Race against time wins vital game

Lichfield B team’s bid for promotion nearly ended in disaster as two players arrived 30 minutes late for the match at Warley Quinborne-a must win game for the team.

Skipper Mike Maher’s satnav malfunctioned completely and he was completely lost for a while, whilst Alan Giles thought the match was at home and turned up at the Guildhall. He left at around 7-15 pm and managed to get to the match just after 8pm having had an amazing trouble free drive.

Both players managed draws, all the team were unbeaten and Graham Lamb and Brian Homewood snatched the points with wins on the bottom two boards.

Lichfield keep top place and one more point from their last game should ensure promotion. That could be critical because the first team have a fight on their hands to avoid relegation.

Reserves to the rescue

Lichfield’s first team had to field two reserves from B3 in the critical relegation battle against mid table Halesowen but captain Peter Collins need not have worried as both won their games in a 4-2 win.

Gary Monks, previously without a win this season, wrapped up victory in a handful of moves on Board 6, whilst his rapidly improving workmate Peter Willett also won his game. Gary and Peter used to play chess in their lunch hour and it was Gary who persuaded Peter to join Lichfield. Two years later Peter has edged past Gary in the club’s rankings.

While both gained vital wins Gary atoned for a very poor season with a nine move win  with black which went as follows-

  1. d4 -Nf6,  2 c4-e6, 3. Nf3-c5, 4 Bg5-e6, 5 Bh4-Qa5+, 6 Nd2-Ne4,7 e3-cxd4, 8 Nxd4-Nxd2.  9.Qxd2-Bb4  White resigns.

Gary kindly submitted the notation but horror of horrors, it was in some archaic system.Come on Gary. Get into the 21st century.

Lichfield now have 5pts, two clear of the second relegation spot, but the team’s position is still precarious as other teams in the relegation zone have been successful in a football style recruitment drive, picking up a number of  high graded players, including a grandmaster

Bottom club Redditch’s fate may have been sealed by a  5.5- 0-5 drubbing by Solihull but three clubs face a battle royal to avoid the drop.

Good feedback for ‘new’ style website

Lichfield Chess Club members have been quick to welcome the policy changes which have seen the club’s web site moving towards providing a continual news and comment service for members.

At the same time the site still meets its original criteria of providing potential members with essential information about joining the club- child protection policy, parking, subscriptions, etc.

David Fone said that what the site is now doing is brilliant. “It’s really enjoyable to read” he said.

Fred Biles said that the ‘new’ website is a vast improvement on the previous version.

Peter Willett commented “I really like the website. A lot of work has gone into it”.

Brian Homewood said there were some great articles on the website whilst John Fryer’s comment was that there was some good up to date content.

Webmaster David Short said that members had also put forward a couple of ideas for special features but there were problems because the WordPress version which the club is using is very limited in what can be done with photos, graphics and page design.

“To upgrade to a better system would be nice but costs could not be justified.Virtually all new members contact the club through having looked up the website. Notices in libraries and community centres no longer have much effect and these days it is virtually impossible, even for a former weekly newspaper editor like myself, to get a story in the Lichfield Mercury, because editorial space is shrinking year by year” he said.

Could it be two up, or two down?

Every point may count from now onwards for Lichfield’s first and second teams in the Birmingham League. The first team is well and truly in the relegation zone whilst the second team, which made a blistering start in Division 2,still needs two or three points to clinch promotion.

That means that if all goes well Lichfield will have two teams in Division 1 and if results go the wrong way it will be two teams in Division 2.

For second team captain Mike Maher it has taken astute fixture planning to field teams strong enough to set the initial pace, but with player availability still a problem he finds that he may need three points from the last two games to make certain of promotion.

“It’s 50-50 whether we make it” said Mike. His team still have a three point lead but the chasing pack have one or two games in hand.

