GM Keith Arkell has won more than 300 major tournaments around the world and returns to his first ever club. Keith’s life story is documented in his autobiography Arkell’s Odyssey and he is renowned for his knowledge of endgames as seen in his new book Arkell’s Endings which I highly recommend our players to buy a copy.
Jonathan joined Marcus and Kevin, all South Birmingham associates, in 2019, to compete for us in the Worcester and District Chess League Division 1. With Captain Stephen Woodhouse, they became the highest graded team ever, narrowly missing out on the WDCL Championship title, when Covid-19 ended the season early.
Robert is most likely a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. We are thankful of Robert’s consistency in turning out for our Online Club. He has earned his Spurs. Robert is an ECF Chair of Governance Officer as well as being an excellent player.
Kevin has been instrumental in the revival of our Chess Club since returning to the fold in recent years. Together with Keith Arkell, the club once known then as St. James, lifted three BDCL Championship titles. Kevin has won many tournaments and is respected throughout Worcestershire, England, and in many a Curry House.
Marcus, a smart South Birmingham player along with Jonathan and Kevin, joined to compete for our club in the WDCL Division 1. Together with Captain Stephen Woodhouse, the highly graded quartet, narrowly missed bringing us our first major trophy for over 25 years; as Covid-19 ended the season and the aspiration early.
ECF Non-Executive Director Stephen Woodhouse, one of the quartet denied the WDCL Division 1 trophy at our first attempt; plays an active role in bringing success to the club. Largely responsible for building the club online; he is Worcestershire Minor team Captain and Chairman of the Worcestershire Chess Association.
Ian Ellis is usually on his bike one way or another. Ian is a softly spoken and reserved man but beneath the calm exterior, lurks a very funny character. A fierce opponent to face, capable of playing to a high standard, Ian is often seen adding that missing ingredient to the green army, both OTB and in matches and tournaments online.
Joining Greenlands Chess Club in September 2016 after 37 years in chess purgatory. Transformation from recluse to Club Secretary followed. Reorganisation brought Chess Academy. Silverware a regular occurrence; the club continues to grow despite untold adversity! With many new friends, Longbridge Chess Club carries the torch.
As we looked to strengthen; Phil took the role of Captain of our Worcestershire Chess League team. Results improved. With former Club Chairman Laurence Wheatley, for many years, Phil has overseen the BDCL Ritson-Morry Junior Award and the Baruch H. Wood prizes for best game. Phil is an active contributor to club discussions.
Andrew is a founding member of St. James Chess Club who has recently made a most welcome return. Like many players have found; for Andrew, life got in the way of taking part in Chess Club. Since we have only met our mysterious friend online, we have only a Black and White image of our new player in his younger days.
Strengthening our BDCL Division 4 team for the 2019/20 season at a time when circumstances had conspired against us, Dave would normally be seen playing for Droitwich. Dave’s inclusion was essential in maintaining mid-table mediocrity as players such as myself became unavailable – resulting in too many drawn matches.
History tells us, Ian is a founder member of St. James Chess Club, and reliable on match days for his undying loyalty. He continues to fight for the cause and has been a staunch supporter of me personally and for the changes I’ve brought to club. Ian was crucial in bringing his friend GM Keith Arkell back to play for us for old time’s sake!
Joe has developed rapidly, with oodles of potential yet to be fulfilled. A most delightful young man, Joe volunteers at two hospitals; but also enjoyed the role of Captain in the WMA Division 2 team online until Spike took over! Joe will grow into other administrative roles and will become an even bigger asset to English Chess.
Spike has been a wonderful servant of the Club for several years now. Always willing to chip-in, to turn up, to Captain the BDCL Division 6A and Summer League teams to success. His playing ability, continued dedication, and easy going nature; plus sense of humour, show Spike to be ideal for trusted roles in the administration of the club.
Matt is our foremost Academy protégé, receiving many awards for his performances in winning several internal Club Tournaments. Matt’s improvement has resulted in receipt of the GM Keith Arkell Junior Award and rising grade. His record contributed massively to the success of Spike’s BDCL Division 6 team and WMA Online team.
Richard is the former Club Secretary and Treasurer who held it all together through hard times during the decade of decline. He continues to play a huge role in ensuring Chess Club has a foundation upon which to build. Knowledge of Cask ales and Curry Houses, as well as protocol and procedure, reveal his importance to the club.
Brian is a tricky one! Brian serves as a reminder of our past; our present and our future. He points the way with unassuming accuracy – onward and upward we must march! Brian’s support has never diminished in spite of constantly having his leg pulled. His ability to enjoy banter endears him to everyone at club. A friend for life!
Tom has been an excellent addition to the Club but took some time to find his feet. His permanent transfer to Madrid does not discourage Tom’s participation. The true quality of Tom’s play is now being seen. Of his many positive attributes, Tom unlocks keys to many doors, behind which sensible argument and informed opinion reside.
Yunyeong, known as Lucy, is a delight. The best of six beautiful South Korean Juniors that brought life to Chess Academy. Lucy already had a FIDE Grade before arriving at at club aged nine. Lucy still benefits from involvement with our Online Club. I love Lucy continuing to add diversity to our international contingent!
