The library event simply couldn't have gone better from my point of view.
The sizable audience included people from all corners of my past and present, with juniors mixing well with work and club colleagues, dear friends and a number of people I had not seen for many years. There were even some people who were new to me and I greatly appreciated the support of everyone who attended.
I didn't know who was going to be there and was genuinely surprised and delighted to see so many people.
The person who travelled the furthest was IM Richard Palliser, who was there representing CHESS Magazine (he is the editor who knocks my articles into shape each month). Richard played in some of our junior tournaments many years ago and it was wonderful to see him at the library.
I started with a talk looking at various moments from my 30 years of teaching chess in schools, which was very well received.
Following a tea break, it was time for the only part for the evening over which I had no control whatsoever...question time! I promised to answer any questions fired at me to the best of my ability.
This is the part of any show that can fizzle out very quickly after a couple of token questions but on this occasion it led to a fascinating, extended session during which I was asked the most remarkable range of questions from people all across the wide spectrum of ages.
After an hour of questions we had to start winding down so we could do the book signing session. I was thrilled to be able to talk to people on a one-to-one basis at this point and to thank them for their support.
The evening would not have been a success without the expert help of Lucy Carlton-Walker and her superb team at Stockton Central Library. Lucy also took the photos featured in this report.
Thank you, everyone! It was a truly memorable evening.
A sequel is in the planning stages, so watch this space...