The Chronicle - - Chess -

LET’S start with a round-up of the cur­rent sta­tus of the Northum­bria league.

In Di­vi­sion 1, Mor­peth A are still top but by only one point ahead of Gos­forth Em­pire who have played a game less. Mor­peth A were held to an un­ex­pected draw at home by For­est Hall Bri­gadeers. The crit­i­cal game here saw Mark Younger (FHB) win con­vinc­ingly on board one against his much higher graded op­po­nent. This was sup­ported by a vic­tory on board 5 for Johnny Wall Ju­nior (FHB) and a solid draw on board 3 in the game be­tween James Turner (Mor­peth) and MikeSmith(FHB). Mike Smyth and Phil East­lake won good games for Mor­peth A on boards 2 and 4. It is gen­er­ally recog­nised that the player with the White pieces has a slight ad­van­tage be­cause White al­ways moves first, but it is rare that in a 5 board game, the 5 Whites will pick up 4.5 points, as they did here. A strong Leam Lane Aces team were also held to a draw by Gos­forth Sal­ters, that club’s B team. David Walker won for the home side and John Wheeler for the away team with the other three games drawn.

In Di­vi­sion 2, For­est Hall Chief­tains played away against Tynedale B and won con­vinc­ingly 4.5-0.5 to re­tain their place at the top of the league. For the away team there were good wins for Mark Broughton, Paul Charlton, John Wall (Snr) and Johnny Wall (Jnr). For Tynedale, Ian Mackay picked up their half point. Al­though, the team re­sult sounds crush­ing the in­di­vid­ual games were well fought and Tynedale were not out­classed. It was my first visit to Tynedale’s new venue in Cor­bridge and I was very im­pressed.

If you live in the Hexham, Cor­bridge area and are in­ter­ested in play­ing chess it is very well worth a visit. Check them out on their web­site. Equal top of di­vi­sion 2, on points, are New­cas­tle Univer­sity and Gos­forth Re­gents. The univer­sity team had a good 3-2 away win against a strong Tynemouth B side with Jeremy Revel and Javier Ho­ras win­ning for the stu­dents andSteven Bur­nell for Tynemouth. Gos­forth Re­gents also won well beat­ing Al­nwick A 3-2. Here the de­ci­sive game was a win for Kurt Moreby (GR), the other 4 games were drawn.

In Di­vi­sion 3, For­est Hall Dra­goons re­tain their lead de­spite only draw­ing at home against South Shields C. I say “only” be­cause they seemed to have the match sewn up at one point. All credit to South Shields though. They kept fight­ing and good wins by Stan John­son and Jim Rid­dle lev­elled the match af­ter Weim­ing Xu and Rolf Mil­lar had given the home team a 2-0 lead. The other top team in this di­vi­sion Leam Lane Bul­lets drew their away game against Gos­forth V. Win­ners for the LLB team were Bob Forsythe (see be­low) and Joe Miller. And for the home team, Joe Chan and Brian Ord won to en­able the Gos­forth team to con­sol­i­date their sec­ond place in the di­vi­sion.

Only three days af­ter that match was played, I was shocked to learn that Bob Forsythe had died. I first came across him in the 1980s. An ex­tro­vert char­ac­ter who loved play­ing chess, he was very ac­tive at Leam Lane Chess Club and rep­re­sented them in the leagues, loy­ally, for 30-plus years. He also played reg­u­larly in Con­gresses and County In­di­vid­ual Tour­na­ments. He won the 3rd tier County In­di­vid­ual Tro­phy in 1990. He then moved up the 2nd tier event. Bob won this tro­phy in 1994,95, 97, 99, and 2005. He played in the Northum­ber­land Congress in late Septem­ber and won the Mi­nor with an im­pres­sive 4.5/5.

A great char­ac­ter, ev­ery­one has a story about him. He will be missed, not just by Leam Lane Chess Club, but ev­ery­one in the chess com­mu­nity in the North East.

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