History of SOUTH BIRMINGHAM CHESS CLUB                                         

 

1945

South Birmingham Chess Club was founded with its first meeting taking place at Hartfield Crescent School, Acocks Green. During its first year it attracted over 30 new members from a bomb-torn city. Immediately affiliated to the Birmingham League with teams in all four league divisions, its Division 1 team comprised eight board matches and the remaining 3 divisions 6 board matches. In Division one the opponents from the well established clubs proved tough and the team was eventually relegated to the second division.

 

1946-47

South Birmingham fielded three teams in the Birmingham & District League, its division two team Captained by N.Foster and with T.C.Burrows, A.W.Busby, B.A.Line, W.F.Friend, J.Graham, J.B.Vincent and Club Founder Reg J Potter, gained the clubs first success with promotion straight back to division one and being undefeated after a 12 match season, (8 wins, 4 draws)  

The division three team finished a creditable 6th from 14 and the division four team finished 5th from 11.

 

1947-48
The season started with the club playing a 20 board friendly match against Solihull, with an unknown result. The Club's chess league representation was held in divisions 1 and 3 South and 4 East with the season ending with the 3rd team finishing with a tie with Lozells resulting in a play-off for promotion. Disaster occurred in the match for South Birmingham's young player William G. Botteley who got himself into terrible trouble with a rash pawn advance on the K Side, and was mated in eleven moves!  The South Birmingham Team consisted of 1, G. Cooper, 2, F Burton, 3, R.W. Thomas, 4, S.N.Abbott, 5, W.J.Wright, 6, W.G.Bottleley. Lozells won 5-1.

By October 1947, Club successes were already beginning to show. J.B. Vincent won first prize for the best game played in a Warwickshire Match; he was playing for the President's Team against the Chairman's team and a total of 46 players took part.


1948-49

The season started with a club move to the Cambrai Evening Institute, Colebank Road, Hall Green which became the Club's meeting house for the next 10 years where Secretary Mr A.F. Webb organised weekly Tuesday evening matches.
The club fielded four teams in the Birmingham league and also competed in the minor counties club championship, the club being represented by Messrs J.B. Vincent, J. Burton, H.J. Bellfield, R.W. Thomas and G.S. Gale.
One of the most successful players was R.W. Thomas playing for Warwickshire Juniors who during this season obtained the best junior score in the league lightning competition. He came second with 10 out of 11 in the Birmingham & District Junior League Summer Congress Open event. He was also awarded the Best Game Prize for his game against A.A.Cunnane, whilst representing Warwickshire Juniors.

 

1950's
The club continued to field four teams in the Birmingham & District League throughout. The main players were N.Foster, F.Burton, R.J.Potter, D.G.Morgan, A.Hart, K.Kelly, E.Hammond, R.J.Edge, S.H.V.Abbott, H.Roach, W.J.Wright, G.Hoskins, C.E.Packwood, J.A.Wyatt, G.W.Botteley, J.Carley, A.Webb and promising junior Derek Price and C Collins..


1960's,

Membership remained steady where juniors Derek Price, Paul Sutton, and Paul Swatridge made a significant contribution. The club moved to St John's Church Hall in Sparkhill and now met on Thursdays. During the 1965 summer the Club celebrated its 21st Birthday with events including a living chess game, Yugoslavian Country Dancing and a buffet. The main organisers were, Dick Igracev and Dennis Bishop.

 

1965-66
The season showed a rapid growth in membership which increased to 45. The success of the club was mainly due to a large influx of juniors who accounted for 14 members.
Amongst the juniors were Clive Owen, Philip Maddocks, Simon Horseman, Peter Partridge, Chris Shephard, Terry Walker, Ken May, Ted Weekes, Martin Smyth and Simon Horseman. A great deal of encouragement was given by the secretary Dennis Bishop who gave up a lot of his spare time to ferry juniors to division matches 2,4,5,6 and 7. He was well known for the encouragement he gave towards the junior chess players and it was not unusual to come home from school and find Dennis outside the house in his mini asking if a player was available to play at Lichfield in ten minutes!.


1966-67

The first team were strengthened by the addition of Tony Woodland and promotion was consequently gained to Division 1. The fifth team won the Division 7 championship. Terry Walker represented Birmingham in the National Association of Boys Clubs Chess Championships in London.
After a Division 4 match at Warley, Reg Potter stopped at a strip club on the way home . He went in through the stage door and came back ten minutes later explaining that his house-keeper worked there!

 

1968-69
Juniors Andrew Shephard, Martin Coward and Colin Maltby joined the Club and teams played in divisions 1,2,4,5 and 7. The third team won the division 4 championship.
During this time it became a custom to go for a drink after a home match at the local pub (The Mermaid). It was here that many of our younger players had their first tipple. Young Martin Smyth accompanied his older team mates but had to be content staying outside sipping a 'Vimto'!

 

1969-70
The club fielded teams in divisions 1-6 of the Birmingham League and ten new members joined the Club. The most notable incident of the season was the Captain of Division 2 Ernie Tipper taking the whole of the team to an away match in his van. On arrival at Warley he realised that we should have been playing at Sutton Coldfield!

 

1970-71
In September the club moved to Botterville Road, Acocks Green and the new Secretary was John Bowness. Our division 6 side won the Townshend Trophy and our Division 2 side were runners-up in the Terrill Trophy losing to Sutton Coldfield 1. The Sutton side was particularly strong and included three Woods, B.H. and sons Chris and Frank.
Club member Reg Potter died on 30 September 1970 and the contribution he made to the club is remembered annually by the presentation of the Potter Trophy.
In that year the Warwickshire under 14 title was won by Martin Coward whist Colin Packwood came second in the Birmingham Open Easter Congress.


1971-72

 Saw our first team promoted back to Division 1 and our Division 4 side retained the Townshend Trophy. A South Birmingham Team was entered in the weekend league and came first in Division 2.
Nine new members joined the club including Tom Latham, who went on to contribute so much administration to the club and the league.
September 1972 saw a further move for the club, this time meeting at the Methodist Church at York Road, Hall Green. Here we had one of our most successful seasons gaining promotion from divisions 2, 4 and 6, consequently providing two teams in Division 1. Our Division 7 side retained the Townshend Trophy for the club for the third consecutive year beating Bakelite Division 4, 8-1½. New members included Pat Cotter, Colin Searle and Chris McSheehy.


1973-74

 Saw the club move to Moseley, meeting now at the congenial Fighting Cocks Pub. Tom Latham was Secretary of the Club at this time and is remembered not only for his chess but also for knitting jumpers and holding a record for beer mat flicking!
We now had six teams in the Birmingham League including two teams in Division 1. The first team consisted of C. Shephard (199), C McSheehy (188), C Searle (169), T Walker (164), E Weekes (164) and M Coward (164). Derek Price failed to make the 1A side because at 28 he was considered too old. All the members of the 1A side were aged under 24!
We sent a team to Bristol to play in the British Lightning Championships. The team consisted of C Shephard, C Searle, C McSheehy, T.Walker and P Cotter.It was here that Terry Walker had to play Nigel Short. If Terry had won that game then chess history may have been different!


1974-75

The fourth team won the Division 5 championship and the third team were runners up in the Terrill Trophy.


1975-76

 Saw 9 new members join including G Varnom, A Cope, H McLeod, M Loat and W Bellman. Our Division 4 side reached the final of the Townshend Trophy but lost to St James 7 whose team included Keith Arkell on board 6!
The club was challenged to a 30 board away match against Bridgend in South Wales. Terry Walker hired a coach and a team were duly despatched. Although the Bridgend Team was led by the international player Howard Williams on board one, they were outclassed by the overall strength of their opponents resulting in a South Birmingham victory.
Interest in weekend events continued, with the club reaching the final of the Midland Club Championship and the quarter finals of the National Club Championships beating Electra and Sunderland on route, before losing to Bristol University 2½ to 3½. The away venues for these events varied from Rotherham Library to Wigston Laundry and usually ended in much alcohol being consumed!
Chris Shepherd played in the Warwickshire Congress at Leamington and came 1st = with Nigel Povah.

