended up defending our own position so a draw was agreed.

Peter's game proceeded calmly swapping pieces, but finishing up with rooks and a bishop for Pete McKay against rooks and knight for Peter. Once again this season, the pawns on each side engaged in a mutual blockade and a draw.

Andrew was playing Harry Wilson (probably aged about12 - I can't tell these days - doctors, policemen and weather men and women look like 14 to me...). Andrew threw caution to the winds, sacking three pawns to try to get an attack. Harry didn't play the usual kiddy's 90 m.p.h. game and thoughtfully parried all Andrew's attempts, going into a winning endgame. Andrew found a terrific resource in the endgame which could easily have led to a perpetual - or even a win if Harry had made the wrong move. However, Harry took his time and escaped to safety: he's obviously going to be a rare talent. Andrew resigned soon afterwards - a rare defeat.

Phil Semp

Great Ayton C v Buffs B (29 November 2017)
Evenly balanced match, in which we just managed to gain the upper hand – 2.5-1.5 Win.
Gordon M started with gusto, going a P up early. In characteristic style, he continued to attack with his usual imagination and netted a very neat win around move 50. (1-0)
On Board 4, Gordon D started solidly and looked to have a slight edge in the middle game. The key moments in the game centred on decisions around a Q-swap . . . after this was pushed through, options to drive home a clear win evaporated on a very tight board . . . draw agreed around move 40. (1.5-0.5)
Two longstanding friends battled it out on Board 3, with attacking possibilities being developed very early in the game. After a great holding action from his opponent up until move 30, Alan then managed to use central file pressure and a passed P to gain a useful advantage, which turned into material gains and a resignation on move 37. (2.5-0.5)
By far the most exciting game of the evening came fittingly on Board 1, as Jim, playing Black, succumbed to great pressure from his higher-graded opponent to go R-for-N plus 3P down by move 40. Nevertheless, exactly as we have come to expect from our most resourceful player under pressure, he fought back brilliantly to even up the heavy artillery and set up a real fighting chance with Q/R/2P v Q/R/3P and even set up the possibility of levelling the P numbers. However his opponent played accurately and held off the turning tide to nail the win in a superb 60-move thriller. Jim Nil-Desperandum Rogers take a bow . . . hugely impressive and inspirational fight-back which was highly appreciated by both Teams and the numerous GACC supporters who all enjoyed this absolute thriller. (2.5-1.5)
A cracking match overall between two well-matched Teams, which could easily have gone either way . . . just what the doctor ordered !!!
Alan R

Darlington B vs Great Ayton B – Wednesday 22nd November
We arrived in a heavy downpour, and four of us got soaked waiting for the security doors to open.  But the room was warm and all the boards set up.  When we exchanged teams, I saw why our opponents are leading the B division with an unbeaten record.  We were outgraded by around 15 points per board, but the mild weather has meant the Bees are restless and woe betide anybody who gets in their way. Kegan on top board played the Morra Gambit as white, and Steve Ormerod obliged by accepting the offered pawn which meant a sharp game was in prospect.  Every time I looked at it Kegan had more threats, but was still a pawn down.  Nerves were settled, however, when Andrew first won the exchange with a bishop on f4 and knight on b5 heading for c7 and the un-castled king.  His opponent tried for counter-play, but that only gave Andrew more material and a quick win. Jim played a great game on board three against tournament maestro, real ale aficionado Gary Hewitt, and got to being N+4p to N+3p. Solid play by Gary meant that a draw was agreed, and Jim went to get a pint. On board two I was facing the man our esteemed webmaster calls “the wily Bob Donner”.  After a closed Sicilian and great pressure on my knight pinned on f6 I managed to swap off some minor pieces and then both rooks on the open f file, and we agreed a draw. Not long after Phil agreed a draw on board 4 giving us 2 ½ points.  Whenever I saw his game it seemed that not many pieces were taken after an early swap of Q’s, and so it was really solid play from our Club Secretary.  Kegan’s game (unusually the last to finish) got to an exciting stage with 2R+4 to 2R+3, with the early pawn gambit never being recaptured.  In many cases this would be a draw, but Kegan’s king was a bit exposed which just gave enough play to allow his opponent to prevail.  So, the match ended in a draw which was an excellent result that gives us momentum going into the festive season when more of our nominated players become available.