Lichfield’s first team have three points, thanks to a draw at Bushbury on 27th Feb. With two of the  four remaining matches matches against table toppers Solihull and third placed Halesowen, they will be pinning their hopes on picking up points against fellow stragglers, Redditch and Warley Quinborne

The club’s three teams in the Wolverhampton League are safely in mid-table and in the Derby League, Lichfield have a three point lead at the top of Division 2 and Lichfield C are level top of Division 4, alongside Clay Cross and Amber Valley.

Valentine’s Day Massacre

There were no dead bodies of Chicago gangsters,only wiped out chessmen in Lichfield’s Guildroom as three opposing teams from the Birmingham and Derby Leagues massacred the opposition, appropriately enough on Valentine’s Day.

Out of 14 Lichfield players, only the youngest, 13 years old John Moughtin-Leay managed to notch a win

Lichfield’s first team, minus a leading player in Ian Kingston, went down 4.5-1.5 to Sutton Coldfield, the Derby 4 team lost 3-1 to Derby F and the Der3 team went down to Belper C 3-1.

A Sad Day- Two Matches Off

It’s a sad day when the Birmingham League’s strongest team, South Birmingham, has to default a match because only four players can be found for an away match.

The match affected is Lichfield’s Division 5 match on Thursday, 21st  Feb, which was called off on Saturday.

There will now only be one league match on Thursday because  Kidderminster asked for  postponement of the W1 fixture due to be played in the Guildhall. Because only four days notice had been given, Lichfield are claiming the points. Fixture secretary Brian Homewood said that captain Mike Hoare had worked very hard to get a team together and Lichfield were now claiming the match under Rule 3.

75th Anniversary Blitz

To celebrate its 75th anniversary the Wolverhampton League is to run its first ever FIDE Rated Blitz Tournament on 2nd May, starting at 7-30 at Wolverhampton Club in Merridale Street West.

The competition is for teams of four players, five minutes per game plus 5.5 secs  per move increment. More than one team can be entered per club. The top three scores in each match will count, with the lowest score omitted from the team score. There are no gradings limits.

Closing date for entries is Friday 26th April.

 2018-19 RESULTS, (Followed by more news items)

All the club’s 2018 and 2019 results, together with any wins gained by Lichfield players can be found here. More detailed results can be found on the websites of the Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Derby and Cannock Leagues


Wed, 5th Sept, Pittaway Cup v Stourbridge AWAY. Lost 5-3 (two games defaulted by Lichfield) Winner B Homewood Wolverhampton Div 4, Stourbridge AWAY,. Lost 3.5-1.5 Mercia away, Birmingham Div 3, lost 4.5-1.5.

Thursday, 6th Sept, Birmingham 2, Mutual Circle, HOME,  Won 4; Winners C v d Westhuizen, P Willett, D Fone: Cannock Div 3, Lichfield A v Lichfield B, Lichfield 3A won 4-0. Winners J Moughtin-Leay, S Smithson, B Bradley, H Ayto

Tuesday, 11th Sept, W3 v Mercia, AWAY, 4 Boards. Drew 2-2.   Derby Div 2, Clay Cross v Lichfield, Draw 3.5 -0.5 Winner B Homewood

Thursday, 13th Sept, Derby Div 4, Lichfield A v Lichfield B,  HOME,   (match re-arranged): W2, Warley Quinborne, HOME, 6 Boards. Lost 4-2 Winner M Hoare

Mon, 17th Sept, Can Div 1, Sutton Coldfield AWAY, Lost 2.5 – 1.5 Winner B Homewood

Tuesday 18th, Cannock, Div 3, Norton Canes v Lichfield 3A, AWAY 4 . Lost 2.5- 1.5 Winner S Smithson.

