With competitive over-the-board chess closed down, our Members have to turn to other outlets. So we are delighted to report that 09-June-2020 Robert Marks and Marek Soszynski were each awarded the official ICCF, FIDE-recognised, title of Correspondence Chess Master. Both were already Correspondence Chess Experts.

At the Club's Executive Meeting (Virtual) on Monday-20-April-2020, there were two principal decisions:

  1. Our Annual General Meeting will be on Monday-20-July-2020.
  2. Neil Owen joins our Executive Committee as the Online Director, responsible for all our online teams, tourney's, simuls, and matches.

Sutton Coldfield Chess Club is boosting its online presence. Join (which is free) to play chess on the internet, and then join our Club's own online team:

Because of concerns about Coronavirus COVID-19, and following the advice of the English Chess Federation, all our local chess leagues have suspended all matches indefinitely (including cup and individual games). Therefore, all our remaining 2019-2020 winter fixtures are postponed.


Altogether six players registered with Sutton Coldfield CC competed in the Birmingham Rapidplay (7 rounds of 15'+10") Sunday-15-March. Four of them had considerable success:

Open: 1st Henrik Stepanyan 6pts, =2nd Tomasz Sygnowski 5pts, =4th Mircea Mesesan 4pts.

Inter (140max): Arjun Pyda 4pts.

Which dozen of our Members have played the most standardplay games in the past 12 months? (According to the February revision of the January 2020 ECF online Grading List.)

  • 1st Henrik Stepanyan 60
  • 2nd Nigel Byrne 56
  • 3rd Chirag Guha 42
  • 4th Larry Hayden 40
  • =5th Roy Lawrence, John Mildenhall 36
  • =7th Rob Marks, David Gardiner 35
  • 9th Golam Ali 34
  • 10th Peter Oliver 33
  • 11th Marek Soszynski 32
  • 12th Arthur Kent 28

Tuesday 10-Mar-2020, at Olton CC, was the occasion for a buzzing performance by our 'A' Team who became the Birmingham League 2020 Team Lightning Champions!

  1. Henrik Stepanyan
  2. Mircea-Marius Mesesan
  3. Neil Owen (Captain)
  4. Marek Soszynski

The 2019-2020 winter season is drawing to a close. If you haven't already bookmarked our Fixtures & Results List, here are all our remaining matches. Playoffs and Finals might yet need to be added to these ten:

Monday 16th March Birmingham Division 5 (571) Sutton Coldfield v Olton
Thursday 19th March Cannock Chase Trophy (Final) Tamworth v Sutton Coldfield
Monday 23rd March Birmingham Division 4 (464) Sutton Coldfield v Shirley & Wythall
postponed Staffordshire Gothard Trophy (Semi-Final) Fenton (@ Rugeley) v Sutton Coldfield
Thursday 2nd April Birmingham Division 2 (277) Lichfield v Sutton Coldfield
Monday 6th April Birmingham Division 1 (176) Sutton Coldfield v Shirley & Wythall
Monday 6th April Birmingham Division 4 (466) Sutton Coldfield v Kynoch
Monday 6th April Birmingham Division M (729) Sutton Coldfield v Solihull B
Wednesday 8th April Dudley Division 1 South Birmingham v Sutton Coldfield
Monday 27th April Dudley Division 1 Sutton Coldfield v Warley Quinborne
updated 14-March-2020

More honours! Sutton Coldfield have won the Cannock League Division 1 Championship after narrowly beating Lichfield over 2 legs. Our top scorers were Marek Soszynski (Captain and Board 1) and Nigel Byrne, each with 75%.


Congratulations to our Birmingham League Division 2 Team on beating the mighty South Birmingham Division 1 'A' Team to become the Homer Trophy Champions 2019-20! Captain John Mildenhall led from the front by being the first to finish when he announced checkmate. Our other scorers were Iqbal Dhesi and Albert Czopek.

