Staffordshire County Chess

None - March 17, 2020, 11:29 a.m.

Due to the ongoing issues with Coronavirus the following changes have been made:

The proposed Staffordshire Congress that was to be played on 18th and 19th April has been cancelled. Alberto Gissi and Ray Dolan are thanked for the hard work in preparation for the event.

The North versus South match will be re-arranged from July if necessary.

The Staffordshire County Cups 2020 will be completed when it is possible to resume normal chess.

The Staffordshire County Annual General Meeting normally takes place in July or August and will probably be delayed.

Coronavirus update

None - March 15, 2020, 8:03 p.m.

Following ECF advice the CDCL will be suspended immediately. The Chase Trophy Final has been postponed & we request that any individual trophy/plate games also be delayed until further notice.

We will provide further updates as the situation develops.


None - March 14, 2020, 4:37 p.m.

We are keeping the ever-changing situation regarding the Coronavirus under review. The next league match is due on 1st April & we intend to issue further guidance before this date.

In the meantime, The Chase Trophy Final is due to be played this week & some individual trophy games are also due to be played in March. These can continue should all participants be happy to play, but if anyone has any doubts or concerns then please feel free to postpone the games & inform the Records Secretary on


Staffordshire Congress home page

None - Feb. 5, 2020, 9:32 p.m. is the home page link to the Congress with all of the details & on-line entry form.


Staffordshire Congress

None - Feb. 4, 2020, 11:37 a.m.

Alberto Gissi has organised the Staffordshire Congress for Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th April. The venue is Ryecroft Community Hub Sports Hall, 28 New Forest Road, (off Dartmouth Avenue), Walsall, WS3 1TR.  
Alberto anticipates entry forms and on-line entry will be ready shortly & I will post a link once everything has been set up.
Also, the Newcastle-under-Lyme mini Conference is scheduled for February 15th & 16th - please see the News item from 29.12.19 for all of the details.

Bloxwich Chess Academy & Club 10 year anniversary

None - Feb. 2, 2020, 4:34 p.m.

Bloxwich Chess Academy & Club recently celebrated it's 10 year anniversary.

In attendance with Ray Dolan were Eunice Dolan, Coach Ham Patel, Mayor Paul Bott, England non-playing Captain David Anderton OBE, Mayoress Christine Bott & David Watton JP - their Secretary & Safeguarding Officer.

Ray & Eunice started the Academy in 2010 with just 6 members - now they have 30. They teach the older children how to train as coaches to follow in their footsteps, while many children also choose Chess for their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Every year, players are entered into the UK Chess Challenge & they have had 5 England players in the 10 years of the Academy's existence. One International player, Devan Patel, who now plays for Rushall came joint 1st at Cork Congress when he was 14.

Congratulations to Ray & Eunice & everyone involved.

Tata Steel Tournament & Women's World Chess Championship Match

None - Feb. 2, 2020, 4:07 p.m.

The Tata Steel Tournament was held in Wijk Aan Zee between Friday 10th January and Sunday 26th January.

Fabiano Caruana was the only winner in the final round of the 82nd Tata Steel tournament to finish on a score of 10/13. 

Caruana's performance was one of the best in this tournament's history going back to 1939. The top group has been 13 rounds since 1980 (but for a couple of years) and Caruana equalled the record score since then with 10/13 previously achieved by Garry Kasparov in 1999 and Magnus Carlsen in 2013. The margin of victory over Carlsen was two points, the largest ever in a 13 round event here. Records going further back show Korchnoi won with 12/15, 3 points clear of Portisch, Tal and Hort in 1968 and that Olafsson (1959) and Euwe (1952) won 9 round events by 2 points. 

Carlsen was disappointed with his performance here and in classical chess for the last few months. Still according to Tarjei J. Svensen (@TarjeiJS on twitter) "Carlsen has now played 168 classical games since January 2018 scoring +53 =113 -2 against an average rating of 2748. His only two losses came within two months in 2018 against So and Mamedyarov." His draw vs Wesley So was his 120th game undefeated. Carlsen next plays in the GRENKE Chess Classic in Karlsruhe/Baden Baden from 11th-20th April 2020. 

