Friday, 20 May 2022

Thornaby Library: Queen's Gambit Challenge

It has been a busy week for library announcements and here is another one.

Over to Brian Whitaker...

In this most royal of years why not take on the challenge of this most royal of games?

Can you defeat the maestros? To give you a chance Chris and Brian will be taking on five players all at the same time!

Choose your colour and take a seat at a board. Make your move when Chris or Brian arrives at your board. They will reply and then move on to the next challenger.

Are you the next Magnus Carlsen or Beth Harmon? Give it a go and you could win a prize!

Display will run from 10.00 a.m. - 2 p.m. on the day.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

More Library Chess

Four of the CSC-supported chess sessions at our local libraries are now back up and running on a regular basis.

They are: Stockton, Thornaby, Billingham and Stokesley.

Please check with the individual libraries for the finer details.

Stockton Library Session Back On

Mr. Cassidy’s Stockton Central Library chess sessions are back on this Saturday (21 May), after a break of one week.

Everyone is welcome, regardless of current playing strength.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Coming Soon: The 10th CSC Teesside Team Tournament

The 10th CSC Teesside Team Tournament is coming soon.

This event is for our current CSC Teesside curriculum schools and it started at the end of the very first year of CSC (2010-11).

Unfortunately, the COVID emergency prevented me from running the tournament in both 2020 and 2021, but we are now reconnecting with our history.

Roll of Honour

2011: Ings Farm and Throston
2012: Ings Farm and Billingham South
2013: Throston
2014: Errington
2015: Throston
2016: Sacred Heart
2017: Westgarth
2018: Westgarth
2019: Westgarth and Billingham South

Invitations have been sent to the relevant schools and we look forward to seeing their teams (of four players) in action.

Further details - and a report - will follow in June.

Winning Debut

Alice Sturman, our most successful local junior, made her debut for the Redcar A team this week.

A winning debut in Teesside’s top chess division represents another big step forward for mighty Alice.

Monday, 2 May 2022

Event Announcement: 9th Teesside Individual Junior Chess Championships

All of our CSC Teesside Schools and CSC Libraries have received a copy of the entry form. Please check with your school if you have not received a form.

Event: 9th Teesside Individual Junior Chess Championships.

Venue: Yarm Preparatory School, Grammar School Lane, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, TS15 9ES

Please note - if you played in the recent Megafinal, that was at the Senior School just across the road from the Preparatory School.

Date: Saturday 11 June 2022

Timings: Please arrive for 9.45 a.m. Play will start at 10.00 a.m. The prize giving will be at approximately 2.30 p.m.

Format: All players will play five rounds, on the Swiss system.

We have sections for Under-7s (Year 2s), Under-9s (Year 3s and 4s), Under-11s (Year 5s and Year 6s) and Over-11s.

The champions (Boys and Girls) of each section will receive the trophies and titles.

Open to junior players in the boroughs of Stockton-on-Tees, Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough.

The tournament is not just about winning titles and trophies. It should be seen primarily as an excellent experience for all competitors who will be able to learn a lot by playing against new opponents from a large number of different schools.

General Information

The closing date is Wednesday 8 June 2022

We cannot accept late entries and will definitely not be able to take extra entries on the day.

We cannot offer full supervision anywhere outside of the playing rooms. Parents/guardians must supervise their children at all times other than when the children are in the playing rooms.

Parents, guardians, teachers and chess coaches will not be allowed in the playing rooms during the rounds.

Problems arising during the games will be solved by the tournament Arbiter or another member of the control team. Children must alert the officials to any problems by raising their hand at the time. It is very difficult to solve problems retrospectively.

We will not be operating a tuck shop at this event and we advise you to bring a large packed lunch.

We will be working very hard on the day trying to ensure everyone has a great time. As usual with our events, we want to keep the pressure on the children to an absolute minimum. To help protect this ethos, we want the children to relax between the rounds and to temporarily forget about their chess battles. It would be greatly appreciated if all parents, guardians, teachers, chess coaches et al supported this ethos too and helped all of the children to enjoy the day without applying any pressure between the rounds.

Full reports will appear across our range of social media platforms. Please let me know on the day if you have any concerns regarding the use of photographs, names or any other information.

The Arbiter's decision in all matters relating to the tournament is final.

Any late announcements and updates will follow on here, on our Facebook page and via our Twitter account.