The new English Chess Federation grades were published 29-January-2020. According to the standardplay list, our Club's top dozen members/registered players are:

  • 1st Ameet Ghasi 251
  • 2nd Tomasz Sygnowski 217
  • 3rd Henrik Stepanyan 205
  • 4th Chirag Guha 181
  • 5th Golam Ali 180
  • 6th Keith Escott 166
  • 7th Neil Owen 165
  • 8th John Mildenhall 162
  • =9th Marek Soszynski 161
  • =9th David Gardiner 161
  • 11th Ed Ng 155
  • 12th Roy Lawrence 154

The Second Round (Quarter-Finals) of the Sutton Coldfield Chess Club Major Championship (U160) is now under way:

  • John Mildenhall v Larry Hayden
  • Albert Czopek lost to Rob Marks
  • Roy Lawrence conceded to Jet Ajimal
  • Nigel Byrne beat Ed Ng

The First Round (Quarter-Finals) of the Major Plate has started too:

  • Peter Oliver beat David Howles
  • Ian Morley v Josh Hannion
  • Chris East lost to Steve Palla
  • Mike Darlow beat Steven Mildenhall

Both these internal competitions involve ungraded games of 75 minutes each.

updated 07-February-2020


Season's Greetings to all our Members and visitors. And a Happy New Year both on and off the chessboard.

Our chess club's last meeting in 2019 will be Monday 23 December (it is a "free night" with no league matches). Our first meeting in 2020 will be Thursday 2 January. See you then!

Monday-16-December we held a Xmas Curry Knight Blitz Tournament. The top three finishers were 1st Henrik Stepanyan, 2nd Neil Owen, and 3rd John Mildenhall. (John not only came third but ran the tourney too.) Afterwards nine of us went for a curry at the Indian Chef restaurant in Walmley.

We are delighted to have welcomed three new Members in recent weeks: Mircea-Marius Mesesan, who is also still with Tamworth CC, and the two returners, Ed Ng and John Broadmore, who both played for our First Team several or more years ago.


We have to thank the executor of the late Ernest Pearson from North-Western England, who died this autumn, for the bequest of a large number of old chess books, many of which will now be freely distributed among our interested Members.

We are pleased that Ernest's own love of the game and its literature will be perpetuated here through this thoughtful gift.

Our Club has reached the Final of the Cannock League, Cannock Chase Trophy by beating Stafford 3½-½. Our most notable performance was by David Howles on bottom board who beat a player graded 70 points higher than him! We meet Wolverhampton or Tamworth in the Final.


The First Round of the Sutton Coldfield Chess Club Major Championship (U160) is already under way:

  • John Mildenhall bye
  • Larry Hayden beat Peter Oliver
  • Albert Czopek v Josh Hannion
  • Rob Marks beat Ian Morley
  • Roy Lawrence beat David Howles
  • Jet Ajimal beat Chris East
  • Nigel Byrne beat Steve Palla
  • Ed Ng beat Mike Darlow

First Round losers will be entered in the Major Plate.

Updated 26-November-2019

Recent individual successes:

  • Our International Master, Ameet Ghasi, won the UK Open Blitz Championship, Birmingham Qualifier 07-Sep-2019, with a perfect score of 15 wins. He goes through to the national Final on 16-Nov-2019 in Solihull.
  • The Captain of our Dudley League and Cannock League teams, Marek Soszynski, came equal first in the Bradford Chess Congress, Major Section (U171) 13/15-Sep-2019.

Our Birmingham League 2019-2020 Captains, and squads to be registered, were selected at the Executive Committee Meeting, Monday-19-August-2019 and thereafter:

  • 1st Team (Division 1) Golam Ali
  • 2nd Team (Division 2) John Mildenhall
  • 3rd Team (Division 4) Rob Marks
  • 4th Team (Division 5) John Wassell
  • 5th Team (Minor Division) David Howles

Marek Soszynski will continue to captain our teams in the Cannock and Dudley Leagues.

Our complete Fixture List (in PDF format) for winter 2019-2020 is now available, but bear in mind that it will undergo very many updates as the season progresses.

