Pre-Season Friendly / Diary Dates

posted Aug 16, 2018, 8:22 AM by Phil Morgan

Ashfield v Clay Cross  15.8.18

1 S Burke - A Webster   0-1
2 N Graham - P Williams draw
3 R Taylor - N Cameron  1-0
4 T Lewis - B Lever   1-0
5 R Sayer - F Pearson 1-0
6 R Dawson - A Bacon draw                   Result 4-2 home win

Bob won quickly . Other games were hard fought. Trevor's Heavy Piece attack attack caught Brian's King in the centre. Ray won the exchange and converted, playing on the increment with under 5 minutes on his clock. Neil and Paul's game always looked very even. Andy did well to salvage a draw, material down.. Last exciting game to finish was on the top board. Alex, guesting for his old club, built up a strong attack. Steve had just about repelled it when his flag fell.

Diary Dates. The Club will be closed on the next 2 Wednesdays. ( The Real Ale sub-branch will re-locate to  the Dandy Cock.) The Club re-opens with an Open Night on Weds 5 Sept at 7.30, visitors are welcome.

Other dates ahead . Mon 10 Sept Ashfield 1's opening game at West Notts
                                 Sunday 16 Sept 11.00 Club Rapidplay Championship
                                 Weds 19 Sept  Ashfield 3 v Ashfield 2

Ashbit Challenge

posted Aug 2, 2018, 1:07 AM by Phil Morgan   [ updated Aug 2, 2018, 3:10 PM ]

A very enjoyable summer evening of chess as Ashfield and Gambit played a pre-season friendly match over 10 boards in a 4 round Swiss format on 1st August at the Coronation Club. The time control was 10 minutes and 5 seconds per move. Drag Sudar and George Wagenbach guested for Ashfield, freeing Neil to control the event.

Our visitors took the lead in Round 2 and held on to it - Ashfield 19.5 - Gambit 20.5 .

Mike Barnes was tested by Glenn and John but withstood these and was the only player to win all 4 games. It was fun to play with a 5 second increment. Graham Gibson was especially thankful for the assistance of the increment in  nailing Richard Dyce's lone king in an overwhelming winning position. John Huthwaite and Pete Mercs each gained and converted the initiative against me by exchange sacrifices. 

The Rapidplay format high-lighted for me the importance of gaining the initiative in a game, but also  having the know- how to find drawing resources under pressure e.g. perpetual check, which I lacked against Onos. I wasn't on my own. It was a  bloodthirsty event.There was only 1 draw in the 40 games played. John Huthwaite was the only player who found the defensive resources to hold  a game against a strong opponent, pressing hard..

New Grades

posted Jul 27, 2018, 3:18 AM by Phil Morgan   [ updated Jul 27, 2018, 3:53 AM ]

New grades are out. See ECF Gradings, July 2018. Congratulations to John Molyneux on attaining again the ECF 200 mark. Congratulations too to Alex Webster on his rise to 160 ECF. Trevor has gained most grading points. Most players grades have just changed by the odd point or two. I didn't reach my target of 150, but probably for the first time show among the most active players in the club. 
Games played 2017-18.  Bob Taylor 69, David Levens, 47,  Phil Morgan 41, Neil Graham  38,  Steve Burke 35* (*not including Sheffield League ) Our most industrious player suffered the biggest grading hit. Unfortunately for Bob  his recent North Wales Major Result is included! Bob has had similar swings before, moving from a top County U 160 team board to dropping into the U140 team and I'm sure he will bounce back. Bob and David will be competing in British Championship events, which open at Hull from today.

Weds 4 July/ 18 July

posted Jun 30, 2018, 6:50 AM by Phil Morgan   [ updated Jul 20, 2018, 2:51 AM ]

David's coaching evening went ahead on 18 July and was well received by a mixed ability bunch of 8 club members. We kicked off by looking at some winning line continuations. Alex and Neil seemed the most accurate solvers. David then took us through some Guiocco Piano wins by White, before concluding with some endgame studies. I don't know if any player present will be tempted back to the Guiocco, but if each of us can play just one more precise endgame next season it would prove a very productive evening !

