Chess in Bedfordshire    

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Bedfordshire County Chess News

Fleming Trophy 2023

This year’s Fleming Trophy match was played in the village hall at Bedmond (Herts) just south of Hemel Hempstead. Historians will already know that Bedmond was the birthplace of the only English pope, Nicholas Breakspear (Pope Adrian IV). In addition, one of the opposition players told me that Graham Taylor (who managed the England national football team, as well as Watford FC (amongst others)) lived locally, and frequently presented the medals at an annual running event in the very hall we were playing in.

Beds held a big rating advantage across the boards and when we raced to a 6-2 lead (including wins for all three of our Luton players) we looked sure to retain the trophy. However, Bucks clawed their way back winning the next four games to finish to tie the scores at 6-6. Around then Robert, who looked to have an advantageous position dropped a piece and was struggling. The match suddenly felt quite tense.

Paul calmed our nerves when, in a tricky ending with three minor pieces each his opponent got a little over-ambitious with his knight and it was trapped on Paul’s back rank, thereby restoring our lead. Graham agreed a draw in a knight ending shortly after, leaving two games in play. Brian’s opponent, who had been a piece for a pawn down for a while was making life difficult with a pawn on the 7th combined with bank-rank mate threats. Eventually Brian was forced to give the piece back for the pawn, and a agreed a draw with R & h-pawn vs R with no hope of a win.

So, 8-7 with Robert still in play. No sooner had we done the board count calculations when a draw was agreed thus clinching the match 8.5-7.5 (it turned out we would have won on board count anyway, but better to win on points scored rather than tie-break).

Humayun from Luton chess club is investigating the possibility of displaying the trophy at the University of Luton – a far more fitting place than my spare bedroom.

Many thanks to all who played, especially those representing the county for the first time.

Kevin Williamson
Bedfordshire retains Fleming Trophy - match details here   05/11/2023
Cordon Trophy 2023 - Won by Bedford A   29/09/2023
The final 2 rounds of the Bedfordshire Individual Championship were contested in the Berrill Cafe, Open University

In round 5, the top board was contested between Rob Whiteside and Adrian Elwin which ended in a hard fought draw. This gave Steve Ledger the opportunity to take the sole lead, but he suffered a rare loss to James Gardner, which allowed James to catch Rob and Adrian.

In the final round, James had white against Adrian and Steve got the upfloat against Rob. Both games ended in draws.

With his second win of the day, Graham Borrowdale also managed to get to 4½ points resulting in a 4-way tie for first place.

The final standings can be found here.
Thomas Evans is now accepting entries to the 2023 Bedfordshire Individual County Championships.

Details can be found on the County Championship page or download the following page:

County Championship entry details.

Bedfordshire retain Fleming Trophy

The Fleming Trophy match between Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire has a long history. It was first contested in the 1931-32 season and apart from the war years, and an apparent break from 1947-1957, it has been played almost every year up until 1997. In recent times it has been much more erratic, with several gaps mostly due to problems finding captains, players or venues, and more recently of course a global pandemic.

However, under the initiative of Steve Law from Bucks, the latest edition was played on 9th October in the county of Hertfordshire! We think Beds were the home team, but it didn t really matter. Our original target was a 16 board match but it was clear we were both struggling to reach that, so the agreed number changed from 14 to 15 and back to 14 in the days leading up to the event. On the day Bucks had 14 players present, Beds 15 and a travelling parent. A quick conversation between the captains came up with a nice solution one of the Beds players would transfer to Bucks and the parent could step in giving a 15-a-side match (that s the nice thing about this event, we are not bound by lots of rules). So many thanks to Andy Tinker for accepting the free transfer, and to Mahmoud Dairi (Ramsey s dad) for stepping in and allowing this to happen.

The match itself was very hard fought with only two games drawn. Interestingly the wins seemed to come in clusters of boards - Beds on boards 3-5 and 8-11 and Bucks on 1,6 and 12-15.

It was good to welcome five players for the first time - Eoin, Dominic, Ramsey, Mahmoud and Andy (well, at least until we gave him to the opposition, I hope he forgives me!)

The only downside is that I need to find a place for the huge trophy for at least another year!

Kevin Williamson,
Bedfordshire captain
Cordon Trophy 2022 - Shared by Bedford A and Leighton Buzzard A   30/09/2022
As the government has removed all Covid restrictions, Bedford has also removed their Covid-19 protocols.   23/02/2022
Bedford have updated their Covid-19 protocols. See Beds League page.   24/01/2022
Milton Keynes have updated their Covid-19 protocols. See Beds League page.   14/12/2021
Unfortunately, Luton have had to withdraw from the Bedfordshire League for this season. We look forward to their return next season.   20/11/2021
Cordon Trophy 2021 - Won by Leighton Buzzard A 29/10/2021
During the Coronavirus lockdown, some of the Beds League clubs have set themselves up for online chess.

Luton/ University of Bedfordshire Chess Club are on and the link is

Milton Keynes has a team on LiChess for MKCC members and details can be obtained from the club secretary, Richard Freeman.

Leighton Buzzard also has an online club and details should be obtained from their club secretary, Adrian Matthews.
Following the government's changes to it's advice, it has been decided to suspend the Beds League as from this weekend. This has also been prompted by the Open University closing it's doors to all clubs, the Unveristy of Luton restricting meetings and the church now putting services on hold. So far, Bedford is OK      17/03/2020
As I'm sure everybody is aware, there has been an outbreak of Coronavirus, which is causing a significant amount of disruption, and which can only get worse in the short to medium term. As a good proportion of the league can be considered to be at risk if they contract the virus, the committee wishes to issue the following guidelines :

1 Follow the government's advice on keeping yourself and everybody else as safe as possible. I will not repeat them here as they are readily available elsewhere. If you do need access to them, the ECF has put links to the various pieces of advice at

2 Shaking hands at the beginning and end of the game is a decision for the players.

3 Should captains find themselves unable to raise a team because of fear of infection, postponements will be accepted. Please give as much notice as possible if this happens.

4 Venues may become unavailable and that will also result in postponements.

These guidelines will be kept under review and may change at short notice, especially if the government decides to restrict people's movements.
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Page last updated 29th Swptember 2023
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