 

1976-77

Saw a change in the structure of the Birmingham Chess League and matches in the top 5 divisions were now contested over 8 boards instead of the customary 6.  We fielded 6 teams, 2 in Division 1, and 1 team in Divisions 2, 4, 6 and 8.  Our 1B side were delegated on 0 points. Ted Weekes won the Division 2 Individual Championships and Graham Jelfs won the Division 4 Individual Championships.  Paul Swatridge was top board for the first team and one of his highlights was beating Peter Griffiths who was playing for Solihull. Pat Cotter played in the Welsh Correspondence Championship and finished second.  Grandmaster V. Hort (number six in the world) gave a simultaneous display and was held to a draw by Terry Walker.
Members and their partners met regularly on a Friday evening at The Westley Arms in Acocks Green. This promoted the more social side of the club.

Click for 1976-77 Detailed Records

  

1977-78
we entered 5 teams in the Birmingham League in Divisions 1, 2,3,4,8.
This was a bleak year for the club.  The first team managed to stay in Division 1 with 6 points and the other 4 teams were all relegated.
We changed our venue to The Reddings Rugby Club in Moseley.  We only stayed there for two years, because without notice, our room became unavailable.  On one occasion we could not have the room and Bernard Cafferty started the clocks which he had brought with him promptly at 7 p.m...  Eventually we were given somewhere to play twenty minutes later.

 

1978-79
we entered 5 teams in the Birmingham League in Divisions 1,3,4,5 & 9.  Both Divisions 5 and 9 were relegated.
Ted Weekes reached the final of the League Individual in Division 1 but finished as runner-up.
At the end of the season Terry Walker gets married and decides to have a two year break from chess.

 

1979-80
Four Teams were entered in the Birmingham League in Divisions 1, 3, 4 & 6.  Our first team were relegated thus losing our first division status.
We moved club rooms, now meeting at Centre 13, School Road Moseley.
This was a very sad year for the club because two of our top players Ted Weekes and Pat Cotter were tragically killed in a motor accident on the way back from a chess match in the Coventry League.
Both of these players were at the height of their chess careers.  Pat had reached a 190 grade and Ted reached 180.  Ted was Birmingham League Grader at the time of his death. Both of these players gave a great deal of time to chess and are sadly missed.

 

1980-81 saw the club with 3 teams in Divisions 2, 3 and 4.  Teams were still for 8 players and with diminishing club membership, the club defaulted boards on many occasions.  Our top players were Martin Smyth (153) and Hugh McLeod (148).  
Both our divisions 3 and 4 teams were relegated.
A new member Dr.Alan Fox joins the club.

 

1981-82
A disagreement with the Club Secretary Tom Latham resulted in an E.G.M. being held on 29 July 1981.  The membership passed a motion to remove Tom from office and cancel his membership. He reacted badly to this and destroyed all the clubs records and detailed history, and also damaged some of the equipment. The Club ran into financial difficulties and was bailed out by a donation of £100 from Graham Jelfs.   The club membership increased to 31 players.  This included David Dunn who joined the club and was duly registered in Division 8 scoring 89%.
Terry Walker also came back to the club after an absence of 2 years (getting married can be quite exhausting, particularly to an energetic 19 year old)!
We fielded teams in Divisions 2, 4 & 8.
Will Bradford finished runner up in the Division 4 League Individual Tournament. 
Open Lightning Tournament was held to raise funds, and this was won by Graham Jelfs

.

1982-83

The club membership increase and with it the number of teams representing the club in the league.
We entered teams in Divisions 2, 4, 8 & 10. Our second team were relegated to Division 5.
New members included Bob Murdoch, Richard Hall Roberts, Kevin Smyth and Kevin Francis.

 

1983-84

 We entered teams in Divisions 2, 5, 8 & 10. Bob Murdoch finished runner up in the Division 10 League Individual Tournament.
John Gowdy moves to London.  Club Champion Terry Walker starts the tradition of giving a 17 board simultaneous exhibition.

 

1984-85

 The club enter 4 teams in the Birmingham League in Divisions 2, 6, 8 and 10.   26 players competed in the league.  New members included Tim Lane, Eric Whelan, David Yarwood, Norman Groom, Paul Bush and Steve Brook.
11 board match against Olton, resulting in South B’Ham.6 – Olton 5.
Martin Smyth reached the final of the Division 1 Individual Championships, but had to concede defeat in the 3rd game after drawing the first 2 games.

 

1985-86

The Club’s 40th year and also a successful one! 
The club attracted 13 new members – including Mark Sanderson, Ian Howarth, Stefan Walentowicz, Steve Evans, Tony Szatanik, Glyn Matthews, Oratio Cavallero and Michael Goulding.  The membership now stood at 31.
We entered 4 teams in the Birmingham League.  The first team finished 3rd in Division 2.  The second team consisting of Tim Lane, Eric Whelan, Greg Varnom, Steve Evans, Chris Brookes, and Ken May) won the Division 5 Championships with 100% record.  They also won the Terrill Trophy, beating Kynoch 1 in the final. The 3rd team won the Division 8 Championship, and the 4th team which was designed to introduce members to competitive chess, soon gained the killer instinct and were runner up in Division 10. Mark Sanderson and Eric Whelan completed the season undefeated.
In division eight we had a dispute with Drayton Bassett Chess Club, who had moved club rooms and not told us. One of our players was not able to find the new club room and consequently lost the game. In the League Individual Finals Eric Whelan was runner up in Division 3. Steve Evans Winner Division 5
Anne Cope was runner up Division 8. Ian Howarth won the Bedworth Congress Minor Section, despite leaving his king in check for several moves! Greg Varnom came second in the under 145 section of the Birmingham Congress, and Mark Sanderson came first in the under 120 section.
A Christmas a dinner was held at the Greek Restaurant in Acocks Green to celebrate the Club’s 40th year. Eighteen members attended. Tim Lane and Greg Varnom provided the entertainment with their interpretation of Greek dancing.                            
Click for 1985-86 Detailed Records

 

1986-87

 Saw us competing in the league with 5 teams in Divisions 2, 3, 6, 8 and 10.
34 players supported the teams.  Our 4th team won the Division 8 championship.  Mike Loat had a good season scoring 89% in the league and winning the Warley Quinborne under 120 tournament.
Our leading players had played quite successfully the previous season and this was reflected in their new grades.  Martin Smyth (175), Derek Price (162), Graham Jelfs (161),  Terry Walker (161), Greg Varnom (158), Eric Whelan (151), Tim Lane (149), Paul Swatridge (149) and David Dunn (144)
New members included Chris Pitt, George Wicks, Indipal Sokey, Reg Goldsmith and Tim Marsh.
Tim Lane re-joined the club after working away from the area.
Glyn Matthews was moving away from the area to open a Bed and Breakfast in The Lake District.
Derek Price won a prize of 33 pence for coming joint second with the best board score in the league Lightening Championships.
Due to our increased membership, we now found that the playing room was too small for playing our League games, we therefore moved premises to Moseley All Services Club in Church Road, Moseley. We now had our own rooms, and could meet more than one night each week.

 

1987-88

 We entered 6 teams into the Birmingham League in Divisions 2, 3, 5, 6, 9 and 10.
Our first team were strengthened by new member Graham Willetts joining the club.
Other new members were David Payne and Seamus Mallon.
The third team won the Division 5 championship with David Yarwood and Tony Szatanik undefeated.  Tim Lane won the Division 3 Individual Championship; Geoff Cowell won the Division 6 Individual Championship. Eric Whelan went through the season undefeated. George Wicks became seriously ill and made a cash donation to the club.  This was spent on a new clock. South Birmingham won the annual match against Olton. We held the Christmas Dinner at ‘Jewel in the Crown’ in Moseley.

