The 2nd Northumbria Masters took place in the Novotel Hotel in Newcastle on August 22-27. 9 games in 5 days over the bank holiday weekend was a demanding schedule, but the venue was excellent and the Masters featured 6 GMs and 7 IMs. I managed to finish 5th= on 6/9, having played 4 GMs – my best tournament result in a while. TRaj Bhopal and Robert Kane played in the Challengers event.

The event will be held on the same weekend next year. Definitely worth a visit!

We were contacted by a neighbour before the weekend about some flooding in a flat two floors above that had made its way all the way down to the basement.

Within the club itself the carpet in the hall and the caretaker’s bedroom was pretty wet and there was also water in the kitchen.  The plumber advises that the problem has been fixed and the carpets etc are being dried out.


In the Scottish Grand Prix (2018-19) club members were top in three out of the four categories winning the Challengers, Major and Minor sections!  The Grand Prix’s purpose is to boost the Scottish tournament circuit and to provide another benefit for Chess Scotland members who play chess regularly.

In the Challengers, which had a grading limit of 1701-1900, Robert Kane (1866) came first with 47.0 points wining £100 plus ChessBase software, book, magazine and a trophy.  Mike Ridge scored 32.0 coming in 6th.

Robert Kane

In the Major, for players graded 1451-1700, first was Keith Aitchison (1664) with a score of 52.0 also winning £100 plus ChessBase software, book, magazine(s) and a trophy.  Calum McGillivray (1612) came in 3rd winning ChessBase playing program (e.g. latest version of Fritz), a book and a magazine.  Martin Brejterr, Ian Whittaker and Ben Ridge also appeared in the tables at 11th, 12th and 20th respectively.

Keith Aitchison

Alan Buchan (1252) not only came first in the Minor (for players graded under 1450) with 62.0 points, winning not just £100 plus software, book, magazine(s) and a trophy but also won a further £200 bonus award having the highest total accumulated by any player in all four grand prix sections.  David Cubitt and Mark Smith also appeared in the rankings at 14th and 15th respectively.

Allan Buchan

Not forgetting the Candidates section (for players graded 1901 to 2150), where Andrew Green (2076) was the highest scoring member with 20.0 points making 15th in the table followed by Willie Rutherford (20th), Paul Roberts (25th) and David Robertson (30th).

Well done everyone!


The club was well represented in last week’s Scottish Championship, held at Stewart’s Melville College in Edinburgh.

Dean Church Building

The championship itself had seventeen titled players competing (including 4 GMs and 4 IMs) out of 66 competitors with GM Mathew Turner winning on a tie-break with a score of 7/9.

Members best results in the championship were achieved by FM Neil Berry (Club President) and CM Andrew Green who each scored 5.5/9. This included Neil agreeing a final round draw against IM Roddy Mckay whilst Andrew, having lost in round 2 to GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, beat FM Iain Gourlay in round 7.  

Neil & Andrew

Other members playing in the Championship included Mike Ridge (4.5), Raj Bhopal (4), Robert Kane, Keith Aitchison and Vipin Zamvar (all on 3.5), and Sams Dietah Connolly (Tiger Cubs – scoring 3).

Mike, Raj, Robert, Keith & Vipin

In the U1850 tournament Allan Buchan unfortunately drew a blank, whereas in the U1500 David Cubitt scored 2/5.

Allan & David

Full results accessible via Chess Scotland. Photos courtesy of Andy Howie.
And apologies for any omissions and errors (all on my part) ….!

I was recently asked whether there was much of a chess community on twitter. If you are interested in the global game, or its’ history then there is plenty! I thought it worth sharing some accounts you can follow to get you started. You can see others through their interactions with the below accounts, and follow from there.

Super GM tournaments will generate a lot of interest. A number of sites will tweet about the games – @chesscom, @chess24com and @fide_chess are some good examples. If Magnus is playing then chess journalist Tarjei Svensen (@tarjeiJS) will invariably be tweeting about it, and Norwegian Grandmaster Jonathan Tisdall (@gmjtis). The players themselves aren’t usually very active during tournaments, with Anish Giri (@anish_giri) a notable exception.

The AI-inspired supercomputer AlphaZero has generated a huge amount of interest from non-chess players, and its influence is often debated on twitter. Google’s DeepMind created AlphaZero, and the company’s CEO Demis Hassabis (@demishassabis) is a former player who credits his creation with reigniting his love for the game!

Tweets about Scottish chess are much rarer! Honorary member and Scotland’s strongest player Jonathan Rowson (@jonathan_rowson) is active on twitter, though he tweets on a variety of subjects. For lovers of chess history, Scottish FM Douglas Griffin (@dgriffinchess) is a ‘must follow’, and he shares much of his writing on Soviet chess history here.

Finally, a word of warning from the second highest rated player of all time:
[Player seeking advice]: Hi Kasparov.. i have a chess tournament tomorrow can u help me with the strategy to win the game.
[@kasparov63]: Stay off twitter.