DURHAM COUNTY CHESS ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Minutes of the Meeting Held on 25th September 2007 at Hetton Workingmen’s Club
Present: Robin Horner(President & Gateshead Libraries); Keith Smith (Secretary & Hartlepool); Bryan Bainbridge
(League Secretary & Bishop Auckland); John Findlay (Vice-President & Durham City); Stan Johnson (Grader & South
Shields); Graham Marshall (Congress Secretary & Hartlepool); Graham Matthews (NCCU delegate & Hartlepool); Ken
Neat (Correspondence Captain & Durham City); Glenn Parkin (Ron Evers & Bishop Auckland); Roger Simpson (Vice-
President & Durham City); David Griffin (Hetton Lyons); Paul Griffin (Hetton Lyons); Nigel Hall (Hetton Lyons); John
Marsh (Leam Lane); Bill Metcalfe (Darlington); Dave Smith (Hartlepool); Fred Stobbart (Hetton Lyons); Dave Todd
(Pittington); Alan Young (Leam Lane)
1. Apologies: Geoff Knapton; Roger Anderson; Maurice Bell
2. Minutes of the previous meeting held on 19th April 2007
These had been widely circulated before the meeting & the President signed them off as a true record.
3. Matters arising from the above minutes: None
4. Election of Officers:
The secretary informed the meeting that Mr Horner had to step down from his post as required under
item 7. of the DCCA’s Constitution – basically he had served his three years.
Regrettably the Association did not have a President-Elect ready to step into the post. There was some
discussion as to whether a former President could be re-elected again and the Secretary’s opinion was
that there was nothing in the Constitution to explicitly forbid it.
Mr Neat was asked if he would be prepared to fill the role and he kindly agreed to take on the post for
the next year.
At this point in the proceedings Mr Horner relinquished the Chair and Mr Neat took over as the new
His first duty was to present the County U15 trophy to David Griffin. He also asked if anyone was
interested in becoming the President-Elect but no-one came forward and this position will have to be
offered at a subsequent meeting.
The secretary informed the meeting that he had received an email from the NCCU regarding a small
rebate from their NMS scheme. It amounted to £7.83 and he had forwarded the message on to the
6. Reports from Officers
Unfortunately the Treasurer was unable to attend the meeting but he had sent an email report. General
Fund - £609.53 and Congress Account - £885.26, making a total of £1494.79 in the bank.
b. League Secretary
This item was deferred by the President until later in the meeting.
c. Match Captain
The new U125 match captain [Roger Anderson] was not at the meeting but he hoped to run a team in
this year’s NCCU U125 tourney. The first match was against Cleveland in early October. The
President asked for all the clubs to give as much assistance as possible to the new captain so he could
establish a strong county team.
d. Correspondence Captain
Mr Neat reported that the NCCU had found a new controller for their correspondence competitions – a
Mr Chris Underhill. He was hoping that this year’s competition would start in late Oct/early Nov and
he needed interested players to contact him asap.
He also reported that Northumberland were keen on running a joint Durham/Northumberland team in
the ECF correspondence competition, if the organisers agreed. This competition would be in addition
to the usual Sinclair trophy run by the NCCU.
e. Ron Evers Organiser
Mr Parkin reported that Darlington ‘A’ had beaten South Shields 3-2½ to win the Ron Evers. There
had only been 8 teams in last year’s event and he was hopeful of more entries this year. The trophy
was displayed in the meeting room ready to be presented later on.
f. County Championship Organiser
Mr Horner said that he needed more entries for each section so that he can run 5/6 all-play-alls. He
had prepared the literature for this year’s event and he asked delegates to take it back to their clubs and
promote the event. He was hoping for a late Oct start which would be an improvement over last
Fred Stobbart/Tony Mezzo tied for last season’s Terry Holmes Cup. Similarly Graeme Oswald/Ken
Neat had tied for the Alan Sayers Cup. The Wm Bentley shield had gone missing.
g. Congress Secretary
Mr Marshall reported on a new event with sponsors that he was organising in Hartlepool at the
beginning of November. The Chess Frenzy event on 3rd-4th Nov is to be sponsored by Chessmaze
International and the new time limit is:- all moves to be completed within 75 mins.
He brought the meeting’s attention to the Cleveland Congress and said that he hoped to dedicate the
Congress to the late Tony Kiddle, who had been Secretary of Middlesbrough Chess Club for a good
number of years.
h. Junior Co-ordinator
Mr Neat was looking after junior interests on a casual basis and referred the meeting to item 7. on the
agenda – Update on Think-tank.
i. Bulletin Editor
Bryan Bainbridge said that he would look after the website as per last season although the Association
is really looking for a volunteer to fill this vacancy. There had been no movement in allowing officers
to add their own content to the site.
