Mail from Peter Willoughby Nov 2010
I thought that it was about time that I sent you a note regarding how I am finding chess in another area. Chesterfield Chess Club is one of the strongest chess clubs in the area. Being one of only two chess clubs within a large catchment area their twelfth strongest player is graded 153 (Yorkshire) 151 (ECF). Only running two Sheffield league teams (teams of eight and six players) this meant that if I elected to play for Chesterfield in the Sheffield League, I would only get occasional games. Ecclesall Chess Club has more members, with a wide range in strengths from 197 to negative numbers. To compare their strength with Chesterfield, their twelfth strongest player is graded 140. Ecclesall however run four teams in the Sheffield league, so by electing to play for them I have been offered regular games for their B team (due to being relegated last season, and the C team being promoted, the B team is the third strongest team in the club). So how has it gone so far. The team had a setback in the first game, where we only drew with our D team. The deciding game was my game where with all other games long finished I was fighting an endgame a pawn up against the D team captain (who has an ECF grade one point higher than me). Having to win, running out of time (30 moves in one hour then 15 minutes allegro), and everyone watching the game the tension was high. I managed to find the winning moves to win the game. The team was strengthened for the second game against the university (Sheffield Hallam) with the opponents fielding a 180 grade on Board 1. This meant that I was playing board 4 against a relative newcomer graded 80 and won fairly easily. Unfortunately the team again failed to win, another 3-3 draw. The third game was last night (17th November 2010) when with the time fast approaching where the captain no longer has the opportunity of using players from the A or C team, he decided to strengthen the team again by drafting in two higher players against the so far unbeaten Sheffield Area Schools team (SASCA C). This meant that I was playing on board 5, against a 14 year old player graded 84 (Yorkshire grading: note that Yorkshire juniors do not get an enhancement on their grading because live gradings are used). Again I managed to win, and this time the team won as well by 5.5 to 0.5. I also had a good Scarborough congress where following a loss against my Chesterfield colleague, I drew two games the second day, one rather disappointingly aginst an old farmer with a grade of 82, where in spite of sacrificng the exchange for two pawns I could not break through. The other game was a very even game played against a Scottish player graded 120 (unfortunately in the Yorkshire grading system you do not get any grading points for playing a Scottish player, win lose or draw, but this will count towards my ECF grading). The last day saw two good wins against two players graded 124. So has it all been good. By no means; back at the Chesterfield club I am the captain of the C team in the Derbyshire league, I lost my first game for the team, and the team lost, and shortly afterwards my cold turned to bronchitis making me bedridden. This meant that I missed the next two games for the C team, and attempted to go to the Hull Congress, managed two games where I played very poorly, and had to go back to bed instead of competing on the third day. If anyone is interested in following my fortunes, my Ecclesall exploits can be seen in the Ecclesall Chess Club website (run by me) http://ecclesallcc.weebly.com/ in the Chesterfield chess club website http://chesterfieldchessclub.weebly.com/index.html in the Yorkshire Grading website (where the Sheffield League results are)http://www.chessnuts.org.uk/ny5/ or in the Derbyshire League website (where the Derbyshire League results are) http://www.derbyshirechess.btck.co.uk/ I am trying to follow the fortunes of everyone at the Formby club, via the Formby and MCA etc websites but always welcome personal contact. I do hope to get over one day this season, but failing that I hope to see most of you at the Blackpool Congress Regards Peter
Other News at Nov 2010
Phil Fisher tells me he has heard from Peter Bond (see below) who has not been at all well in the last few months and has had to curtail his chess playing as a result . We wish him a speedy and full recovery and a return to the board.
Graham Neil's father, on the adjacent allotment plot to me in Altcar Rd tells me that he is enjoying life and chess in Nottingham playing league and county chess (ECF stats show a grade of 122). He has been a fully fledged solicitor for some years specialising in child protection and family law. He was always full of determination especially on a bike!
2009 and earlier
Looking back upon 2008, and forward to 2012, when we celebrate our 75th anniversary I think it would be a good idea to catch up with some of our former members.
Although I don’t know Peter Bond, I have heard how active he was when a member, and I know how well respected he still is. I have asked Peter to send a little something about himself for publication, and he has said that he may do so.
Another former member is Phil Cameron who left us to go with the Revenue into darkest Shropshire when his grade was in the 150s but who seems not to have played in the last couple of years. He is also remembered for the poker schools held in his Windsor road home when the game was played with proper money of coin and notes. Major contributors to the redistribution of wealth around club members included Phil Fisher , Rob Haseman and Mike Barrett of current members and Dave Evans, Pete Bond and Pete Whiston. This poker in comparison to internet was like over the board chess to correspondence and much the better for it.