This match was a story of blockades.
Kevin was a knight up after 6 moves. However, soon afterwards Walter Greenwood missed a combination that would have won a queen. That danger past, Kevin mopped up and finished before any of the rest of us had reached the middle-game.
Steve was the exchange up, but he reached  a position where all the pawns were blockading each other and stopping anything else getting through. A draw was agreed.
In Peter's game, which was even on material, a similar situation to Steve's arose and again a draw was agreed.
I had what I thought was a won game, having won a pawn, soon afterwards followed by the exchange. However, the pawns were blockading each other and despite my rook manoeuvres, his mobile knight held the fort. After 50 moves I reluctantly agreed a draw.
Our first win of the season!
Phil Semp

Thornaby A vs Great Ayton B – KO Cup Preliminary Round Wednesday 14th November
It was apparent as soon as we arrived that Thornaby wanted to depose us as Plate Cup holders.  This meant they had picked a team of similar strength to our own and an exciting match was in prospect.  We were outgraded on the top three boards, but had the edge on boards 4 and 5. Captain, Nick Tadd, won the toss and Thornaby chose to play with three blacks.  GordonD was fairly fresh, only driving to and from Preston (Lancs.) to do a day’s work.  Anyway, his game quickly settled into rooks and pawns and a draw was agreed.  At this stage other games looked equal.  However, Club President Andrew French built an unstoppable attack with two rooks and queen down the “a” file where Nick T had castled queenside and so we were ahead. Jim was on top form on board 2 against CCA Chair Brian Whitaker, where the expected French Defence was played.  Jim managed to get a bishop for a pawn, and gradually reached an ending with B + 3 pawns vs 4 pawns, and skilfully used his king to bring home the full point.  Alan also had a position with his rooks and queen attacking the king with material equal.  Eventually his pressure told and the match was won.  On top board, I played former CCA grader Mick Creaney and a steady game developed.  After 25 moves a draw seemed the most likely result, but I did not offer it as Thornaby still had a chance to win the match on having three black piece boards.  He would have accepted, but we played on and I lost in time trouble.  So, the final result was 3 ½ - 1 ½ and we progress into the first round proper.  Let us see what the draw brings before deciding tactics for the next round.

Darlington C v Great Ayton C (13 November 2017)
Team firing on all cylinders . . . 0-4 Win.
After rattling off close to 60 moves in record time, Mike was first to finish on Board 4. The early exchanges saw attacks and ripostes from both parties but as the game wore on Mike nicely pressurised his opponent’s defensive capabilities and rounded things off with a Q/R mate on a denuded K. (0-1)
Next to nail the win was Gordon M on Board 1. In true Gordonesque style, not only did he not waste time or moves but also he did not flinch when going 2Ns down, with Q/2R/plenty of Ps still on the board. Instead he beautifully engineered a centralised swap-fest , involving Qs, Rs, Ns and a multitude of complex threats, hanging checks and counter-threats. The swap-out shook down heavily in his favour, stranding his opponent’s major pieces and putting Gordon in pole position after only 30 moves, thereby securing the resignation after around move 40. (0-2)
On Board 2 Jim used his strategic endgame awareness superbly to pin down a single P lead around move 30, with his N/7P v N/6P. He then nicely split his opponent’s K-centred defence between the two sides of the board to force through a queening drive. Resignation came around move 40. (0-3)
As the slow-coach of the night, Alan finished last on Board 3 soon after 9pm, gaining a resignation on move 25. Having gone B for 2P up after 10 moves, it was then down to R pressure down several open files to open up an error whereby a further R was conceded. Resignation came soon after. (0-4)
Nice Team performance overall, with some encouraging highlights within each of the games, possibly worthy of consideration within Kegan’s coming summer sessions.
Alan R