 

1988-89

45 active members supported 6 teams.  Teams were entered in Divisions 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 9 of the Birmingham League. New members included Bob Carter and Mark Drugan. Philip Clay returns to the club to play for a season.
The first team won the Division 2 championships and returned to the 1st Division after an eight year absence. David Dunn scored 11½ out of 12.
Our first team now consisted of Graham Willetts (177), Martin Smyth (175), Terry Walker (166), David Dunn (165), Graham Jelfs (157), Derek Price (155), Greg Varnom (149) and Eric Whelan (135).
Unfortunately we were relegated from Divisions eight and nine.
In a home match played in January against Solihull Lodge, Eric Whelan was playing against R Martin.  Both players were friendly and hospitable towards each other.  They kept buying each other a drink every twenty minutes.  The chess game bean to deteriorate and was the last the finish, resulting in a draw!  Afterwards Graham Willetts pointed out to Eric that by moving his pieces in a different order he could have won.  Eric replied that towards the end of the game he couldn’t see any pieces.
Graham Willetts was runner-up in Division 1 Individual Championship. Robin Huq was winner in Division 3 Individual Championship.
Geoff Cowell was runner-up Division 6 Championship. Troy Meritt was runner-up Division 9 Championship. We lost the annual match against Olton 5½ - 8½.
Terry Walker was elected as President of the League, which was an honour both for him and our club. Tony Szatanik became Bulletin Editor of the League.
Soviet Grandmaster Mark Taimanov visited the club to give a simultaneous display over 21 boards.  The Grandmaster was beaten by Philip Clay and Greg Varnom.  Graham Willetts held him to a draw!  The only English he spoke was ‘Whiskey’ and ‘Thank you’.
Martin Smyth tried to draw the Grandmaster into a conversation about Soviet politics, but failed because Martin’s Brummy Russian accent couldn’t be understood.
Eric Whelan retained his unbroken record of not losing a game in 3 seasons.  This was partly contributed to him wearing his lucky jumper with a red stripe down the front (representing the blood of his opponents).  This would probably fetch a good price today on ebay!
A Christmas dinner was held and was attended by 22 people.  This year it had an Italian flavour and took place at Gino's in Birmingham City Centre.
In addition we met for a meal at The Jade in Moseley to celebrate the clubs return to the first division.

 

1989-90

 The Club had a membership of 36 which supported 5 teams in the Birmingham League.  These were in divisions 1,3,4,6 & 9. The first team, in its first season back in division one, played well and finished in seventh place.
New members included Robert and John Glass.
Eric Whelan’s wife Mary decided to through his old jumper away and Eric’s undefeated run now ends!
The Nickers Trophy was presented to Derek Stockhall who secured 9 draws.

 

1990-91

 30 active players supported 4 teams in Division 1, 3, 5 and 8.
Division 1 reached the final of the Homer Trophy, losing to Solihull Lodge 5.
who were given a handicap of 5½ points, which was too severe?
Our third team finished bottom of division 5 and were relegated. New members included Robin Carr.
Requests to collect club subscriptions may have had a wrong effect.  The day after requesting the balance of his subscription a member who had part paid – Bill Bellman saw him busking outside Tesco’s in Moseley.
Annual Christmas dinner was held at The Jade in Moseley.

 

1991-92

 We entered 4 teams in the League in divisions 1, 3, 6 and 8; these were supported by thirty seven active players. Our third team won the Division 6 championship and was Runner up in the Townsend Trophy. Our fourth team won the Division 8 Championship.
The club welcomed five new members: James Tweddell, Stuart Morris, Pat Harper, Leroy Douglas and Duncan Gilchrist. We also welcomed back Bob Murdoch.
Pat Harper was runner up in the Division 6 League Individual Championship.
Robin Carr won the Division 8 League Individual Championship
During the season we played an outdoor match against Solihull which resulted in a 2½-2½ draw.
The annual match against Olton resulted in a victory for South B’ham.
The Christmas “dinner” this year took the form of a party at Terry Walker’s house where a “Take Away” was consumed in the cellar.

 

1992-93

The season started with 37 members supporting 5 teams. We entered teams in Divisions 1, 2,5,7,9.
Our first team played well and finished in second place with Lichfield with 18 points in Division 1.  Division 7 reached the final of the Barrington Trophy losing to West Midland Police.  Mark Drugan and Stuart Morris were undefeated in the league. A fourteen –player all-play-all lightning tournament was held in January.
The winner was David Dunn who just edged Derek Price into second place.

 

1993-94

The league reduced the number of boards in Divisions 1 to 5 from 8 to 6.  The club entered 6 teams in the league in divisions 1, 2,3,5,8 & 9.  These were supported by 38 players.
The interest generated by the Kasparov – Short match led to a sizable increase in membership. New members included Stephen Heys, Gavin Tilstone, Robert McIntosh, John Marshall, Bosan Das, Simon Williams and Richard Toth. The season started with a 22 board match against Olton.  This resulted in a 15 – 7 victory for South Birmingham.

Our first team won the League Lightning Tournament.
Our second team were involved in a three-way play-off for the two relegation places in division two. We won the play-off, and stayed in division two.
Our fourth team won the Division 5 Championship.
Tim Lane was runner-up in Division 2 of the League Individual Championships.  Chris Boivin was runner-up in Division 3 of the League Individual Championship.  Robert Glass won Division 8 League Individual Championship.
The Nickers Trophy was presented to Mark Drugan who had drawn 13 games.

 

1994-95
The club membership continued to increase; new members were Martin Meredith, Gary Hope, Robert Green, Michael Kerr, Zac Samed, Bernard McClory, Simon Killarney, Ed Baker, Brian Green, Tony Williams, Andy Taylor and Steve Smith.
The annual match against Olton was played over 30 boards, resulting in a narrow Olton victory 16 – 14.
7 teams were entered in Birmingham League in Divisions 1, 2, 3,4,7,8 & 10.
Our first team tried various tactics to try and secure enough points to stay in Division One, including rotating the order of the players on the top three boards, using a large board and set on top board to distract the opponents, and using Greg Varnom to woo Jana Bellin when playing against Walsall Kipping. These were all unsuccessful and the team only secured four points, insufficient to avoid relegation.
Our 6th team won the Division 8 championship.
Our 7th team came second in Division 10.
When playing away at Stourbridge, we were asked “Does The Grob Man still play for you?” He certainly does. It looks as though Chris Boivin has established a reputation.
Gavin Tilstone won Division 7 League Individual Championships.
Derek Price kept his early promise (most promising junior of 1958) by winning the Mutual C.C. Rapid Play Competition, and the Birmingham University under 160 competitions.
Simon Williams was successful in various junior competitions and competed in the trials for the England Junior Squad scoring 2½ out of 6.
The “Goolie Trophy” was won by Robert Green for sending a team to the wrong venue for a trophy match against Lucas. He sent them to Redditch.
Member Robert McIntosh leaves to work in Saudi Arabia.


1995-96
 The season started with the annual match against Olton but this particular year both Clubs invited former members to join to celebrate 50 years of the formation of both clubs.  It was good to see old members, Colin Packwood, Tony Campbell, and Philip Maddocks.  The match resulted in a win for South Birmingham. The celebrations continued with 2 simultaneous matches taking place, firstly Danny King in November. Danny played 25 games, winning 21games, drawing with Kevin Hancox and Derek Price. Losing to Tim Lane and Steve Evans. After the match, Danny was refreshed with a couple of pints of Guinness, and then taken for a curry in the Ladypool Road.
In February Dr. John Nunn came and gave a second simultaneous display playing 26 games. He played 13 games with White and an equal number with the Black pieces. He won 24 games, losing to Martin Smyth, and Louis Rawson. He too was taken for the traditional South Birmingham curry.

The club entered 8 teams in the Birmingham League. These were Divisions 2 (2 sides), 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10.  

Our first team were runners up in the League Lightning Championship. Gary (The Book) Hope won the sum of 75p as a board prize.
Our 7th team finished 2nd in Division 10 of the league. Derek Price beat Ron Hardy in the Division 2 League Individual final.
Martin Meredith was runner up in Division 6 League Individual. New members included Kevin Hancox, Arnold Peace, and Phil Tomkins.

 

1996-97
New members attracted to the club this season were Alan Agnew, Jeff Cann, Peter Mwenya, John Mildenhall and The Wilsons (Sam, Simon and Trevor).
We entered 6 teams in the Birmingham League in Divisions 2a, 2b, 4, 6, 8a & 8b.
These were supported by 43 players. 
The first team bounced back into the 1st Division by winning the second division championship with 23 points from 24.  They also won the Homer Trophy beating Warley/Quinborne 1 in the final. The second team were relegated from division two.
Our Division 6 side won the Townshend Trophy beating Colebrook/Shirley in the final.
Our division eight side came equal second, but lost the promotion play-off.
The League Individual division 8 final saw Tony Williams competing against son Simon.  Who won?  Simon of course!
The annual match against Olton saw South Birmingham win. This was the first time either club had won a consecutive match.
Tim Lane was undefeated in the league for the 2nd consecutive season. Mark Drugan regains the Nickers Trophy scoring 8 draws.