Wed, 19th Sept, W2 Boldmere  AWAY, Won 4-2 Winners, B Homewood, Y Slobodyuk, C v d Westhuizen

Thursday, 20th,B2, Boldmere, HOME, Won 4-2 Winners D Hulme, M Maher: B5, Olton HOME, Won 3.5-2.5 Winners F.Biles, T Croghan: Derby Div 4, Lichfield C v Lichfield D Lichfield C won 4-0, Winners S Smitton, R Sawyer, S Smithson, J Moughtin-Leay.

Tuesday, 25th,B2 Halesowen, AWAY, Won 3.5-2.5. Winners D Hulme, Charles van der Westhuizen

Wed, 26th, B5 Solihull, AWAY, 6. Lost 4.5-1.5

Thursday, 27th, B2 Solihull, HOME, Won 4-2:  Winners P Willett, Y Slobodyuk.  Cannock 3A, Bloxwich, HOM, 2-2: Winner J Moughtin-Leay, S Smithson, Cannock 3B,  Licfield v Norton Canes, HOME,2-2 Winner F Biles.


Tuesday, 2nd Oct, Derby F v Lichfield C, won 3-1, Winners, S Andrews, R Sawyer, S Smitton

Thurs,Oct 4th, Derby Div 3, Lichfield v Derby B 4 Lost 3-1 Derby Div 4, Lichfield 4C v Amber Valley, Result 2-2  Winners R Sawyer. Fred Biles. W2 Lichfield v Mercia, Lost 5-1.

Monday, 8th Oct, Div 2, South Birmingham v Lichfield, Lost 4.5 – 1.5;  Div 5, Sutton Coldfield v Lichfield,  Won 4.5-1.5 Winners F Biles, A Hall, R Sawyer: Wed, 10th Oct, Derby Div 2, Belper D v Lichfield,  Result 2-2 Winners K Gallagher, R Sawyer

Thursday, 11th Oct, W1, Lichfield v Bushbury, Postponed W4, Halesowen, AWAY Postponed: Birmingham Div 3, Lichfield v Boldmere, Won 4-2 .Winners K Gallagher, M Page.

Tuesday, 15th, Derby Div 3, Derby D v Lichfield, AWAY, Won 3-1. Winners D Short, R Sawyer.

Wednesday 17th, Cannock Div 2, Boldmere v Lichfield AWAY, 4 Boards (postponed ?)

Thursday, 18th Oct, B2 Shirley and W, Home;  B5  Shirley and W Home, Lost 5-1. winner M Page.

Monday,22nd Oct,B3 S.Birmingham v Lichfield,  Away. Lost 4-2, Winner P Willett

Tuesday 23rd Oct,D2, Derby C v Lichfield Away Won 3-1, Winners, I Kingston, P Collins, D Hulme; D3 Clay Cross C v Lichfield D 2-2,Winners R Sawyer, F Biles

Thursday, 25th Oct, W4  Lichfield v Mercia, Home, 2-2, winners  F Biles, S Smithson; B1, Lichfield v Walsall Kipping, Lost 4-2-1 B3 Olton Home,Lost 3.5- 2.5;  D3, Lichfield C v Spondon B, HOME, Draw 2-2, Winner J Fryer.

Monday, 29th Oct W1 West Bromwich v Lichfield Won 4-2 Winners, I Kingston, P Collins, B Homewood;

Wednesday, 31st October, W2 Stourbridge, Away, Won 4-2,  Winners G Haime, M Hoare, Y Slobodyuk,P Willett.


Thursday, lst November, B2 S Birmingham, Home; C3A  Coleshill Home, 2-2, Winners P Dickinson, F Biles; Derby 4C Rolls Royce, Home lost 3-1. Winner Y Slobodyuk;  Derby 2, Burton, Home 2-2, B2 South Birmingham B Won 4-2, Winners M Staples, Leon Graff, J Fryer.

Monday, 5th November, B2, West Bromwich Away, lost 4.5- 1.5.

