Sunday, 29 April 2018

Project 30: Rapidplay Match Championship Complete

The Project 30: Rapidplay Match Championship has now concluded.

The six game final was contested between Matt Jackman and myself.

I seem to have spent most of the last couple of months playing Matt at chess. We met in the semi-final of the KO Championship and also in the decisive game of the Celebratory Tournament.

Our Rapidplay Final was played at the rate of two games per session. Every game was very tough and featured uncompromising chess from start to finish.

Session One

Game 1: I won the exchange but at the cost of letting Matt's knights run rampant over my position. In mutual time trouble Matt won my queen - and the game.

Game 2: An early win of a pawn gave me the advantage which I carried to the endgame, giving me a victory to equalise the match.

Session Two

Game 3: A tactic netted me a pawn and another followed, leading to a winning endgame.

Game 4: Early aggression from Matt didn't have the desired effect and I managed to go 3-1 ahead.

Session Three

Game 5: Matt fell under pressure in a heavy piece ending. I swapped my queen for his two rooks and this eventually secured the victory.

Game 6: Matt smashed me up with a fine attack.

Final Score SM 4, MJ 2

I felt the power of Matts plans and moves throughout the match (and in the other two tournament games we played). I stand by my earlier prediction that he will become Teesside's No. 1 player if he keeps working hard and improving.

Meanwhile, the index of reports for the Project 30: Chess for Life event can be found here.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Project 30: Chess for Life

Project 30 has given me a whole year of highlights but yesterday's event, which brought GM Matthew Sadler and WIM Natasha Regan to Yarm School, will be hard to top.

There were lectures, practical exercises, a massive 32-board tandem simul and a book signing for the duo's famous Chess for Life (winner of the ECF Book of the Year in 2016).

Matthew Jackman had great chances to win his game before an ambitious sacrifice allowed his illustrious opponents to turn the tables.

In fact the stars went on to win all of their games - a fine achievement in any simultaneous display!

What a day! Many thanks to Natasha and Matthew for travelling all the way to Teesside to put on such an inspirational show and to everyone who supported the event. Special thanks to Mike Pointon of Yarm School, who helped me on every step of the way.

There is another report and more photos here, with more to follow over the next couple of days.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Find the Hat!

During my recent Edinburgh expedition I made a number of new friends, including Dennis Anderson.

Dennis told me of his visit to the Marshall Chess Club in New York. The club is named after Frank James Marshall, a former World Championship challenger and a player noted for his ambitious, lively style.

Dennis was the proud owner of a Marshall Chess Club hat but somehow it was lost as he traveled by train from Weymouth to Bath. The train may well have had a good clean out at Bristol.

Dennis would love to be reunited with his hat (unfortunately such hats are no longer available from the Marshall Chess Club), so if anyone has it or knows where it may be then please get in touch. 

A reward is available!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Project 30: New Event Announcement

We have a new announcement for Project 30.

The 10th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament will take place very soon and it will feature a number of core players from the Cleveland Chess Association A Division Champions, Redcar A.

Thus it will be a triple celebration.

The line up will be announced soon but it is all set to be a very strong tournament.

A report on the 9th Mike Closs Memorial can be found here.

Incidentally, last week Redcar A played away at Thornaby (Mike's last club) and I had the great honour of playing on the Mike Closs Memorial Board for the very first time.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Project 30: Celebratory Tournament

Project 30: Celebratory Tournament and Meal

The original idea for this event was to invite players from my three chess clubs (Guisborough, Elmwood and Redcar).

All was set for a fabulous day. I had arranged the players into two strong all-play-all groups, with the winners of each group scheduled to play in the big final.

However, the weather threw a considerable spanner in the works and a combination of 11 inches of snow, cancelled trains and ungritted roads frustrated the intentions of no fewer than five of our players. Yet others had a clearer passage from home and contacted me to say they were confident of getting through. It was a busy morning on the phone, emails and Facebook as messages pinged in and out with alarming regularity.