Jongsun played for us in matches, and still plays online with us, along with his daughter Lucy. Jongsun and his wife introduced five other South Korean Juniors to our Academy. Jiyun and Jihan Lee are members of our Online Club. Lucy’s friend Jeongyun Park (Yunny), Seungchan Yu and Yuntaek Hong were the other regulars.
Lucas constitutes my first ever student. We used to play online many years ago when Lucas was about 15 or 16. We lost touch during the four years in which I joined Greenlands. Lucas looked me up on chess.com and has seriously improved in the intervening years. Lucas plays for our Online Club: part of our Spanish contingent.
Relative newcomer, David should never listen to me when teaming up against Kevin. I blundered. David has been a valued member of the team over the last few years, always willing to make himself available whenever Club or County call. He can often surprise us pulling out unexpected victories in which we can only take pride.
Martin is our most recent addition to our teams. Like many who have learned Chess within the past few years, Martin has been more of a Social Player until improvement saw him earn his inclusion in one of our teams. Although elements of his game need work; Martin has fantastic powers of analysis and has shown huge potential.
John has spent his entire life locally, and for most of the past forty years, living across the road from a hopping mad Chess Club he never knew existed. John is a valued Social Player, vociferous at meetings, hilarious of a Curry Night, and an active participant in all our Internal Over-the-Board tournaments.
President of the British Correspondence Chess Association; Stan joined in 2016 and became a regular for our 1st Team, accepting Captaincy. Overseeing promotion back into Division 4, Stan picked up the Trophy from the BDCL, one of five in recent years. Stan became Treasurer before Covid-19 curtailed his involvement as a Club Official.
Andy is a quietly spoken individual whose hands-on attitude landed him the role of Division 6B Captain. Always willing to play tournaments and to drive players to Club and County matches; his grade is on the up. Bicycles attached to the back of his car and his love of golf, show a spirit for adventure, but there are question marks???
Geoff is an occasional match player, seen sporting his walking sticks. A former Table Tennis player, Chess and West Bromwich Albion are other great loves. Coping with the disability of his wife, and with his own walking difficulties; life has not been easy. Since 2014 as a learner with Chess Club, Geoff reached a grade of 77 in July 2017.
Frank is usually found cruising whether at club or on deck! A decent player for any dance partner, Frank was so kind in one match to assist his young opponent with notation, that his true nature shone like a beacon across the clubhouse, reminding everyone of our duty to humanity. A veteran of the club!
Deputy Safeguarding Officer and Scout Leader, James is Stepfather to Matt Rowe, a Social Player who has nonetheless contributed in more ways than one. His dedication in helping Matt achieve his Chess ambition, and occasional visits to the chessboard, reveal a down to earth man that connects with planet chess.
Roy became Development Officer after retiring from playing competitively. A keen dog lover, Roy now volunteers at the Blue Cross Rehoming Centre and plays 5-a-side football. A former Treasurer of Chess Club, he has been dependable in service of the club for 30 years or more. See his articles on our history here!
Returning to club after a couple of decades away, Julian is obviously back where he belongs
Another player eager to return.
Winner of the 2018 Docklands Rapid under-130 title, with a score of 5½/6 while on his travels, Paul struggled to find accommodation. Moving from job to job trying to get back on his feet, shunted from pillar to post by circumstance; when living in a caravan in Essex, he still played some matches. His style of play often goes begging.
Aaron has been a regular at Chess Club and Academy, always excited to join whatever Club Tournament has been organised. He won the Junior Section of the Greenlands Rapid event in 2019. Aaron loves playing football and would normally be found eating while trying to play blindfold. A fun vocal youngster that loves Curry Night!
A former Chairman of the club, Laurence lives a reclusive lifestyle, as he turns 90. For many years, Laurence was an active participant and designated coordinator between both the BDCL and WCA. A cantankerous lover of Curry Night that caused many an argument trying to maintain standards in protocol and procedure.
President Dave Pugh, was the founding father of St. James Chess Club. Dave, a Quaker, had in later years, attended club with breathing difficulties, only by virtue of Richard fetching him, his respiratory face mask and 6 oxygen bottles; thereby allowing Dave to engage in his love of chess that began at the age of four!
Dave moved to Cornwall giving Chess Club a perfect excuse for a Curry Night leaving do. Dave had added quality and pride to the Division 4 team. He would regularly drive me home after club. Social Worker by trade, Dave shared 1st place with Roy Peters in the Greenlands Trophy, which was later renamed in Dave Pugh’s honour.
Gary Mason joined Greenlands in 2016 and was instrumental in the club’s revival. His entourage legendary; when Andy Palmer moved to Kidderminster, Gary’s clique gave up the ghost. Inspirational in developing publicity and unforgotten hero of our club, a run of poor results signified IM Norms do not occur overnight. We miss the lad.
Accepting our invitation to rejoin Chess Club in October 2020 after a short absence following the birth of another mouth to feed – Adam works hard and will add strength to our squad of players. Often on his bike, Adam volunteers in a support role with the police. We are really pleased to welcome Adam back to the club.
Paul is a devotee of the Russian school. A Social Player with dyslexia, who plays for the love of the game. Always up for a Curry, his deliberations were pronounced on most topics, both at the dinner table and at the chessboard. Chess Club will not be the same without him. Paul has donated more than time in his quest to think like Tal.