A spot of history!

Lots of topics can come up when Woodseats Chess Club gets together for a social evening

Two Woodseats Chess players studying hard!

-no chess matches, just friendly games and chatter. This character came up in the conversation last night:
. This is H.E.Bird and among other claims to fame he wrote a chess column in the
The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent . Here’s one of the games that he played on a visit to Sheffield in 1883 (a translation of the notation of the game follows):

The opening is the ‘Fried Liver’ (Fegatello) Attack against the Two Knights Defence: Black definitely had chances to win! Do play it through-it’s worth it. Nineteenth century Sheffield chess players knew what they were doing.

For more information about ‘Social Chess’ at Woodseats Chess Club, contact: contact@woodseatschess.org.uk

Hey Kids! (Bill Speaking)

Hey kids

Just to keep you in the loop…

Andrew has very kindly offered his services to do the Simul. (quite a feat!)
2. I am in touch with ‘Mrs. Dave’ Toft regarding the Gala Dinner Dance, and…..


This took place last weekend, you may have seen Peter waving the ‘Flag of Camelot’ in the Parade on Look North (or then again, I might just be making that bit up)

The next one is tentatively pencilled in for Sunday, July 14th 2019

I would like us to enter the Festival in some way or other, both as a means of a dry run for the Golden Anniversary, and as a means of further embedding us in to the Woodseats’ consciousness.

I am thinking…

A 30 player simul.
Schedule the Crabb Shield (which will almost certainly be held at the Red Lion) to coincide with the Festival weekend.
A 30 player ‘Woodseats vs. The rest’ match

No Gala dinner dance scheduled, but possibly a curry wouldn’t go amiss?

Going back to the Golden Anniversary, a word about the cost. Obviously we should think about offering Pam some recompense for room hire etc. I also thought that we could donate £50 first prize and £50 for other prizes to the One-Day tournament. I also wondered about subsidising the Gala Dinner Dance, perhaps £5 or £10 per person, up to a maximum of £200?? What do you all think?

These things are all very tentative and also a long way away, which gives us time to plan and prepare (but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that two years is a long time, look what happened with Brexit!!)

Finally, the biggest challenge is to locate and track down all the old B&J/Cross Scythes/Woodeats members! Peter suggested I should make a list, I’m already doing it.

It’s a massive undertaking, but not out of our reach. Please give whatever help in doing all these things that you can, and don’t be shy in suggesting new ideas.

The main reason behind all this, is of course, to attract as many new members as possible. Links with libraries, links with local schools, all of these couldn’t be a bad idea.

Case of fatigue in the Summer League?

Darnall Away

Steve 1/2 D.Dawson
Brendan 1/2 C.Chatterton
Dave M 0-1 R.Black
Stevie D 0-1 H.Feather

Maybe it was the heat, but this felt like a real end-of-season match, with no real urgency from either side. Nevertheless, and despite the stifling weather, we turned up to fulfill our fixture. My thanks to all those who played last night, and indeed to all those who appear in this table:

So, here’s the final table!

If it can happen to him, it can happen to Woodseats

Considering we were a newly promoted team, we were never disgraced or embarrassed, and served Camelot proudly!

I hope everyone who took part in the campaign has got something out of it, and has hopefully taken something which they can learn from as we look ahead to the Winter League. Thanks Guys. It’s been fun!

Bill Ward

Spot the face-50 years of Woodseats Chess

In the summer of 1970, a group of gentlemen met in the Batemoor & Jordanthorpe Community centre and established the B.& J. Chess Club, 50 years on, in the year 2020, we hope to celebrate that anniversary! We are trying to contact anyone who has played for, or been a member of the club in that time. Anyone who has had a connection with B.& J./Cross Scythes/ Woodseats Chess Club and is not in regular contact, could they please get in touch with me.

Bill Ward

Spreading the Word

Poster now on display in Woodseats New Library:

Copies available for posting in other venues that you might know about:

Plans are afoot for starting a chess group in the library, to meet during the day, probably on a Monday or Tuesday:

T. W. Crabb Shield Tournament – Saturday 21st July 2018

at the Red Lion, 653 Chesterfield Road, Sheffield, S2 4HT

(Woodseats league match venue) Doors Open: 11.00 a.m.