I decided to wait and see who turned up before altering the format and I took along some trusty Swiss pairing cards just in case.

Eventually it became clear we had seven players able to make it through the snow and ice and I added myself to make it an equal number, then changed the format to make it all-play-all with 25 minutes on each clock.

The original plan included a lunch break but I didn't want anyone venturing out so I cleaned out McColl's on my way to the venue.

We hired The Buffs Social Club out for the day (The Buffs is the current Stockton chess club - the descendant of the now-defunct Elwmood) and the Function Room proved to be an excellent venue.

And so, the players were:
Sean Cassidy, Buffs and Stockton Library Supremo

Matt Jackman - the future Teesside No.1
Bernie Price - The Hartlepool Gamibteer
Peter Harker - former Hartlepool Junior and club stalwart
Mike 'Smiler' Creaney - one of the strongest
1 d4 players around
Paul Weightman - library chess tutor and all-round gent
Brian Whitaker - CCA Chairperson and
Thornaby Library supremo
Me - in a late switch from organiser to player
The games were extremely hard-fought and despite the tension created by the competitive aspect of the day and the reduced clock times, there were very few outright blunders over the course of the seven rounds.

The final scores were:

6.5: Sean Marsh (a draw with Bernie)
5.5: Matt Jackman (defeat against me; a draw with Sean C)
5:    Bernie Price
4:    Sean Cassidy
2.5: Brian Whitaker
2:    Peter Harker, Mike Creaney
0.5: Paul Weightman


Project 30 wasn't quite done for the day, as some of us headed directly to Borges for an excellent celebratory meal, where many a good laugh was had and, in one case, an authentic Teesside Parmo.

Thank you to everyone who supported either one or both events.

There is still plenty more Project 30 action to come.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Project 30 Update and Summary of Events

Project 30, my year-long series of celebratory events, is proceeding in excellent fashion.

Here is a summary of events.

Rapidplay Match Championship

After many exciting encounters, we are now all set for the six-game final, in which I will face Matthew Jackman.

KO Championship

We are now at the semi-final stage and the pairings are:

Andrew Smith vs. Dave Edmunds

Sean Marsh vs. Matthew Jackman

Harry Potter Evening

This special event at Stockton Central Library was a great success and a report can be found here.

30 Years Library Event

One of the best evenings of my life! A report can be found here.

Radio Tees

A full hour on Radio Tees with Bob Fischer! More here.

Simultaneous Displays

WFM Sarah Hegarty's simultaneous display at Ings Farm Primary School was one of the first Project 30 events. A report on this very memorable day can be found here.

GM Matthew Sadler and WFM Natasha Regan will be on Teesside soon for a very special event. Head here for further details.

Celebratory Tournament

A celebratory tournament will take place in March, featuring specially invited players from my three chess clubs (Guisborough, Elmwood and Redcar).

Outstanding Student

I have a prize for the outstanding student in each of our CSC Teesside schools, which will be awarded in the Summer term.

Problem Solving Tournament

Another brand new event for 2018, this will take place at Park End Primary School and children from all 16 of our CSC Teesside schools will be invited to pit their wits against each other.

Further details of the above events with follow in due course.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Project 30: KO Championship Semi-finals

Project 30: KO Championship Semi-finals

The second round has now been completed.

Julian Allinson draw Dave Edmunds (Dave goes through)

Peter Harker 0-1 Matthew Jackman

Andrew Smith 1-0 Bernie Price

Richard Harris 0-1 Sean Marsh

Cleveland Chess Association Chairperson Brian Whitaker made the draw for the semi-finals (he and I were together at yesterday's CSC Training Day in Newcastle).

The semi-final pairings are:

Andrew Smith vs. Dave Edmunds

Matthew Jackman vs. Sean Marsh

Games to be completed by the end of April 2018.