2016/17 Yorkshire League Round 11

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Welcome to the Yorkshire League 2016-17 season, below you will find match reports and results at they are submitted today and tomorrow.


Woodhouse Cup: Results and Fixtures

IM Brown: Results and Fixtures

Silver Rook: Results and Fixtures

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Latest Woodhouse Reports 

Home Team   Away Team
Alwoodley A3.5
4.5Harrogate A
Leeds CCCC A8
0Hull DCA A
Calderdale A6.5
1.5York RI C
York RI A7.5
0.5Bradford A
Sheffield B5
Rose Forgrove A2.5
5.5Sheffield A

Sheffield B 5 vs Huddersfield 3

A successful end to a very successful season for the B team – Huddersfield were understrength for this one but still gave a good account of themselves on the day.

Peong and Gary very quickly swapped off most major piecea for a rapidfire draw; they were followed a little later by Daniel and David who ended up repeating a sharp position where the advantage was probably Daniel’s but not without risk. Khaled had been late getting there… but Richard blundered a piece in the middlegame and resignation swiftly followed leaving us nicely placed at 3-1 up. Two more draws – Andy finding any positional advantage fizzling out against Kyle, Tony and I throwing some menacing attacking shapes before repeating in an unbalanced position – left us needing half a point and Tobi duly delivered when Daniel blundered a knight in a R+N ending. That left board one, where Peter had offered a draw before even Peong and Gary had finished, still playing. Roger made the most of his kingside fianchetto to pick up an exchange, followed by a pawn and when he added a piece to go a full rook up it was game over – Peter’s only YCA defeat in a very strong first season for the Bs.

It’s been a great return to Saturday chess captaincy for me and the Bs have excelled this year with everyone playing their part. Looking forward to next season already :-)

Report by Andrew Hards

Sheffield B 5 – 3 Huddersfield
Peter Ackley 0 – 1 Roger Keely
Daniel Sullivan ½ – ½ Dave Keddie
Peong Wei Jie ½ – ½ Gary Hinchcliffe
Andrew Hards ½ – ½ Tony Pogson
Khaled Muflehi 1 – 0 Richard Boylan
Andy Mort ½ – ½ Kyle Sharpe
Tobi Okusanya 1 – 0 Daniel Rivron
Steve Gibbs 1 – 0 DEFAULT

York RI A 7½ vs Bradford A ½

And so, the final match of the season. This time we had the task of keeping up with Sheffield’s score against Rose Forgrove against Bradford A.

Our history against Bradford has been quite odd -we seem to alternate quite big wins with disappointing results.

The other reason for guarded optimism was the strength of team we had assembled – fielding teams this strong does put me slightly in mind of Oppenhower.

Bradford A were also somewhat weakened vs the strength they might have achieved.

On the day the match went surprisingly easily – within 20 moves me and Dave were up a combined 3 pieces and one rook!

Board 1 was moderately more pleasant for us from quite early on and it wasn’t surprising when James ultimately won. Detlef also won quite convincingly.

The other games were harder fought battles, most of which we won, except for board 7 where Simon Watson played very sensibly indeed to draw with Chris Ross.

And so we retain out title. A very hard fought season and somewhat unlucky on Sheffield after they beat us so convincingly.

Report by Martin Carpenter

York RI A 7½ – ½ Bradford A
James Adair 1 – 0 Julian Chapman
Richard Palliser 1 – 0 Peter Gayson
Simon Ansell 1 – 0 Mike Walker
Paul Townsend 1 – 0 David Barlow
David Adams 1 – 0 Mike Bramson
Detlef Plump 1 – 0 Chris Dossett
Chris Ross ½ – ½ Simon Watson
Martin Carpenter 1 – 0 John Holliday

Calderdale A 6½ vs York RI C 1½

The final match of the season produced a comfortable win for Calderdale against an understrength York C team who have done brilliant to survive this tough league. I think our season has gone OK, we have over performed in previous years and other than a poor performance at Sheffield B, mid table seems about right looking at the strength of the other teams. I must give special mention to two players: Tim who has topped scored with 6.5/11 and Mark unbeaten 4 wins and 3 draws well done guys. Thanks to everyone on my team who make my captaincy job not too stressful, and to D C second team captain who has done a good job again for B team. “Club Calderdale” is thriving. An enjoyable meal was had by all last night our team spirit is second to none. Well done to York A, have a nice summer everyone.

Report by dave patrick

Calderdale A 6½ – 1½ York RI C

Latest IM Brown Reports

Home Team   Away Team
8Harrogate B
Bradford B2
6Hull DCA B
Wakefield A4
4York RI B
Calderdale B4
4Sheffield D
6.5Bradford Central
Rose Forgrove B
Sheffield C

Latest Silver Rook Reports

Home Team   Away Team
York RI D7
1Alwoodley B
West Leeds5
3Harrogate C
0.5Wakefield B

Features editor for the Yorkshire Chess website. I collate and write atricles about all the latest chess activities in Yorkshire and beyond. I've also been known to shove some pieces myself from time to time!


72 Responses to “2016/17 Yorkshire League Round 11”

  1. Martin Carpenter

    Apr 22. 2017

    I’ll do a report when the full results go up on Chessnuts, but worth clarifying now – YorkA won 7.5 – 0.5 against Bradford so we’ve won the league this season.
    (Bradford were a bit weaker than average and we were very strong indeed.).

    I’d almost rather we didn’t bother tiebreaking tied leagues myself but there you go.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Andrew

    Apr 22. 2017

    Sadly for the second time in a handful of years, one might argue the league title was decided (or at least heavily influenced) by a match default by one of my teams. (This season my ‘excuse’ is that I only took on the captaincy a week or two before the start of the season, and the match was in September which seems to be a difficult month for Sheffield teams anyway.)

    Given how few matches there are in a season, and given how teams can vary wildly from match week to match week, I’m still very much of the opinion that game points is an unfair way to decide things.

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Carpenter

      Apr 23. 2017

      Your 8-0 made some difference but York C very nearly returned the ‘favour’ Vs Sheffield. The bigger contrast is how strong day Bradford were.

      In some ways it balances out 14/15 – we faced a *much* stronger overall field than Sheffield that season.

      Game points aren’t ideal, but head to head has the major disadvantage of one team or another giving up quite early on. At least this was tense & intriguing.

      Honestly I don’t see why we need a tie break at all, suspect a few in York A might disagree.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Matthew Parsons

    Apr 22. 2017

    If we are talking about things being unfair, the unnecessary strength of York makes this league fairly pointless and uninteresting if you ask me.

    Reply to this comment
    • Andrew Hards

      Apr 23. 2017

      Matthew – looking at the grades… (and knowing that Martin is fond of stats :-))

      York A’s top 8 are all graded 195+. The next two players are in the 180s as well.
      York B have no-one graded over 175 (but are anomalous as they are in division 2).
      York C have one player graded 190 and one in the 180s.

      So there’s not much sharing around of player strength at the top. In contrast, Sheffield B’s top four boards are all above 185, with another graded 183. Although in saying that, Sheffield A did only lose out on game points due to the surprise head-to-head result when they won comfortably despite being outgraded on 6 boards and within 2 points on the other two.

