CHESS players from far and wide came to the Dales for the ninth annual Appletreewick-Skyreholme International Chess Tournament.

The largest field so far of 12 came from the United States, Ireland and Scotland along with more locally-based competitors  to be in with a chance of winning the honoured 'flat cap and braces of honour'.

Over a weekend, they battled in out in the Old Schoolhouse, ate together and were entertained by a folk band consisting of musicians, Geoff Bowen, Gordon Tyrrall and Robin Shepherd, and Gordon's green parrot.

Play started on the Saturday with nine rounds with each match lasting half an hour. The four leading players then took part in a play-off on Sunday in the semi-finals and then the finals.

Jon Crumiller, from New Jersey, United States, won all of his nine matches, while Colm Barr, from Dublin won eight and drew one. Chris Wright, from Berwick, after a poor start, went from strength to strength and finished third, while Peter Mason, from Leeds, and last year’s winner, was fourth - putting all previous winners of the tournament into the Sunday matches.

After beating their rivals, Jon and Colm, both of who have won the tournament three times before, came together for a thrilling final.

Watching, Jon Jordan, said: "The onlookers were mesmerised by the shirts that Jon and Colm wore. Jon was sporting a colourful creation of chess pieces and what looked like planets, whereas Colm wore a relatively more sedate matelot tee-shirt.

Jon played the opening well and seemed to have the upper hand. This advantage followed through into the middle game but Jon, perhaps, spent too much time analysing the situation looking for his breakthrough.

At one critical point, as play was entering the end game, Jon manoeuvred his two castles to attack one of Colm’s pawns – which was defended by one of his castles. Colm could have defended this pawn with his other castle, but probably would have succumbed to the pressure he was under.

Instead, Colm looked for counter play and moved his spare castle to an open file – threatening Jon’s king and pawns. This, as it transpired, was the crucial saving move for Colm. Both players were now under time pressure but Colm kept his cool better than Jon – and in a flurry of final moves managed to win the game and the tournament."

Jon added: "Jon was annoyed with himself for having lost the game when he had appeared to have a winning position, but paid tribute to Colm’s fighting capabilities. Both players had sufficient respect for each other to discuss the game and look for possible winning lines that they’d both missed.

And so Colm was presented with the Flat Cap and Braces of Honour – the fourth time he has won them. As usual, proceedings were brought to a close by toasting each other with George Bowden’s Leventhorpe Yorkshire sparkling wine."

The weekend also saw drystone repairs expert, Vince, who has played in eight of the nine tournaments and who has lost more than 70 games, experience his first win – check-mating top player Rupert Jones.