Next Club night - Weds 1 August. Rapidplay Team Event between Ashfield and Gambit clubs. Any member wanting to play, please let me know.

Fun Chess Night

Up-date. It drew 10 participants and was a very enjoyable evening. Jerry and Glenn showed their eye for a mating combination with 5 moves in hand in Progressive Chess. Neil enjoyed all the formats until Round 5 when his early loss of both his knights deprived his pawns of their super-powers. Visitor Janos enjoyed Round 1 but was otherwise not impressed by these stupid games. Thanks to David for leading this.
At our next Club night on Weds 18 July, David one of chess' leading professional coaches will give a general coaching session aimed from beginners to ECF 150 players. Visitors are welcome.

Round 1  5 Minute chess
Round 2  2 Move Chess
Round 3  Extinction Chess 
Round 4 Scotch Chess
Round 5 Knight Relay Chess

Rounds 2-6 will be new for me. Arrive 7.30 for 7.45 start

Stan's Library

posted Jun 26, 2018, 12:48 PM by Phil Morgan

Stan's Books 

Stan, who we lost this year, was a serious student of chess with a seriously impressive book collection.

 He had -   bound volumes of Chess magazines from 1947 onwards.
                FIDE Yearbooks
                Correspondence Chess Magazines and Yearbooks
                German and Spanish Chess Magazines
                New In Chess Yearbooks
                Informator Encyclopaedias
                Books On Openings
                Games Collections
                Gambit Chess Books
                Quality Chess Books Series
                Trends Publications
The family are looking to sell this, and will accept reasonable offers. If you buy chess books or magazines, this is a very good opportunity. You can contact Stan's daughter on 07976298674 to view the books . Stan had Opening books on virtually any Chess Opening you care to name. Some of these books are quite new e.g. Smerdon's Scandinavian. 

Club Night, Trophy Presentations and Privacy Policy

posted Jun 20, 2018, 3:45 PM by Phil Morgan   [ updated Jun 20, 2018, 11:47 PM ]

The next Club Night will be Wednesday, 4th July when we'll play some fun, variant chess. Visitors are welcome*
7.30 arrival for 7.45 start. Future diary date - Pre-Season Club Rapidplay on Sunday 16 September.*

At the AGM, David Levens was presented  with the Club Championship trophy and Rik Dawson with the Player Of The Year Award. Congratulations to David, on his first season with the club, and Rik.

On a slightly less exciting note, at the Club AGM tonight the 11 members present after due deliberation unanimously agreed to adopt the ECF Privacy Policy which explains how when and why we collect data about club members. We will move forward with this in line with Notts Chess Association recommendations.

John Molyneux Simul.

posted May 25, 2018, 3:45 PM by Phil Morgan   [ updated Jun 9, 2018, 3:01 PM ]

At our Club night on Weds 6, June, John will take on all-comers. John is our strongest club player with an ECF grade of 199. One of his best wins this season was his win against Jonah Willow in the final Ashfield 1 match of the season, which helped A1 stay up in Division 1. One of John's lesser wins was against me in the recent Derby Jamboree, which I'll be looking to avenge!.

 Club members and visitors are invited to this event.

It was an enjoyable event and I got my revenge. John played 2 rounds of simultaneous play. In the Blitz with the White pieces, against 7 opponents, he won 4 and drew 3 , despite being quite charitable with his pieces. I think Ray, Neil and myself got the draws. In a timed Simul. of 45 minutes playing Black against 6 opponents , John won 4 but conceded 2 losses to myself and visitor, Andy Bacon..

In all John played 13, Won 8, drew 3 and lost 2. This nearly matches the number of games John usually plays in the course of a regular League season. Thanks to John. We will be planning other club nights over the summer at fortnightly intervals.  Our Club AGM is on 20 June.

Nigel's Tournament Win

posted Mar 26, 2018, 3:32 PM by Phil Morgan

Congratulations, Nigel

Nigel Wright  scored his first tournament win in the Minor Section of the Birningham Rapidplay on Sunday, 25th March

-I managed to win the minor outright at Birmingham yesterday, my first ever tournament win! There were 3 others with higher long play grades than me, including someone in the 140's. 