Great Ayton B vs Synthonia A – Wednesday 8th November
Firstly, congratulations to Synthonia on putting two teams in the league this year when some big clubs are reducing their number of teams.  As usual the concert room was nice and warm and all laid out ready for the match which got off to a prompt start.  It was good to see several of the playing squad watching, and before long they were treated to the sight of Gordon seizing on his opponent’s mistake and getting the full point to settle any nerves.  While the onlookers played through Gordon’s game the rest of us were engaged in the usual tight battles.  However, Alan and then Phil gradually played some neat tactical moves to win their games and make sure the Bees got their first league points of the season.  I developed a strong attack on the king’s side, and when my opponent then castled queen’s side I was able to switch play to gradually increase pressure on his king and gain material.  So at 4-0 we all watched the game on top board where Mike was in a “back to the wall” struggle to hold off a fierce attack on his king.  A small slip from his opponent allowed Mike to find a clever potential queen sacrifice in order to set up a winning attack.  Short of time to find the best response a draw was agreed and the score was 4 ½  – ½ .  Also on the night, well done to Mike Hardy on getting a draw in his Individual match against Graham Edwards.

This was a match we should have won.
I played rubbish, having made two very passive moves in quick succession (I was seeing"ghosts") allowing John Cowell to take the initiative. However, after a series of exchanges in the middle in which it looked as if he'd win a piece, I found a resource and the game petered out to a draw.
Kevin had a very comfortable, if congested, game against Tibi Loborik and was probably shading it. However, he walked into a knight fork and was soon the exchange down. He won a pawn back and it was clear that neither player could break through without letting the other in. The draw was soon agreed.
Andrew looked like he was coasting to another victory. He won a rook for knight and pawn early on and should have swallowed up Stuart Barry's passed h pawn. However, he walked into a knight fork which permitted  Stuart to gobble up most of  his pawns. It was looking as if he'd snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Stuart was a knight and five pawns up against a rook and a pawn. However, he then allowed Andrew to gobble up most of his pawns and a draw was eventually agreed.
Peter played Martin McLoughlin Senior. This game went into the middle-game with only the minor pieces removed by each side. The full complement of pawns rendered the heavy artillery impotent. It might have become interesting had Peter lined up his rooks behind his advanced h pawn and swapped this pawn for Martin's g pawn. However, Peter advanced his h pawn, totally seizing up the position and it was not long before a draw was agreed.
This was an evening of congested positions and silly forks. A drawn match was just about right.
Phil Semp

Great Ayton C v Synthonia B (1 November 2017)
Tough match, with a good battle overall resulting in both Teams sharing the spoils – 2-2 Draw.
Jim finished first on Board 1, having started well to go a P up early . . . however later he lost R-for-B on the exchange and gradually succumbed to increasing pressure, conceding in around 30 moves. (0-1)
On Board 2, Gordon M played at a quick pace and with great imagination. His early sacrifices mounted, including R and minor pieces as he carried on wrong-footing his opponent to seal the win in around 40 moves, having, as usual, used relatively little time on the clock. (1-1)
Mike played the early game well, setting himself up for a probable win through the middle game. Unfortunately, a late slip-up cost him a major piece and the power balance flipped around to leave him in too weak a position late in the game for a recovery to be mounted. (1-2)
Board 3 saw a strong early attack from Alan’s opponent, resulting in Q/Rs teamed up along the f-file to apply solid pressure to a K-side castle. Slowly fighting back to secure a defensive platform to stem the tide, Alan then swapped material to create breathing space for a counter, which fortunately resulted in a R/B mating push on the h-file around move 40 to stem the Visitor’s flow and secure the honourable draw overall. (2-2)
A good competitive encounter between the Teams, resulting in honours even. Our only major concern was the advice from the legendary Walter Greenwood that this may be his last season . . . we wish him all the best and naturally we are all hoping that he continues for many more years.
Alan R

Darlington A v Great Ayton A

And so to my favourite away venue who always give the best welcome to visitors. Tonight we faced a team we do not have a great record against, we are usually close but not quite enough and compared with last week our team was weaker and theirs was stronger than Thornabys; but we had the three whites...

