2007 - 2013

The 2007/08 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.


The 2008/09 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.

The 2009/10 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.

 The 2010/11 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.
Next followed the annual “Friendly” match against Olton. 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.

The 2011/12 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.

The 2012-13 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 7-9 th. 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.

Previous.......1945 - 2007 and 1976 - 2007 All history of South Birmingham provided by Terry Walker