The Fifth Delancey UK Schools' Chess Challenge Teesside Megafinal: Gallery

Here is a gallery to accompany our report on the The Fifth Delancey UK Schools' Chess Challenge Teesside Megafinal.

All photographs in this gallery are © Johannes Grundmann.

The Fifth Delancey UK Schools' Chess Challenge Teesside Megafinal: Results

The Fifth Delancey UK Schools' Chess Challenge Teesside Megafinal took place on Sunday 1 May and sold out all 150 places.

We had representatives from 26 different schools, clubs and home tutored pupils.

We were very fortunate indeed to be able to utilise Yarm School's famous Princess Alexandra Auditorium for our Megafinal. Take a look at their packed schedule to find out why!

This was, of course, our first Megafinal since 2019, when the world was a much simpler place (although it certainly didn't seem so at the time).

We were not sure what to expect after enduring a forced hiatus from Megafinal action. Initially, I was happy when the entries broke the halfway barrier, but we went on to sell out very quickly, as everyone seemed to relish the opportunity to return to over-the-board tournament action.

We had an excellent mixture of veterans from the last Megafinal and players who were playing in their first-ever inter-school event.

Of course, we presented lots of trophies, medals and certificates at the end of the tournament but as I keep on saying at our events, it doesn’t really matter how many games you win, draw or lose; the most important thing is that YOU are there.

I was particularly pleased to see all parents, teachers and coaches respect our own tournament ethos of keeping pressure off the players and allowing them to be children once they left the playing hall at the end of each round.

Our control team of Joannes Grundmann, Richard Harris, Catherine Lloyd, Mike Pointon and Katie Sidgwick rose to the challenge of an exceptionally busy day.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make the day such a great success.

Those who reached the Gigafinal qualification target received an information leaflet from me on the day and the entering details can also be found on the UKCC website.

The sections have been streamlined for this year, which enabled us to have big competitions with a fierce battle for the top places but also to accommodate a large range of abilities, giving everyone a very good chance of earning a significant number of points.

Here are the results from our very busy and enjoyable day.


6/6 Section winner and Boy Champion: Ryan Liu

5/6 Second Place: Fathe Chahal

4/6 and sharing the Best Girl place: Rosa Williams and Isabelle Little

Also on 4/6, Sharing Third Place: Alexander O'Kane, Harry Metcalfe, Arthur Cordry, Olly Rutter, Isaac Brette, Stanley Dugdale

3.5/6: Sylvie Brown, Tyler Hanson, Dax Cullingford, Evelyn Ward, Noel Adams, Rory Fitzgerald

All of the above have qualified for the Gigafinal.

3/6: Hugo Kelly, Edward Shim, Evie Bell

2.5/6: Faye Brown, Leo Smith, Wilfie Chatterje-Doody, Maddison Green, Dara Jafari, Edward Prescot-Burton, Isaac Hamilton-Bowen, Jude Cardwell, Halle Jefferson, Cooper Willis, Manha Abdullah

2/6: Felix Maredia

1.5/6: Agoston Major, Daisy Simpson, Aiden Smith

1/6: Ananbelle Hall

0/6: Harry Norton


5.5/6 Section winner and Boy Champion: Bertie Leatham

5/6 Equal Second and Girl Champion: Renee Liu

5/6 Equal Second: Ethan Ross, Can Sezen, Miles Page

4.5/6: Kavan Sidhu, Sam Stevenson

4/6: Dylan Broumley, Anwita Dara, Parsa Mohibi, Miguel Ramos Moreno

3.5/6: Sumedha Kumar, Griff Williams, Joseph Dodds, Henry Stanley, Kaira Nalawade, Marawan Saad, Sid Suryadevara, Jacob Bell, Udham Chahal, Benjamin Fulford, Rosajean Bowstead, Eric Pinedo Fuentes

All of the above have qualified for the Gigafinal.