Gordon Middlemiss (White, Board 5) as ever finished his game first against real ale enthusiast Gary Hewitt. It is often difficult to tell through the Middlemissonian Murk what has actually gone on in a game but this time I saw nothing at all of it except the handshake at the end and a victory for White. It could have been a ponderous positional slog with Gordon winning by half a tempi in a beautifully played technical pawn ending ... but I doubt it (1-0).

My game (White, Board 3) was once again with Jonathon Sams, I seem to get more than my fair share of Whites against him although our last encounter saw him play first. As ever we played our standard opening but Black surprised on move six with the least common recapture (we have spent some considerable time discussing this position and I don't believe I have played this exact line before). Blacks early d5 allowed the game to open up somewhat and White having the better coordination this was I felt to my advantage, but a pretty tactic in the middle scooped White at least a Rook and we retired to the bar for a further post-mortem (2-0).

Then there was a long wait for The Judge (White, Board 1) playing Darlington Captain Steve Dauber. When I first looked at the game it was a closed position with all 16 Pawns still on the board, but both sides still had pawn breaks available at the right time. Black manoeuvred skilfully to put pressure on the backward White pawns. With time running out White controlled the open A file but had nothing else and all the play was on the Kingside; pressure, pressure, pressure and with a well timed Pawn advance the White defences collapsed (2-1).

Captain Archer (Black, Board 4) once again lived up to his epithet Captain Marvel with an extraordinary game with Rob Harris. On my first inspection it seemed White had won a pawn in some kind on Benoni/Benko type position and was significantly better placed to put pressure on the loose Black King. Indeed White was able to triple Queen and 2 Rooks on a backward pawn on a semi open file, further exchanges lead to an endgame with two Rooks each and a 6 v 4 advantage in pawns to White; I should also mention that the four Black Pawns were isolantis and I made a note: "Blacks position makes the Forlorn Hope at the Battle of Badajoz seem like a good place to be". A further pawn fell and at two Rooks and 4 v two Rooks and 1 a Draw was agreed as it seems that White only had 28 seconds left on the clock! (2.5-1.5).

This left Positional Maestro McLoughlin (Black, Board 2) to play Mike Evans whose grade has improved rather dramatically over the last year. Our man played a very adventurous opening which had been demonstrated in our summer training camp (note to those who don't attend our summer training camp: In Future Attend The Summer Training Camp So You Can Learn Stuff Like This) although I should say the demonstration was done by American import Jim Rogers rather then myself. Sharp play ensued and possibly for the first time ever Martin was up on the clock!!! White commenced a Kingside pawn storm backed by a Queen and Bishop battery on the a1h8 diagonal which lead directly to Black sacrificing a Pawn to try to relieve the pressure, the Queens came off and it seemed that the 4v2 majority White held on the Kingside would win the day. White still had a strong initiative but Black found some wriggles and some annoying moves and with the White clock showing 60 seconds a Draw was agreed (3-2).

We won. We achieved our seasons goal to not finish on zero points. We have the clock and the tenacity of our players to thank for this and Richards battle against the odds to be with there at all. Darlington were of course excellent hosts and we look forward to welcoming them to the Cauldron of the GAWMC in the New Year.

It is very late now but tonights music was Olafur Arnald's Island Songs a stunningly beautiful album that turned the A66 into the empty lanes of the Icelandic coast on my return.