      A quick look at respective ‘squad’ strengths (assuming five or more appearances):

      York Sheffield
      Ansell (A) 237 Ledger (A) 231
      Palliser (A) 234 Hackner (A) 211
      Townsend (A) 209 Nelson (A) 204
      Ross (A) 199 Burnett (B) 199
      Plump (A) 196 Ackley (B) 192
      Adams (A) 195 Woodford (A) 187
      Staples (A) 189 Jeje (A) 184
      Cooper (A) 185 Wei Jie (B) 183
      Allis (C) 185 Johnson (A) 179
      Nicholson (A) 183 Hamm (A) 178
      M Carpenter (A) 182 Hards (B) 174
      Combie (C) 176 Howard (A) 174
      Gower (B) 175 Fletcher (B) 173
      Hardy (C) 171 Mort (B) 165
      Slinger (C) 165 Gittens (C) 163
      Cowan/Johnson/Barber (B) 164 Tamas (C) 157

      This does seem to suggest that York topload their A team in a way that Sheffield don’t – the top 8 rated players all played approx 50%+ of their fixtures. The top 8 for Sheffield features 3 B team players and our top two boards, Burnett and Ackley, lost 3 games out of 18 between them this season suggesting that a playing strength in the 190s is certainly more than competitive for boards 1 and 2.

      Other things to take into account include…

      1. York A lower boards *may* have inflated grades due to regularly playing opponents that are significantly ‘weaker’.
      2. Team loyalty must count for something – you can’t force someone who has always played for one team and with one group of players to go and play somewhere else in the interests of ‘fairness’
      3. That nagging feeling that there’s something vaguely ‘unfair’ about calling in an IM for your last match of the season when you need to maximise your game points (particularly one that hasn’t even played in the local league since early November and only featured once last season as well, in the match vs Sheffield A).

      Ultimately I guess though if the players who feature on lower board positions, or not at all when the big guns are out, are happy to do so then there’s not a lot that can be done. It will be interesting though to see if the strength is spread around a bit more next season with three York teams in the top flight.

      Also worth remembering it’s not *just* York that dominate (and they haven’t had things all their own way). We have a bit of a Premiership situation in the Woodhouse, with a big four (York A, Sheffield A, Bradford A, Leeds CCCC A) and then the rest all perfectly capable of beating each other. There are basically two leagues and it was a surprise (though a good one) that Sheffield B managed to win the second of those!

      Reply to this comment
      • Martin Carpenter

        Apr 23. 2017

        Can we show the league & Sheffield A a bit of respect here?

        I wouldn’t call being 0.5 of a game point in the lead with 1 match to play anything approaching domination! I’d hope no one else would.

        Our team vs Bradford was trying to get ~6 or more match points against a potentially very strong team so yes, we asked everyone. Remarkably little arm twisting involved though – they were all keen to play.

        Had Bradford been quite strong it would have been a hard task even with who we had. As it was we got a bit lucky.

        Mostly our teams for the past few seasons have been really quite comparable to Sheffield – 4 x 200, a bunch of 180’s and a weaker board 8 quite a bit of the time.

        Reply to this comment
  4. Peter Cloudsdale

    Apr 23. 2017

    An interesting season.
    1Some clubs well organised and committed.
    2Others less so and depend on one person to do all the work, not fair’
    3 Juniors not appearing except Alwoodley B well done JohnHipshon .and Yorkshire Junior Association
    4Many players now prefer Congresses to Saturday chess.
    Clubs need to address the problems and have a new attitude.
    5White Rose Junior Chess Academy will produce stars of the future’

    Reply to this comment
  5. Paul Gelder

    Apr 23. 2017

    In selecting James Adair York RI.A. have broken rule A24.Has this happened previously and what was the sanction ?If this match were in the Leeds League then York would have forfeited the match and Sheffield A. would be champions.I have every sympathy with the previous 2 posts.It seems that kudos and elitism are the order of the day rather than the future of the game PG

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Carpenter

      Apr 23. 2017

      I would strongly suggest you actually (re?)read what A24 says, because there’s absolutely no way we’ve broken it.
      (The hint being that Bradford didn’t default any boards :)).

      James is a totally legitimate York Saturday player by any imaginable criteria. The York A team is actually remarkably genuine overall. Only Chris Ross is arguable as an external import and he’s got strong historic links to the Yorkshire league at least.

      Reply to this comment
    • Andy Bak

      Apr 23. 2017

      I think the part that Paul is presumably referring to is for situations where a team defaults a match – the winning team has to put down 8 players on their scoresheet and they have to use players that have played for them previously.

      This is to prevent the winning side from picking 8 names from people off the street and using those players to supplement other teams.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Matthew Parsons

    Apr 23. 2017

    Peter raised some interesting points.

    Whether or not James Adair and York broke any rules by playing is a separate issue to my feeling that it’s a bit absurd to be playing him at this point.

    York have every right to play the strongest team they have available.

    Yet, i wonder at what point other teams start to lose interest as more and more players stop playing due to a perceived lack of competitivenes

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Carpenter

      Apr 23. 2017

      Nothing remotely absurd about it: we were playing Bradford – potentially much stronger than they were yesterday. Look at the team they took to Sheffield!

      The goal had to be to win by around 6-2 as well to give a decent cushion vs Sheffield winning big vs Forgrove.

      A very, very hard ask.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Paul Gelder

    Apr 23. 2017

    I am referring to the sentence.No such players will be admissible in the last two fixtures if they have not played for any team previously that season.This was his first appearance of the season.In the Leeds League he would have been ineligible PG

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Carpenter

      Apr 23. 2017

      Yes, but read the rest of the rule perhaps? That’s in the context of someone claiming a default!

      Were the player eligibility rules different we’d have behaved differently. Honestly though, James is connected well enough (via White Rose mainly) that it might well have taken the form of playing him in an earlier match to ‘make sure’ he was available if needed.

      The only restriction that the Yorkshire league has are things like playing down a league if you’ve not previously played etc. So we couldn’t stack York B for instance.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Matthew Parsons

    Apr 23. 2017

    Clarified my thoughts a bit.

    Is the Yorkshire league in place to allow the strongest players in Yorkshire access to competitive chess, or is it in place to allow the strongest non 4ncl quality players access to competitive team chess?

    The definition of amateur in chess is open to debate, but i would not consider IM’s to be amateur players.

    This quality of player has access to a level of competition that the rest of us simply don’t, and i think its unreasonable, perhaps to use this word again, absurd, to have 3 such players playing in one team, in a league which is beneath their abilities.

    York are essentially a 4ncl level quality team which i don’t believe is in the spirit of what the Yorkshire league should be.

    I would have a 200 grade limit.

    Nothing personal, but the likes of Adair, palliser, et al surely have better things to do.

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Carpenter

      Apr 23. 2017

      Look, if they didn’t want to play they wouldn’t! I’m a very relaxed captain.

      Adair is more 4ncl focused so doesn’t play often. Richard, Simon and Ledger all rather like playing in the league.

      Ditto Mattias, Paul Townsend, Oskar etc who are all >> than 200. A hard limit would be fully absurd.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Andrew

    Apr 23. 2017

    There’s also a challenge around a number of players that fluctuate around the 195-205 mark. It would be a bit daft to be eligible to play in the league one season, ineligible the next, then eligible again the year after. I could also envisage a scenario where Jim and Peter have good seasons, hit 201, and the following season Sheffield B get relegated as they’re missing their regular boards 1 and 2.