1st Caruana 10pts, 2nd Carlsen 8pts, 3rd So 7.5pts, 4th-5th Van Foreest, Dubov 7pts, 6th-9th Giri, Anand, Duda, Firouzja 6.5pts, 10th-11th Xiong, Artemiev 6pts, 12th Vitiugov 5pts, 13th Yu Yangyi 4.5pts, 14th Kovalev 4pts.

In the Challengers Group David Anton Guijarro's draw was sufficient to qualify him for the Masters Group next year. He was half a point clear of Abdusattorov, Eljanov and L'Ami. 

I have included links to download a report on the Tournament including the Challengers event and all the games from the Masters and Challengers events.


The FIDE Women's World Chess Championship Match between defending champion Wenjun Ju and Aleksandra Goryachkina took place over 12 games in Shanghai and Vladivostok 4th to 25th January 2020. A very closely contested match was drawn 6-6 and went to rapid tie-breaks where Wenjun Ju won 2.5-1.5, even here Goryachkina had her fair share of the chances to win at least one game.

I have included links to download a report on the match and all the games including  tiebreaks.

The next big international tournament will be the Candidates Tournament being held between 15th March and the 5th April in Russia.


Nigel Byrne





GM David Howell v Rugeley Chess Club

None - Jan. 9, 2020, 8:04 p.m.

Every year it is customary for Rugeley Chess Club to hold what has become known as the Rugeley Christmas Crazy. Traditionally this is a 6-round handicap event where the stronger players are handed less time on the clock against the weaker players with the unlucky ones being given 3 minutes to defeat the opponents 17 minutes thinking time.

This year it was my turn as tournament organiser to go crazy and in my wisdom (or insanity, take your pick) I changed the format quite dramatically. I decided to invite a strong player down to Rugeley to play all the chess club in a simultaneous display. The club players were feeling quite confident but then I announced who I’d got, Grandmaster David Howell. This was met with words like “Wow”, “No way” and “Ill still ave him.”

David Howell is an English grandmaster and has been part of the England team at world events for many years. At the time of asking he was the strongest player in England. When it came time for the match he was the England #5. While this sounds like we had a bit more of a chance, the strongest player we had to put against him was 144, David’s grade is 269 and his FIDE rating is 2676. We were in for a tough fight despite the handicap we handed him. David would have to play everyone at the same time with no time to think, he would have to arrive at a board, make his move and move on to the next player. The Rugeley players would get the amount of time it took him to come back to them to think on what move they wanted to play.

So on to the night. We had 16 willing victims/volunteers assembled for battle. Players were told only to make their move when David was at the board and that they were allowed two passes (if they wanted more time to think on what they wanted to do) any more than that they would have to beg or bribe David. Prizes would be awarded at the end depending on various parameters. With the rules clarified, the battles began.

Everything started without too many problems. As David got to the last of the boards, the entire left side of the room erupted into laughter and cries “did you tell him about us?” David had by pure luck (I assure you) had played our club chairman’s favourite opening (The birds) against him. In my defence the only thing I told David about Rugeley is that we are a fun group of people, completely barmy and have a wicked sense of humour. David simply smiled and said, “Ill fit right in then.” To illustrate just how barmy the tournament organiser had gone by this point, here is my game against David. David Howell v Matt Carr.

The games were going well, our juniors especially giving David a good run for his money. I was later informed that one of them was at least even and was causing David a lot of trouble. Sadly, David managed to outplay him once the player made a mistake in the middlegame.
The night progressed and several of us had bitten the dust, it looked like nothing was going to stop David until in quick succession we had gasps and cheers from the right side of the room. One of our players had proudly announced “Stalemate”. I was so sorry to point out that he could move a pawn on the other side of the board, (the arbiter in me never switches off) and checkmate soon followed on that board. A few minutes after that a cheer went up, genuinely this time and I was informed that a draw had been agreed. Well done Steve. David Howell v Steve Whatmore.