Format: 6 rounds each of 50 minutes, with players having a straight 25 minutes each for all moves.

Round 1: 11.20a.m. Round 2: 12.20p.m. Lunch (available at the bar): 1.20-2.00 Round 3: 2.00p.m.
Round 4: 3.00p.m. Round 5: 4.00p.m. Round 6: 5.00p.m. followed by prizegiving.

Entry fee: £4 waged, £2 unwaged. All money will be returned as prizes.
The T.W. Crabb Shield will go to the overall winner, provided they are resident in the Sheffield & District region (or if not then the highest placed player who is.)

Entries will be taken on the day, but early notification of entries will save time and help with preparations. All entries please to


Joining the ECF (English Chess Federation)

Special General Meeting

Notice is hereby given that a Special General Meeting of the Sheffield & District Chess Association will take place on Monday 21st May, 2018, at Stradbroke Community Centre (in the grounds of Stradbroke Primary School), Richmond Road, Stradbroke, Sheffield, S13 8LT, starting at 8.15 p.m.

The meeting has been called at the request of the Executive to vote on the proposition

that the Sheffield & District Chess Association submit for grading by the English Chess Federation the results from the S&DCA leagues (winter & summer), its team knock-out competitions (Richardson and Haystead Cups), and the Sheffield Championship. To apply starting August 31st 2018.

Cost Implications

 This has cost implications in that at the end of the grading season the ECF would charge to the S&DCA a sum fixed annually (currently £16) for each player who has more than three games included, but was not (by the end of the season) a member of the ECF at Bronze level or above. The present cost per person of Bronze ECF membership is £16.

Such fees charged by the ECF to the S&DCA would then be charged to the member clubs concerned.

Thus S&DCA league players would need to be ECF members, or else the S&DCA would pass on to their clubs the fee (currently £16) charged by the ECF to the S&DCA per such non-member.

 Operational Considerations

 Whereas league secretaries currently enter results into “Chessnuts” (which will cease to produce “Yorkshire” grades after June 2018), they would (from 31st August) enter their results in a similar manner into the ECF’s similar web-based “League Management System” (LMS), which provides the same kind of on-line result reporting as “Chessnuts”.

LMS provides for generation of the half-yearly ECF grading-data submissions, which would then be signed off and submitted to the ECF by an ECF Grader such as Phill Beckett or Steve Mann.

Food for thought-report from the Sheffield AGM

Here are my notes from the Sheffield and District Chess Association AGM which took place at the Red Lion tonight. The agenda and supporting documentation are on the Association web site so I’ll stick to pointing out items that may be of interest to our members. Please circulate as I can’t think straight any more…..
The meeting started on time at 7:30 with all clubs represented apart from the University.

Both John Fryer and Peter Willoughby announced that they were stepping down from their current posts. If anyone is interested in becoming a League Secretary, organising Saturday chess or helping run one of the rapidplay events, I’m sure the Association would love to hear from you.
All clubs were asked to think about whether they could host the Hope Valley, Gurnhill or Crabbe Shield and make offers at the Fixture Meeting. Steve Mann said he would be happy to run a tournament if a venue could be provided. Bill looked interested in providing a venue…

Rule Changes
In order to be passed, a two thirds majority was required. I’ve indicated voting as it was relayed from the chair:

1. The proposal to have a single time limit of 75 minutes per player for the whole game was passed with 20 in favour and 5 against. This will therefore take immediate effect.
2. The proposal to have a single time limit of 90 minutes per player for the whole game unless either team wanted a limit of 75 minutes was defeated with only 3 votes in favour and a forest of cards against. There was confusion in the room about the wording and impact of this so I wasn’t surprised it failed. However, with better wording, a similar proposal might stand a chance in future.
3. The proposal to move (back) to having one team promoted and one relegated failed to get the required number of votes with 16 in favour and 10 against. The main argument against seemed to be that it is more fun if you have a greater chance of being promoted and having 4 teams out of 8 swapping divison each year means you avoid seeing the same old faces across the board. More of this later…