    Reply to this comment
  10. dave patrick

    Apr 23. 2017

    Hi Guys can I float another idea on a different topic but think more relevant to the lower end of chess playing spectrum. I got an email today from Steve Mann or Yorkshire representative at the ECF regarding even more increased fees to the ECF.My proposal for the AGM would be that matches in Div 2 amd 3 of the Yorkshire League are not submitted for ECF grading.As a small league of between 80 and 100 players none of our games are graded for ECF this doesn’t deter people from playing as a lot just play in Calderdale League only. As things stand at moment everyone I believe in our A team if an ECF member but hardly any do in B team so think cost of B team is in region of £200 a year for rating. Last year we were seriously thinking of putting in a C team in league but couldn’t afford another £200 year.The idea of the YCA is to promote chess in Yorkshire even at lower levels we could lose our B team potentially if the costs become too high let alone add another team to the league. Hope people will support my proposal for AGM

    Reply to this comment
    • Andy Bak

      Apr 23. 2017

      I don’t know if the ECF would allow this. However I could see it being a possibility to have the Silver Rook as non-ECF rated if that would encourage more teams to participate.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Paul Gelder

    Apr 23. 2017

    We seem to have digressed.My point was that an ineligible player had played. A rule is a rule.I do not agree that a grade limit should be introduced.For me the best players in the world can play as long as they are regular players and not brought in to make sure a league is won PG

    Reply to this comment
    • Andy Bak

      Apr 23. 2017

      The rule in its full context is:

      In the event of a team defaulting a match, the opposing team must submit a team-sheet to claim a won match. One game point will be given for each bona fide club member listed on that sheet who would have been eligible and available to play on that date. No such players will be admissible in the last two fixtures if they have not played for any team previously that season.

      The phrase “No such players” clearly refers to players as described in the previous sentence i.e. players put on a team-sheet when claiming a default 8-0 win.

      Reply to this comment
      • Martin Carpenter

        Apr 23. 2017

        Its so clear I’m a bit confused why there’s any argument :)

        Not that its strictly relevant but Adair is actually a ‘regular’ of sorts – he plays a reasonable percentage of our matches vs Sheffield/Bradford and their top boards will know to expect him as a possibility.

        Reply to this comment
      • Andrew

        Apr 23. 2017

        The funny thing is either this has changed fairly recently or more than one captain is unclear on it. I remember Alan Potts playing for Sheffield A a few seasons back in an early season fixture to ‘ensure’ availability later. And I had to check with Andrew Z only this week as at one point it seemed likely Miles would play for Sheffield B in the Huddersfield match. I even had a text from one of my senior players on Thursday reminding me that I couldn’t play anyone who hasn’t featured yet this season!

        Reply to this comment
        • Martin Carpenter

          Apr 23. 2017

          I think it’s just a general lack of clarity. There *are* quite a few restrictions in terms of players playing down a team/for different teams etc in the last match, just not for this sort of thing.

          No real reason there should be either I’d think.

          Reply to this comment
  12. Peter Cloudsdale

    Apr 23. 2017

    I have followed the comments with interest.
    Are some clubs jealous of our strength perhaps?
    The answer is develop new players.
    Over the years I have helped and developed ,Gower, Barber, Hardy ,Barker, Allis ,Miller and the wellers.
    Jean Luc and Pierre attended a junior chess day for beginners.
    The answer is put more effort into developing schools and young players’.
    Huddersfield could improve if school chess cultivatedNeed more effort at grass roots’

    Reply to this comment
  13. Matthew Parsons

    Apr 23. 2017

    I’m not jealous of Yorks playang strength.

    It’s just that such strength makes me feel very ambivalent towards the league, one of the reasons I stopped playing.

    Then again, I’m stopping playing completely so maybe it’s not the best time for me to put forward such opinions.

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Carpenter

      Apr 23. 2017


      Truly not sure why you’re so hung up about our one off super strength teams though. Sheffield are the main target and they definitely welcome the challenge!

      Ultimately the real problem for a team like H’field is that York/Sheffield can put players who could happily match your top boards down on 6/7.

      Reply to this comment
  14. Jeremy Hamm

    Apr 23. 2017

    I’d just like to record my congratulations to York A for their sustained performance over the months culminating in Woodhouse victory. Deserved success. In the end, in spite of their tantalisingly slender game point lead, at least until the final fixture, we (Sheffield) couldn’t match them.

    Personally I think some of the comments above are slightly bizarre. We certainly have no problem at all with James Adair’s appearance – we know him of old and he has every right to play. More generally, surely it’s great that our League’s first division is as strong as it is, and that we’re able to attract 200+ players to play match in, match out.

    That’s not to say there isn’t an issue with domination of the Woodhouse by the likes of York and Sheffield: I’m really not sure what we can do about this. But what I am convinced about is the fantastic contribution our strongest players (across Yorkshire teams, not just York and Sheffield) make to the continued appeal of the Woodhouse. Is there anything like it elsewhere in the country?

    Reply to this comment
  15. Eric Gardiner

    Apr 24. 2017

    Congratulations to York A from me too!

    Well said Jeremy – we should be welcoming all who are interested in playing to the Yorkshire League but also encouraging excellence rather than mediocrity in the Woodhouse Cup. Why should we be telling anyone they are too strong to play if they want to play? I regarded it as an opportunity rather than a chore to play Andrew Ledger a few weeks ago!

    Reply to this comment
  16. Matt Webb

    Apr 24. 2017

    Congratulations to York A, what a close race, Sheffield A putting in a tremendous effort throughout, as always!

    Reading all the negative comments regarding the team York fielded in the final match is laughable. Have none of you witnessed a 4NCL final weekend? Players are registered at the last minute and flown in from all over the world, literally. This is what makes the final weekend so exciting and gives teams like our very own White Rose the fantastic opportunity to face players like Sadler, Giri, Short, Adams, MVL, McShane, Shirov to name but a few truly world class players that are on show!!!

    Interestingly, this strengthening also happens with our county teams, the Yorkshire Open squad have won the country championship the last three years in a row. Our team in the final is significantly different from the team(s) fielded in the earlier rounds – I don’t recall too many complains about this?

    I think York did the best they possibly could and do so every match, it is no coincidence the best players want to play in the best matches. Had Bradford been able to field their absolute best side the match score *could* have been quite different. Bradford are quite unpredictable and we’ve certainly been known to pull off miracle results against very strong opposition – we thrive on such challenges just ask Ihor “you can only beat them if you meet them”!

    I get a little sick of such discouragement towards super strong players coming in at the last minute. As someone who likes to pit my wits against the best players I can, any opportunity to face a titled player is an absolute honour. Usually, this means travelling far and wide in order to do so. When these players arrive on our doorstep, we should welcome them, who knows, we might all learn something and become a stronger league as a result… God forbid.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Matthew Parsons

    Apr 24. 2017

    I’m all for having the strongest league in principle.

    Just trying to point out that the recent trend in where players are ending up has allowed the league to become non competitive outside of Sheffield and York (and Bradford).

    If there is a competitive side of the Yorkshire league, its centred around the 4-5 teams who switch between the Woodhouse Cup and I.M Brown each year.

    Some stats in support of my reasoning for a grade cap.

    Currently York have as many 200+ players as the rest of the league combined.

    York – 6
    Sheffield – 3
    Bradford – 2 (not including Matthew Webb as he’s also down with Rose Forgrove)
    Rose Forgrove – 1
    Huddersfield – 0
    Calderdale – 0
    Alwoodley – 0
    Harrogate – 0

    Its not hard to see that the only team a grade cap would really effect is York, but that club is so strong they would probably still be the favourites for the league anyway.