 

1997-98

New Members joining the club this season were Lee Ball, Tim Davey, Peter Emanual, Thomas Griffiths, Paul Hunt, Kevin Hurney, Martin Johnson, John Pitcher, Andrew Whelan.
Terry played a few games against John Pitcher to access his strength, and thought he was fairly good. John was therefore registered for our division 5 team. At the end of the season John told us that before his 17 year retirement from the game, he had been a member of the England under 16s team in 1979 which had won the gold medal.
His grade at 16 was 199, and his team mates were Nigel Short, Danny King, Julian Hodgson and Ian Wells. He also drew with Spassky in a simul!
The season had been a disappointing one with no sides winning promotion and three sides relegated.
The 1st Team were relegated from Division 1 with 9 points. This is the first time in 27 years that 9 points has not been enough to stay up.
Division 3a reached the final of Terrill Trophy, but lost to Kynoch 1,
they also did well in the league finishing third on 17 points.
Division 3b started the season by beating the higher graded 3a, then finishing the season in tenth place on 10 points.
Division 5 – Finished 3rd , and reached the finals for the Townshend Trophy, but lost to Olton 6.
Division 6 – The team were relegated  having secured only four points.
Division 7 – The team were relegated having secured only three points
Division 8 – The team finished fourth with ten points.
The Division 3 League Individual competition was won by Terry Walker who had to play Ron Hardy in the final.
During this season we hosted the Leagues Centenary Simultaneous Exhibition. Members had the chance to play against Grandmasters Michael Adams, Keith Arkell, Julian Hodgson and John Nunn. See separate report – A Day in The Life. 
In the League Lightning Championship, Alan Agnew and Martin Smyth both won board prizes of 75 pence each.
Martin Smyth wrestles the Nickers Trophy from Mark Drugan and becomes the new holder.

 

1998-99

The Season started well with the pre-season friendly against Olton.  The club fielded 35 players of whom two were loaned to the opposition.  South Birmingham won 21-12.
We entered 8 teams in the B.D.C.L these were in Divisions 2, 3 (2 teams) 5, 7 (2 teams), 8(2teams) and these were supported by 50 members.
New members included John Emanuel, Anthony Hall, Daniel Racmel and Joe Struge.
The first team finished second in Division 2 with 21 points and are promoted back to Division 1.
The 2nd Team which had been designated as the 3 ‘B’ team because of an administrative error by the league finished as champions of Division 3 with 19 points and also won the Homer Trophy
The 3rd team 3 ‘A’ were relegated on 4 points.
The 5th team (7A) were promoted as champions.
The 7th team (8A) finished in 2nd place and also won the Barrington Trophy.
In the League Individual Finals saw Lee Ball playing Paul Hunt in Division 8.  Lee managed to win.
Mark Drugan regains the Nickers Trophy with 9 draws from 18 games.

During the season Bernard McClory had the honour of playing a consultation game against Gary Kasparov, as one member of a team of 5 people who had won a competition in ‘The Times’ newspaper.  Bernard found him to be friendly and a pleasant man. Tim Davey was leaving to work in Siberia.  This was not because of his chess results!
On a sadder note, Colin Packwood had died during the season.  Colin had been one of our top players during the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was top board for the club for many years, and won the club championship many times before Messrs.Walker and Dunn started their record number of wins.

 

1999-2000

The Season was one of the most successful in the Club’s history. 
New members this season were Kees Van Drunan and Colin Reid.
The annual match against Olton resulted in a South Birmingham victory. Seven teams were entered in the B.D.C.L.
Our first team consisting of John Pitcher, Kees Van Drunen, Martin Smyth, David Dunn, Greg Varnon and John Mildenhall, were undefeated in Division 1 and finished in first place with 20 points. Winning the League Championship for the first time in the clubs history.
Our second team came second in Division 2, and also won the Homer Trophy. Our third team came first in Division 4.
Our fourth team came second in division 5, and were runners-up in the Townshend Trophy.
Our sixth team came second in Division 7 and also won the Barrington Trophy. We won the League Lightning Championship (Van Drunan, Smyth, Dunn, and Varnom).
Winners Section C League Lightning ( Stockhall, Pitt, Green, P.Singh) The division two team played away to West Bromwich, and in their club room there was a coffin resting on two supports. Terry Walker thought this was a sign that he should play the Frankenstein – Dracula variation of the Vienna Game!
Bernard McClory was runner up in Division 6 League Individual
Paul Hunt was winner of the Division 7 League Individual.

To celebrate our League Success, a simultaneous exhibition was given by British Chess Champion Julian Hodgson on 3 April 2000. Winners were given a bottle of whiskey donated by M.A.S.C..  The event was also used to raise £897 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital to purchase machines for the Cystic Fibrosis Charity.  The charity that M.A.S.C support.  Well done, all of those members who have been involved. Julian played 27 games, of which he won 22. He drew 3.  Eric Whelen, John Mildenlhall and Kevin Hurney. He lost 2 – John Pitcher and David Dunn.
Afterwards 9 of us fought our way through the snow and went for the traditional South Birmingham Chess Club Balti.
Ann Cope who had been fighting against ill health for several years died during the summer. Ann had been a member for many years, and had held the posts of President, Secretary and Match Captain during her time with the club.
Ann had been our first lady member, and made an outstanding contribution to the organisation of the club during the 1970s and 1980s. She will be sadly missed.

 

2000-01
New members Chris Charman, Sophie Tidman, Paul Phelan, Gary Walker, Tim Tidman, Gavin Cartwright, and Herve Menaut.
The annual match against Olton took place over 29 boards. Olton decided to gambit Robert Reynolds (their club champion) on board one, but even this did not help them. South Birmingham won 17 games to Olton’s’ 12 games.
We entered 8 teams in the B.D.C.L. Divisions 1 (2 teams), 2, 5, 6(2 teams), 7(2 teams).

We successfully kept two teams in division one.
Our fourth team came first in Division five with unbeaten record. They also won the Townsend Trophy.
Our fifth team (6A) came second in division six, and have gained promotion. Our sixth team (6B) came first in division six with 18 points.
In the League Individual division six final Gary Hope won, with Paul Hunt runner up. The Nickers trophy was won by Ron Hardy with 10 draws.
The Goolie Trophy was awarded to Martin Smyth who had travelled to Solihull for a match but had been unable to find any other members of his team.  After being told by a member of the Solihull Club that there was no match that night, Martin had travelled to Shirley, then back to M.A.S.C. in search of his team mates.  Discovering that the match was, as he originally thought, at Solihull, he had then returned to the Solihull Club where he then played his game and won…beating the person who had told him there was no match on that night!

 

2001-02
New Members: Graham Jennings, Sean Ralph, Darren Lee, Tom McFadden, Roy Ball, Malcolm Kirtley, Jonathan Swindells.
The season started with the annual match between South Birmingham and Olton.  Our team was led by Club Champion Martin Smyth whose unorthodox style quickly led to victory against Alan Lloyd.  The final result: South Birmingham 17½ - Olton 10½.
The Club entered a record 9 teams in the B.D.C.L in Division 1 (2 teams), 2, 4, 5 (2 teams), 7 (2 teams) and 8. 
1st team came 2nd in Division 1, but unfortunately our 2nd team was relegated from Division 1 on 6 points.
Our 4th team came 1st in Division 4 with 19 points, and reached the final of the Terrill Trophy losing to Sutton Coldfield Division 2.
Our 5th.team (Division 5a) were winners of the Barrington Trophy
We came second in the League Lightning Championship
We were Joint Winners Section C of the League Lightning.
Lee Ball was runner up in Division 5 League Individual.
In September Kees left the Club to return to live in Holland and another ‘Curry Night’ was arranged to wish him well. 
Ron Hardy retained the Nickers Trophy with 11 draws. 
Social Events included celebrating the special birthdays of Paul Hunt and Simon Williams.
Martin Meredith joined the pop group UB40 on their World Tour as a Saxophone and keyboard player, and has since stayed with the group.
As part of the Summer Programme the Club Champion Martin Smyth performed a simultaneous display against 16 opponents achieving the highly respectable score of 1 win and 6 draws!