I started off the day poorly, my opponent playing a Dutch against my London and it was just a horrible blocked position. I think the early draw helped me though, my next couple of games were straightforward wins, and then the tough games started. 

Blundered a pawn in round 5 against the then leader after 4 moves, and then faced a real fight to win in excruciating time trouble! Thankfully the tournament had an increment, 15+10. Never played that control before, took a bit of getting used to, but saved me big time in the later rounds.   

Round 6 was a bit easier, my opponent had already mentioned he was afraid of playing me after watching me fight to the death in round 5! He kindly Blundered a bishop early on, followed by two moves later gifting me the exchange. After forcing him to swap remaining pieces off, RN+2 passed pawns V N was a relatively simple win.

Round 7 started with me on 5.5/6, and my 2 nearest challengers on 5 points each. The young lad with 5 on the board next to me won very quickly, meaning I had to win to win the section outright. I thought everything was going swimmingly, winning a couple of pawns in the opening, before I realised I had neglected my king and minor piece development... I don't think I've been in a more desperate position for a very long time. 

I used up the majority of my time and we had barely gotten into the middle game - my 23 seconds to my opponents 12 minutes was a bit of a shock! After finding the only moves to keep me in the game, I fluckily found the one move that forced him to swap Queens off (at the expense of a pawn). Still in a hopelessly trapped position, I found a quick forced combination of about 6 moves to boost my time, and then when the dust settled to my surprise it was RB+5 V RB+3 with opposite coloured bishops in my favour! 

Slowly fighting for position, I managed to eliminate all of his pawns at only the cost of 2 of mine. Again finding a quick combination to boost my time, I eventually forced him into a mistake where I would swap rooks off and Queen a pawn, so he resigned. Suffice to say I had to remain seated for 5 minutes after the game. It was quite a well run tournament to be fair, and with 3 IM'S and 1 GM in the open, obviously competitive. 

This win will hoist up Nigel's Rapidplay Grade and move him out of Minor Sections, but he evidenced a winning mentality and I don't think this will be his last tournament  win..

Stan Cranmer (4.10.1930 - 20.1.2018)

posted Feb 5, 2018, 4:31 PM by Steve Bak   [ updated Feb 6, 2018, 9:44 AM ]

Deep Though 1

Stan joined Ashfield Chess Club in 2004 when he moved to live in Kirby-in-Ashfield. He was known to our club before this as a tough opponent playing for the Long Eaton club. Stan was 73 when he joined Ashfield but was by far the most active player in our club. Over the Board he played regularly in congresses, club and county games. In 2006 he played in eight week-end tournaments He was also, uniquely in our club, a devotee of postal correspondence chess and typically at that time had 30-40 correspondence games on the go.

Stan learnt to play chess at school when he was 11 and in 1942, he won a Junior County Scholarship, which gained him entrance to Owens Secondary School in Islington. Because of the war, the school had been evacuated to Bedford and it wasn’t too long before young Stan had joined the Bedford Chess Club, where he was the only junior in a man’s world. 

Returning to London after the war, Stan helped the school to win the London Secondary Schools Chess Championship in 1946. The final was played at the famous Gambit Chess Rooms in Budge Row, Cannon Street against Whitgift School of Croydon, who had Leonard Barden on Board 1. At the call of time Stan’s game was unfinished but Sir George Thomas, doing the adjudications, declared it a draw.

In 1948 he joined the Metropolitan Chess Club who were then playing their games at St.Brides Institute off Fleet Street. He remembers there were approximately 30 boards that were never put away because they were used almost daily. Players such as Alexander, Winter and Penrose were regular attendees. Stan worked his way up to Board 2 for the club and remembers beating Stuart Reuben and Keith Richardson in OTB games, although he admits that Keith beat him many times in return.

Stan won the Milner-Barry book award for achieving 9.5/11 in the London Chess League 1962 and was champion of the NatWest London region half a dozen times. He played in the NatWest National Finals and represented NatWest in the National Inter-Bank Chess Championships on several occasions, which is where he first came to the notice of our members Andrew Toothill and Steve Burke in the 1980s as a doughty opponent and teammate.

