Thursday, 19 July 2018

Park End's Latest Leap

Forget the Teesside Championships; forget the Megafinals and the Gigafinals of the UK Chess Challenge. We saved the most competitive event of all until our last school day of 2017-8.

Yes, today brought the highly-aniticpated Park End Primary Staff Chess Championship.

It has been a long time coming and such was the interest it took three weeks to register all of the names. Even then, one of the 16 participants of this most difficult of knockout tournaments sustained an unfortunate calendar clash and had to miss out due to a course (never mind Mrs Gaskarth; there's always next year).

It is typical of Park End to entertain a new and eccentric idea. One can't help but love them.

Here are the full results.

Round 1

The first round was tense as the staff entered the world of competitive chess for the first time. 

The game between Mrs Butterworth and Mrs Richardson lasted over an hour and a half. Rumour has it they just didn't want to return to their respective classrooms but the truth of the matter is they were so well matched that it took a long time before a clear advantage emerged for Mrs Butterworth.

Elsewhere, Mr Holmes claimed he didn't want to play his best because he didn't have much free time as he 'had to get on with my painting'.

Everyone was taking the tournament very seriously. So much so that I had my vocabulary extended considerably at various moments. 

The eight players left in the competition after the first round suddenly knew they were but three more wins away from becoming the champion. 

Mrs Bennsion 0, Miss Ridley 1

Mr Tapner 1, Miss Crossley 0 (after a replay; first game drawn by stalemate)

Mrs Johnstone 0, Miss King 1

Mr Lovatt 1, Mr Holmes 0

Mrs Richardson 0, Mrs Butterworth 1

Mr Storey 1, Mr Hallett 0

Miss Rennison 1, Mrs Moore 0

Miss Hampton 1, Bye 0


With a place in the semi-finals at stake, the players were all on task for their second round of tough battles.

There were certainly no easy games and all four winners and to earn their victories the hard way. I was beginning to think we might need another day to finish off the event.

Miss Rennison 0, Mrs Butterworth 1

Miss King 0, Mr Lovatt 1

Mr Storey 1, Miss Hampton 0

Mr Tapner 0, Miss Ridley 1


Talk about compettive. These games were ferocious encounters.

Mr Lovatt took an early lead by winning Mrs Butterworth's queen, but the latter stabilised the position well and started to fight back. Eventually Mr Lovatt's advantage told - but it wasn't easy.

Meanwhile, in one of the day's closest games, the advantage oscillated between Miss Ridley and Mr Storey until a late surge saw Mr Storey achieve pawn promotion and then engineer an excellent checkmate, with his new playing a starring role.

Mrs Butterworth 0, Mr Lovatt 1

Mr Storey 1, Miss Ridley 0


The big final was played in front of a large crowd. We had only just announced a new trophy was at stake and this led to a further increase in concentration from the two competitive finalists.

Once again we saw a game in which the advantage changed hands several times. Suddenly, Mr Storey seemed to have obtained a decisive advantage. Mr Lovatt's queen had gone and he appeared to be in terrible trouble. Then something incredible happened. Mr Lovatt's two passed pawns caused confusion in the enemy ranks and Mr Storey, in trying to stop them both advancing to promotion, allowed a deadly skewer on his king and queen.

This allowed Mr Lovatt to gain a huge advantage, with two new queens about to appear via pawn promotion.

Mr Storey 0, Mr Lovett 1

Very well played, everyone!

Wheels are already in motion to produce an inter-school staff tournament next year.

Meanwhile, enjoy viewing the gallery from today's historic event. Observe the concentration and try to work from the expressions and body language who is winning each game in the pictures.

The deadly skewer!

Congratulations, Mr Lovatt!

Wednesday, 18 July 2018


As mentioned on Monday, we started chess sessions at Prior's Mill C of E School in Billingham this week.

Our three-day residency paved the way for our weekly curriculum sessions, which will start in September.

Sean Cassidy will be the CSC Tutor at Prior's Mill for 2018-9 and I hope to make the occasional visit myself.

Sean and I both thoroughly enjoyed our three days at the school. The staff were very friendly and welcoming, the children were fabulous and the school dinners were great too.

Thank you, Prior's Mill!

All set for September 2018!