    If a grade cap wasn’t though to be suitable, perhaps a rule that only allows 1 titled player to appear at in any given match?

    If I included Matthew Webb with Bradford it skews the league even more, as you essentially have 3 teams playing in a division on their own.

    These arguments are not without merit, there’s a reason why American sports have a draft system.

    Having a more evenly matched league, in my opinion at least, makes the league more competitive, and as such more appealing to players.

    I understand the counter arguments, indeed Richard Boylan at Huddersfield thrives on the ‘challenge’ of keeping Huddersfield in the woodhouse cup each year, and it can be argued, that the more strong players play the stronger (and better the league), these points also have their merits.

    I also enjoyed the opportunity to play both Andrew Ledger, and Richard Palliser this year, and felt that I gave them both decent games, however I do feel again, that it does more harm than good in having such a lopsided league in terms of player strength.

    Let me mention again, that my points are only made to spark discussion about what as Jeremy mentions, ‘That’s not to say there isn’t an issue with domination of the Woodhouse by the likes of York and Sheffield.’

    I appreciate team chess is different to individual, but weekend congress’ have grade boundaries, everyone is not forced to play in an open.

    I hear someone saying, well you don’t have to play… Indeed I don’t and I have stopped playing in this competition for various reasons, including some of the points I mention above.

    Lastly I’ll just mention that since 2002-3 when I started playing chess again, I have been told time and time again that the Yorkshire League is not what it once was. 10 player teams, many more players wanting to play etc.

    Clearly there are many reasons for this, and I won’t go into them here, but suffice to say this discussion is at the heart of the core reasons for such decline.

    Lastly compare it to Football – the premier leagues ‘top 4.’ This is great for those sides who dominate those 4 positions year in year out, but has been detrimental to the league overall. And yes, I appreciate that Leicester won the league a couple of years ago, so perhaps its not the best analogy, but its worth a comparison.

    Reply to this comment
    • Eric Gardiner

      Apr 24. 2017

      Matthew P, can you say what type of player would find the league (I presume you are just thinking of Div 1/Woodhouse?) more appealing if your suggestions are carried out? Generally with the Hull DCA teams our main barriers to playing are distance/transport (this also works in reverse when away teams come to us!) rather than the likely strength of the opposition. There are also other sub-200 players who would get into the A team but seem to have retired or semi-retired from chess for various reasons.

      To me, the main problem seems to be the shortage of junior players coming through (as discussed elsewhere) rather than the disparities in team strength between the top and the bottom of the Woodhouse.

      Reply to this comment
  18. Rich Webster

    Apr 24. 2017

    As a non-Yorkshire player (Nottinghamshire) who plays for Calderdale, I would like to add my views on a couple of points raised:

    1. Stronger players – this for me is part of the attraction that motivates me to drive up for the matches. I think it’s a sign of success that the Woodhouse cup attracts and retains such talent.

    2. Saturday afternoon chess – again this is another part of the attraction for me. I do enjoy playing in a team, but find that evening chess is rather spoilt by my getting tired just as the games really get going.

    Finally just as an aside, every local league I’ve played over the years has had a few teams that are head & shoulders above the other teams. That’s probably just how things work out in practice.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Martin Carpenter

    Apr 24. 2017

    Ummmm, John Hall & Mattias (Leeds) rate as non trivial omissions I think :)

    A full strength Leeds CCCC team would be very challenging, ideally adding one or two more 180’s but that can happen very easily.

    A full strength Bradford team *is* fully scary – Chris Bak on 8 & >195/board?

    The problem for both of them is organising to have the teams available for a specific match.

    What I do find slightly scary is that there are 3 more players >215(!) ECF who’ve spent at least part of this year living in York *not* playing for us last Saturday.

    Reply to this comment
    • Matthew Webb

      Apr 24. 2017

      Wow! Who are these three players you mention?

      One of them must be Martin Brown? Another perhaps Jean-Luc Weller (when home from Uni)? I can’t think who the third player would be?

      Hopefully they’re available for the upcoming Country Team Championships ;-)

      10th June is the Semi Final!

      Reply to this comment
      • Martin Carpenter

        Apr 24. 2017

        You’ve got two right. The other is Sam Chow who appeared briefly (working iirc) at York University then went abroad but is I think about more next year.

        Jean Luc is done with University now but hasn’t settled anywhere permanent yet. If he’s about a good chance for the county matches. No idea about Sam and Martin doesn’t like teams chess much.

        An invitational York championship would be a remarkably fierce event!

        Reply to this comment
  20. Matthew Parsons

    Apr 24. 2017

    Missed Leeds as I was only looking at teams recorded on chessnuts as having played this weekend.

    I had Gantner recorded through Bradford, but missed Hall and Gallagher.

    Please note, discussion on a forum (which this essentially is) I tend to use the write the first things that come to mind.

    I enjoy the discussion as much as anything else.

    In response to your question Eric, I have been in conversations where the topic has revolved around ‘what’s the point of playing in the Yorkshire league when York are so strong…’

    I’m not really sure whether I think York’s strength is a good thing or not for the league, again I enjoy debating the issue as much as anything else.

    Some of the above posts have raised very good points.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Paul Gelder

    Apr 24. 2017

    This thread has certainly awoken this website.I will have to think of something else which will prove to be controversial but it may be a while.Ihor what happened to your ideas about the future of the game following your posting about the strength of the Leeds League ?Apologies to York RI.A..We must all applaud success.To Mathew Webb and those York players who were deselected come and join Alwoodley and then you will find out what a real challenge is.Even against Harrogate on Saturday we were outgraded on every board PG

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  22. Paul Townsend

    Apr 24. 2017

    As one of the dreaded 200+ York players, perhaps I can remove my tin hat for a moment and offer a comment or two, albeit not without a degree of trepidation.

    I am open to any reasonable and constructive suggestions about how to increase competition in the Woodhouse. but I’m not convinced by the grade cap proposal. I’ve been playing in this league since the 1990/91 season and have been committed to it for a long time, albeit nowhere near as long as another of our players around the 200 mark, Dave Adams. In most sports, people in Dave’s position would be candidates for some kind of recognition of achievement by the league, not at risk of exclusion. We’d both quite like to continue our combined 60+ years’ involvement in the Woodhouse, if that’s OK.

    It’s true that York have been the strongest team overall in the last few years, but there have been some very close battles with the likes of Sheffield and Bradford, in particular, and the league title has changed hands on various occasions (unlike in the 1990s when Hull won the league for (I think) 11 years running).

    In fact, the vast majority of our matches, against all teams, are tough fights. It isn’t always apparent to those just looking at the final score, but we normally have to dig deep to get those 6-2 wins. Others might choose to see a York visit to teams like Calderdale or Hull as a foregone conclusion, but rest assured, no York player does and we know that, if we don’t perform, we will lose. As someone who plays in most fixtures, I almost always come away feeling that I and the team have been in a proper match. I don’t think the league is as uncompetitive as is being suggested.

    In the days when Hull were top dogs, we used to relish having a go at them and on the odd occasion we managed to get a result it was even sweeter. It’s the same in 4NCL where (from a personal perspective) the boot is on the other foot. There’s no way White Rose is ever going to finish ahead of the Guildfords and Cheddletons over the course of a season, but that hasn’t stopped us trying and even winning the occasional match against them. I see no reason why it should be any different in the Woodhouse (and I don’t think it is).

