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Heywood and Peine Chess clubs have alternated visits to each other for 22 years now. Peine is a town 30 miles to the east of Hannover in Northern Germany. Beginning in 1996 when a small group of Peine chess players made the visit to Heywood, reciprocal visits have taken involving may different friends. So much so that chess is only a small part of the visits now!

This year seven Germans from Peine have enjoyed hospitality at the homes of Heywood chess players in mid June, around the Heywood congress. Uwe Schmidt has made nearly every visit. Husband and wife team Hans Jurgen Ebling and Cornelia Limper are now regulars. Stefan Kuck came with his 16 year son Artur. Two other teenagers completed the group, 17 year old Joshua Ehlers and 14 year Yannick Miszori. Age or language was no barrier though – everybody (English and German) have immersed themselves into the week’s activities, and all of the Germans speak excellent English.

The group arrived late in the evening via Manchester airport on Wednesday 13th June and were quickly whisked off to their accommodation at the homes of Steve Flaherty, Chris Murray and Bill O’Rourke. On Thursday Steve and Bill took the visitors to Yorkshire, taking in the Wakefield National Coal mining museum (including a fascinating 90 minute visit down the original working pit) and then, after lunch, a lengthy afternoon visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in brilliant sunshine.

Friday involved the group, Steve and Bill visiting Manchester. Steve took us on an excellent and informative walk through the canals under Manchester. At the end we all met up at Lock 92 where Chris and Alma Murray were waiting for us for lunch. The group then broke up to do their own things in Manchester while Bill took off to prepare the congress.

The congress provided excellent competition and experience for all of our visitors. Uwe Schmidt found the Major section tough-going in an exceptionally strong group. Artur Kuck was unlucky in the Intermediate section where a couple of games turned against him right at the end. Stefan Kuck had five tough games in the Minor but emerged with half points. Yannick Miszori had an excellent tournament and emerged with 3 out of five. But the best performance clearly came from Hans Jurgen Ebling, who finished with 4 from 5 and won third place and £100 in the Minor. Joshua Ehlers and Cormelia Limper enjoyed playing in the Novice against young and old opponents.

The German team dashed off to my house on the Sunday afternoon after their matches to watch the Germany v Mexico football group stage match. For the first time ever on a German visit to Heywood (when either the European championships or world cup are on) Germany lost. Sorry guys, that was not in the script!

Monday was planned as a relax day so we took over the Hopwood sports club (Heywood chess club’s home venue) and played bowls and games, with bowlers Con and Janice Carey, Steve Flaherty and Dave Almond, showing us all how to play. Later in the afternoon we had our annual Heywood v Peine chess match. Heywood ran out winners, but not before Artur Kuck scored a nice win against myself with a very good combination. Later in the day we all convened at Veenas restaurant for our annual meal. England were beating Tunisa on the wide screen television which helped the party along!

Tuesday had Bill drive a hired minivan up to the Lakes with the German party and Chris and Alma. An eventful day, as Cornelia pointed out that a defective when we pulled into a service station. The group all pulled together to successfully change the tyre despite no roadside assistance being available (no phone answer), virtually no tools and no instruction booklet to say how to get the spare tyre! “Vorsprung durch Technik”!! Great international cooperation! This did not distract from an excellent day out in Ullswater, taking the steamer across the lake and afternoon tea, followed by an excellent meal at the White Lion pub at Patterdale.

Wednesday had people doing different things, including Bury Market, before a final trip to Manchester airport and the departure of our German friends. We hope they had as good a time as we had. Our turn to visit Peine next Summer, hopefully many Heywood players and their families will make the trip.!

Bill O’Rourke

Peine Visits Convenor


Just a few shots of this years visit :-