Wed, Nov 7th, Bushbury away, won 4-2 Winners M Staples, L Graff, J Fryer,

Thursday 8th November, W1, Stourbridge Home won 4-2  Winners G Haime, M Hoare; B5 Kynock, postponed; Derby 3, Belper Home, lost 3-1

Tuesday,13th November, W2 Brewood, Away Lost 3.5-2.5, Winners Y Slobodyuk, M Hoare; Derby 4C Amber Valley away Won 3-1, Winners B Homewood, J Fryer.

Thursday 15th, W4, Warley Quinborne ,Away, Won 2.5-1.5, Winners P Dickinson, B Jones. B1 Shirley, Home Lost 4-2. Can 2 Rugeley Home 2-2, Winners, D Fone, B Homewood; Derby 2, Long Eaton, Away Won 2.5-1.5, Winner L Graff; Derby 4D Rolls Royce, Away, Won 3-1. Winners Y Slobodyuk, D Short, R Sawyer.

Tuesday, 20th  November, W4, Birmingham, Away. Lost 3-1

Thursday, 22nd, W2, Halesowen, Away Won 3.5-2-5 Winners, Y Slobodyuk, D Fone; B1 Wolverhampton, Home Won 3.5-2.5, Winners,  Derby 4D, Derby F, Home.

Monday, 26th November, Kynock A Away Lost 5-1.

Tuesday, 27th November, Derby 3, Spondon, Away Won 4-0, Winners, D Hulme, Y Slobodyuk, K Gallagher, R Sawyer.

Wednesday, 28th November B1, South Birmingham, Away Lost 6-0

Thursday, 29th Nov, W1, Warley Q, Draw 3-3, Home, winners I Kingston and M Staples; B3 Rushall, Home, Won 4-2, Winners M Hoare, M Page.


Tuesday, 4th Dec, B1, Olton, Away; W4 v Halesowen away, Lost 2.5-1.5. Winner M Hoare.

Thursday, 6th December,B2 Sutton Coldfield Won  4.5-1.5, winners  G Lamb, P Willett; Derby 4C Clay Cross C, Home  Draw 2-2 ; Derby 4D,Amber Valley, Home.Lost 2.5- 1.5, Winner Y Slobodyuk.

Tuesday 11th Derby 4C, Derby E Away, Won 2.5-1.5, Winners J Fryer, R Sawyer;C3b away, Norton Canes, Won 2.5-1.5, Winners, S Andrews, F Biles.

Wednesday,  12th December,Derby 3 Belper C, Away Lost 2.5-1.5, Winner F Biles

Thursday, 13th December, B5 Boldmere, Home, Won 3.5-2.5, Winners R Sawyer, F Biles Derby 2, Long Eaton, Home,  Won 3=1, Winners I Kingston, D Hulme.

Monday 17th  December, Can 2, Rushall, Away, Draw 2-2. Winnes F Biles, Arthur Hall conceded 45 grading points and earned an outstanding draw.

Tuesday, 18th December, B3 Mutual circle, Away, Won 4.5-1.5, Winners D Fone, Y Slobodyuk, J Fryer.

Wednesday, 19th Dec, Belper B Away.. Lost 2.5-1.5. Winner I Kingston


Wednesday 9th, B5 Coleshill, away,Lost 4-2, Winner D Short

Thursday, 10th, B3 Solihull, Home; Won 3.5- 2.5, Winners D Fone, Y Slobodyuk, K Gallagher ;W4 Stourbridge Home, Draw 2-2, Winner F Biles;  B1 S Birmingham Home Lost 4-2, Winner G Lamb;

Wednesday,16th B2 Kidderminster B Away, Lost 3.5-2.5, Winner M Hoare

Thursday,17th W1, Stafford, Home, Lost 4-2; Cannock 3A  Norton Canes, Home Won 2.5-1.5 Winner J Moughton Leay, S Smithson; Derby 4D, Derby E Home, Won 2.5-1.5 Winner D Short.