    I was slightly baffled by the suggestion earlier in the thread that York were pulling a fast one (or even breaking the rules, albeit those of a different league, in which we do not compete) by allowing the likes of James Adair to play in the occasional match. I suppose we could try playing James every week, to establish his true Woodhouse credentials, if that’s really what people want, but we tend to avoid playing the strongest players in every game, as do Sheffield. It makes for a better league.

    The league is getting stronger. That can only be a good thing. Let’s not dumb it down. That can never be a solution, surely?


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  23. Matthew Webb

    Apr 24. 2017

    There are many good points raised here, on both sides of this debate.

    In most sports you tend to find one or a few dominate teams, chess is no exception. I think in local and county level chess a huge amount of the success of a team has to be allocated to the organiser and team captains. It helps to have a pool of talented players to contact but the art of getting these players out week in week out is what makes a *potentially* great team a winning one. This takes a huge amount of effort which goes very much unnoticed.

    One of the main reasons Bradford were able to wrestle the title away from York & Sheffield in 2013/14 was team consistency, something we haven’t really managed since. Of course, playing well and having a little luck on the way helped but every team needs that no matter how strong they are.

    I really like the idea of making the league more competitive but handicapping teams simply cannot be the solution. The Woodhouse is the premier league of chess in Yorkshire, we should be proud of the talent this attracts and look to continue growing it in any way we can!

    If a team romps home to victory every season, don’t ask to make them weaker, seek to make yourselves stronger! Any player, team, club anywhere has the ability to improve.

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  24. Paul Gelder

    Apr 24. 2017

    A proposal.3 years ago the Leeds League had 2 divisions which meant there was a massive difference of ability between top and bottom in each division.Since then there has been an increase in clubs and teams.Because of this there are now 3 divisions.Each division has a reduced number of teams but the result has been competitive games in all divisions every week.Currently there is a massive gulf between top and bottom in all 3 divisions in the Yorkshire League.Look at the final tables.At the moment there are 30 teams in the Yorkshire League.To have 3 divisions of 10 may make the leagues more competitive but that would reduce the number of fixtures.My proposal is to have 4 divisions,3 with 8 teams and the fourth with 6.Each team would play each other home and away.This would increase the number of fixtures in the divisions of 8 to 14.The season would probably last until the end of May.Over a period of time I would expect all the divisions to become more competitive PG

    Reply to this comment
    • Ihor Lewyk

      Apr 25. 2017

      Hi Paul,
      I can’t agree about reducing the number of teams in the divisions. There are not enough free Saturdays to get 14 matches played without clashing with other chess events.
      Although the squads of York A and Sheffield A have proved to be the strongest in recent years they have been pushed by many teams in the league who all command respect. The relegation battle is also tough when you see such strong teams as Huddersfield and Calderdale dragged into danger this season.

      Reply to this comment
  25. Peter Cloudsdale

    Apr 24. 2017

    I have news for other clubs York will continue to have strong teams.’
    At present we are installing teachers and equipment in primary schools.
    The standard will go up.
    In many clubs the same old players appear each year, some have no junior members.
    This is planning for the future.? There are few signs of any activity in many clubs.
    SASCA were active and Alwoodley are.Wakefiel have QEGS.
    How many other clubs have a junior organiser?
    You need new shoots to grow I believe in putting back into chess what I have obtained.

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  26. Ihor lewyk

    Apr 24. 2017

    I join this thread rather late but am rather bemused by it all. One glance at our Twitter feed on the right shows how prour one of the York IMs is of his part in their victory.
    I don’t think there is much wrong with the Woodhouse cup and we certainly relish opportunities to play sides like York fielded at the weekend. I was really disappointed that I had to miss the match due to another commitment. It’s not every day I get the chance to take on an IM one on one.
    The Woodhouse is arguably the premier chess league in the North of England along with Manchester and it is attractive to many players outside the county which has seen a steady increase in strength overall. It should be cherished and winning the cup takes dedication and a huge collective effort. Well done to York on winning the title. And week done to Sheffield on pushing them so close.

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Carpenter

      Apr 24. 2017

      Well done to anyone who fielded 11 8 man teams over the year I’d say :) That’s a huge effort in itself.

      Playing in both, I can safely say that we’re way ahead of the Manchester league these days.

      4NCL 3N is closer. Mind you, if Matthew P thinks York’s teams are overkill we’ve got nothing on Manx who, for whatever reason, have now registered no less than 6 GM’s…….

      Reply to this comment
  27. Matthew Parsons

    Apr 25. 2017

    I think the debate on this page has been brilliant.

    A lot of the points raised have really helped me clarify my thoughts.

    The discussion has really showed how much people care about this league.

    Reply to this comment
  28. Matthew Parsons

    Apr 25. 2017

    And hey, at least its not the Calderdale league, which has just been decided on a team default, or the Huddersfield league which has collapsed entirely.

    Reply to this comment
  29. Rupert

    Apr 25. 2017

    My word this topic has grown since I thought I would reply to Peter C’s first comments. I don’t think the league has ever been stronger and long may that last! Those nostalgists who look back at 10 boards forget how many defaults were occurring and also how many sides were playing 80 grades on the bottom boards ! And Matthew P the Leeds League has a handicap League if you want to play in that!

    There has been no weak matches look at the team Huddersfield put out against Leeds. Ok there are weeks when some teams struggle to get their players out but generally the competition has been very keen. It’s just that York has an unusual confluence of strong players at the moment but in time that will change. Leeds have every ambition to one day add to their overall total of Woodhouse wins! I was going to mention that Matthew P had forgotten Leeds. Remember that Colm is also a 200 player he has just had a bad season and if any of you have any doubts then you should check out his world under 20 performance in 1977! We also have him playing regularly on a Saturday one day!

    As to Peters comments re congress chess I am not sure that that is quite true! Increasingly a lot of players a prioritising league chess. . Take Leeds hardly any of our players play in Congresses. Much prefer the social camaraderie of team chess whether that be Leeds League, the Yorkshire League & the 4NCL!

    This leaves the issue of Juniors. I am in awe of the likes of Peter who work so hard to develop juniors. However at the moment very few of them are staying in chess ! For a teenager chess is still not very cool and we have not done very much to address that problem. White Rose & Bradford in the 4NCL have had to beg to find a junior (& good women players are not that easy to get hold of either) player and quite often you have felt as if you are being held to ransom. So to Peter and those who dedicate their time to developing juniors can we have more who want to keep playing and move into adult chess !

    Finally I have entered the Leeds result on Saturday as 8-0 as Hull said they were unable to fulfil the fixture.

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  30. Andrew Zigmond

    Apr 25. 2017

    Just to clarify that there has been no violation of rule A24 with James Adair playing. That part of the rule specifically refers to the claiming of 8-0 walkovers and was introduced by Stuart when teams were claiming points with players who hadn’t been active all season and in some cases had no prior history at all. James Adair was present at the match and played a game of chess.

    It is true that York RI A are currently in a position where they have greater strength in depth than any other team. This makes them heavy favourites each year but at the same time they had a scare this year and failed to win in either 2014 or 2015. The balance of power may well shift to another club in a few years time. To suggest that their team should be weakened in the interests of competitiveness goes against the whole concept of sport.