3/6: Lawson Spencer, Samuel Isukapatia, Jay Greig, Zack Adamson, Dylan Carter, Luca Sidgwick, Ava Woodhouse

2.5/6: Tyler Beazley, Noah Field, Lacie Robson, Oscar Tindle, Alexander Thompson

2/6: Annabelle Lyver, Penny Boyes, Hope Vidgen, Victoria Tooke, Loui Nelson, John Mcelvaney

1.5/6: Alexandra Prideaux, Iris Chatterje-Doody, Phoebe Barznji, Eleanor Cordry

1/6: Imogen Canwell, Maria Madzou


6/6 Section winner and Boy Champion: Sagar Patil

5/6 and Girl Champion: Natasha Pointon

5/6 Second Place: Vinh Han

4.5/6 Jake Gray

4/6: Nethuki Mudduwa, Isaac Jones, Noah Coulman, Luke Palmer, Flynn Gorton

All of the above have qualified for the Gigafinal

3.5/6: Aditri Kulkarni, Olly Brice, Oliver Lavery (Aditri and Olly have also qualified for the Gigafinal, as Under-11 players required 3.5/6 or more).

3/6: Zane Barznji, Sophie Hall, Joshua Scott, Joshua Rudd

2.5/6: Isaac Pearson, Riley Filius, Felicia Jude, Edie Redhead-Sweeney

2/6: Sophie Hatton, Noah Dent, Avighna Arvind, Willow Thompson

1.5/6: Nicola Hatton, Alex Hutchinson

1/6: Lacey Perry

Under-18s/Under-14s (Combined Section)

5.5/6 Section winner and U-14 Boy Champion: Aryan Nalawade

5/6 Second Place: Avanish Batra

4/6 Equal Third Place: Ajay Selvan, Emma Salazar Eyre, Prachi Arora (Emma and Prachi shared the Best Girl place).

3.5/6 U-18 Girl Champion: Alice Sturman

3/6: Joseph Machin, Ella Field, Harris Wilson

2.5/6: Girvan Paisley

2/6 Under-18 Boy Champion: Samuel Turner

1.5/6: Calix Thompson

1/6: Josh Reynolds

A gallery of memorable moments will follow in the next blog post.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Setting Up

Just setting up for tomorrow’s Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge Teesside Megafinal.

150 children will soon be in action.

One more sleep and we will be at our first Megafinal since 2019!

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Chess Visits

It was very good to spend the day with Chess Tutor Mr Harris at The Links and The Avenue for their chess curriculum sessions today.

The children were excellent and Mr Harris was on great form, as usual. 

I particularly enjoyed the parts when children in two different classes asked Mr Harris if I was his son.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Delancey UKCC News

Sarah and Alex Longson of the Delancey UK Schools' Chess Challenge have released a major update for this year's events - including details on playing chess at Blenheim Palace!

Full Event Calendar Now Confirmed

With 17 ‘over-the-board’ Megafinals plus online options available we’re delighted to confirm all dates for the 2022 Delancey UKCC calendar have now been announced.

The Terafinal is again taking place at the fabulous Blenheim Palace, the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough, on the weekend of 15/16 October.

We are also running a Challengers event on 17/18 September at the Mercure Daventry Court Hotel with similar conditions to Terafinals gone by.

To register for a Megafinal there are two options:

1) Parents register directly via the website

2) Schools can register and pay for players in bulk (discounts available)

If you wish to takeup the second option please get in touch via

There are three Gigafinal dates:

Northern (Manchester) - 9th and 10th July

Southern (Harrow) - 23rd and 24th July

Online - 3rd and 4th September

Check out the full UKCC 2022 calendar.

The latest Megafinals to be added are:

Edinburgh – 28th May

Somerset – 12th June

Shropshire – 25th June

The full list is below (includes quick links to event page):

Saturday 30th April – Surrey U9s Megafinal (only a few spaces left)

Sunday 1st May – Teesside Megafinal (last few spaces remaining)

Online Megafinals 18/19 June and 2/3 July

Hope to see your students at a chess event soon!

Kind regards
Sarah Longson
CEO – UK Chess Challenge

Four New Training Days

Four new Chess in Schools and Communities Training Days have been announced (Oxford, Hampshire, London and Cardiff).

The details can be found here.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Managing Great Expectations

The Teesside Megafinal will soon be here and it seems to be a good moment to think about general expectations.

The vast majority of children play in Megafinals so they can have fun, enjoy the company of their friends, make new friends and to test their chess skills against children from other schools. Their level of play will almost certainly improve as a consequence.

Chess tournaments can be tough, especially if a player has unrealistic expectations going into the event.
Mixing wins with a similar number of defeats is perfectly logical expectation. Expecting to win every game without any particular difficulties along the way is not so logical.

Occasionally, it is reported to me that a child is 'heartbroken' or 'devastated' after (what they see as) an unsuccessful tournament performance. It goes beyond hyperbole, because the parents in question really do appear to believe that what they are saying is true.