Great Ayton B vs The Buffs A – Thursday 26th October

Instead of playing in the “mixed games room” we were sent upstairs to the posh “function room”. It was spacious, quiet and warm and the drinks are cheap – so, everything that we could want for a game of chess. After finding things a bit hot in the A division last year, The Buffs decided to play in the competitive but less strong B division this year. They proved much too strong for us, as their grades were more than 20 points above us on average. We did get on the board quickly, though, as Jim got a draw with Sean Cassidy on board 4. Mike struggled in the opening, and was always behind before losing more material and had no option but to resign. Alan finished next, and fought hard in the middle game to get an advantage. He took too long to get ahead though, and lost on time. I was next to lose after going a pawn down in the opening, and eventually Buffs captain Andrew Killick made this count. Gordon had also got into a good position in the middle game, but just when I thought he was going to win, his opponent got counter-play with rook and queen to finish things off. So, the final score was ½ - 4½. The Bees are still in hibernation, and will have to find some early Spring sunshine to get the season underway.


Redcar C v Great Ayton C (18 October 2017)

Good overall performance against a solid Redcar Team . . . easing us nicely into the new season – 0.5-3.5 Win.

Gordon D finished first on Board 3 . . . having ‘only had a mere 2-hour drive back from Scunthorpe’ this particular evening, he sprang into the game like a spring chicken, sprung the odd trap or two and went a P up quite early. He pushed on to gain further Ps to his advantage and then secured a drive for enhanced material which proved irresistible, gaining the resignation around move 50. (0-1)

On Board 2, Gordon M was next to gain the upper hand. From the off he had kept a range of threats bouncing around the board as he nicely pressurised his opponent and the ensuing resignation came within 50 moves. (0-2)

After a tight and even early game, Alan on Board 4 managed to win R for B in a mutual Q-threat fandango and then followed this up with a forced Q swap. Despite a weakened P structure, positional play in a N-v-R game later on allowed his queening drive to succeed . . . resignation from his opponent came within 40 moves. (0-3)

The most intricate play came fittingly on Board 1, as Jim and his higher-ranked opponent traded thrusts and parries towards the endgame. Although late in the game Jim was B for R down, even when P numbers on both sides started to dwindle Jim played coolly and accurately to engineer the superior threat, which prompted the offer of a draw around move 60 . . . an offer which Jim took up. (0.5-3.5)

Overall, the whole Team punched its weight and we are now off the mark in the new campaign.

Alan R

Great Ayton A v Thornaby A

There was some confusion at the start as to whether Thornaby would be playing four or five players, first Chris Caradine was on Board 5, then he wasn't, then Nick Tadd was, then he wasn't and finally Chris turned up whilst awaiting the news of a new grandchild that had caused all this in the first place. So with The Judge arriving 10 minutes late for us the 2017/18 season got off to a strange start. I had dropped myself for this fixture in favour of the in form Mike Pointon. Steve Gatenby, Mike Hardy, Connor Wilson, Andy French and myself turned to spectate and play a few quick games.

Position Maestro McLoughlin (White, Board 4) got the season off to the perfect start against new CCA Chairman Brian Whitaker. An unfamiliar opening for White lead to an open position with him having jettisoned a pawn for a lot of play. Black was always behind in development and misjudged a discovered attack on his Queen which led to a decisive material advantage and the mopping up operation was swift (1-0).

Mike Hardman (White, Board 2) played Thornaby's new Captain Francis Batchelor and played a very aggressive opening, castled long and commenced a King side pawn storm. Black defended admirably and accurately and ended up in a Queen and Rook endgame only a pawn down; but White controlled the open g file. The Rooks were exchanged, White lost a pawn and the resulting Queen and 6 v Queen and 6 ending was rapidly agreed a draw (1.5-0.5).

Andy Corbyn (Black, Board 3) was paired with the now definitely ex-CCA grader Mike Creaney. A touch of the Nimzo-Larsens and a very modest set up from White left the position looking fairly uninteresting with Black possibly having the slight advantage of Bishop and Knight v two Knights. However Whites Queen became very active and put immense pressure on the loose Black pawns, which eventually led to a King and Rook fork by the Queen and Vienna was wished 'Bon Nuit' (1.5-1.5).