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  31. Warren Dennison

    Apr 25. 2017

    Andrew, could you please clarify which rule Sheffield C broke by fielding Aram Ter-Gevorkian on board 1 in their match against Rose Forgrove B? Fortunately their 2 match point deduction didn’t affect the outcome. The board score was 4.5 to 3.5 in Rose Forgrove’s favour, which after the two point deduction was amended to 6.5 to 1.5.

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  32. Andrew Zigmond

    Apr 25. 2017

    Aram Ter-Gevorkian hadn’t played any previous matches in the IM Brown prior to that match. All his prior games had been in the Woodhouse Cup. Rule A24 prohibits this, hence the penalty. The Sheffield captain has been advised.

    I am fairly certain this was an oversight on Sheffield’s part and I took no pleasure in applying a penalty (which didn’t affect anything). The game will still be graded as per the result.

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  33. Matt Webb

    Apr 25. 2017

    Well said Andrew Zigmond! :-)

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  34. Warren Dennison

    Apr 25. 2017

    There must be something in the water at the minute as there’s a suggestion floating around about introducing a grading limit in the Leeds League. The suggestion is that a five board match should have a grading limit of 950, which averages at 190 per person. Hopefully nothing will come of this.
    Division 1 of the Leeds league is dominated by the Leeds City Centre club. I’m not sure if this is causing resentment in some quarters. Surely the opportunity to play against strong opposition should be cherished? I was delighted to get a chance to play Richard Palliser a couple of weeks ago. I lost, of course, but it only cost me 0.1 of a grading point and I got to play an IM. The stronger the leagues are in Yorkshire the better as far as I’m concerned.

    Reply to this comment
    • Paul Gelder

      Apr 25. 2017

      I am aware of such a proposition and have said that I will be not supporting the motion.We at Alwoodley have been discussing rule changes recently but have come to the conclusion that we do not want to introduce changes which would reduce flexibility.Such a restriction may have an impact on ourselves in the future.I do not believe that the above suggestion will be proposed at the LCA.AGM.

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  35. Andrew Zigmond

    Apr 25. 2017

    There’s nothing wrong with teams in leagues getting stronger and stronger provided the weaker players aren’t squeezed out as a result. The Harrogate league has had a `top trumps` culture for the past decade and the damage is only now becoming apparent. Up to a point it hasn’t helped that the number of people willing to run teams has dwindled but the five teams that remain have grown so strong (although the inflationary bubble has now burst) that there is no incentive for new teams to enter – the strong local players have all been signed up and any new team will get crushed in every match. New players simply aren’t invited to join teams unless they’re 160+.

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  36. Simon Ansell

    Apr 25. 2017

    Have read (most) of this thread with interest.

    I am speaking only for myself here. To address a few comments:

    – I may be an IM, but am most definitely an amateur by any sensible definition of the word. I made the IM title over 20 years ago, but have more fingers and toes than the number of times I’ve been paid for playing chess. Always had a full-time job or equivalent.

    – Not sure what these special competitions that titled players have “access to” are? I’ve played 23 longplay games this season, and 19 of them have been in the York or Yorkshire leagues. With the exception of perhaps the British Championships, which I never play, anyone can play in the same competitions as I do(n’t).

    – As for having better things to do, well, I have a 3-year old and am working self-employed full-time at home. My partner works full-time too. Chess is my hobby and if I never played, I’d never leave the house! We moved to York 18 months ago hardly knowing anyone, and chess has given me a social life. That’s one great thing about chess, and I’m thankful to everyone in Yorkshire for the opportunities.

    – Believe it or not, most strong players actually enjoy playing chess. That’s one reason they’re strong. I never consider any game “beneath my abilities”. Most strong players have pretty good self-awareness, not least how weak they actually are!

    – Not that I’ve played for the Yorkshire county team since moving back to the area (I don’t like county chess in general), but excluding your strongest players from playing in the Woodhouse would be a great way to ensure they had absolutely no interest in representing the county…

    – The games I enjoy most are against stronger players. I think many people are the same, but obviously everyone is different here.

    – York chess is indeed currently very strong. I’ve been a regular in local leagues in Oxford, Bristol and London and it compares favourably in terms of strength with the first two. But it’s been far from easy winning the last two seasons by any means! I had the opportunity to look at the Woodhouse Cup a while ago, and noted that York have (hardly?) ever won before (correct me, please). And Hull won something like 12 in a row in the 90s. That’s just the way it goes.

    On a more interesting note, both my opponent on Saturday and I completely missed a stunning tactic! White to play and win – http://www.gingergm.com/playground/walker-ansell.png

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    • Martin Carpenter

      Apr 26. 2017

      York didn’t win the Woodhouse for >100 years until 2004(?). We were seriously happy the first time we did :) iirc we threatened to once or twice in that time period but mostly we just weren’t very good.

      Some of this is likely down to changing demographics.

      The York evening league has got much stronger over the past 5-10 years. MPT didn’t use to play it for one thing and having so many really strong players at the University is fairly new too.

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  37. David G. Mills

    Apr 26. 2017

    Rule A24.
    I certainly read the rule in the same way as Paul Gelder and on odd occasions have consulted Andrew Zigmond requesting permission to bring in players for the last two matches of the season who had not previously played in order to fulfil fixtures. This was not done to gain any advantage but ensure that all opposition players had an opponent. Permission was only requested when the outcome did not affect promotion or relegation and the players concerned had a relatively low grade. I have no objection to the playing strength of any opposing teams but consider bringing in players for the first time, who were available earlier in the season, just for the last couple of fixtures as at least ‘dubious practice’ and what I would call ‘cheating’. I would ask that in future rule A24 be interpreted in the manner which Paul Gelder maintains he thinks it should be interpreted. Many professional leagues (e.g. football) prevent late additions via transfer deadlines for obvious reasons.

    I completely disagree with all of the paragraph two comments of Mathew Webb on 24th April regarding the 4NCL final weekend. Here is a copy of a letter that I sent to ‘Chess’ and ‘British Chess Magazine’ on 5th May 2013. Mike Truran, currently Finance Director of the 4NCL, did not like what I had to say and sent me an e-mail in response but I still believe that bringing in ‘star’ players specifically for the final match or matches of any league – especially if it is a case of ‘the biggest chequebook’ results in the strongest team – amounts to cheating. What does it say to the players who have put you in a strong position throughout a campaign, only to be kicked out to bring in mercenaries?


    The following statement appeared on the Yorkshire Chess Association website at the beginning of May 2013:-

    ‘Wood Green Hillsmark Kingfisher have shown some real intent to retain the 4NCL title by registering no less than eight of the world’s top 10 players for the final weekend and especially their must win Bank holiday Monday clash against current leaders Guildford 1.’

    Has anyone ever questioned something that in most leagues would be regarded as cheating or at best, sharp practice? For example, the Yorkshire Chess Association Yearbook states:-

    League Rule A15.
    “… In its last match of the season a team may not field a player who has played in a higher division for the same Constituent Member in the same season unless the player has played for the team in a previous match in the same season. …”

    League Rule 23.
    “… No such players will be admissible in the last two fixtures if they have not played for any team previously that season. …”

    The intention is quite clear. To prevent the ‘rent a star’ strengthening of teams in the latter stages of the season which would probably distort the league tables. This being the case towards the bottom of the chess pyramid, how much worse is it at the top of national chess when the chequebook determines the championship? At least in sports such as football and rugby, the star players turn out for their teams throughout the season and not just a couple of significant fixtures at the end.