Sutton Coldfield CC won the 14th Cold War Cake Match 12-August-2019 against our annual rivals Warley Quinborne CC. Lots of cake, lots of chess. Our very special thanks for the food goes to three women: Sue Howles, Jay Rahmatullah, and Debarati Guha.

Our thanks go to Henrik Stepanyan for giving a Simultaneous Display on 13 Boards on 05-August-2019.

Despite offering to be black, Henrik still scored 69% — winning 8, drawing 2, and losing only 3 to Rob Marks, Neil Owen, and Chirag Guha.

The Club's Blitz Tournament on 29-July resulted in a three-way tie for 1st place between Golam Ali, John Mildenhall, and Neil Owen, who each scored 6 points out of 7.

Congratulations to Marek Soszynski on achieving the official title of Correspondence Chess Expert (CCE) awarded and ratified by the ICCF and recognised by FIDE. And if Robert Marks continues to gain Expert and Master norms, he too will be awarded a title in due course.


The English Chess Federation has issued its new Grading List 22-July-2019. See the ECF Grading Database for full details.

Here are the Club's top ten in three categories:

Longplay Grade Rapidplay Grade Longplay Games
1st Ghasi 251 Ghasi
258 Stepanyan 61
2nd Sygnowski 214 Stepanyan 217 Guha 50
3rd Ortega 212 Sygnowski 216 Byrne 49
4th Stepanyan 210 Ortega 200 Hayden 38
5th Guha 186 Owen 182 Ali 37
6th Owen 169 Ali 168 Gardiner 35
7th Escott 166 Guha 167 Ghasi 33
8th Soszynski 164 Mildenhall
161 Marks
9th Lawrence 155
10th Ali
151 Hayden
142 Kent 30

The most improved player is our humble Webmaster himself, Marek Soszynski, who gained 10 grading points in longplay, and 12 in rapidplay. His longplay drawing rate of 23% (arguably an inverse measure of competitiveness) was bettered only by Chirag Guha with a truly remarkable 18%.

Congratulations to Henrik Stepanyan on winning our annual Lightning (Buzzer) Tourney on Mon-22-July-2019 for a record-breaking tenth time. Henrik (left) is shown receiving the trophy from Chairperson Keith Escott, who ran the tourney. Top finishers in this nine-rounder were:

  • 1st Henrik Stepanyan 8½ pts (£50)
  • 2nd Neil Owen 7 pts (£35)
  • 3rd Golam Ali 6½ pts (£25)
  • 4th John Mildenhall 5½ pts

Summer's nearly over and winter is in sight?! Well, it is for us chess players...

Sutton Coldfield CC, Summer Programme & Start of 2019-20 Winter Season

  • Monday 22nd July: Lightning (Buzzer) Tourney with cash prizes
  • Monday 29th July: Blitz Tourney followed by Curry Knight
  • Monday 5th August: Simultaneous Display by Henrik Stepanyan
  • Monday 12th August: Cake Match, Sutton Coldfield v Warley Quinborne
  • Monday 19th August: Committee Meeting (Squad Selection)
  • Monday 26th August: Bank Holiday (Chess Club closed)
  • Wednesday 4th September: Birmingham League Division 4, Coleshill v Sutton Coldfield
  • Thursday 5th September: Cannock League Division 1, Lichfield v Sutton Coldfield
  • Monday 9th September: Birmingham League Division 1, Sutton Coldfield v Halesowen
  • Wednesday 11th September: Birmingham League Division 5, Solihull v Sutton Coldfield
amended 28-July-2019

Brief report of the proceedings at our Annual General Meeting 01-July-2019...

  • All the officers re-elected. (Captains are not appointed till August.)
  • Individual membership fees remain at £20 a year, £10 for juniors.
  • David Howles elected as the Clubman of the Year.
  • Mike Darlow elected, unanimously, as a Life Member.
  • John Mildenhall presented with Club U170 Championship trophy.

