NCCU Schools Award

Yesterday I was invited to Alnwick to present the NCCU Schools award to the chess club at St Paul’s Middle School. In fact the club also caters for former pupils who now attend The Duchess High School. A reporter from local newspaper was there to take photographs and I persuaded her to take one with my camera for the NCCU website, which I attach here.

The picture shows Henry Gormally ( Chess coach, far left), Paul Bielby (NJCA President, centre) and Maria Wilson (Head teacher, far right) together with 4 of the club members. The picture shows the first moves ever played with their new presentation board and set!

Paul Bielby


13/07/14 – 2013-2014 NCCU Schools award

Highfield Priory School Preston – Chess Club

The chess club is supported and promoted excellently by Headteacher Mr. Duke. From small beginnings many years ago, with just a dozen players, the club got off the ground by entering the Junior Congresses run by Lancashire Chess Association. These events have generally been the first events that children have attended and they have gained valuable experience at these events which place the children in appropriate sections for their ability. The children have regularly attended these Congresses for several years now with entries of anything up-to 15 children. Some of the children are now playing in adult events.

The school plays in the EPSCA Primary Schools tournament and also the UK Chess Challenge.

The children are part of the very active school chess club. The children also attend regular Lancashire coaching sessions run by Steve Lamb and Bill O’Rourke. These take place on Saturdays, about once a month throughout the chess season and are very well attended especially considering the range of activities on offer to children these days.

The club has the full backing of the school community which makes this club a success. Mrs Haythornthwaite in particular plays a large part in the growth of chess at the school. School staff accompany the players on their residential trips. Mr Duke generously allows the school to be used free of charge to host junior Lancashire training events, and it is hoped to begin running Lancashire junior congresses there soon.

At the heart of the club is a key principle of enjoyment and enrichment for all.

Many players from the club have represented Lancashire at U9 and U11 level, and this representation grows year on year. Some of the youngsters have now made the breakthrough to playing for the ADULT Lancashire u100 and u120 teams!

The Lancashire Chess Association fully endorses Highfield Priory School as being a worthy recipient of the 2013-2014 NCCU Schools award.

Bill O’Rourke
Lancashire Chess Association President.

NCCU Award 2013 2014 Highfield priory laser engraved (480x640)

L/R –  Bill O’Rourke, Chess teacher Mrs Haythornthwaite, Headteacher Jeremy Duke

07/04/14 – JAMES TENNANT SMITH, 19/06/1927 – 02/04/2014



JAMES TENNANT SMITH, 19/06/1927 – 02/04/2014

Heywood Chess Club has lost one of its longest standing members this week. Over the last 20 years Jim Tennant Smith represented the Heywood club during a time when the first team won the Manchester, Central Lancashire and Bury & Rochdale leagues, and the Northern Counties Club championships. Jim was a very strong Lancashire county player for many decades, but was also always willing to turn out for the lower Lancashire teams in later life whenever they needed players, playing his last county match at 85 years of age.

During his long chess career, Jim held the positions of Lancashire President, Treasurer and Bulletin Editor, and Heywood Chess Club President. Jim was only too happy to lend a hand helping to coach chess players of any age at the club, and he will be greatly missed by all the players and officials of Heywood Chess Club and the Lancashire Chess Association.

Jim’s funeral service will take place on Wednesday, 16th April at Trinity Methodist Church, Bethel Street, Heywood, at 2.00pm

12/09/13 – NCCU Individual Championship

The NCCU Individual Championship for the Wahltuch Trophy and the Junior (U18) Trophy to the top Northern players will take place at the Northumberland Congress 20th-22nd September 2013 at The Parks, North Shields. (contact Lara at:

The Individual winner will receive the NCCU free entry into the British Championships 2014.

The 2nd highest placed Northern player will also receive an NCCU place in the British, but this is not free.