    At the start of the 2012/2013 winter season I was looking to increase the strength of the Hull & District ‘A’ team – newly promoted to Division One of the Yorkshire League – by bringing in some stronger players who had left the local area but had either been born in the locality or maintained family ties. This would not, however, have been for just one or two matches. The 4NCL policy may attract stronger players to the UK but it must bring into question the credibility of its main competition.

    NB. Is the following a) allowed b) illegal c) dubious d) a combination of a) & c)?
    One round of matches remaining. Hull & D.C.A. ‘A’ are in a situation where they cannot be relegated from Division One. Hull & D.C.A. ‘B’ are pressing for promotion from Division 2. The Hull & D.C.A. ‘A’ normal boards 5-8 who have not played for the lower division team all season are put onto boards 1-4 for Hull & D.C.A. ‘B’ in the final Division 2 match. The Hull & D.C.A. ‘B’ normal boards 1-4 are put onto boards 5-8 in that match. In the final Division 1 match, the Hull & D.C.A. ‘A’ team comprises their normal boards 1-4 plus on boards 5-8 the players who have been on boards 5-8 for Hull & D.C.A. ‘B’ all of the rest of the season. I hope that the answer is b). If so, why is someone who has not played for a team all season allowed to play in the last two matches of that season?

    E.C.F Registration and Dave Patrick’s comments on 23rd April.
    I find it amazing how agitated players in Yorkshire become at the prospect of paying £16 per year towards the cost of operating a Governing Body for chess. (The new Bronze membership fee for adults will be £16.00 per year from 1st September 2017.) I play much of my chess in the Lincolnshire and Scunthorpe Leagues and E.C.F. membership is simply not an issue. A motion will be put to the 2017 Hull & District Chess Association A.G.M. that a requirement of participation in its 2017/2018 competitions be membership of the E.C.F. (at least Bronze Level). The men with short arms and deep pockets are certain to attend in order to oppose this radical, outrageous proposal, designed to deprive them of £16.00 per year (!!) and give all East Yorkshire players a national grade based on all of their games.

    The E.C.F. has contributed significant amounts of money to events in Hull & District in recent years, despite the fact that participation in Hull & District Chess Association competitions has not required E.C.F. membership to at least Bronze level. I am as financially prudent as any Yorkshireman, providing our Yorkshire Saturday League players and their opponents at home matches with a range of refreshments for a ‘home’ board fee less than the ‘away’ board fee paid to drivers, but there is a point where ‘prudence’ becomes ‘meanness’. As I play for a large number of teams and in several leagues, I pay my membership fee to the E.C.F. over the telephone and that resolves matters.

    The Number of Divisions in Yorkshire League Chess.
    The number of teams playing in the playing in the Yorkshire League has been fairly constant for several years – around 30. The number of Saturdays available for matches, having regard to congresses and other chess events, is limited. The disparity between the top and bottom of each Division (especially Division Two) is great. Perhaps we should be considering the possibility of three divisions of ten teams from 2018/2019? This could be done in season 2017/2018 as follows:-

    Division 1. Three relegated to Division 2. One promoted from Division 2.
    Division 2. One promoted to Division 1. Five relegated from Division 2.
    Division 3. One promoted to Division 2.

    First Aid training for chess players willing to attend.
    I have tried unsuccessfully to obtain information about who is willing to offer such training and the cost. In view of incidents in the Yorkshire League this season, what proposals have Officers of the Association regarding the provision of first aid training for volunteers?

    David G. Mills.
    The comments above are my own and should not be taken to be those of the Hull & District Chess Association.

    Reply to this comment
    • Paul Gelder

      Apr 26. 2017

      Wow.What support.It had to come from a club officer.As Bill Shankly once said about a player we have created a monster.Now that we have your attention 2017 is the 75th.Anniversary of Alwoodley Chess Club.It was set up in 1942 by the local dads army.Believe it or not one of the 2 founders was called Jones and matches took place at the players houses..In the late 1940s the Community Centre was built and the chess club became one of the original sections.This is where we play today.To celebrate we are hosting several events. On Wednesday May 24th.we have a challenge match against Rose Forgrove our local rivals over 20/24 boards.On Saturday July 15th.we will be holding a simul against the visitors to the ACA.Summer Fair.On a Wednesday evening at a date to be confirmed towards the end of July/August we are planning a 5 game 15 minutes each per game Rapidplay run on the same idea as the Appleby Ellis.2 sections Open and Under 135 with up to 48 players.Another idea that springs to mind is a 24 board match against a Yorkshire Select side to include Juniors on a Saturday afternoon in the Autumn.Would you David or anyone else Captain such a team with the proviso that you invite Matthew Parsons to keep him playing chess and Peter Cloudsdale for his services to chess Regards PG

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  38. Andrew Zigmond

    Apr 26. 2017

    In response to David’s comments I have already explained how that part of rule A24 relates solely to claiming walkovers and the reasons why Stuart introduced that rule some years ago. It does not prohibit new players from actually playing in the last match of the season and I will NOT be interpreting the rule this way for the simple reason that it was not, and never was, the rule.

    I’m not sure why David felt the need to quote an email sent to Mike Truran four years ago, particularly when it seems to be removed from the context that, while Wood Green did register eight of the top ten players for their final match, eyebrows were indeed raised and Mike (quite rightly) stepped in to prevent it.

    On the other hand I agree with David about ECF membership fees although I suspect that members of Calderdale may disagree. £16 is not a huge sum of money in the grand scheme of things and, as David says, there is the potential to get out what you put in. The ECF has some way to go before it becomes the truly national body it needs to be but big progress has been made in recent years.

    The idea of leveling out the number of teams in the Yorkshire League has been put forward a few times in the past. Given that the strength of individual teams can wax and wane and that there will always be some strength disparity I’m not sure that radical change is necessary for the sake of an imperfect solution.

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    • Martin Carpenter

      Apr 26. 2017

      Seriously, if we *want* to have a rule about the last match then we’ll need one that says that. I really can’t see why myself.

      If nothing else you’d be *much* more likely to damage someone trying to patch a team together for the last match than York/Sheffield.

      The big reason for either of us to produce extras is for the matches vs each other which isn’t specifically the last match at the moment.

      Reply to this comment

    Apr 26. 2017

    It gets more interesting and glad chess being discussed in the right way.I bet only a few will be at Ag m Venue and date please?
    Simon Ansell makes good points.
    I met Dan Staples formerly from London and we are lucky to have the Woodhouse competition.
    Re David Mille point I suggest he puts in juniors in Hull B.
    I am attending a first aid course on Friday by Red Cross cost£130.
    Being self employed can claim it back.
    With a new Haddrell fund set up for juniors could some money be used for first aid training?

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  40. Andrew Zigmond

    Apr 26. 2017

    I would also like to share my thoughts on junior chess. In this post I am writing strictly in a personal capacity and the views expressed are my own.

    I am increasingly convinced that a few common mistakes are being made when it comes to junior chess, even if these are sometimes done with the best of intentions. I speak as somebody who has made some of these mistakes in the past.

    In recent decades there has been a tendency to pitch chess primarily at primary school pupils. There are reasons that this has happened. Primary schools tend to be more open to the idea of chess as a hobby and any reasonably bright child can pick up the basics. As a consequence most non school junior chess clubs consist of primary school children.