For the second year running at a New Hall Mill open day, Sutton Coldfield Chess Club organised an exhibition stand under a canvas gazebo. Club members Rob Marks, Marek Soszynski, and David Howles spent Sunday-23-June-2019 answering queries, playing friendlies, distributing leaflets, and generally trying to enthuse the passers-by into chess — with occasional success even!

The Mill, which is located off Wylde Green Road, next to Bishop Walsh School, holds several open days a year. Website: New Hall Mill (Walmley)

Sutton Coldfield Chess Club end of 2018-2019 winter season summary report

Here are the successes or near-successes of our teams or individuals representing our club...

  • Birmingham Homer Trophy — Runners-up
  • Birmingham Individual U161 — Winner: John Mildenhall
  • Cannock Division 1 — Champions
  • Cannock Robert Ward Trophy — Winner: David Gardiner
  • Cannock Robert Ward Plate — Winner: Nigel Byrne
  • Dudley Division 1 — Runners-up
  • Staffordshire Gothard Cup — Runners-up

We also have to report one disappointment...

  • Birmingham Division 3 — Relegated
amended 22-May-2019

Our first real trophy of the season! 21-March-2019 Sutton Coldfield drew with Lichfield 2-2 and thus retained the Cannock League Division 1 Championship. Team regulars Marek Soszynski (Captain), John Mildenhall, and Nigel Byrne scored 75% between them.

We have a new captain in a new competition! David Howles is the Sutton Coldfield Captain in an extra Birmingham League, Minor Division (previously known as the "F" League) which is for teams of 3 players graded under 85. The matches are already on our Fixture List.

We just need one or two more players of that strength, or inexperienced newcomers without a grade at all, to expand the squad. Interested?

At the inaugural Solihull 960 Rapidplay 10-March-2019 Henrik Stepanyan won all 5 rounds, came 1st, and received £150 (less than originally advertised). Tomasz Sygnowski came equal 2nd. Well played!

Our first trophy of the season? Not exactly.

The tiny new Dora Cup is consolation for our 1st Team's and 2nd Team's disappointing results in the Terrill and Homer competitions, not to mention the mixed performances of our other teams this season.

The Sutton Coldfield Chess Club U170 Championship is now at Round 2, the quarter-final stage, with some of this round's matches already completed.

  • Chris East 0 Marek Soszynski 1
  • Rob Marks v Larry Hayden
  • John Mildenhall 1 Peter Oliver 0
  • Nigel Byrne v Jet Ajimal

Following the victories of 14-Jan-2019, we still have 4 teams involved in various cup competitions. We have reached...

  • Semi-Final ― Terrill Trophy ― B'ham League (1st Team)
  • Final - Homer Plate ― B'ham League (2nd Team)
  • Quarter-Final ― Chase Trophy ― Cannock League
  • Final ― Gothard Cup ― Staffordshire Association

Our Equipment Secretary, Rob Marks, approvingly inspects one of our new, handcarved, weighted and felted boxwood sets that arrived at the Club 10-Jan-2019.

Let's hope our members appreciate the enhanced playing experience provided by the chess pieces and don't blame them for their own wooden performances!

At the Shropshire Congress held 4/6-January-2019 in Telford, two of our members topped the FIDE-rated Open section: Ameet Ghasi outright 1st (£1,000), and Tomasz Sygnowski outright 2nd (£300). That's despite there being 3 Grandmasters in the field. Ameet is himself "only" an International Master who joined our Club around October-2018.


We wish all our members and visitors a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

As usual, the Chess Club will be meeting neither on Bank Holidays nor on or between 24-Dec and 01-Jan. (The Minworth Social Club itself, though, will be open throughout.) Our home programme over the holidays is:

  • Thu-20-Dec — Last meeting before the Xmas break
  • Mon-24-Dec (Xmas Eve) — Chess Club closed
  • Thu-27-Dec — Chess Club closed
  • Mon-31-Dec (New Year's Eve) — Chess Club closed
  • Thu-03-Jan — First Thursday Gambit Tournament

We are pleased to welcome new member Wojciech Czopek. Wojciech, or Albert as he is known to his English friends, has an ECF grade of 173.