Now it was down to who would win the final prize, the last player standing prize, and our club treasurer managed to win that one by one move.

David Howell v Catherine Hiley.

After the tournament was over David very kindly agreed to go through his game and give some training to Ryan, both were enjoying themselves so much it was only when we got a warning the venue was closing in half an hour could I stop them.

Every player I spoke to on the night told me they’d had a wonderful evening and from my perspective, it was a pleasure to organise and my utmost thanks to David for agreeing to come along.

Matt Carr, (International Arbiter and Tournament Organiser)


Thanks Matt,

Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary

World Rapid & Blitz Championship

None - Jan. 9, 2020, 7:49 p.m.

Another interesting update from Nigel Byrne:

The King Salman World Rapid & Blitz Championship took place in Moscow 26th to 30th December 2019.

Magnus Carlsen won a 3rd Rapid title with 11.5/15 a point clear of Alireza Firouzja (who was under the FIDE flag for the first time) and Hikaru Nakamura. Vladislav Artemiev also scored 10.5 points. In the women's section Humpy Koneru earned her first World Title after defeating Lei Tingjie in a tie-break that went to a final Armageddon game (where Koneru allowed a draw by repetition which won her the tie-break). Spare a thought for Lei Tingjie who had the title within her grasp on a couple of occasions, almost saving her final round game where she lost to Ekaterina Atalik and then only needing a draw with white in the second tie-break game against Koneru as well.

Carlsen also won the blitz after beating Hikaru Nakamura in a tense tie-break. This was Carlsen's fifth blitz title and the second time he holds the rapid, blitz and classical world titles at the same time. Vladimir Kramnik returned to competition and took third place. Kateryna Lagno retained her World Blitz title after holding a draw in the final round while her close rival Anna Muzychuk turned good winning chances into a loss, Tan Zhongyi took bronze on tie-break behind these two players.

I have included links to download a report (.doc)  and all the games from the Open and Women's sections including tie breaks. (.pgn)
 voted for the best games of 2019. I include the article as word.doc to download.
I have also included a .pgn file of all the games nominated and others which were notable in 2019. ( especially Narciso Dublan - Bernadskiy which would get my vote!)
Happy New Year To Everyone
Thanks Nigel,
Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary

Newcastle-under-Lyme Mini Congress

None - Dec. 29, 2019, 2:07 p.m.

We are pleased to promote the16th Newcastle Mini Chess Congress as follows:

On 15th and 16th February 2020 at Newcastle Bridge Club
      * U160, U130 and U100 sections
      (if anyone is interested in an Open section, please let me know sooner rather than later, so that I can inform you in advance if there are enough players)
      * July 2019 grades apply
      * 5 round swiss, ½ point byes available
      * Games graded
      * Sections fully equipped with digital clocks (hopefully all):
        Game in 95 min plus 10s per move,
        Otherwise All moves in 105 minutes
      * Rounds start Sat 9:30, 2:00, 6:30, Sun 10:00 and 2:30
          Access to premises from 9:00 Sat and 9:30 Sun
      * Entry fee ECF silver members and above:
        £15 adults, £13 juniors under 18 (1st Sept 2019),
        Bronze and non-members add £9 (or upgrade your membership yourself).
      * 2 prizes per section of a 'to be announced' size.
      * Controller's decision final in all matters.
For entries please fill in this form or enter by text (07565554003), email ( or post giving:
       * name
       * round, if any, in which you wish to have a half point bye. Such byes are not available in round 5.
Players will automatically be entered for the lowest section for which they are eligible unless they request otherwise.
Payments by cash, cheque payable to Newcastle Chess Club or bankwire to the following account:
Recipient: Alberto Gissi
Sort code: 608371
Account no.: 75498441
Postal entries to:
Alberto Gissi
32 Pearl Brook avenue
ST16 3WJ
Acknowledgement of entry will be by e-mail or text only.
Acceptance that names, grades, clubs and results may appear on any site having a legitimate interest** in the competition is a condition of entry.