    The perennial problem is that when primary school children become secondary school students they simply stop playing. There are a few reasons why this tends to happen and some are outside of our control. The ridiculous amount of homework pupils are given now is one. Another is that at one time every secondary school had a chess club, something which is no longer the case.

    However another problem, and one that is within our gift, is that too many external junior chess clubs are primary school dominated and lump any older applicants in with them. What fourteen year old will want to go and spend an evening with little children? What will their mates say if they knew? And worse, what happens if word gets around that they lost to a seven year old?

    So if that’s the problem the solution is obvious. We need more dedicated clubs for older pupils. I’m running one locally having long been frustrated with that gap in the market. I’ll readily admit that I had to accept a few pupils in the last year of primary school to make up the numbers but I won’t go any younger. Older pupils need a unique ethos and, more to the point, they deserve one. I’m involved with primary school activities locally, I’m the chairman of the main chess club so I can interface with both where I have to but my club remains a distinct entity.

    Which takes me on to the next point which is integrating juniors into the kind of chess we play. I’ve seen a few examples of teams blooding a youngster on bottom board, all too often they’ll play an experienced adult player who disposes of them in about half an hour. Which can be a bit dispiriting but we all have to start somewhere. What can be ten times more dispiriting is when it’s an away match (and let’s face it, that’s where we tend to need reserves) and the poor lad (it’s more likely to be a lad) has to kick his heels for three hours waiting for the grown ups to finish their games. His friends said they were going to the cinema and then bowling afterwards this afternoon. Have you ever wondered why next time you ask him to play he finds some excuse? That said, if he has a chess club of people his own age to go to, there’s a greater likelihood he’ll keep playing and returns to the team a year later.

    Which takes me on to the next thing. I think sometimes when we do find a talented young player or even a keen one we try to push them (play in this match, go to this event) and end up overwhelming them. All young people are individuals and all will learn at their own speed. Some do benefit from being pushed a little bit, others react against it. That’s where the dedicated clubs come in again, it keeps the melting pot going.

    Which takes me on to the White Rose Academy, a great initiative from Peter Cloudsdale and Phill Beckett which the YCA is right to support, but which I think still has room for improvement. As all students are different all clubs are going to be different as well as the members make the ethos. What works well in one club might not work so well in another. I sometimes feel that county organisers want to micro manage what goes on in individual clubs and they can’t do this. It should be a working relationship, nothing more.

    I personally will not put any student of mine into a team, or an external event such as a tournament or a training day until I feel it is right for them. Any requests go through me; if the pupil finds out about an event and asks if they can do it that’s a different thing. If something goes badly such as an unsympathetic opponent at a match or a misunderstanding at the training day I want them back at my club to be able to regroup and put the bad experience behind them. I don’t want the captain or event organiser pestering them otherwise they’ll drop out of chess altogether. Good communication and professionalism is important – I’ll be blunt, I’m not seeing an awful lot of either at the moment.

    And finally, while it is true that some clubs are not junior friendly and it is not the job of the YCA to force them to change. Adults have the right to a dedicated environment as well!

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  41. Matthew Parsons

    Apr 26. 2017

    Just to like comment on how brilliant I think all this discussion is.

    My comment right at the top of this page was just myself expressing my thoughts. Through the contributions that have followed a lot of really interesting points have been raised.

    Thanks to Simon Ansell for his response, really interesting to read his comments and get his point of view. It never occurred to me that that players of his strength would find such value playing in the Yorkshire league, and to hear that it does has really made me reconsider some of the points I mentioned in earlier posts.

    Long may such articulate debate continue!

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  42. Peter Cloudsdale

    Apr 26. 2017

    My last word I promise.
    What is evident is the commitment of many dedicated volunteers.
    Captaincy is a hard job as have captained in the past both our A and C teams
    The C team being a chance for lower graded players to perform.
    Another issue are the poor facilities of some clubs.
    I am amazed that Wakefield Club do not use facilities of Queen Elizabeth Grammar School. Mike Denison has loads of new recruits and then Peter Shaw not on his own’School is near by and better than a cold bowls wooden shed.
    Dewsbury have a school near their premises yet still field not enough players.
    The crucial question is in which direction does the club go. Stay the same or try to move standards up?

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  43. David G. Mills

    Apr 28. 2017

    Paul Gelder mentions a challenge match between Alwoodley and a Yorkshire Select team in September 2017. Great idea! I would be prepared to try and arrange for some players from Hull to come along but cannot commit myself to captaining a team. At the moment I captain 5 teams which play a significant number of fixtures each year (5, 10, 11, 11 and 14 matches), 5 teams which play just a few each year (between 1 and 4 matches) and play for 3 Scunthorpe teams which play 6, 9 and 10 matches per year. Add to that the competitions which I organise and/or in which I play, administrative posts in chess and several sporting bodies plus other hobbies and interests and I am busier now when retired than when I was working. Perhaps a few people could commit themselves to bringing 4 players to a challenge match at Alwoodley? Six cars, each with four players? NB. York District and Hull & District Chess Associations are to contest a challenge match at York R.I. on 6th May after a gap of about 4 years. Almost all of the Hull & District participants thus far are graded well under 150, several are juniors and the majority do not normally feature in the Yorkshire League.

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    • paul gelder

      Apr 28. 2017

      Thanks David.It was slightly tongue in cheek but I do hope that someone wil put themselves forward.I know that you are a very busy man.Reading Peter Cloudsdales comment about the Under 140s what has happened to the County match in May ? PG

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  44. Peter Cloudsdale

    Apr 28. 2017

    Well done David on your efforts.
    Pity you had little support when trying to run the under 140 team.
    Most players just want to play chess and do little to help dedicated organisers.
    At many matches will not set up sets or clear away.
    This is a sign of apathy and not helping others.
    Come on players be kinder and more helpful’

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  45. David G. Mills

    Apr 28. 2017

    Still trying to arrange a venue in the Milton Keynes area for the Hampshire/Yorkshire u140 match.. Suggested contacts are failing to reply to e-mails

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  46. David G. Mills

    May 13. 2017

    The Yorkshire u140 team will play Hampshire u140 at Wythall, Birmingham, on Saturday 20th May 2017. 1.30 PM start and a 4 hour playing session. Those involved should have received an e-mail or been telephoned by me. Still a place available should anyone wish to play. Please contact me for details. You require E.C.F. membership to at least bronze level and an E.C.F grade below 140 at July 2016. My telephone number and e-mail address are in the Y.C.A. Year Book.

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  47. Peter Cloudsdale

    May 15. 2017

    Good luck in the match and thanks for all your hard work
    Organising chess is very time consuming and rarely appreciated’

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  48. David G. Mills

    May 21. 2017

    Spent most of this morning asleep recovering from a 300 mile round trip and a match which looked like a narrow win for long periods. Two reverses in games we were winning left us 7-8 down and two pawns down in the last contest to finish. My Beverley club mate, Alec Grice, had nerves of steel to generate chances from nowhere to keep his game alive. His opponent fell into serious time trouble, eventually allowing Alec to win her queen and the game. An 8-8 draw but Yorkshire proceed to the semi-finals on board count.

    Many thanks to all of the players for their efforts. We were significantly outgraded and overcame this disadvantage. The semi-final will be against Nottinghamshire on 10th June 2017. Venue to be decided. I’ll be in touch with the pool of u140 players in due course.

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