Tuesday 22nd, D2 Derby B Away Won 3.5- 2.5. Winners I Kingston, D Hulme, B Homewood

Thursday 24th,  W4 Halesowen, Home; Won 3-1, Winner F Biles; D3 Rolls Royce B Home;

Saturday, 26th, C3A Bloxwich Away, Won 3-1. Winners J Moughtin-Leay, H Stuart, S Smithson.

Monday, 28th, W1 Walsall Kipping at Rushall, Draw 3-3

Thursday 31st, W4 Warley Quinborne Home Lost 3-1, Winner S Smithson, Birmingham 3 Westminster Home Lost 4-2; C2 Wolverhampton Away Lost 3-1,; D2 Clay Cross, Home, Won 3.5-0.5, Winners M Staples, I Kingston, J Smith.


Thursday, 7th D3  Rolls Royce B, Lost 3-1; D4 Lichfield C v Lichfield D Draw 2-2, C winners, B Jones, H Stuart, D winners S Andrews, S Smitton.

Monday,11th, W2 Rushall AwayDraw 3-3. Winners B Homewood, J Fryer

Tuesday, 12th, B5 Halesowen, away, Won 3.3-2.5, Winner F Biles.

Thursday,14th, W4 Birmingham defaulted; B1, Sutton Coldfield Home, Lost 4.5-1.5; D3 Belper C Home Lost 3-1; D4C Derby F Home Lost 3-1, Winner J Moughtin-Leay.

Tuesday, 19th Feb, W4 Mercia C Away Lost 3-1; Derby 3 Spondon B Away Lost 2.5-1.5, Winner K Gallagher

Wednesday,20th C2 Bushbury, away, W 4-0, winners M Hoare, A Hall, F Biles,R Sawyer.

Thursday 21st, W1 Home, Kidderminster, postponed/defaulted?; B5 S Birmingham Home, Default by Birmingham.D3, Derby D Home.

Monday, 25th, B3 Sutton Coldfield  Away, Won 4-2, Winners B Homewood, K Gallagher,R Sawyer.

Tuesday, 26th, D3 Derby D Away, Won 4-0. Winners A Hall, R Sawyer, F Biles, D Short

Wednesday, 27th Feb, B1 Bushbury, Away, Draw 3-3, Winners T Green, A Giles.

Thursday, 28th, B2 Warley Quinborne, Away; B5 Kynoch B Home Lost 3.5-2.5 Winner F Biles; D2 Derby C Home Won  3-1 Winners I Kingston,,P Collins,M Page; D4, Rolls Royce Away. B2 v Warley Quinborne away, Won 3.5- 2.5, Winners, G Lamb, Brian Homewood.


Saturday, 2nd March, Cannock 3B match at Bloxwich defaulted by Lichfield.

Tuesday,5th March, B5 v Mutual Circle, away, Lost 5-1, Winner F Biles.

Thursday, 7th March, W2 St George’s, home  Lichfield won  5-1, Winners D Hulme , K Gallagher,(St George’s defaulted two boards); B1 Halesowen, home, Won 4-2, Winners T Green, P Willett, G Monks; Can 3A Coleshill, Won 2.5 – 1.5 Winner J Moughtin-Leay;Can 3b, Bloxwich home., Draw 2=2 Winners  M Bradley, B Bradley.

Thursday, 14th March, B3 v University, Lost 5-1, Winner A Hall; W1 v Halesowen, away Draw 3-3, Winner M Staples; D4d Amber Valley away, Lost 3.5-0.5

Tuesday, 13th March, B3 bt Olton 3.5- 2.5. Winners, G Monks, B Homewood, M Hoare

Wednesday 14th March, B1 lost 3.5- 2.5 at Halesowen, Winner P Collins.

Tuesday, 19th March, B3 v Olton B away. Won 3.5-2.5 Winners G Monks,A Hall

Wednesday, 20th March, B1 lost 3.5- 2-5 at Halesowen, Winner M Staples.