The Website for entries is on this link:
Saturday 15th February to Sunday 16th February 2020 Newcastle Bridge Club King Street (A53), Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5 1EL Tournament director: Alberto Gissi - or 07565554003


And further details may be seen here:
Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary

Recent International Tournaments

None - Nov. 22, 2019, 1:52 p.m.

Latest update from Nigel Byrne:

A number of big tournaments have been played in the last month.

The 22nd European Team Championships took place in Batumi, Georgia Thu 24th Oct to Sun 3rd Nov 2019. The Russian Teams (Men: Andreikin, Vitiugov, Matlakov, Dubov and Alekseenko; Women: Goryachkina, Lagno, Gunina, Kashlinskaya and Girya) were the top seeds in both the men's and women's competitions. England were second seeds in the men's event with (Adams, Howell, Jones, Mcshane and Nick Pert). Other interesting players include: Giri, Mamedyarov, Aronian, Wojtaszek, Duda, Navara, Vallejo, Grandelius, Sargissian and Ivanchuk. Russia took clear first place on 15 points one point clear of 2nd place Ukraine and 3rd place England. In the women's event Russia again took first on 16 points, Georgia were on 15 points and Azerbaijan 14.
I have include links to download a report and all the games from this event
The Superbet Rapid & Blitz took place in Bucharest Wed 6th Nov to Sun 10th Nov 2019. This event was part of the Grand Chess Tour. Players: So, Korobov, Caruana, Aronian, Artemiev, Anand, Karjakin, Le, Mamedyarov and Giri. Levon Aronian beat Sergey Karjakin in a tie-break match 1.5-0.5 after they tied after the rapid and blitz sections. 
Links to download a report and all the games:

The Hamburg FIDE Grand Prix took place 4th to 18th November 2019. Alexander Grischuk beat Jan-Krzysztof Duda 3.5-2.5 in the final. Grischuk won two games in a row after falling behind by losing the third tie-break game. 
Report and games are linked below.
Thanks again Nigel.

Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary


Isle of Man FIDE Tournament

None - Oct. 25, 2019, 9:33 a.m.

From Nigel Byrne:

The FIDE Grand Swiss took place in the Isle of Man 10th to 21st October 2019. It was experted arbited by our very own Matt Carr and included leading players Carlsen, Caruana, So, Anand, Yu, Karjakin, Grischuk, Aronian, Harikrishna, Wojtaszek, Artemiev, Nakamura, Vitiugov, Svidler, Wang, Bu, Vidit, Matlakov, Le, Xiong, Shankland etc. There was a World Championship Candidates place for the highest placed finisher who needed to qualify. Wang Hao qualified for the Candidates after winning the Grand Swiss on tie-break from Fabiano Caruana. Kirill Alekseenko became eligible for a FIDE Wild card as the best non-qualifying player from the event. Magnus Carlsen took his undefeated run to 101 games but was half a point short of the leaders in the end.

I have included links to download a tournament report (Word .doc) and all the games (.pgn)
Thanks Nigel.
Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary

Staffordshire County Cups

None - Oct. 18, 2019, 7:55 p.m.

All Staffordshire Clubs are invited to enter the Staffordshire County Cups.

These consist of one open competition and three grade limited events. The competitions are held on a knock out format.

The events are summarised below


Hickman (Open, 6 boards)

Gothard (Under 161, 4 boards)

Jackson (Under 141, 4 boards)

Withnall (Under 121, 4 boards)

The closing date for entry is Sunday 24th November and we intend to finish the competitions by Mid June 2020.  Please note Meir and Rugeley Chess Clubs have already made their entries.