Congratulations to John Mildenhall on winning (and running!) the November First Thursday Gambit Tournament. Neil Owen came second. All games started from the Hickmann Gambit: 1.c4 f5 2.e4 fxe4. White scored 47%.

A reminder that on the first Thursday night of every month the club runs a small tournament. Anyone can enter, members or not, so do come along! The starting position for all the games is decided at random before the start of the competition shortly after 7:30pm.

Congratulations to Tomasz Sygnowski and to Henrik Stepanyan for coming joint 2nd in the Birmingham Rapidplay (Open) at Quinborne Community Centre, Quinton, 21-October-2018.

Congratulations to Henrik Stepanyan on winning October's First Thursday Gambit Tournament. Our thanks go to Neil Owen, who came second, for running the pairings. All games started from the Barreiro Gambit: 1.d4 d6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Nc6. White scored 53%.

At the British Bangla Chess Association Rapidplay at Broadway Academy, Perry Barr, held 30-Sep-2018 Henrik Stepanyan came 1st in the Open while Marek Soszynski came =2nd in the Major.

Our Chess Club had a display stand at the New Hall Mill open day Sunday-09-September-2018. The Mill is located along Wylde Green Road, next to Bishop Walsh School.

Our gazebo attracted dozens of visitors, some to play chess, some to chat or ask questions. Hopefully a few will turn up at the Club.

Our thanks go to Rob Marks and Marek Soszynski for running the show, and to members Neil Owen, Roy Lawrence and Mike Darlow for stopping by.

September's First Thursday Gambit Tournament was won by John Mildenhall, half a point ahead of Neil Owen. The games all started from the King's (Bishop) Gambit, Steinitz Defence: 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Ne7. White scored 54%. Congratulations to John, and thanks to Marek Soszynski, who came third, for running the tourney.

Visit our new First Thursday Gambit page for a history of this event including past winners.


Now available is our new Fixture List for the 2018-19 winter season across all the leagues and competitions we've entered. Altogether we have about 60 scheduled matches ― with a few more to come involving cups and maybe playoffs. This List will be regularly updated with results and postponements, from the same link.

Sutton Coldfield CC have regained the Neddy Trophy!

In the 16-board Cake Match 16-August-2018 we beat our annual rivals, Warley Quinborne CC, 17½–14½. The photo shows Sutton Captain Marek Soszynski on the left receiving the Neddy Trophy from opposition captain John Fahy. Our thanks go to our Warley hosts for 3 tasty cakes: an ale cake, a sponge cake, and a fruit cake.

Congratulations to John Mildenhall on winning the inaugural Sutton Coldfield Chess Club, Major Championship (U170). John will be presented with the trophy after it has been engraved. He beat Peter Oliver in the Final 13-August-2018. Twelve players competed altogether. The next Major Championship will be advertised in September once the winter season has started.

Our First Thursday Gambit Tourney on 02-August featured the Evans Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4. Neil Owen was the victor, conceding only half a point. White scored 53%.

The new English Chess Federation standardplay grades were issued 26-July-2018. Our top dozen current players are:

  1. Irvin Ortega 214
  2. Henrik Stepanyan 210
  3. Tomasz Sygnowski 206
  4. Russell James 195
  5. Chirag Guha 175
  6. Keith Escott 172
  7. Neil Owen 170
  8. Golam Ali 169
  9. Marek Soszynski 156
  10. John Mildenhall 153
  11. David Gardiner 150
  12. Roy Lawrence 148

For more details, visit the ECF Grading Database webpage, which is updated and revised throughout the year.

Congratulations to Henrik Stepanyan on winning our 2018 Lightning Tournament on 23-July with 8½ points from the 9 rounds. Second was Neil Owen with 6½ points. Equal third on 6 points were Marek Soszynski and the visiting former member Jan Chudzinski. The picture shows Jan (on the left) with Henrik holding the trophy. Our thanks, as ever, go to Keith Escott for running the tourney.