4. A proposal (which we didn’t discuss at our AGM) to get rid of playoffs by resolving ties for championships/promotions/relegations using results of matches between the tied teams was passed with 22 in favour and 3 against. I was comfortable to vote in favour given our experience of a playoff this season and the fact that the league secretaries were keen to see it passed.
The next item of interest was the formation of teams into league divisions. As the proposal to cut promotion and relegation to 1 team had been defeated, surely this would be a formality…

Division 1

Worksop A and Rotherham A declined promotion (!). As the rest of division 2 consists of B teams, the line up for next season looks strangely familiar. With a strong looking University in Division 2 now, it is probably not going to be the best season to finish bottom:
Chesterfield A

Nomads A


Ecclesall A

Hillsborough A (formerly Stannington)

Woodseats A

Barnsley A

Darnall & H A

Division 2

As above, no change from the top end of the division. At the bottom, University were promoted in their absence but Worksop B declined promotion from DIvision 3 so only Barnsley B were relegated. SASCA/RJ B wanted to be relegated so a casual place was offered to anyone who wanted it (including our B team – politely declined). There were no takers and SASCA eventually relented.
Worksop A

Rotherham A

Chesterfield B

Nomads B

Hillsborough B (formerly Stannington)

Ecclesall B



Division 3

With 1 promotion and 2 relegations, Division 3 bucks the trend and looks a bit different to last year. Note that as one team (SASCA/RJ C) collapsed part way through the season, there is 1 team relegated and 2 new arrivals from Division 4 including our very own B team…
Barnsley B

Worksop B

Clay Cross

Aughton A

Nomads C

Hillsborough C (formerly Stannington)

Rotherham B

Woodseats B

Division 4
Due to having only 1 team relegated into it but 2 promoted, there was a danger of having too few teams in this division but Sheffield Deaf agreed to stay up and Darnall & H B took the final casual vacancy when Worksop again declined a promotion. Ecclesall belatedly realised they have 2 teams in this division.
Ecclesall C

Barnsley C

Chesterfield C

Aughton B

Ecclesall D

Sheffield Deaf

Ravenfield A

Darnall & H B
Division 5

This division might have struggled for numbers but a couple of clubs switched from the 400 league so there’s a decent selection of sides here…


Worksop C

Nomads D

Woodseats B

Ravenfield B

University B (?) – this was mentioned but as they weren’t present at the AGM it was unclear to me if it is a confirmed entry
The 400 league will be finalised later.

Just when we were packing up to go home, along came a serious bit of AOB…

As you probably know, our match results, league tables and grades are managed via the Chessnuts website. This is a free service that has run for many years. However, the man behind Chessnuts is going to retire at the end of this season and is looking for someone to take over the running of the system. If nobody can be found to take on the work, we in the Sheffield and District Association along with several other leagues in Yorkshire will face having nowhere to post results and having no grading of our games. Steve Mann has written a paper on the impact which should appear on the Association website at some point.
The options discussed were:

1. Hope that someone takes over Chessnuts. Apparently a couple of people have shown an initial interest. If this interest is sustained, the Association could look at providing some sort of financial support/incentive.

2. Have all Sheffield and District games graded by the English Chess Federation (ECF). This would require every player to be at least a Bronze member of the ECF (£16 was quoted as the current annual fee).
3. Have, say, the top 2 divisions graded by the ECF and not bother for the rest. There is a concern that people on fixed incomes may struggle to pay £16 and would be lost to local chess.
4. See if anyone else could accommodate us. There is at least 1 other results/grading system which works outside the ECF.
After much debate, the chairman took an action to …do something…probably set up a sub-committee to present options to a future Extraordinary General Meeting. It was agreed that doing nothing and then having the debate next year would be disastrous.

Meeting closed and I was home at 10:30.

Dave Toft (Club Chairman)

Anything could happen!

Andrew Ledger writes this morning:
“I’m hoping to have some decent games in the Isle of Man in a few weeks time. Would be nice to post a game against Kramnik or one of the many others there: As you’ll see, it’s ‘quite strong’ and the first round is a completely random draw, so anything could happen”.