Mighty Mike Pointon (Black, Board 5) played the expectant-grandfather Chris Carabine and after a fairly standard opening managed to lose two pawns. Mysteriously at this point White offered a draw; even more mysteriously Black declined. After all the pieces left the board the King and 3 v King and 1 ending was hopeless and our star Rookie lost his first ever game for the club (1.5-2.5).

This left the Judge (Black, Board 1) against the new CCA webmaster Paul Douglass whom we believe will be trying to include some content on their website for the first time in years (subject to an official ruling that players will not be upset by statements such as 'they lost a game' or 'he made a bad move'; we wait with baited breath). A fairly classical start changed character with a sharp Queen advance by White which led to a complicated middle game with lots of tactics appearing all over the board. Black lost a pawn for nebulous compensation and White gradually began to improve his position, another pawn fell and with his metaphorical digital flag hanging assorted threats including (but not limited to) Checkmate and the loss of a Rook forced the handshake (1.5-3.5).

We lost. Again. Against a weakened Thornaby team whom we outgraded on every board. To be fair this was probably our best chance this season to win a match and avoid a Norwegian Eurovision style Nil Points. But our opponents outplayed us and congratulations to them for doing so; in addition we enjoyed their company in the bar afterwards and look forward to the next match above the bowling green.

This week we where able to talk to Mr President prior to the game and he was able to send this message of encouragement to us:

Fellow Aytonians! Hi there good to be back with you folks. I heard tonight that the A Team were starting a new season; ‘bout time. I was hoping they could help me with my little trouble with my little neighbour Mr Dim but their number ain’t in the book! Anyways it will be good to see old B A Maracas, Mad Dog Murdoo, Cannibal Stiffy and Faceache back on my new 52” Plasma screen; pretzels and beef jerky are ready. Go guys, give ‘em hell!

The music tonight was Eduard Artimev's Siberiade.



Great Ayton D Team were away to Middlesbrough Bishops;

Kevin “ Conner” Wilson, Board 1, playing Dave Appleyard; Kevin went on the attack from move one only to be thwarted by a knight fork on his Queen and rook on move 22, having to forfeit his rook to check and expose his opponent’s King to further attack. Eventually a Queen and Knight v Queen and Rook end game ensued; Kevin having his Knight pinned against his King on the back rank by his opponents Rook, a pawn ending seemed inevitable but to Kevin’s surprise Dave took the Knight with his rook exposing a back rank mate trap if he captured the rook with his King. With a rook ahead his opponent went on to an easy win.

Steve Gatenby playing Board 2 went ahead in material having 2 minor pieces and a pawn ahead of his opponent. With a Steve having a potential Checkmate in sight his opponent offered Steve a draw which was quickly declined by Steve. Only for Steve to make a blunder and grasp defeat from the jaws of Victory!

Alan Jefferson had a solid attack going in the early stage of the game only go onto offer his opponent his Queen for free after a blunder!

Andrew French, on board 4, had to steadily grind down his opponent to save the day with a win. Giving him a nice second win to start the season.


Great Ayton B v Redcar B

Once again Great Ayton Chess club was a hive of activity as the Bees made their debut in the 2017/18 season against one of the pre-season favourites Redcar B. Captain Archer was otherwise engaged enjoying himself in an extinct Tanzanian volcanic crater; a possible venue for next years CCA AGM? Anyway in his absence I was honorary Captain for the night so with one American, only one Gordon and a Vice-Captain what could go wrong?

The night began with Gordon Middlemiss (Black, Board 3) playing Brian Myers. Black developed a good position (needless to say rapidly!) and actually had a threatening passed pawn on the A file, White showed his usual resilience in defence and when Black offered a draw the handshake took place less than a millisecond later (0.5-0.5).