 

2002-03
We started the season with several new members Russell James, Ann-Marie Ashby, Riadh Baqer, Fred Dickson, Duncan Gilchrist, Darren Tait and the return of old member Paul Swatridge.
After a rationalisation exercise that led to the weeding out of twelve inactive player registrations, 7 teams were entered in the Birmingham League in Divisions 1,2 (2 teams), 4,5 and 6 (2 teams).
Our 1st team finished 5th in Division 1 and won the Terrill Trophy conceding only a single half-point to Lichfield’s Division 2 side in the final.
The first team now included two lady players who have both played for England.
The 2nd team finished 2nd in Division 2 with 18 points and won promotion back to Division 1.
Our 4th team came 1st in Division 4 and have won promotion to Division 3.
Our 6th team played in Division 6 and finished in 2nd place, winning promotion to Division 5 next season.  They also reached the final of the Townsend Trophy drawing 3-3 with Sutton Coldfield, but losing on board count.
The annual match against Olton took place over 26 boards.  This had been won convincingly by South Birmingham with 18½ points to Olton’s 7½.
On the night of the match Terry Walker received a phone call from one of the players and whilst rushing to answer the phone he consequently dislocated his toe from its socket; but having seen on TV’s ‘Casualty’ how the Doctor’s simply ‘click’ the joint back into place he thought “why not give it a go”?...but it just jumped back out again and the Wife (Josephina) came to the rescue and manipulated the toe back into its rightful place.  As a result Terry was able to attend to his chess match at the Club. Resident Club member Jonathan Swindells and ‘trainee’ doctor was quickly briefed on the trauma to check that all was well but the response was not quite what was expected when he replied “Sorry, but I wouldn’t know what to do, I haven’t got to that page yet in my studies”.
In the League Individual Competitions, Time Lane won the Division 2 title.
Chris Pitt was runner-up in Division 5.
2 teams were entered in the League Lightning Event.  However, when 2 of the 1st team players failed to turn up, it was necessary for David Dunn and Martin Smyth to recruit the services of a couple of stray players in the form of Mike Groombridge (Walsall Kipping) and Dave Shurrock (Solihull).  Although this was a fairly weak side, determined play saw it finish half a point ahead of Olton to win the event!
The prestigious “Nickers Trophy” for the most draws was won by Darren Lee who had drawn 11 games out of 18 played.

 

2003-04
New members included Richard Pinder, Kevin Hurney, Neil Clarke, Geoff Perks, Colin Lout.
In the Birmingham District Chess League we entered 7 sides – 2 in Division 1, 1 in Division 2, 1 in Division 3, 2 in Division 5 and 1 in Division 7.  51 members played supporting these teams.
Our first team finished joint 3rd in Division 1 on 16 points .
Our 2nd team finished joint 8th in Division 1.
Our 3rd team finished 3rd in Division 2.
Our 4th team finished 3rd in Division 3 (also winning the Homer Trophy beating Handsworth Wood 2 in the final without needing the handicap).
Our 5th team finished second in Division 5 with 17 points.
They also reached the final of the Townshend Trophy where they lost to Wolseley 5. In the League Individual Competition Gary (The Book) Hope reached the final and beat R Westwood of Rushall to win the Division 2 title. The Nickers Trophy was won by Ron Hardy with 10 draws.
In recognition of 38 years commitment to South Birmingham Chess Club by Terry Walker, the committee and club members inaugurated a new club trophy duly named “The Walker Trophy”.  The Walker Trophy is annually awarded to the player of the game which Terry Walker judges to be the most enjoyable game.  In addition to the Walker Trophy and in recognition of his work to the club Terry was presented with a much-prized first edition author’s signed copy of “My Great Predecessors” by Gary Kasparov, and a bottle of single malt whiskey!

 

2004-05
We entered seven sides in the B.D.C.L., 2 in Division 1, and 1 each in 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7.
47 members played in these teams including new members Nat Kasifir, Paul Hodgskin, Goalam Ali, Simon Dighton and Robin Shepherd.
The Season proved to be successful resulting in two promotions and no relegations.

Our 5th team finished 1st in Division 4 with 21 points and are promoted to Division 3.
Our 6th team finished 2nd in Division 5 and are promoted to Division 4.
Our Division 3 side reached the final of the Homer Trophy, but lost to Warley Quinborne 1.
The annual match against Olton resulted in another South Birmingham victory.  South Birmingham scored 14½ points against Olton’s 6½ points. Our team were led by Simon Dighton and Sophie Tidman, who both won their respective games on
boards 1 and 2.
We entered three teams in the League Lightning Competition.
Our 1st team consisting of Russell James, John Pitcher, Simon Dighton and David Dunn easily outclassed all opposition and took the championship with 15½ points out       of 16.  David Dunn was the player who dropped the half point and is working on improving his game for next year!
Our 3rd team consisting of Ali G, Sean Ralph, Paul Hodgskin and Brian Green won Section 3.
The Walker Trophy was awarded for the first time. The winner being Paul Hodgskin for his game he had won on the black side of the Staunton Gambit.
The Spectrum Congress at Dudley saw success for South Birmingham players with Russell James winning the Congress Open with 4 out of 5 games. Ali G won the minor section with 4½ out of 5; followed in 2nd place by Sean Ralph with 4 out of 5.  The two were drawn together in the last round but Sean could not break down a stubborn Sicilian played by Ali G.
In the internal competitions, there was tremendous competition for the prestigious “Nickers Trophy” which is awarded to the player who achieves the most draws in a season.
Neil Clarke was leading the competition throughout the season and secured 9 draws.   His play unfortunately improved and he went on to win his last 3 games, thus leaving the way open to others.  This season’s runner-up was Greg Varnom who played in the spirit of the trophy and drew 10 out of his 14 games – showing remarkable consistency.
This season’s Petrosianesque player, demonstrating the way to win the ‘Nickers Trophy’ by securing 12 draws from 17 games is Steve Evans.
The club gave its congratulations to club members Sophie Tidman who was Captain of the Oxford University Chess Team, and Simon Williams who
was Captain of the Cambridge University Chess Team.
One of the highlights of the season was Darren Lees’ response when he was telephoned from a committee meeting informing him that he had been chosen as Captain of Division 4.  His response unfortunately is not repeatable!

 

2005-06
The club was formed after VE Day in 1945 and this season was the Club’s 60th year.  To mark the event an Open Rapid Play Tournament was organised to take place on two successive Wednesdays in May.  20 players competed.  First place was shared between our own Russell James and Tristan Cox from Sutton Coldfield with 5 points out of 6.  The Club’s own Fred Dickson (Grade 87) finished in 3rd place on 4½ points.    In the last two rounds he took the scalps of Tristan Cox (Grade 151) and David Dunn (Grade 162).  Fred is obviously a player not to be under-estimated. 

After a varied summer programme, the club started the season with the annual match against Olton.  The result was South Birmingham 15½ - Olton 6½, this was South Birmingham’s 8th successive victory.
New members this season were Rob Taylor, Pablo Padilla, Iain Davis, Faraz Malik, Dani Malik, Kaiser Malik, and Peter Johnson.
I nearly forgot we also had Stephen Gordon as a new member.  Stephen was the British under 21 Champion and also gained the International Master Title.

We entered 7 teams in the Birmingham and District Chess League.  2 in Division 1, 1 in Division 2, 2 in Division 3, 1 in Division 4 and 1 in Division 7.
Our 1st team won the League Championship.
Our 3rd team were promoted to Division 1 as runners-up in Division 2 after winning a play-off with Solihull.
Our 4th team won the Terrill Trophy beating West Bromwich 2 in the final.
Our 5th team were joint 1st in Division 3 and won promotion to Division 2.
Our 7th team won the Division 7 championship and are promoted next season.
We entered 3 teams in the League Lightning Competition.
Our 1st team won the Championship, thus retaining the trophy.
Our 3rd team won the second section with 11½ points.
Success in the League Individual Competition came to Paul Hodgskin who was joint winner of Division 3 with Mike Biddle of Boldmere/St Michaels.
Stephen Gordon gave a simultaneous display playing 15, winning 12, and drawing 2 against Derek Stockhall and Terry Walker.  One loss to David Dunn.

