Chess WITH THE KNIGHT
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.