Junior Selection Policy

Selection for International Youth Championships 2018

This document sets out the English Chess Federation’s (ECF’s) 2018 selection policy for England juniors to compete in international events, primarily official World Chess Federation (FIDE) and European Chess Union (ECU) events – specifically those events where national federations are invited to register players (i.e. individuals may not register directly). 

The policy categorises events in two ways: Major Championships where juniors will need to demonstrate exceptional ability based on grade, rating and/or performance; and Developmental Championships which are an ideal introduction into and development within the international arena.

Both types of tournaments provide a great experience but should only be viewed as a small part of a player’s development during the year.  Whilst the desire to represent your country is understandable, players should also consider the many high quality tournaments that exist in the UK as well as abroad, for example the British Championships, London Chess Classic, Hastings International Chess Congress, and the 4NCL. 

Understanding the selection process requires reading all three sections of this policy document:  (1) Major Championships, (2) Developmental Championships and (3) General Requirements and Italicised Terms.  In the last of these, terms highlighted elsewhere in the document in italics are explained.


You may cancel your expression of interest in an event by emailing the Director of Junior Chess and Education at any point.

You are advised to think very carefully about expressing interest for an event and should only do so if you think you would accept a place if selected for the England delegation. If you refuse a place then you are less likely to be considered in subsequent selections.

ECF Academy – players who are currently on the International Programme or the Academy Plus Programme will be considered for events that they express interest in if they meet 80% of the target rating and/or grade, have attended all study weekends and are making good progress.

Please note that all dates are correct at the time of publishing but may change. Delegations will only be sent to events if travel is considered safe (as per official advice) and a suitable head of delegation is appointed (if required). Please contact the Director of Junior Chess and Education director.juniorchess@englishchess.org.uk if you are willing to act as Head of Delegation for your child’s event.


Players who strive to represent England in major championships must satisfy the activity, eligibility and other criteria specified later in the policy.

World Youth Chess Championship U14, U16 and U18
Halkidiki, Greece 19 October – 1 November 2018

World Cadets Chess Championship U8, U10, U12
Santiago de Compostela (Galicia), Spain 3 – 16 November 2018

European Youth Chess Championship U8 – U18
Riga, Latvia 19 – 30 August 2018

The European Youth (EYCC) and World Youth (WYCC) and World Cadets (WCCC) are organised in age-based sections determined by the age of the player on the 1st January 2018.  The EYCC has separate sections for boys and girls, whilst the WYCC and WCCC have open and girls’ sections.  The ECF sets the same selection criteria for both tournaments, aiming to send our strongest available players.

A player who achieves either of the following will receive an invitation to the tournament they express interest in. They will receive invitations to both the WYCC or WCCC (as applicable) and the EYCC if they express interest in both:

  • Personal Rights
  • Target Rating

Please only apply for both events if you expect to be able to go to both.

A player who achieves any of the following # will receive an invitation to one event, either the WYCC/WCCC or the EYCC (a choice will not be offered if the player expresses interest in both):

  • 2017/18 English Youth Champion*
  • Target Grade
  • Qualifying performance at a 2017 Major or Developmental Championship

# A player invited to the WYCC/WCCC or EYCC will normally be expected to have played in a developmental championship previously, or in at least one other high quality tournament over the previous 2 years, to be considered for selection for a Major Championship.  This will not apply to juniors who have previously played in a Major championship.

* A player who wins a section of the 2017/18 EYGP but whose grade is less than 90% of the target grade or who does not meet the activity, eligibility and other criteria specified later in the policy will be offered a place at a Developmental Championship in 2018, subject to meeting the requirements at that time for selection to a Developmental Tournament.

Wild Card invitations may also be sent according to guidelines below.

These major championships traditionally offer financial discounts to one official representative per section. Where this occurs, England’s official representative will be determined by the highest rating on the January-April 2018 FIDE rating lists, applicable for U14 and older.  For U12, U10 and U8 sections of the major tournament, the official representative will be the older age followed by the younger age 2017/18 English Youth Champion in the section. If necessary to further distinguish candidates or if there is no EYGP champion invited in the section, the player with the highest standard play grade on the January 2018 ECF grading list will be the official representative. Interested players should complete the expression of interest form by 19th April 2018.