There had been 8 entries for the Walker Trophy, including excellent games from Darren Lee, David Dunn, Gary Hope and Pablo Padilla.  The winner this year for a game played in a sacrificial if not entirely sound style was Chris Pitt.
A new name appeared on the “Nickers Trophy” this year – David Dunn became our latest draw master with 9 draws after seeing off serious challenges from Martin Smyth and Ron Hardy with 8 draws.

 

2006-07

The new season started with several new members joining the club.  Liam Hylands, Sharif Gonem, Paul Phillips, Rob Hearne, Jan Trembecki and the return of Simon Killarney.
The first match was the annual ‘friendly’ against Olton.  This was played over 20 boards resulting in South Birmingham 12½- Olton 7½.
We entered 8 teams in the B.D.C.L in Divisions 1 (3 teams), 2,3,4,5 and 6.
Our first team retained the League Championship by winning its’ last match against Walsall Kipping.
Our 2nd team finished with 9 points in Division 1 and were involved in a relegation play –off with Sutton Coldfield. We won 3½-2½ and kept our place in Division  1.

Our third team were promoted from Division 2 last year and their objective was to get enough points to stay in Division 1.  The team excelled themselves and beat most of the opposition.  They ended the season on 18 points and finished in 2nd place in Division 1.  Neil Clarke did an excellent job has Team Captain and played quite well himself scoring 8½ out of 12 for his team.

Our 4th team kept their newly promoted place in Division 2 and in addition won the Homer Trophy. This is a particularly good result, because Division 2 is the ‘recycle bin’ of the first division. Most clubs have their first team in the second division; the opposition can be quite strong.  Our 5th, 6th and 7th teams kept their places in Divisions 3, 4 and 5.  Our 8th team were a late registration in Division 6 and played well providing league chess to new members.
We entered 4 teams in the League Lightning Tournament and won the Championship.  The team was Russell James, Stephen Gordon, David Dunn and Pablo Padilla – thus retaining the trophy for another year. Our 3rd team won the second section.
There was tremendous competition for the Nickers Trophy this year.  Martin Smyth and Terry Walker were contenders with 9 draws.  This was surpassed by Robert Glass and Neil Clarke who both draw 10 of their games.  Regaining the trophy he lost last year with 11 draws from 15 games this year’s winner is Steve Evans.
The Walker Trophy was presented to Darren Lee for playing a very exciting game with the black pieces in a Vienna Game against K Jewsbury of Shirley/Lucas.
Overall we have had a successful season retaining three teams in Division 1 and coming 1st and 2nd in Division 1.  This has never been done before!
Next season is just around the corner and we already have had two new members, Darren Whitmore and Ray Trinder.

 

2007-08

The season was memorable for several reasons.
The club had for the first time a Grandmaster (Danny Gormally) and an International Master (Steven Gordon) playing in its’ first team.

The season started by Danny Gormally leading the South Birmingham team in the annual match against Olton which took place over 22 boards. The match ended in our tenth successive victory with a score of South Birmingham15½ to Olton’s 6½ points. In the Birmingham and District Chess League, not only did we successfully keep our three teams in division one, but we also missed out by one point of having a fourth team in division one!

Our first team (1A) won all of its’ first ten matches and set up a commanding lead which resulted in us retaining the League Championship.
Our second team (1B) did exceptionally well and finished in second place, and thus retained the runners up trophy that the 1C team had won for the club the previous season.
Our 1C team finished sixth. Our fourth team finished third in division two and our other teams successfully retained their places in division 3, 4, and 5.

Our first team reached the final of the Terrill Trophy and were paired against Boldmere division 3.
Boldmere were given a 3½ points start, so we had to win the match by at least 5 – 1.
The team we chose to represent the club was made up of two players from each of our three division one teams, John Pitcher, Jon Swindells, David Dunn, Liam Hylands, Martin Smyth and Neil Clarke. We only conceded a half point in the match and thus won the Terrill Trophy.

We entered three teams in the League Lightning Championship.
Our first team consisting of Dani Malik, Kaiser Malik, David Dunn and Martin Smyth scored 16½ points out of 20 and won the championship. Both Dani and Martin scored 5 out of 5 points.

The division two League Individual Championship saw two South Birmingham players in the final.
Gary Hope was facing Robert Glass for the title. An exciting game followed which resulted in a win for Robert.
Steven Gordon finished second in the British Chess Championship, and then went on to play for England. He needs one more norm to achieve the Grandmaster title.
The club was well represented in the Warwickshire Chess Championships where fifteen of our members took part. The top section was won by Russell James.
In the under 100 section, Geoff Perks came equal first. South Birmingham also won the team prize.

The clubs Goolie Trophy was presented jointly to Gary Hope and Robert Glass for another night at the club.
Robert and Gary were both playing games in the division two League Individual Championship.
Gary was playing against John Fahy and Robert was playing against Alan Burnett. After they had finished their games, all four players went into the analysis room. They were so absorbed in analysing the two games, the players didn’t notice the hours ticking away...

There was a knock on the fire escape door: West Midlands Police had come to investigate the premises being burgled! Apparently, the Caretaker assumed that everyone had gone home and the building was empty. So the alarms were set and the building locked up. The energetic arm movements of the players set off the alarms. The alarms are connected to the police station. Hence the arrival of the Quick Response Unit.

Once it was established that the building was not being burgled – but occupied by over enthusiastic chess players, the culprits were led down the fire escape by the police and the building secured.

The clubs Nickers Trophy which is awarded to the player who has drawn the most games was given to Tim Lane, he was considered the most Petrosianesque player in the club by drawing 13 games out of 18 games played.
Love was in the air....the season saw Greg Varnom, falling love and marrying the lovely Ria.
Former member Martin Meredith proposed to his new love Jessica on a beach in Hawaii and Neil Clarke fell in love and married Joanna. We all hoped that Neil’s chess does not suffer from this action which has affected players in the past.
Neil’s stag night was attended and enjoyed by several members including a young I.M.
Lots of alcohol was drunk and entertainment provided at a Birmingham Pole Dancing Club.

 

 2008-09

The season was once again successful for the club.
In June we celebrated our previous season’s success by having a Lads Night Out. Eighteen members turned out for a curry night preceded by a nights drinking at hostelries in Moseley. It was an enjoyable evening which ended at 12.30 a.m. on Saturday!

The next event was the pre-season “Friendly” against Olton. Nineteen players competed on each side. Our team was spearheaded by Jon Swindells, Pablo Padilla and Liam Hylands, who all won their games. The final result was 14½ - 4½ to South Birmingham. The only games lost were those played by Martin Smyth and Gary Hope who both play for Olton in other leagues! Thus South Birmingham had its eleventh successive win.

In the Birmingham League we entered seven teams. Divisions 1(3 teams), 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Our top three teams all managed to keep their places in division 1. Our first team (1A) was undefeated in the league and successfully retained the League Championship for the fourth successive year with a score of 22 points from 24.  
The team also reached the final of the Terrill Trophy and were paired against the division two champions Warley Quinborne.  We had to give the opposition 2½ points start meaning that we needed 4½ points out of 6 to win. Although we chose the six strongest players who were available to play, unfortunately this was not good enough and we lost the match by ½ point.

Robert Glass reached the final of the division two individual competition, but had to be content with second place leaving Simon Smith the victor.Our seventh team played in division five and under the captaincy of Peter Johnson were undefeated with 20 points from22. This gave us the division five championship and promotion to division 4.

