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October 2015
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English Women’s Championship – postponement

Sadly, this event is postponed pending further discussions with the players. Refunds to the players who entered will be issued during the morning [7/10/15]

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Hull Chess Congress – report

This year’s Hull Congress (our 52nd) was forced to find a new home – its venue for a number of years, the Endsleigh Centre, closed its doors earlier this year. Hull University came to the rescue, providing excellent, spacious and comfortable surroundings, local catering and an excellent analysis room, together with a bookshop courtesy of Chess Direct. A good location, plus plenty of parking meant that this (and future) years venue represented a significant improvement on our previous venue.  The only minus was that we had to change the weekend; this seems to have affected the number of players, with the congress diary locally now becoming very crowded. Next year we expect to be back to our normal, early October slot.

As usual a 5 round Swiss was supported by local players, but it was good to meet up with both new and old as the congress got off to a sombre start. Sombre by the means of the Friday evenings lighting which could have been better, but at short notice the organisers were cornered into submission, and chose comfort and space over one night of dusk!

It was nice to see the likes of FM Richard Britton back in Hull, and also Mike Surtees, both challenging for a place, but from the start some feisty games ensued, especially in the Open where the likes of Grandmaster Mark Hebden & IM James Adair were pushing hard to meet each other in the final round  –  and they did!  Hebden defending a mate in one, scurrying to check Adairs open King, finally as Hebden promoted to a second queen the drama increased as the public stood round to watch until Adair blundered in time pressure to give Hebden first prize!

Read on — Hull Chess Congress – report

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ECF Book of the Year 2015

The judges this year had considerable difficulty in making their choice between three volumes. Liquidation on the Chess Board by Joel Benjamin, New in Chess, is a very entertaining book despite a technical title. The lively writing and application to practical chess playing made this an above average book. Gary Kasparov Part 111 : 1993- 2005 by Gary Kasparov, Everyman, is the last book of Kasparov’s best games and brings to an end a long sequence which raised the standards of chess writing (infused with Kasparov’s unique authority and insights into chess) to new levels. As books from Kasparov’s series have previously won the Book of the Year award, it seemed more appropriate to recognise Kasparov’s achievement with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Which brings us to the Book of the Year which is:

Positional Decision Making in Chess by Boris Gelfand, Quality Chess

gelfandThis book was written in a collaborative process by Gelfand, a world class player for the last 20 years, working with GM Jacob Aagaard, an award winning chess author. The idea was that Aagaard would “ask the right questions and obtain insights from Gelfand”. What was obvious to Gelfand “might not be apparent to many others”. The combination has worked very well.
The result is a fascinating insight into how the chess mind of a great player works, in this volume, of positional games. Much of Gelfand’s approach is intuitive and instinctive rather than hard calculation, though there is some of that too. He relies on maintaining his position and preventing opponent’s counter play.  To some extent the book’s title is misleading as the content is less about decisions in particular positions than the overall approach, which Gelfand first learned as a boy from the games of Akiba Rubinstein a legendary player in the first 30 years of the last century. The first chapter is titled “Playing in the style of Akiba Rubinstein”. Many of Rubinstein’s games are given and it is fascinating reading Gelfand’s contemporary comments on play at that time.

Gelfand comes over as modest but confident in his abilities, with tremendous ability, experience and knowledge. But despite all this, even he sometimes finds chess a difficult game, which gives comfort to us all.

Ray Edwards, Julian Farrand, Sean Marsh – 4th October 2015

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Publicity Manager – Bulletin Three

English Women’s Championship/Hou Yifan in conversation with ECF President, Dominic Lawson/Cheap insurance for ECF members …

English Women’s Championship
When – Friday October 9th – Sunday October 11th
Where – Coulsdon Chess Fellowship, 84-90 Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon, Surrey CR5 3BA
Format – 5-round FIDE-rated Swiss
Entry Fee – £10
Prizes – 1st: £500, 2nd: £300, 3rd: £100. Also – Best Performance Prizes: £100
Enter online here

An interesting event … The Prudential Series: Hou Yifan in conversation with Dominic Lawson
Hou_Yifan11 lawson
Monday, October 26, 2015 from 5:30pm to 6:45pm at China Exchange, 32A Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JA. Go to to book a ticket. If you are an ECF member then check for an email from Monday onwards which contains a code which gives you a 20% discount on each ticket. If you don’t receive the email then contact us by email and we can give you the necessary information.