My game (Black, Board 1) against Matthew Jackman was an interesting affair. White grabbed a pawn in the opening which gave Black a lot of play and with the White King in the centre and his Kingside undeveloped a series of possible tactics arose, White managed to dodge everything but I felt he couldn't Castle because I would immediately break open his Kings position by taking the Knight on f3. He Castled anyway. After some thought I took the Knight, but as White had correctly understood this left my Queenside light squares very weak ... and more importantly my Queens Knight was on an awful square and stuck there. Having gained the initiative White played very accurately and won an exchange then the sad Knight (0.5-1.5).

C Team Captain Alan Reed (Black, Board 5) was paired with Redcar Captain Royce Parker. From what I saw of the opening Black stood well enough but, as Alan said, each move White played was better than Blacks reply; this eventually netted a Knight and a Pawn. Then in the endgame Black blundered an exchange, got pinned along the back rank and lost a Bishop (0.5-2.5).

American import Jim Rogers (White, Board 4) possibly off balance following the USA's failure to qualify for the World Cup (in football) played against the enigmatic Jason Gentle. After the opening it looked like a tight closed position but by the time I returned Black had won the exchange and had a dangerous passed pawn on the sixth rank. This was defended by a dark squared Bishop and Rook against a pair of Knights. Showing both tenacity and how irritating Knights can be in an endgame when you are only one fork away from disaster White stood firm and with Blacks clock running down he offered a draw which was accepted (1-3).

This left one of last years star Rookies Mike Pointon (White, Board 2) against former Hungarian Steve MacCormack. White won a pawn early on but was unable to hold onto it and numerous exchanges followed leaving a Queen and opposite Bishop ending with both sides having a lone A pawn. This always looked drawish but Black, a la Carlsen, persisted with a microscopic edge and the Kingside pawns were swapped leaving each side with a single pawn, White had to take the Black Pawn before peace was finally agreed (1.5-3.5).

We lost. But outgraded on every Board and with the 3 Blacks this was a creditable performance and we can take some encouragement for the rest of what will be a very tough season.

Mr President had hoped to be with us tonight but unfortunately he is engaged in a dispute with his neighbour the hairdresser Mr Kim. It seems that Mr Kim had thrown a ball over the fence into Mr Presidents garden which narrowly missed his cat and landed in the hydrangeas. Mr President has not only refused to give the ball back but threatened that if it happens again he will throw a bigger ball back into Mr Kim's garden and see how he likes it. Mr Kim has not taken this well and is currently in his shed building a very large ball, a Superball, to throw back across the fence; in addition with all the strain his normally beautifully coiffured hair has turned into a strange mushroom shape, Mrs Kim is not happy.

In honour of the absent Captain Archer I thought some retro music would be in order for tonight and I am currently listening to the brilliant Bob Dylan and The Band's Before The Flood.



“ Great Ayton C vs Middlesbrough Bishops. One American, two Gordons and a Vice-Captain – what could go wrong?

Plenty, as it turned out. C team was outgraded on every board, the discrepancy increasing as we moved down to board four, where the Vice-Captain trembled in the face of Ged Murphy.

And the Bishops showed little in the way of churchly charity – more like Crusaders hacking their way across Europe

30 – 45 minutes in, Jim agreed a draw on board one, and some minutes later Gordon D gave a huge sigh next to the Vice-Captain and conceded board 3

Then it got serious, with the ex Guisborough guys battling it out to the end

The Vice Captain offered Ged a draw in a timid voice only to be turned down, so the game progressed exchange by exchange until the two sides a had a king and six pawns each.

Most possible moves having been made, Ged offered a draw which was gratefully accepted. Jim, who had been watching from the side-lines, immediately showed him a winning route, but as our U S import was thoughtful enough not to make his comment until the game was over, that left the score 1 – 2 with Gordon M still battling it out

Gordon’s opponent was in time trouble, and hit his clock with increasing frequency. Gordon became excited, and moved equally quickly as piece by piece dropped off the board, leaving Gordon’s last pawn being matched by his opponent’s queen, with inevitable results.

Enough said – GA C 1 Midd B 3 – heres’ to the next time”

Mike Hardy

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