In the League Lightning Tournament we entered three teams. Two in section one and one in section two. Our first team consisting of Dani Malik, Kaiser Malik, Liam Hylands and Martin Smyth successfully retained the trophy scoring 15 points out of 20.
Our second team consisting of Rob Hearne, Neil Clarke, Darren Lee , Tim Lane and Rob Glass started off by not understanding their role in the tournament, which was to support the ‘A’ team and be part of a two prong attack against all opposition. In their first match they played against the ‘A’ team and took two points off them!
Our third team consisting of Terry Walker, Sean Ralph, Derek Stockhall, Ralf Weber and Fred Dickson played in the second section. This we won comfortably with 21points. Neil Clarke showed his dedication as a club member and captain by postponing his league games during the early weeks of fatherhood so that no games would be missed.

 

2009-10

The season started off in June with another Lads Night Out. As usual, a few drinks were consumed followed by a curry.
The first fixture of the season was the annual “Friendly” match against Olton. This was played over 19 boards and resulted in a 13 – 6 victory for South Birmingham.
We entered six teams in the Birmingham League but by the start of the season we found out that five of our eighteen division one players had left the area and would not be playing for the club this season. We tried to withdraw a division one side but the League would not allow this. The official response via John Fahy was that the club had plenty of players and should complete its fixtures using reserves. So we plodded on.
Our first team (1A) retained the League Championship by coming first equal with Lichfield on twenty points and then beating them in the play-off by 3½ - 2½, thereby retaining the championship title for the fifth successive year.
Our second team (1B) finished in 6-7 place with eleven points. Our third team (1C) found the going tough and managed to get six points, but this was not enough to avoid relegation. Gary Hope reached the final of the division one League Individual competition, but had to be content with second place.
Still this was an excellent achievement considering his league performance of 1½ points out of 11.

Our division 2, 3 and 4 sides all played well and kept their places in their respective divisions. Our division four side reached the final of the Townshend Trophy but had to be content with second place. We entered two teams in the League Lightning competition. Our first team failed to retain our trophy,
But the second team comfortably won section two, repeating their success of the previous season.

Click for 2009-10 Detailed Records

 

 

2010-11

 The season started with the annual Lads Night out in June, starting with a few drinks at the Prince of Wales followed by a curry in Ladypool Road.
The annual “Friendly” match against Olton followed. This year the match took place over 18 boards. The South Birmingham team was led by Jon Swindells (the Doc). The first player to win was one of our new rising stars Aloysius Lip followed by his sister Philomena giving South Birmingham its first points. The final result was South Birmingham 11 – Olton 7. The margin is getting narrower!

We entered six teams in the Birmingham League, division 1 (2teams), division 2 (2teams), division 3 and division 5.
Our first team had difficulty in getting out a regular side due to players working commitments. This resulted in us dropping five points and losing the championship. We only lost one game and had to be content with second place. The team also had a good cup run and reached the final of the Terrill Trophy. Unfortunately, the handicap of 3½ points was too severe and we had to be content with another second place.
Our second team (1B) led by Martin Smyth and David Dunn did very well scoring 16 points and finished in third position.
Our third team (2A) playing in division 2 had a regular side throughout the season. Although dropping seven points, they managed to secure second place and gain promotion to division one. So next season the ashes of what was 1C return to division one.
Both Tim Lane and Gary Hope reached the final of the division two Individual Competition. Tim managed to win that one!
Our other teams 2B, 3 and 5 all performed well. Ralf Weber went through the season undefeated!

We entered three teams in the League Lightning Tournament. The first team won the championship with 19 points, 8 points ahead of our nearest rivals Olton. We also won the second section with 15½ points, three points ahead of Mutual A.
The club welcomed a number of new members including Cory Hazlehurst, Colin Searle, Philomena and Aloysius Lip. Aloysius had been selected to play in the under- 11 side for England.

The clubs Potter Trophy for service to the club was awarded to Neil Clarke who arranged his wedding in the close season and also arranged the birth of his children to avoid chess fixture clashes! The clubs Nickers Trophy for the most number of draws was awarded to Peter Sherman who drew
12 games out of 15 played.

Click for 2010-11 Detailed Records

2011-12

The season saw us welcome new members Daniel Tomè, David Thomson, Leif Dixon, Rafael Dudziak and Kemal Atayev.

Tim Lane was elected as President of the League.

Olton Chess Club hosted the 25th. Annual “Friendly” match between South Birmingham and Olton.
The match took place over 22 boards offering players of all strengths the opportunity to take part and represent their respective clubs.  The South Birmingham team was led by Pablo Padilla who played an exciting game on board 1 and held his opponent to a draw. The match gave us our 14th. successive victory with a score of South Birmingham 16½ - Olton 5½. The result was never in doubt, as South Birmingham out-graded their opponents on 21 out of the 22 boards.

We also played a “Friendly” match against Birmingham University. This was a 12 board match which gave some of our newer members the opportunity to play at a competitive level. We won the match 8½-3½.
We entered 6 teams in the Birmingham and District League. These were in Div 1 (3teams), division 2, division 3 and division 6.
Our first team (1A) won match after match and soon piled up the points. This resulted in us winning the championship on 22 points with a 6 point lead. A good performance was put in by Jon Swindells who went through the season undefeated scoring 8½ points from 12 games. The team also had cup success reaching the final of the Terrill Trophy. In the final they beat Stourbridge 3 with a score of
6-0 and secured the Trophy for the club.
Our second team (1B) did very well and finished joint second in division 1with Olton. In the play-off our team was under strength and this resulted in us losing 4-2 to Olton.
Our third team (1C) had a difficult season and finished on 7 points level with Warley/Quinborne.
We put up a brave fight in the play-off match to avoid relegation, but lost by 4-2.
Like the Phoenix, I am sure that we will rise from the ashes and have 3 teams in division 1 in the future.
Our fourth team (div.2) were at the top of the table for most of the season and at one stage looked as though they could get promoted. Points then started to slip away from them and they finished in joint 4th. place with Stourbridge.
Our fifth team (div. 3) was strengthened by new members Leif Dixon and David Thomson and finished in second place with Mercia and Sutton Coldfield. We were now in a three- way play-off for the runners-up spot. Unfortunately we were unable to achieve promotion.
Our 6th. team playing in division 6, finished with 12points in 6 th. position. It gave new members Kemal and Rafael the opportunity to experience competitive chess and visit far- away places like Halesowen, Lichfield and Boldmere.

We entered three sides in the League Lightning event and won the top two sections.

Generally a good season for the club with our first team winning the three major trophies, coming second equal in divisions 1 and 3 and winning section 2of the league lightning event. We were also nominated for the ECF “Club of the Year” award.

Click for 2011-12 Detailed Records

2012-13

The season saw us welcome new members Pavel Besedin, Paul Webster, Jeff Jones and Ahwab Alam.
We entered a team in the newly formed Summer League and became its first champions.

The annual “Friendly” match took place over 21 boards against Olton. Our team was led by Pavel Besedin on board 1. We won with a score of 14-7.

We entered 6 teams in the BDCL in divisions 1(2teams), division 2(2teams), division 3and division 6.

Our first team (1A) started the season badly by losing to our 1B side and to Sutton Coldfield. A further loss to Bushbury and a point dropped against Walsall Kipping saw the team finish in second place with Bushbury.  We won the play-off convincingly by4½-1½ and finished in second place.
Our first team also had a good cup run reaching the final of the Terrill Trophy. This time we had to play Stourbridge’s first team who had just finished second in division 2. The handicap was 2½ points which was going to make this a tough match to win. We had our best team out John Pitcher, Jon Swindells, Pavel Besedin, Kevin Hurney, David Dunn and Ann-Marie James. It was a tough match which we managed to win. Final result was South Birmingham 4½-Stourbridge 4. We retained the Terrill Trophy. We did take the Trophy to the first session of the match so that Stourbridge could see what it looks like!

Our second team (1B) had a good season and were at the top of the league for a time. They eventually finished on 16 points in 4th. place.

Our third team (2A) finished in 5th. place on 12 points in division two.

Our fourth team (2B) finished in 7-9th. place on 10 points in division two

Our fifth team (division 3) had a good season and became champions of their division with 19 points and winning promotion to division two.

Our division six team won their division with 100% (the only team in the League to do so) and took us into the history books.

We entered four teams in the League Lightning event. We came 1st. 2nd. and 3rd. In the Championship and we came 1st. in section two.  It is not possible to achieve more!

