American chess player wins top tyke accolade

AN American chess champion has retained his honorary Yorkshire tyke title – it comes with a flat cap and braces – for the third year running.

Jon Crumiller travelled from Princeton, USA, to take part in the Appletreewick/Skyreholme International Chess Tournament held at the Old Schoolhouse in the picturesque village of Appletreewick, near Skipton.

He took the title following a titanic encounter with runner-up Bolton Abbey’s Colm Barry for the coveted sartorial prize plus the perpetual tournament trophy – a porcelain horse’s head based on the famous Jaques design, the Rolls Royce of chess pieces.

The competition is the brainchild of retired Leeds teacher Jon Jordan who chose the flat cap and braces as an emblem of the tournament to make the event distinctively Yorkshire.

Mr Crumiller, who has one of the finest chess collections in the world, has held the title since the tournament was launched in 2014 and plans to defend it next year.

He said: “I was very glad to be able to win the tournament again. My first-place trophy was a Yorkshire cap and Yorkshire chess suspenders, both of which will be worn with pride.

“Of course the chess tournament was the main reason for my trip, but given that Yorkshire Dales has the most scenic pastoral views I’ve ever seen, I would return just to be able to stand on the hillside again and absorb the incredible view.

Players, family and friends arrived in the village on Thursday and Friday from throughout the UK, Holland, Norway and the USA, each being presented with the tournament motif – Yorkshire flat cap.

The weekend’s opening gambit was a Yorkshire themed evening of casual chess and crowned by Yorkshire folk band, Magnetic North, playing appropriate tyke songs while chess players and supporters ate a meal decked in their flat caps.

Mr Jordan said: “Everybody was buzzing with excitement. The atmosphere was great. People took both victory and defeat in good grace.

“The most enjoying time I think was when we arrived on Friday and the we played casual chess and chatted while the band played.

“On Saturday serious play started. This year there were two local players – dry stone waller Vince Banks and Colm Barry from Bolton Abbey – a player of fine repute.

“At the end of that day’s play, Colm had won all of his matches against every player. We then adjourned play to eat at the Craven Heifer in Addingham before the four leading players went into the semi-finals and then finals on Sunday.”

And to maintain the Yorkshire theme they toasted the close of the 2016 tournament each with a glass of Leventhorpe sparkling wine from the Leeds-based vineyard while enjoying a tune on the saxaphone from National Youth Orchestra member Joe Hayes.