Tommy Carberry has also been a welcome visitor to the club. His hectic work schedule prevents him rejoining the club but he has visited us on a number of occasions this year. It is always a pleasure to see you Tommy, and we hope that you will be in a position to join again soon.
Suzanne Connolly is still active at chess and has recently been successful at the Olympiad. For some of her games see Chessgames
Dave Cotterell has not been able to visit the club as often as he wished due to his move down south. Dave was treasurer of the club for many years, and like Andrew often helped the weaker players with their game, and has helped me with my game and the website. We all wish you success in your new life, and hope to see you at the club when you can Dave, and at Blackpool and other Congresses.
Maria and Angela Eagle no longer play formal chess, being busy with their respective positions with the government and as MPs. We are still fortunate to retain the services of their father André, who is always willing to put himself out to play for the club.
Dave Evans has visited the club. Dave now a teacher in Cumbria called in to see us when visiting family back in Formby.
Peter Furlong was a member in the past and still remembers some of the older players. Peter now plays for Winwick chess club when he is not at his second home in Florida.
2007 saw Gareth Haslinger once again becoming an active member after a period away from competitive chess. Gareth has had another successful year with a grading prize at the Preston Congress.
The club have been following the fortunes of Stewart Haslinger. As we all know Stewart has now achieved his Grandmaster title, and maintains membership of the club. His fortunes can be followed through the special link.
Toby Haslinger has played his first games for us in many years. Toby, is now a qualified doctor, and plays for us when he can.
Carl Heald now lives in the Lake District and plays for Morecambe chess club.
Kevin Higgins in spite of not being in perfect health has played for us on occasion when asked.
Derek Horseman has recently passed away after recently being very active at Southport chess club and will be greatly missed.
John Littlewood has recently passed away after recently being very active for Liverpool and Skelmersdale, and with his publishing.
John McLardy is a life member and was active in the club for many years including treasurer and first team captain. As can be seen in the news section is not in the best of health, but often enquires after the clubs activities although only the old stagers are known to him personally.
John Nelson keeps in touch with the club although he hasn’t been in to see us for a while.
Mike O’Connell was once a very active member at the club and now plays for Winwick.
Andrew Smith called in to see us on our social evening, as he often does when back home. Andrew always has a kind word for the weaker players at the club and personally he has helped me with my game and the website. He has recently sent a contribution to the website of his successful season so far in Cleveland (Redcar). He currently plays on board 2 for Redcar A in division 1 of the Cleveland League. Matches in the top flight are played over 6 boards, which is a little different to what he is used to... wins obviously have a bigger impact than in an 8-board match, but then losing puts your team under more pressure too! At the half way stage Redcar A are 2nd out of 8 teams in the league with a record of won 4, lost 2, drawn 0, and they are through to the second round of the cup. He is pleased to report that he is unbeaten so far (+5 =2 -0) and has 100% with White, although he says that the results greatly flatter the standard of his play being able to squirm off the hook a few times!
Ben Thomas has been in touch ansd asks to be remembered to those who remember him, of the current members he especially mentions Bob Platt and Kevin Howard. He still remains a close friend with Mike Fraser. From Formby he moved to Chelmsford at the same time as Peter Bond moved from Chelmsford to Formby. In 1987 he moved to New Zealand and is now President of Upper Hutt Chess Club - 30 kms north of Wellington.
John Whitehead actually recommended the club to me. I don’t know if anyone remembers John, he used to play for us in the days when we used to play at Formby Library, and recalls the visit to Skelmersdale, driving up and down the motorway to try and find the venue in fog. John now spends his time playing in a quiz league and watching Ainsdale at cricket.
Peter Whiston was an enthusiastic and good player who captained sides and was a founder member of the Wirral league team with an appetite for post match Indian meals. He was also a fully paid up member of the club poker section and a welcoming host. Mike Barrett sees him in the village and he always asks about the club so he has pointed him to the website. It is still hoped that he may return to the board at least for a Wirral league game but he was hit very hard by the tragic death of his son Mark Whiston who was also a very active member of the club and who having traversed Africa on a motor bike was killed in an accident in the UK.
Ken Wilkinson sadly passed away this year, our condolences go to his family and friends. One of Ken's best recent wins can be seen on the website.
If any members know anything about former members that may be of interest, please let me know.
If any former members want to share anything with us, or just say hi drop a line to the webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org