The Northern Counties Chess Union (NCCU) runs competitions between its affliate members at Open, u2050, u1850, u1650 and u1450 level.
This year Merseyside have entered a team at u1850 against teams from Cumbria, Yorkshire and Manchester.
Our first match was away to Cumbria at the Crown Hotel, Eamont Bridge, Penrith - a picture postcard kind of place.
To say it was a challenge to muster together a team would be an understatement, yet against all odds we managed to arrive at 1pm with eleven good men and true (one default) to commence battle.
We had a good mix of players, with six of the ten MCA clubs represented by at least one player.
Although we were outgraded by an average of 130 ELO points per board, we gave a good account of ourselves. Indeed at one point, we were 3-2 ahead (3-3 including the default), with standout performances from Martin Cockerill (Wallasey), Phil Ramsey (Southport), John Grady (Formby) and Steve Farry (Wallasey).
In the final analysis, we succumbed to a defeat by 8 boards to 4, yet it was an enjoyable event and one that hopefully brings more regular participation from Merseyside in such competitions.
Our next fixture will be at home to Yorkshire at an as yet undisclosed date in the new year.
For anyone who is interested in playing, please contact Sanjoy Banerjee at