That's Cumbria!

I am delighted to report that Chess in Schools and Communities received further TV coverage this week, with an excellent feature on That's Cumbria.

John Lydon is starting work at Upperby Primary School in Carlisle - a new area for CSC - and he made quite a debut!

The feature can be found by clicking here.

John came to the Newcastle leg of my Training Day Tour earlier this year (the day of the snow!) and shadowed me on Teesside too.

John shadowing on Teesside earlier this year
It is a good time to reveal we are planning a brand new training day in Carlisle for the 2018-9 Tour. Details will follow in due course.

Monday, 16 July 2018

New School for 2018-9!

I can exclusively reveal we have a new school onboard CSC Teesside for 2018-9!

We had a fabulous day working with the Year 5s today and more bonus sessions will take place this week, prior to starting our curriculum sessions in September.

Thank you Prior’s Mill; we were made to feel very welcome!

Northern Gigafinal 2018

The Northern Gigafinal of the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge took place last weekend.

The venue was the Wright Robinson College, Manchester.

We had a significant number of Teesside children in action over the two days of the event.

I was there to assist with the CSC stall, together with my excellent friends Glenn Trueman and David Hardy.

Congratulations to all who helped to make the event such a great success, from the wonderful Sarah and her magnificent team to all of the players and their parents who gave up their weekend and missed the World Cup Final to support the world of chess.

We had a lot of interest at the CSC stall and made some important new contacts.

Thank you very much to everyone who came to our stall to say hello, chat about our activities and, of course, to play lots of games against David, Glenn and myself. The children seemed to enjoy our special chess challenges too.

All of our CSC Teesside players represented their schools and our area in fabulous fashion. Gigafinals are very difficult events and there are no easy games, but all of our players gained very valuable experience.

Well done, everyone!

The full results can be accessed via the following links.

Click on the names of each child to find out their individual scores and click on 'Final Ranking Crosstable' to see the full story of each section.

Under-7 Girls

Under-7 Boys

Under-8 Girls

Under-8 Boys

Under-9 Girls

Under-9 Boys (A Group)

Under-9 Boys (B Group)

Under-10 Girls

Under-10 Boys (A Group)

Under-10 Boys (B Group)

Under-11 Girls

Under-11 Boys (A Group)

Under-11 Boys (B Group)




Under-15 to Under-18s

We conclude with some captured moments from a busy and very enjoyable weekend.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Thinking Ahead

It’s all about thinking ahead...

Tonight we had a long CSC Teesside meeting to analyse our efforts for 2017-8 and to put lots of plans in motion for 2018-9.

I know I am very fortunate to have Richard, Dave and Sean C. on board and the rest of Teesside should be happy to have them too.

Bravo, CSC Teesside tutors!

Monday, 9 July 2018

All Set for the Northern Gigafinal

Two of the three Delancey UK Schools' Chess Challenge Gigafinals have already concluded and now only the Northern leg remains.

This is, of course, the one that has the most relevance to CSC Teesside and it will be great to see so many of our stars in action over the course of the two days.

Yes, the games will tough throughout the competition but all I want is for all of our players to enjoy the experience and not to worry too much about the 'scores on the doors.' Just to be there is a fabulous achievement. Enjoy your victories and learn from your defeats but whatever the result, remember you are representing your school and the whole of Teesside. Just try your best, play fairly and remember to show your Teesside class.

The final of the World Cup will be doing its best to distract the players on the Sunday so all in all it is going to be a very exciting weekend indeed.

You can check the Gigafinal entries here to make sure you have entered.

Everything else you need to know has been collated here.

The UKCC is a massive event requiring an enormous amount of work. Just preparing and running our own Teesside Megafinal takes months and I can only speculate just how many hours Sarah, Alex and their dedicated team have to put in to make everything run so smoothly. I certainly appreciate their efforts (I don't think anyone, anywhere could do a better job) and I would like to think everyone else does too. If you enjoy the experience then why not thank them personally before the end of the weekend? It will only take a few seconds of your time and I know it always make a big difference to organisers of any events.

Sarah has somehow found the time to write an excellent and very useful blog post offering Tips for the Gigafinal, which is recommended reading.

Don't forget to come and say hello at the CSC stall!