The following week, on 01-Aug, there was a Handicap Tournament at Boldmere CC. Henrik won that outright with Jan coming joint second.

In brief: At our Annual General Meeting 16 July 2018, the principal officers were re-elected, subscriptions stayed at £20 a year (£10 for juniors), Golam Ali was elected Clubman of the Year, and it was decided to hold a Lightning (Buzzer) Tourney on Monday 23-July.

Our First Thursday Gambit Tourney on 05-July featured the Falkbeer Counter Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5. There were 6 Rounds played at 3'+5". Neil Owen was the victor, scoring 5 wins with 1 loss. White scored 50%.

Congratulations to us on retaining the Staffordshire Chess Association, Gothard Cup (U161). In the Final on 25-Jun-2018 we beat Cheddleton CC on board count despite being outgraded overall. Our victorious team was: Nigel Byrne, Roy Lawrence, Rob Marks, and Jet Ajimal. Well done!

We had so many trophies to be presented with at the Birmingham League, Annual General Meeting 11-June-2018 that we had to send several Members to collect them. From left to right, John Mildenhall, Marek Soszynski, Golam Ali, and Neil Owen. (Not pictured at the curry house were Keith Escott, Rob Marks, and Russell James.) The trophies included the League Championship, Summer League Championship, Team Lightning Championship, and two Individual Championships.

Our First Thursday Gambit Tourney on 07-June featured the Elephant Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5. There were 5 Rounds played at 3'+5". Neil Owen was the victor, winning all his games. White scored 60%.

Congratulations to Marek Soszynski on winning the 2018 Birmingham League, Morry-Wood, Best Game prize (£30 + Shield + Certificate). The award was decided on a tie-break; perhaps it was the powerful finish that swung the decision.

Here is that finish, as played in the Open section Minor Counties match (Lincolnshire v Warwickshire) 24-Mar-2018: 31...Rxf1! 32. Kxf1 (32.Qf5+ Qxf5 33.exf5 Rb1 34.Kxf2 Rxf5+ winning) 32...Qc4+ 33. Re2 Qxe2+! 0-1.

White resigns because of the further 34.Kxe2 f1=Q+ 35.Ke3 Rf3+ 36.Kd2 Rd3+ 37.Kc2 Qd1 checkmate.

Sutton Coldfield CC have always had a great record in the Birmingham League Individual Championships. This year we have another two champions: Rob Marks (Division 3), and Chris East (Division 5). Well done to them both!


The Sutton Coldfield Chess Club, Major Championship (U170) is an ungraded, seeded knockout with all moves in 75 minutes each. It has already reached Round 2, the quarter-final stage, for which the draw is:

  • Marek Soszynski v Peter Oliver
  • Jet Ajimal v Larry Hayden
  • John Mildenhall v Chris East
  • Nigel Byrne v Rob Marks

Huge congratulations to our First Team, under the captaincy of Golam Ali, who have won the Birmingham League Division 1 Championship! A squad of 11 players was used. The most regular players, each having played 11 out of the 12 matches, were Henrik Stepanyan, Neil Owen, and Keith Escott. Henrik had the best percentage score of 86% having won 8, drawn 3, and lost 0.

Our congratulations go to Rob Marks on winning the Rugeley Rapidplay U120 Section on 07-Apr-2018. Rob scored 6½/7, and won the £120 first prize.

The First Thursday Gambit Tournament on 05-Apr-2018 featured the Budapest Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 etc.) and was won by Neil Owen. Black scored 50%. Our thanks go to John Mildenhall for running the tourney.

A fantastic performance by our Club at the Birmingham League Team Lightning Tournament 13-Mar-2018 at Olton CC. Our 1st Team, in the top section, Section A, were first by a large margin; our 2nd Team, in Section C, were second, only half a point behind the leaders. In addition, two of our players scored a perfect 5/5: Henrik Stepanyan (1st Team) and Chris East (2nd Team).