This usually isn't far away from those who claim they want their child to learn the art of resilience through chess, only to claim, retrospectively, that not only did their child have to play strong opponents but also that their opponents cheated in every game.

If expectations are realistic then we wouldn't have to navigate through so much smoke and so many mirrors.

We never apply pressure to our pupils to perform at tournaments either in our chess classes or on a one-to-one basis.

We cannot monitor or control parental pressure, but we do find ourselves having to deal with the aftermath.

I have plenty of stories to tell another time, including how a parent threatened to set his Rottweiler dogs on me after his son failed to win a game.

For now, here is a reminder of the ethos of our Teesside tournaments:

'We will be working very hard on the day trying to ensure everyone has a great time. As usual with our events, we want to keep the pressure on the children to an absolute minimum.

To help protect this ethos, we want the children to relax between the rounds and to temporarily forget about their chess battles.

It would be greatly appreciated if all parents, guardians, teachers, chess coaches et al supported this ethos too and helped all of the children to enjoy the day without applying any pressure between the rounds.'

Friday, 15 April 2022

Teesside Megafinal: COVID Protocols

As the Teesside Megafinal approaches, it is a good time to remind everyone that COVID-19 is still very active and to highlight our event protocols.

It is very important that everyone feels as safe and comfortable as possible on the day and this can be achieved if we respect the following.

Please do not attend the tournament if you feel unwell or are showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

Please respect other people’s wishes to apply social distancing.
Sanitise your hands regularly throughout the day and please follow other COVID-19 procedures when asked to do so.

The wearing of masks is optional but is encouraged in particularly busy areas.

Our chess rooms will be well-ventilated for the duration of the event.

Please alert a member of the tournament team as soon as possible if you are feeling unwell or unsure of the active procedures on the day.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

The Cycle Must Be Broken

An important aspect of working in schools is to help children to try their best, respect others, show manners and grace, learn from their experiences, develop confidence and resilience and to help others. 

Also, that everyone is unique.

In short - to set a good example.

People 'above' us, the ones who love power but perpetually shake responsibility, revel in doing exactly the opposite.

Liars, crooks and cheats know how to 'get on' but despite their exalted status they have no desire whatsoever to set a good example to anyone.

Just imagine if all school staff behaved in such a sneeringly deplorable manner.

Yes; things would be even worse than they are now.

Role models are needed now, more than ever before.

The cycle must be broken.

Friday, 8 April 2022

Another Busy Term

Today brings another busy school term to its conclusion.

This week, I cross-crossed Teesside to spend time with our excellent CSC tutors Mrs Lloyd, Mrs Hutchinson, Mr Edmunds and Mr Cassidy (Mr Harris is the only one to whom I did not manage to pay a visit this time).

Mr Edmunds played the classes through the screen!

We have worked very hard this term. It is not always easy and each class presents its own unique challenges.

Yet, as the outside world becomes increasingly more dangerous and ridiculous, we have all been enthused and inspired by the dedication, commitment and sheer joy of the children in all of our schools. 

Let us not forget that this is only the first full school year back since the outbreak of the global pandemic. Everyone is tired and there are numerous challenges in all of our lives: some public; some private.

I hope everyone will be able to find some peace over the course of the Easter break. Whoever - and wherever - you are, you have earned the right to take a rest.

CSC Teesside has a busy Summer term ahead and our Megafinal is coming up very soon. Incidentally, there are currently only 19 places remaining, so please book as soon as possible if you have yet to do so.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Megafinal Update

We are now down to the last 31 places for the Delancey UK Schools' Chess Challenge Teesside Megafinal.

If you are thinking about entering then please remember that the entries will lock once we reach 150 and no more will be possible.

Click here for the online entry page.

Monday, 4 April 2022

Live Commentary Recording

If you missed my live commentary on Sunday's ECF Charity Blitz Marathon for Ukraine you can watch a recording of it here.

51 minutes and 17 seconds in; 70 minutes in total.

It was the only part of the 24 hours to feature a Sophie Ellis-Bextor mug.

Sunday, 3 April 2022

ECF Blitz Marathon for Ukraine Commentary

Commentating on the ECF Blitz Marathon for Ukraine with Natasha Regan and Matthew Sadler was a lot of fun.

Thank you to my friends who got up early on a Sunday morning to support the event.

Head here for more commentary and details of how to donate.