Our achievements this season were: 2nd. Division 1 championship
1st. Division 3
1st. Division 6
Terrill Trophy winners
Summer League Champions
League Lightning Champions
League Lightning section 2 Champions

By winning these events we are at the top of the All Time Champions Table in the history of the Birmingham Chess League with 34 divisional titles.
We are also top of the All Time Knock-Out Trophy Table with 19 wins.

We produced stars: Hitman Hurney (Kevin), Little Miss Dynamite (Ann-Marie), The Doc (Jonathan) and The Lucky Latvian (Pavel).

Since replacing his former navigator, Martin Smyth with a Sat Nav, Terry finds going to away matches less stressful.

I think we had a successful season and hope everybody enjoyed playing.

Click for 2012-13 Detailed Records

2013-14

The season saw several new players join the club. These were John Gray, Girish Kulkarni, Paul Heeney, Viktor Kurov, Darpit Shah, Alan Woollaston and the return of Boson Das.

The season started with the annual match against Olton. This was played over 25 boards and resulted in our sixteenth consecutive victory, by 18 – 7.

We entered a team in the Cannock and District League which resulted in us winning the championship.

We entered seven sides in the B.D.C.L. in Divisions 1 (2 teams), Division 2 (3 teams), Division 5 and Division 6.

Our first team (1A) had a disappointing start to the season by losing to the 1B side. Later their results improved and the team finished as runners-up in Division 1 with seventeen points.

The second team (1B) played consistently well and was at the top of the Division for part of the season. They were led on top board by Ann-Marie James who achieved a very creditable 50 %. Captain Neil Clarke managed the team effectively and achieved the best individual result with 80%. The team tied for seventh place with twelve points.

Our third team (2A) finished in seventh place in Division two with twelve points.

Our fourth team (2B) had a shaky start when they lost to 2C, but they made up for this by beating 2A. They eventually finished in a four-way play-off for second place. Unfortunately we fell a point short of winning the resulting play-off.

Our fifth team (2C) had a regular side but could not accumulate enough points to stay up, finishing next to last with seven points.

Our sixth team played in Division five and tied for first place with fourteen points and achieved promotion to Division four. The best individual result was by Fred Dickson with 81%.

Our seventh team played in Division six with the main aim of giving new members the opportunity to play competitive chess. The team did well to finish fourth on thirteen points. In one match played at Kynoch, their board two player was particularly sensitive. Viktor Kurov brought a visiting friend along with him to the game.

Whilst waiting for his opponent to move, Viktor would leave the board and speak to his friend in Russian.

The Kynoch player, who was losing, objected to this saying that Viktor was probably getting advice in Russian from his friend on how to win!  When it was pointed out to the Kynoch player that Victors’ friend did not know how to play chess and had not left his seat to look at the board, the objection was dropped.

The club entered four sides in the B.D.C.L.’s Lightning event and retained the championship title and our second team finished in second place.

We entered three sides in the summer league which started in May and won the 440 section.

Fred Dickson and Alan Woollaston reached the final of the Division five individual championship. Alan came second, so congratulations to Fred.

The club was particularly proud to see WFM Ann-Marie James chosen to represent England as part of the women’s’ team in the Olympiad in Tromso in Norway.

The ‘Goolie’ trophy was presented this season to Tony Szatanik for organising his team to play on a Wednesday night in a trophy match against Olton. Unfortunately the team missed the match because it was on the Monday.

The end of the season was celebrated in June by the annual ‘beer-and-curry’ night.

Click for 2013-14 Detailed Records

2014-15

The season again saw an influx of new members. The club welcomed Jim Barrett (Physics), Richard Mycroft, Mikhail Tyomkyn, Marco Ho (Speedy), Ikechukwu Ezeanya (Ike), Kieran Donnelly, Shaban Abd El Gawad and the return of Simon Killarney (Killa).

The season started with the hosting of the 28th annual match against Olton. The match took place over 22 boards. Olton only had 19 players, so we loaned them three of our players to even the numbers. Members of all our seven teams played in the match which was a good representation of our club. We out-graded our opponents on all of the boards and conceded only five losses. The final result was South Birmingham 15 – Olton 7. This was our seventeenth consecutive victory!

We entered a team in the Cannock and District League and finished second.

We entered a team in Division two of the Dudley League and won the Division two championship.

Seven sides were entered in the B.D.C.L. in Divisions 1 (2 teams), Division 2 (3 teams), Division 4, Division 6 (2 teams)

Our first team (1A) had a remarkably good season and won the first division championship with a 100% score of 24 points. This was last achieved by a first division team in 1936. They also had a good run in the Terrill Trophy knock-out competition. They reached the final and had to play Stourbridge division three, giving them a 3½ point start. We needed at least a 5 – 1 victory to win. We had a good side for the final and then the date was changed. This resulted in us losing three members of the team who could not play on the new date. Our super-subs from the ‘B’ team came to the rescue (Neil Clarke, Sean Ralph and Martin Smyth). A nail biting match took place which was too close to call. After the first session, we had 2½ points from three games, so needed another 2½ points from the remaining three games. At the resumption of the games, David Dunn won and Neil drew. It was all down to Sean to win! Clever manoeuvring and trickery secured the point and much to my relief, the Terrill Trophy was ours!

Our second team (1B) were led on top board by new member Mikhail Tyomkyn. They did very well and conceded only three matches, finishing on twelve points in 5–8 th position.

Our third team (2A) had a good side and had been strengthened by new member Richard Mycroft. They also stole Aloysius Lip and David Thomson from the other Division two side. They played well and found themselves in second place in Division two and are duly promoted to Division one next season. They also had a good cup run and became the new holders of the Homer Trophy.

Our fourth team (2B) did well and finished joint seventh in Division two with 10 points.

Our fifth team (4), which had been promoted from Division five last season, played in Division four, so a tough season was expected. The team was restructured with the addition of Marco Ho, Viktor Kurov, Girish Kulkarni and some games from ‘Ike’. This proved to be a winning combination and the team won the Division Four championship and are promoted to Division Three.

Our sixth team (6A) had a fantastic season winning all of its’ eleven matches and winning the Division 6 championship with 100%. Alan Woollaston achieved 95% and Simon Killarney 80%.

Our seventh team (6B) was a late entry due to the addition of several new members. It gave players the experience to play competitive chess and be part of a team. It did very well and finished joint fourth on 14 points.

Three of our members reached the finals of the B.D.C.L. Individual competitions. Richard Mycroft was runner-up in Division One, Robert Glass was runner-up in Division 2 and Marco Ho was joint first in Division four.

Two beer and curry nights took place, one in December and one in June.

This has been our most successful season in the history of the club achieving the following team successes:

1.                   Division 1 Championship with 100%

2.                   Winners of the Terrill Trophy

3.                   Division 2 runner-up

4.                   Winners of the Homer Trophy

5.                   Division 4 Championship

6.                   Division 6 Championship with 100%

7.                   Summer League rapid-play 440 Championship(2014/15)

8.                   Section 2 BDCL League Lightning Tournament

9.                   Division 2 Championship in the Dudley League

SBCC 70                                                                                                              Click for 2014-15 Detailed Records

 

 2015-16

The season started with the B.D.C.L. summer league Rapid-play tournaments. We entered two teams, one in the Open Section and the other in the 560 Section.

Our first success has been winning the 560 section with a match in hand. This was mainly due to good strategic planning by team captain Alan Woollaston.

Our next success has been winning the Open Section.

 After leading the section throughout the tournament, our final match against rivals Sutton Coldfield was going to be tough. Our team was Pavel Besedin (204), Jonathan Swindells (207), John Pitcher (196) and sharing bottom board Kevin Hurney (187) and Cory Hazlehurst (186). Our opponents were confident of beating us and fielded a strong team. Irvin Ortega (219), Pablo Padilla (203), Henrik Stepanyan (201) and sharing bottom board Golam Ali (182) and John Mildenhall (173). We won both matches against them 3 – 1 and sent them packing.

Two other members of the team who helped us win the championship were Neil Clarke and Agoston Mihalik.

Our membership in the last three years has taken on an international flavour with members from Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan and Nigeria. We are now recruiting new members for the new season.

 

Click for 2015-16 Detailed Records

All history of South Birmingham provided by Terry Walker