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RIP John Philpott

philpottIt is with great sadness that we have to pass on the news that John Philpott has died. John was a mainstay of the English Chess Federation for a very long time, and was a unique and irreplaceable friend to us all. We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to John’s family, friends and many, many colleagues, particularly everyone at Essex Chess …

Please click here once you’ve finished reading Robin and Alex’s message below and wish to make a donation …

From Robin and Alex Philpott —
John Philpott passed away unexpectedly this week.

The alarm was raised after he failed to meet up for West Ham vs Crystal Palace, followed by Steel Panther, on Saturday afternoon. Shortly thereafter, he was discovered by a neighbour on his bathroom floor, where it is suspected he suffered a fatal heart attack.

This has been a devastating shock to his boys, family and everyone who knew him.

Read on — RIP John Philpott

ECF Awards 2016

Honorary Life Vice President: David Welch, Peter Purland, Richard Haddrell; Honorary Life Member: Brian Callaghan OBE, James Humphreys [citations]

ECF Player of the Year – Anum Sheikh [already announced]

ECF President’s Award for Services to Chess – R Victor Cross
His contribution to the development of junior chess has been immense. This is particularly true in the Devon area and the English Primary Schools Association. He has been one of the accompanying adults for junior trips abroad for many years. He was also a stalwart of the control team at the British Championships for some time .

ECF President’s Award for Services to Chess – Paul Durrant
He is Chairman of Surbiton Chess Club which is very active. He is often referred to as ‘Mr Surbiton’. He is also a member of The Thames Valley League Committee.

ECF Congress of the Year – St Albans
This weekend congress attracts about 220 players each year. The venue is pleasant and in a good location. It is very friendly and has an excellent bookstall and analysis room

ECF Club of the Year (16 members or more) – Hackney
There are about 60 members from this London-based borough. It welcomes both children and women. They play in eight teams in the London and Middlesex Leagues, the 4NCL and National Club Championships, as well as county games for Essex. Weekly free coaching sessions are provided for juniors. They hold Saturday night blitz sessions at a local pub. They are proud of their relationship with the local Kurdish and Turkish communities. Membership is free for the unwaged.

ECF Small Club of the Year (less than 16 members) – Ulverston in Cumbria
The Leave ’em Laughing club has 12 members, 9 of whom are ECF members. They run a team in the Cumbrian Open League and two teams in the Cumbrian Southern League. The club is, of course, named after Stan Laurel and plays in the eponymous pub.

ECF Website of the Year – South Hams of Devon
This has a great deal of accessible information on it. Particularly pleasing is the facilities for members to enter their games on the site –

It has been decided to discontinue the award of Magazine and Bulletin of the Year as this year there were so few submissions. This is due to growth of the use of the internet.

— Stewart Reuben (Chairman)

Richard Haddrell’s funeral arrangements

Richard’s funeral will be held at 3.15pm on Thursday, 3rd November 2016 at Tunbridge Wells Crematorium, Benhall Mill Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 5JJ, and will be followed by a wake at the Spa Hotel, Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8XJ. Richard’s family have asked for no flowers.

Winner – Book of the Year 2016

This year the judges had to make a choice from four books of high quality in the Short List, but each with widely different subject matter, which made the final choice difficult.  The overall high standard is a tribute to the contemporary level of chess publishing.  The winner this year is an original book on a subject with wider human interest than just chess playing – the evolution of an ability (chess playing) over a human life time.

sadler-reganChess for Life by Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan – Gambit

The subtitle describes the book: “Understanding how chess skills develop and change with the passage of time.”  The authors became interested in this subject when WIM Regan, who found it difficult to maintain her level of play alongside a busy professional life and family, asked GM Sadler how he had managed to maintain his high level of play after a ten year break from the game.  They discovered that how chess players adapt their game over time is a rich and complex subject.  Hence this book.

They interviewed a wide range of players of both sexes, from top professionals (Nunn, Speelman) to amateurs (Chapman, Lauterbach), though not always on a consistent basis. They also considered the careers of other players from Capablanca to Gaprindashvili.  The outcome was a range of insights, experiences and lessons of great value to all chess players, particularly those coming back to the game after a gap and amateurs who love the game and wish to maintain a consistent level of play in the time they have available.

At times Sadler indulges in subjects which caught his interest, absorbing in themselves, but perhaps not strictly relevant to the theme of the book, for example Capablanca’s style; Arkell’s masterly rook and pawn endings (a mini textbook in itself). If world champions are to be included, then surely Lasker and Smyslov who played at a high level later in life would be a better choice than Capablanca who died relatively young. But there is much fascinating material directly related to the subject. Perhaps the most rewarding is the investigation which shows that an appropriate choice of openings is shown to be critical in maintaining playing strength over time.

The two authors have combined well. GM Sadler an established author, (he won the Book of the Year award in 2000), provided most of the chess analysis. Regan, an actuary by profession, provided the statistical analysis which underpins the book.

Sadler and Regan have between them written an important and original book which is a worthy winner from this year’s Short List of books of high quality.

— Ray Edwards, Julian Farrand, Sean Marsh – 7th October 2016

2016 Arbiters’ Awards Ceremony

david_welchTuesday, 20 September 2016 – the 2016 Arbiters’ Awards Ceremony took place on 12 September in Fairmont Hotel, Baku, Azerbaijan, during the General Assembly of the FIDE Congress. Five of the Awardees (Jorge Vega, Faik Gasanov, David Welch [pictured, left], Yuri Lobanov and Venkatesh Kameswaran) were present and received their awards from the Chairman of the FIDE Arbiters’ Commission Takis Nikolopoulos. The rest were represented by Congress’ participants.
Photograph from the FIDE Arbiters’ Commission website, reproduced with permission

Qualify for the British Knockout Championships


Chess Promotions Ltd and the 4NCL have agreed that two qualifying places for the British Knockout Championship, to be staged at the London Chess Classic from Thursday 8th December – Friday 16th December, will be made available to the players finishing in the first two places at the 4NCL 11th FIDE-Rated Congress on Friday 4th – Sunday 6th November.

Because the first round loser prize at the British Knockout Championship amounts to £2,500, players occupying the first two places in the Open section will not be eligible for the prizes on offer at the congress itself. That means, of course, that any player finishing outside the first two places in the Open section will be eligible for the congress prizes. These are: 1st £500; 2nd £250; 3rd £125.

Full details can be found on the 4NCL website at