If any teams are worried about excessive travel, then a neutral venue may be arranged for any tie.

The July Grading List will be used to determine eligibility for the Gothard, Jackson and Withnall competitions.

The full rules are available on this link:

To enter or for further information please email

Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary

Staffordshire County Fixtures

None - Sept. 28, 2019, 9:09 a.m.

An update from Peter Evans from Stafford Chess Club:

The MCCU County Championship fixtures for 2019/2020 have now been published. They have been added to both the County Calendar and NSDCA Calendar. The County Association runs three teams, Under 140, Under 120 and Under 100. Matches take place at the weekend, normally on a Saturday afternoon. Anyone who meets the grade limits and wishes to play please contact the appropriate County Captains.

MCCU All CTY Fixtures
Staffordshire County Calendar
Staffordshire County Captains
Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary

Staffordshire County Fixtures

None - Sept. 2, 2019, 8:11 p.m.

We have been informed that there appears to be an error with the U100 County fixtures with two games arranged for Saturday 30/11/19.

Peter Evans from the North Staffs Chess Association has spotted this & will do a news item for the NSDCA Website shortly, but has asked that all local leagues also inform their members.
U120 County fixtures are also still to be finalised.
We will provide an update once clarification has been given to us of the correct fixtures.
Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary

Staffordshire Chess Association 'Biggest Match in Years'

None - Aug. 28, 2019, 12:03 p.m.

2 teams will compete in a NORTH V SOUTH contest of 50 BOARDS on Sunday 7th JUNE 2020 from 1pm to 5pm.

Venue: The Famous RyeCroft Community Hub, New Forest Road, off Dartmouth Avenue, Bloxwich, Walsall WS3 1TR
(Free Car Park. Disabled access)

SECTIONS: Open, Under 180, Under 160, Under 140, Under 120, Under 100 (8 Players per Section except Under 100 which will have 10 Players)

Open to all players who are members of clubs who play in the North Staffordshire & District Chess Association, Wolverhampton & District Chess League or Cannock & District Chess League.

2 hours each on the Clock to make all moves. ECF Graded. ECF Chess Rules Apply.

Please contact the Captains if you wish to play:

North - Robert West email

South - Ray Dolan email or call 07815540866

Board fee of just £1 per player to pay for venue etc. Captains reserve the Right to invite guest players if they are short in a section.

Eunice's Cafe will be open for a selection of on site refreshments.

RyeCroft Community Hub has a People's Gym if you wish to keep fit, contact Dave on 07486 622962.

Gio’s Italian Resturant offers healthy food nearby. If required, please ring Gio on 07913 304455 to order in advance.


Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary

Rushall venue clarification

None - Aug. 4, 2019, 6:21 p.m.



Rushall's venue is St Francis' Social Club, 20 Mill Road, WS4 1RH. The CDCL contacts page is correct but we still had the old venue in our latest news from last year, so it's important to clarify this for all prospective visitors.

Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary

Chess in Schools and Communities

None - Aug. 1, 2019, 7:12 p.m.

Chess in Schools and Communities are starting a friendly and fun drop in chess club locally at Rugeley Library. All ages and abilities are welcome. It is totally free of charge and will be held from 4-5pm every Thursday from 5th September 2019. Further information can be found at

Steve Whatmore, Records Secretary.


None - Aug. 16, 2018, 9:20 p.m.

Note that the Rushall Chess Club's new venue is at the Bowman, corner of Myatt Ave/Gretton Crescent; not "Wyatt Ave" as previously posted!

New venue for Rushall Chess Club

None - July 16, 2018, 1:30 p.m.

League players may want to note that Rushall Chess Club has a new venue:

The Bowman, corner of Wyatt Avenue and Gretton Crescent, Aldridge, WS9 0DR  

Play is on Monday evenings, starting 7.15

Chess News

admin - May 29, 2018, 7:10 p.m.

This is where wider news about non-CDCL chess can be posted. If you have news to post, email it to