Our victorious 1st Team, the 2018 Team Lightning Champions, comprised Henrik Stepanyan, Neil Owen, Marek Soszynski, and Golam Ali.

Congratulations to the two of our Members who have reached the Cannock League, Robert Ward Trophy Final: Peter Oliver (representing Tamworth CC) and Nigel Byrne.

Our congratulations go to Henrik Stepanyan! He is the outright Warwickshire Champion 2018-2019 for his performance at the Warwickshire Open Chess Championships 2018 held in Coventry on the first weekend in March. He had twice previously only shared the title.

Our 4th Team is on a roll! Captain Jet Ajimal has seen them win 4 and draw 1 of their last 5 matches in Birmingham League Division 5. And we aren't talking narrow victories here: their total games score was an impressive 23-7.


At our second First Thursday Gambit Tournament on 01-Feb-2018 the opening randomly chosen was the Kingfisher Gambit 1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4. The top finishers were 1st Henrik Stepanyan, 2nd Neil Owen, equal 3rd Golam Ali & Marek Soszynski. White scored 60%.

According to the ECF Grading List published 23-January-2018, here are our leading members based on their standardplay grades and games played in the 12 months up to 31-December-2017.

Our Top Dozen - Grades
1st Irvin Ortega 217
=2nd Henrik Stepanyan 209
Tomasz Sygnowski 209
4th Russell James 200
5th Neil Owen 179
6th Golam Ali 174
7th Keith Escott 172
8th Chirag Guha 171
=9th Marek Soszynski 163
John Mildenhalli 163
11th David Gardiner 158
12th Iqbal Dhesi 148
Our Top Dozen - Games Played
1st Nigel Byrne 64
2nd Chirag Guha 48
3rd Golam Ali 47
4th Marek Soszynski 39
5th Roy Lawrence 37
6th Henrik Stepanyan 33
7th Peter Oliver 30
8th Larry Hayden 29
9th John Wassell 28
=10th John Mildenhall 27
Rob Marks 27
12th Arthur Kent 26

For more details, visit the ECF Grading Database webpage, which is updated and revised throughout the year.

Henrik Stepanyan blindfolded.

Blindfold Consultation Game

Thursday 18-Jan-2018 Henrik Stepanyan, without sight of the board, played a single game against Members of Sutton Coldfield Chess Club in consultation.

Although Henrik (graded 211 ECF) put "The Room" under continuous pressure, after forty moves the position had resolved into a four-rook and pawns ending which though better for Henrik was probably technically equal, so the game was agreed drawn - to everyone's relief!

No, the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey picture doesn't represent how it was actually played. Henrik unaided merely sat out of sight.

Cup report: This week we have gone through to the Cannock League Chase Trophy Final (against Brewood), and were already through to the Staffordshire Gothard Cup Final (sometime in June, against Fenton or Cheddleton). However, for completeness, we must also report that by now all our Birmingham League teams have exited (or hadn't entered) their respective trophy competitions.


Following the success of our first ever thematic competition, from now on we will be holding a First Thursday Gambit Tournament on - can you guess? - the first Thursday in each and every month. So, the next one will be Thu-01-Feb.

Meanwhile, on Thu-18-Jan there will be a Consultation Match between Henrik Stepanyan and The World or, rather, The Room.

Thur-11-Jan-2018 the Club held its inaugural First Thursday Gambit Tournament. The format was 6 (was going to be 5) rounds of 10 minutes each, every game in the entire tourney starting from the same position, one not previously advertised to the players.

On this occasion, drawn out of a hat, was the Gibbins Weidenhagen Gambit accepted 1.d4 Nf6 2.g4 Nxg4. 10 players competed, with others observing. The top finishers were: 1st Henrik Stepanyan, equal 2nd Chirag Guha & John Mildenhall. Our special thanks go to Neil Owen for running the tournament.

Is the GWG, also known among other things as the Bogart Gambit, sound? Well, in our tournament White scored 55% while only 3 games out of the 30 were drawn.

For previous news items, i.e. everything from 2017 or earlier, go to the Older News page.