Newcastle Chess Festival: Events for all

Forest Hall Chess Club is pleased to announce the first-ever Newcastle Chess Festival, held as part of our efforts to promote “Chess for All” in the North East. Running from 13-18 February, it’s a series of events alongside the Northumbria Chess Masters, all aimed at popularizing the game on Tyneside and throughout the region.

The following Newcastle Chess Festival events are open to a wide range of players, of various ages and abilities, to play and watch:

  1. Simultaneous Display with Grandmaster Danny Gormally

Danny Gormally

When: Tuesday 13 February, 11 am-1 pm

Where: Newcastle City Library cafe, 33 New Bridge St W, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8AX

Open to players of all ages and abilities, from beginner to experienced club member. Donations of £5 per board welcome, all proceeds to support Northumbria Chess Masters. 

  1. Grandmaster Coaching: An Evening with Russian GM Alexander Raetsky

Improve your game with a highly experienced Russian Grandmaster, FIDE Trainer and chess author.

Alexander has come all the way from Voronezh, Russia, to take part in the Newcastle Chess Festival. His talk on ‘How to play like a Russian Grandmaster’ should be a great inspiration for local players of all ages!

When: Tuesday 13 February, 7pm-10pm

Where: Forest Hall Ex-Servicemen’s Institute, 26 Crescent Way North, Forest Hall NE12 9AR. 

Open to players of all ages and abilities. Cost: £10 per person (£7 for Under 18s, Senior Citizens, students, unwaged.)


3. Northumbria Chess Masters (featuring 7 GMs and 11 IMs) 

The flagship event of the Newcastle Chess Festival, spectators very welcome to the strongest chess tournament in North East England in several years.

For more info:

When: Wednesday February 14 to Sunday February 18

Where: The Chillingham function room, 86 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle NE6 5XL.

Top seeds in the tournament include: GMs Alexander Donchenko (Germany), Vojtech Plat (Czech Republic), Jahongir Vakhidov (Uzbekistan), Danny Gormally (Forest Hall), Mark Hebden (Leicester), Bogdan Lalic (Croatia), Alexander Raetsky (Russia).

There are also 11 IMs: Justin Tan (Australia), Grzegorz Nasuta (Poland), Andrew Greet (Scotland), Alan Merry (England), Adam Hunt (Suffolk), Martin Percivaldi (Denmark), David Eggleston (Durham), Ravi Haria (England), Gerard Welling (Netherlands), Andrew Muir (Scotland), and Craig Pritchett (Scotland).

Of particular local interest will be various other leading North East players, such as FMs David Walker and Charlie Storey, plus 5 local junior players from Newcastle and Northumberland (James Moreby, Joe Dalton, Max Turner, Zheming Zhang and Yichen Han).

Times of play:

Round 1, Wednesday 14th: 6:30pm-10:30pm

Rounds 2-9, Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th: 10am-2pm & 3:30pm-7:30pm

In addition to these Newcastle Chess Festival events, organized by Forest Hall Chess Club, there is also the following tournament, open to all junior players:

  1. Northern Junior Championships

This ECF Junior Grand Prix event is being held for the first time in the North East, thanks to an initiative by Forest Hall Chess Club member Manoj Arora.

When: Saturday 17th February to Sunday 18th February, 10am-4pm.

Where: Excelsior Academy, Denton Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 6AF.

Various competitions for all junior age groups, from Under 7s to Under 18s.

To enter the Northern Junior Championship, contact:

Julian Clissold

If you would like to book your place to take part in, or watch any of these Newcastle Chess Festival events, please contact the organiser, Tim Wall, at: or call: 0750 372 2366