World Junior and Girls U20 Chess Championship
Gebze, Kocaeli, Turkey 4 – 16 September 2018

The World Junior has two sections for players under 20 (born 1 January 1998 or later)—one open section and one for women.  The event is played over thirteen rounds and so is a test of both stamina and skill. The Director of Junior Chess and Education is responsible for organising the trip and deciding coaching support.  The official representatives will be determined by the highest rating on the January-April 2018 FIDE rating lists. Interested players should complete the expression of interest form by 4th June 2018

World Youth U16 Chess Olympiad
Manavgat-Antalya, Turkey 24 November – 3 December 2018

Teams of four players plus an optional reserve over ten rounds.  Players will be invited to represent England based on highest rating on January-April 2018 FIDE rating lists and will include at least 1 girl (subject to the Olympiad regulations).  The team will include a reserve player who will play at the discretion of the team’s coach.  This team will be the official representatives and benefit from any associated financial discounts. Players should preferably have a FIDE rating of 2000 or higher. Interested players should complete the expression of interest form by 31st July 2018.

European Youth Team Chess Championships
Bad Blankeburg, Thuringia, Germany  11 – 19 July 2018

Teams of 4 players. This is normally only open to ECF Chess Academy players with a rating of 2100+, however, others of a similar rating will be considered.  Interested players should complete the expression of interest form by 4th April 2018.


These events offer a great experience in terms of gaining international experience and being part of an official England team with access to coaching from some of England’s leading players.

Any financial benefits for players provided by event organisers in relation to participation in developmental championships will be shared across all players attending the tournament.  Players, parents and coaches should bear in mind that more effective developmental value is often found in English congresses, leagues and tournaments abroad where individuals may register directly and ECF-provided coaching is not required.

World Schools Individual Chess Championships
Durres, Albania 20 – 29 April 2018

European Schools Chess Championships
Krakow, Poland 29 June – 8 July 2018

The World Schools and European Schools Championships have open and girls’ sections for U17, U15, U13, U11, U9 and U7 over nine rounds. 

Players will be selected for the European Schools from the January 2018 ECF grading list (if available) otherwise the amended July 2017 ECF grading list will be used.  The closing deadline for completion of the expression of interest form for the World Schools Championship is 20th January 2018 for European Schools Championships is 10th March 2018

The intention is that where possible England teams at these developmental events will comprise a maximum of four players per section (primarily based on experience to minimise the potential for numerous England vs England pairings, and to ensure a manageable team size). The Director of Junior Chess and Education may decide to increase this number to ensure a good coaching ratio or where the overall number of players on the team is low.

Glorney Cup, Gilbert Cup, Robinson Cup and Stokes Cup 2018
University of West Scotland, West Paisley, Scotland 16 – 18 July 2018

Holders of these cups are determined by team competition with other nations in the British Isles.  The Glorney Cup requires a team of five U18 players.  The Gilbert Cup requires a team of three U18 girls. The Robinson Cup requires a team of six U14 players.  The Stokes Cup requires a team of six U12 players.  Five games are played in three days, supported by ECF coaches.  Players may register their interest in this event with the Junior Director no later than 3rd April 2018. There is no set requirement for an ECF grade for a player to be considered for these Cup tournaments, however the highest FIDE rated/ECF graded players will be selected from those expressing interest. ECF coaching will be arranged within the constraints of the relatively fast-paced tournament.



  1. All players to be ECF Gold members, valid to the end of the relevant tournament.
  2. All players must be registered with FIDE as an English player (ENG) or be eligible for initial FIDE registration as an English player.
  3. Events that occur during school terms will require permission of school authorities. On request, the Director of Junior Chess and Education will write a letter supporting a parent’s request for their child’s absence from school for the event.  This may not be used for siblings who are not playing for the Official England Team as the ECF does not support their absence from school during term time.
  4. Parents are required to send a deposit to the ECF office confirming their child’s availability and acceptance. On acceptance of the invitation (via an online form), the player/parent will be sent an electronic invoice with payment instructions. Payment of the deposit should be completed by the date given on the letter of invitation to the event.
  5. Players and parents are essential to the smooth operation and outcomes of delegations sent to international chess events, and must have demonstrated a positive and harmonious commitment to ECF policies and activities to the satisfaction of the Director of Junior Chess and Education.
  6. Siblings who are registered as “accompanying persons” on an official international trip with the ECF may not later change their status e.g. to “player” with another academy, as this creates potential disharmony in the team and organizational difficulties for the Head of Delegation. Parents are required to make their decision before registration.