Mr Johnson reported on the grading situation and said that the rapidplay lists seemed to be available
every 6 months now on the ECF website. However he didn’t think the standardplay lists would follow
k. Trophies Secretary
Mr Horner confirmed that the Wm Bentley shield was missing. He had brought two trophies to the
meeting for presentation – the Ron Evers trophy and the Terry Holmes Cup - and there was still a little
bit of engraving to catch up on. Graeme Oswald and Ken Neat had tied for the Alan Sayers Cup and it
would probably be shared now that we were due to start a new season.
l. NCCU delegate
Mr Marshall reported that the NCCU’s General Secretary, Bill O’Rourke, had resigned his post during
the summer. It had resurrected its MO scheme and now ECF membership could be taken up through
the NCCU – see its website at www.nccu.org.uk. Mr Marshall urged members to affiliate through the
NCCU rather than through Durham’s agreement with the ECF. He said that we would eventually get a
rebate from the NCCU.
m. ECF delegate
Mr Marshall reported that relations between the ECF and the north have continued to improve through
the good offices of Martin Regan. There was a meeting of the ECF coming up during October in
Sheffield and Bill Metcalfe said that he would probably attend and send a report to the DCCA website
n. Equipment Secretary
Mr Marshall confirmed that the DCCA now owns 60 sets together with 20 brand new clocks. He was
hoping that if the County Durham Congress made enough profit then he could buy more clocks so that
all the sets were the same – at the moment 40 are in the older style and could do with replacing.
He hoped to donate the older equipment to schools around County Durham who wished to set-up chess
clubs for their pupils.
o. NE Rapidplay matters
The rapidplay circuit had concluded at an event in Peterlee during the summer. The first rapidplay on
this year’s circuit was at Hartlepool on 9th September. More events are promised at Chillingham [13th
Oct], Hetton Lyons [24th Nov] and Darlington [23rd Feb].
Mr Marshall finished by saying that the current state of the circuit should be reported on the Peterlee
Chess Club website – www.peterleechessclub.co.uk.
At this point the President went back to item b. League Secretary
Mr Bainbridge issued new Handbooks to the meeting and went through the new league programme.
This season there would be just the two divisions as a number of teams had pulled out. Still 8 in the A
division but now there were 10 teams in the B. Both University and Haymarket had withdrawn from
the League. Both divisions were all-play-all both home and away making the usual 14 matches in the
A but now 18 in the B division.
He indicated that the first two matches could be re-arranged if required, but in future the rules
regarding the re-arrangement of fixtures would be adhered to and no postponing of matches would
now be allowed.
7. Update on Think-tank
There had been two meetings so far of the Think-tank [4th July & 18th Sept], which had been set up
over the summer to try and reverse the decline in County Durham chess. Mr Neat had produced a
report after the first meeting [see file]. He felt that the lack of organised chess for juniors affected the
adult clubs as too few juniors were joining after school.
The meetings also brought up the matter of publicity – too little chess is publicised within the County
and it was suggested that clubs use giant chess sets at public events to attract spectators and hopefully
new members. Also, where clubs meet in pubs, the DCCA could donate sets from its old stock to
allow casual play.
The meeting discussed the matter of publicity and it was agreed that it should appoint a new Publicity
Officer to handle this. Mr Fred Stobbart kindly offered his services as Publicity Officer and he was
Mr Neat then went on to discuss the merits of club venues, an issue which had been brought up at the
Think-tank meetings. He suggested sending out a questionnaire to clubs to ask about their views on
juniors, the cost of their venues, etc. It had also been suggested that the Durham League could run on
Saturdays in conjunction with any junior leagues and comment from the floor established that there
had been a NE chess league which had run on Saturdays during the 1970s. Some delegates asked
whether it could be resurrected again with the top teams of Northumberland, County Durham &
Cleveland being involved.
Mr Neat suggested that a panel of strong players could be set up to assist clubs in holding special
events around the county, like simultaneous exhibitions, training sessions, talks on chess which would
help to promote chess to the public.
Specifically on juniors – Mr Neat said he was keen to maintain the good links with the Northumbria
Junior Chess Association [NJCA] and he wanted to see an audit of schools to find out exactly who is
playing chess within the County. He said that there was a possibility of the County Council funding
chess in schools on a regular basis along the lines of the initiative taken by Aberdeen Council.
Aberdeen has funded school chess regularly for a number of years and this has helped Jonathan
Rowson become British Champion [2004-2006]. The Council would be looking for a co-ordinator to
help set up local school leagues, coaching, etc in the County.
There is to be a schools team event in the County Hall on 6th October.
Mr Neat finished his review of the Think-tank meetings by admitting that the transition from school
chess to adult chess was a problem, particularly due to the nature of some of the venues. The matter of
CRB checks was also brought up and more legal advice is needed to see what effect it would have on
County Durham chess. The ECF have issued a Child Protection Policy document which is in the
8. Any Other Business
Two trophies were presented – the Ron Evers was picked up by Bill Metcalfe [Darlington] and the
Terry Holmes Cup was presented to Fred Stobbart.
The meeting closed at 9.45 p.m.
Next meeting: 16th January 2008
Durham County Chess Association