Thursday,21st March, B5 v Olton, Won 5-1, Winners R Sawyer, D Short, J Moughtin Leay, I Martin,  M Barravalle (default); Cannock 1 v Sutton Coldfield, draw 2-2, Winners D Hulme, A Hall; Cannock 2 v Tamworth, Lost 2.5-1.5 Winner K Gallagher; Derby 4d v Rolls Royce C  Drew 2-2, Winner M Page.



Two up or two down?

Lichfield’s first team, an almost permanent fixture in Birmingham’s Division One, are now in a relegation dog fight level with three other teams and two points clear of the bottom place. Lichfield have won just one of their five games.

Fortunately the  brilliant form of the second team in Birmingham Division two has continued, the latest result being a clear cut 4.4-1.5 win over Boldmere which established a four point lead over Shirley & Wythall and six points over South Birmingham. The position is flattering however because Shirley & Wythall have two matches in hand and Birmingham four matches.

Strong form of  a variety of players who have stepped in as reserves has been critical to the B team’s progress and the last match again produced wins on the bottom two boards.

Team captain Mike Maher’s role has been critical in ensuring that forward fixture planning plugged holes caused by known limited availability of certain players, himself included, in the latter part of the season.

The B team;s two remaining fixtures are against the bottom two clubs so there is a strong possibility that the team could secure promotion and either join, or replace, the first team in Division 1.

New concept paid dividends

Go back eight or nine years and the Lichfield Club Championship was a moribund affair, only four or five entries with matches slotted in as when opportunities permitted by the busy programme of league fixtures.

The club hasIrish international and former club stalwart and leading player, Paul Wallace to thank for a tranformation which has seen it become a very popular event which always attracts around 30 players.

Paul’s idea was to turn it into a time handicap event in which the top ranked players were granted only five minutes to play ungraded and lower ranked players. Paul was also very generous and introduced a lot of prizes which undoubtedly helped to get the event established.

The same handicap format is now also used in the club’s annual quick-play event which starts the season and has also resulted in a lot of entries. Invitations to compete are also extended to neighbouring clubs Norton Canes and Rugeley. Paul Wallace, a doctor, has now retired and returned to his native Ireland. He is missed.

His idea however is a runaway successful formula which other clubs might try.


Visitors to Lichfield Chess Club are often curious about the prominently displayed Ladder Board. As far as we know it is the only one of its kind in any of the four Midlands Leagues.

How does it work? That is the usual question. Club members earn a point for every win they gain in a league or cup match. No points can be gained for draws.

A handsome trophy goes to the winner which is presented at the annual meeting in May.

Shock Horror – an Adjournment

Adjournments have become so rare that a request from Birmingham Division 5 team Olton for adjourned finishes on two boards came as a complete surprise and a frantic search to see if there were still adjournment envelopes in the storage cupboard.

Lichfield led 3-2  and inevitably it was one of the matches scheduled for adjournment that left the captain with the not very pleasant task of asking Brian Homewood to seek a draw to clinch the win when he thought he had good chances to record his fifth win in a row. The point was that the only date available to continue the game was on the night of  another B5 match. So thanks to the adjournment rule Lichfield faced the prospect of losing a key player and possibly a match. Fortunately a draw was agreed and the match won.

The Wolverhampton League has totally dispensed with adjournments. With only a handful of players now requesting adjournments surely the time has come to totally dispense with this archaic system of a deciding matches – one that just becomes a battle not between individuals but computers.

Two clubs to choose from

Anyone living to the west of Lichfield who would find travelling to the city difficult now has an alternative with a club established in Norton Canes. In a sense Norton Canes is a satellite club of its much larger neighbour, founded as it was by Lichfield stalwart Mike Hoare.

Norton Canes offers league chess opportunities in the Cannock League and members are free to compete in the three internal tournament run each season by the Lichfield Club.

Inquirers about Norton Canes should contact Mike Hoare on 01543 279989