Chester's season began with defeat in the North East - as Gateshead's second half flurry of goals saw off Jon McCarthy's men this afternoon.
The Blues were good value for a point for at least an hour of the game - until an own goal gave the home side the lift to go on and add to the margin of victory thanks to Wes York and Manny Smith.
The new season began in the bright sunshine - and it was the home team who dominated the early territorial proceedings without creating a real chance - York's flicked effort was easy for Liam Roberts in the Chester goal.
York should have give the Heed the early advantage when he was played through by Reece Styche, but he clipped the ball the wrong side of the post and into the side netting.
The Blues were sitting in and well organised - and their first chance came on 27 minutes when Jordan Chapell cut in-field from the right and stabbed an effort just wide of the far post.
Chapell was slowly starting to get some room on the right - as Elliott Durrell found him with a superb pass minutes later - but rifled his next attempt over the bar.
Gus Mafuta was next to have a go for the hosts - smashing a 25-yard effort just wide of Roberts' post.
Durrell's clever effort then caused bother when he saw Sam Johnson off his line and went for goal with a 45 yard free kick, nevertheless it was just over.
Gateshead should have led on the stroke of half time with Roberts beaten, but Captain Luke George was behind him to block.
McCarthy's men had the first chance of the second half - Theo Vassell's whipped cross from the right was headed just over by James Alabi.
James Bolton had a big chance from a corner on 55 minutes, but somehow glanced wide of the target from close range.
Richards was then inches away from Blaine Hudson's flick moments later.
Just after the hour mark however, the home side took the advantage. There was some dispute over it as York hooked Bolton's cross back across goal - and it appeared to be knocked into his own net by the backtracking Vassell.
The Blues worked hard to respond as Akintunde and Mahon came on - but Gateshead sealed the victory with eight minutes remaining.
Durrell lost possession to Wes York, who sidefooted home after playing a one-two with Bowman.
It was three on 87 minutes - Manny Smith nodding home from McLaughlin's right flank cross.
GATESHEAD: S Johnson, Bolton, G Smith, M Smith, Hogan, Fyfield, York (Jones 90+3), D Johnson (Ajala 68), Styche (Bowman 65), Mafuta, McLaughlin.
SUBS NOT USED: Hanford, Sweeney.
CHESTER: Roberts, Vassell, Hudson, Astles, Hunt, Chapell (Mahon 75), Shaw (Hughes 88), George, Durrell, Richards (Akintunde 75), Alabi.
SUBS NOT USED: Worsnop, Waters.
YELLOW: Richards, Vassell, Shaw.
SCORERS: Vassell (OG) 62, York 82, M Smith 87.
ATTENDANCE: 991 (256 Chester).
REFEREE: Peter Wright.