Hou Yifan is a Chinese chess Grandmaster and the youngest female to ever qualify for this title. She is a former two time Women’s World Chess Champion, having won this title for the first time when she was only 16 years old. Hou Yifan will be interviewed by Dominic Lawson, one of Britain’s leading opinion-formers. Email us a question and Dominic may use it in the interview.  Dominic was elected President of the English Chess Federation in 2014. He writes a monthly chess column for Standpoint magazine and is the author of the acclaimed book ‘The Inner Game’, about the world chess championship. He has presented three series of Across the Board for the BBC—a programme in which he interviews chess-masters while simultaneously playing them. He interviewed and played against Hou Yifan in the first series, in 2013. She won.

Read on — Publicity Manager – Bulletin Three

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Direct members’ representatives

The current state of play in respect of direct members’ representatives for 2015/16 is as follows (NB these appointments take effect immediately following the conclusion of the 2015 AGM, which the 2014/15 representatives are eligible to attend).

Read on — Direct members’ representatives

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2016 ECF Diary

diary_2016The 2016 ECF Diary is now available. If you’ve ordered one, or you’re a Platinum member of the ECF, your diary should be on its way to you now. If you’d like one follow this link to buy one of your very own …


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Publicity Manager – Bulletin Two

A couple of interesting tournaments, a celebration of a half-century of chess and a question for any budding chess historians out there! Go check the calendar for chess events in which you might like to play. If you’re organising a chess event it’s easy to submit your event for inclusion.

English Women’s Championship 9th-11th October

It was once part of the British Chess Championships main competition, but now the English Women’s Championship is, for the first time, a stand-alone tournament. Only £10 to enter and with a generous £500 First Prize, it should attract the best women players in the country. Don’t delay your entry as there’s limited space at the venue – click here

Peter H Clarke Memorial Tournament in Bude, Saturday 3rd October

PH Clarke, who died at the age of 81 in October last year, was a distinguished chess author, his fluent Russian enabling him to write, among many publications, important volumes on both Tal and Petrosian. He was also one of the strongest players in Britain during the fifties and sixties, although somewhat overshadowed by his friend and rival, Jonathan Penrose, and had passed his playing peak too soon to benefit from the Fischer-Spassky chess boom. He was an FM at a time when opportunities to get an international title were rare, and would certainly have been a prime candidate for IM, or even GM, had he been born a couple of decades later.

Born in London but settling in the West Country which he loved, he dedicated his life to chess and was a familiar face on the circuit for many years as player, arbiter, tournament organiser and book stallholder. There are few people so deserving of commemoration by a Memorial chess tournament than Peter Hugh Clarke.

John Constable writes:
“We are organising The Peter Clarke Memorial Tournament which is a one day rapidplay taking place in Bude, Cornwall near to where Peter lived, on Saturday 3rd October 2015. This Saturday!

Clarke v Penrose Fidel Castro Chess SetBoard 1 games will be played using the chess set and table that was presented to Peter by Fidel Castro, after the 1966 chess Olympiad in Havana, where Peter played board 1 for England. The photo is of Peter playing against his old friend Jonathan Penrose on this table (courtesy of Keith Jones) .The chess set is being very kindly loaned by Peter’s family for the day. There will also be a small display of photos and chess memorabilia from Peter’s collection.

The tournament is being run in 2 sections, Open and U140 and prizemoney may be increased if we get sufficient entries. The entry form and full details can be found here
Links — |

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FIDE International Organisers’ Seminar

… at Harrow High School, Gayton Road, Harrow HA1 2JG [MAP] on Friday 27th November 2015 5.45 – 10.00pm and Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th November 10.00am – 6.00pm | Fee £10

This will be the first-ever such seminar held in Britain. Attendees who pass the exam on Sunday and who speak at least two languages will be entitled to apply for the International Organiser’s Title, having also organised three chess events which are FIDE Rated. Full details can be found on

The fee will be: £10 and should be sent by 20 November (penalty fee from 21st November a further £10) to Stewart Reuben, 11 Bevan Court, Clevedon Road, Twickenham TW1 2TS.  For further information email or telephone 0208 892 6660.

Stewart is the only British lecturer recognised by FIDE for the International Organiser’s title . It was he who created the title and administered it for the Organisers’ Committee for the first years.

Advance Preparation: One objective you would have when deciding to run an event.
Reading matter: Chess Organiser’s Handbook by Stewart Reuben – Part One | Part Two
These do not have the current Laws of Chess; Competition Rules; Title Regulations; Rating Regulations; Arbiters’ Commission material; Bidding for an Official FIDE Competition. These can be found on the FIDE website at

This event is a precursor to the CCCCC – Colin Crouch Celebration Chess Congress which will take place from the 2nd to the 10th April 2016. The main event will be The Colin Crouch Celebration Masters, a nine round master Swiss held each afternoon. There will also be shorter tournaments for weaker players and for juniors.

I am looking for an associate to partner me in organising this new event next April. This would provide one norm for the IO title.

Stewart Reuben

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