He drew with Dr. Fazekas (British Chess Champion 1957) in 1963 and his BCF grade was as high as 181 in the 1970s. Around this time he played in a simultaneous display against Victor Korchnoi. Stan’s sideboard is full of trophies but pride of place went to his British Championship triumph in 1998 when he won the U-150 section, no mean achievement for a man in his 68th year.

A Younger Stan vs Victor Korchnoi

With regard to postal chess, Stan first joined the Postal Chess Club (PCC) in 1947 and his first results appear in the February 1948 issue of Chess where he won two games in an Odds Tourney. Although interrupted by National Service and a period of illness, he worked his way up to the Championship section in the mid 1950’s. Stan primarily used postal chess as an experimental grounding for his openings and general practice between his OTB games. He won several trophies in the NCCC and seven RAF trophies. 

In 2013 Stan attained the title of Candidate Master from the BCCA. Stan’s correspondence play was not computer assisted. He was very methodical in keeping track of his games. He had 13 magnetic folded pocket boards, eight small wooden boards and various others on which he kept the position of his correspondence games. He drew a diagram every 15 moves and kept track of time diligently. His play was backed up by a library of over 350 chess books, mainly on a bewildering variety of openings.

Stan’s standard of play remained remarkably solid and in 2012, his ECF Grade rose to 150. In the Notts League 2016-17 he scored 8 wins, 7 draws and just 2 losses - a 68% return. Stan was reliable and fiercely competitive, and always willing to pass on knowledge and advice to team-mates. He was the cornerstone of several team promotions and a win in the National Club U-150 competition. Despite the frailty, poor mobility, and occasional falls that marked his later years, Stan remained cheerful and uncomplaining to the end.

Leading the team to Victory

Stan did have other interests outside of chess. He followed Tottenham Hotspurs and was interested in history and politics, being forthright in expressing his views. He used to enjoy travelling and several years ago travelled to New York, where he couldn’t resist visiting the famous Manhattan Chess Club.

Stan’s last game was in December, 2017. A fall at home a few days later led to a hospital admission. He was rehabilitating at Sutton Court before he contracted a chest infection that developed into pneumonia and caused his death. Prior to this, Stan was eagerly looking forward to returning home to read the chess books (chosen by Stan) which were his Christmas present from his step-daughter. 
He was an exceptional student of chess, and inspirational chess player, whose results defied his years and physical health problems.

Stan leaves a son and two daughters from his first marriage. His chess pals and colleagues would want to extend our condolences to his family. 

*We would also like to thank Neil Limbert of the BCCA whose article “The ’Evergreen’ Stan Cranmer”, BCCA, Summer, 2007, informs this notice. This also gives four of Stan’s games including this 2004 game against another Notts stalwart.

Stan Cranmer v Keith Roper

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Bb4 5.Nge2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.0-0 Nxc3 8.Nxc3 0-0 9.Nd5 Bd6 10.Qh5 Kh8 11.f4!? f6 12.f5 Na5?? 

This natural looking attack on white's bishop turns out to be a blunder, but Stan had to find the only moves to prove it. 

13.Rf3! Qe8 14.Qxh7+!! Kxh7 15.Rh3+ Kg8 16.Ne7# 



posted Jan 22, 2018, 6:32 AM by Phil Morgan   [ updated Feb 3, 2018, 11:02 AM ]

Stan Cranmer  RIP

 Stan, who had been convalescing in an elderly person's home in Sutton following a fall, contracted a chest infection, which developed into pneumonia and passed away on Saturday 20th , January.

Condolences to Stan's family, who are in our thoughts.

Stan's funeral is at 1.00 p.m. on Friday, 9th February at Mansfield Crematorium. Afterwards there will be a wake at a local pub. If you plan to attend this, please contact Trevor Lewis ( email , who is liaising with Stan's family.

A fuller appreciation of Stan, an inspiration to many of us in the club, will follow.

1-10 of 17