This requirement applies to juniors being considered for selection for all major and developmental championships.   In the twelve months prior to 1 April 2018:

  1. U10 to U18 players must play a minimum of 30 standard games.  However, selection for the Major championships requires at least 5 of these to be FIDE rated.
  2. U8 players must play a minimum of 20 standard games.

In addition to this requirement there is an expectation that all players will actively prepare for events that they have expressed interest in for at least 6 months before the event commences. Example: The ECF Chess Academy International Programme offers sustained subsidised high level coaching for this purpose and can be applied for on the ECF website (approximate grade range 120-200). The 3 year programme starts each January, with applications closing in October.


Coaching support at these events is essential for optimal performance and development.  The ECF organises coaching at most of the major championships and developmental championships, aiming for four players to one coach, except for the Glorney Cups where the ratio may be higher. Coaching where provided is normally mandatory for players accepting invitations to these events, and costs are shared equally among all players.  Parents/players are invited to recommend ECF Accredited coaches (though there is no guarantee that a player-recommended coach will be invited) and coaches are invited to express interest to coach at events.  Players will be allocated to coaches based on factors including existing coaching relationships, alignment of coaching specialties with the player’s established opening repertoire and playing style and balance across the team.  Once allocated, coaches will contact parents to discuss options for additional private coaching prior to the championship and consultation with the player’s regular coach.   It is expected that players accepting invitations to such events will prepare thoroughly for them, in liaison with their nominated coach. In exceptional circumstances players may apply to the Director of Junior Chess and Education to:

  1. Opt out of this system and take their own personal coach with them. This will normally only be granted to those who are FIDE title seeking and have a rating of at least 2200, although exceptions will be considered. Players granted this option must pay for their coach’s expenses, including fees and accommodation at the official hotel, themselves. Personal coaches are expected to only enter into a financial arrangement to coach the one specified player in the delegation unless the Director of Junior Chess and Education requests otherwise. They are also expected to adhere to the ECF Child Safeguarding Policy which includes DBS checking requirements (or similar if from abroad) and the International Junior Chess Event Code of Conduct.
  2. Opt out of this system and not have coaching. This will normally only be granted to those who are FIDE title seeking and have a FIDE rating equal to, or exceeding, that of the coaches provided.

Parental Supervision

Support at these events normally requires a parent or guardian to accompany the player and to be responsible for the player’s safety, nutrition, sleep, promptness, focus and general care.  Coaches shall not normally accept in loco parentis responsibilities outside the British Isles, with the exception of the U16 Olympiad and the U20 World Junior.  U18 players who have reached the age of majority (18) are treated as adults and do not require an accompanying person.  At the discretion of the Director of Junior Chess and Education, and the Head of Delegation, exceptions may be considered to enable an alternative adult to act in the stead of a parent/guardian to other juniors. The “in loco parentis” form must be completed and signed by all adult parties for unaccompanied players aged under 18.

Code of Conduct

Participation in any event is subject to the player, parent and any other accompanying person agreeing to the applicable ECF code of conduct for international junior events, which covers teamwork and other behavioural requirements.  The Director of Junior Chess and Education may withdraw a player’s tournament registration at any time and decline to invite players or parents to future championships whom the Head of Delegation reports for behaviour detrimental to good teamwork or other material breaches.


The ECF aims to ensure top players have access to international youth championships, but are unable to take financial responsibility.  Parents are encouraged to pursue donations, grants and individual sponsorship and to organise themselves in pursuit of team sponsorship that complies with ECF financial regulations.  In the event a player withdraws for any reason, the deposit and other funds received will not normally be returned. The Junior Directorate established a Bursary Fund in October 2013 which is funded from voluntary income and external sources of finance. The principle behind the fund is to make one-off grants to families who are in genuine need, not want, of financial assistance to part-pay costs quoted by the ECF in order to participate in “major” and “Developmental” international junior events to which the ECF is sending players. Reasons for application may include unemployment, illness, an unforeseen deterioration in financial circumstances or something else. Grants are not made to families who have the means to pay and see it as an option to subsidise their costs.

Grants will not normally be given to players who intend to go to more than one of the above events outside the UK, or intend to travel with more than one accompanying person.  Any requests for assistance are to be made in confidence to the ECF Director of Junior Chess and Education who will delegate the matter to a nominated individual who will manage the process.  Please note that any awards are made at the discretion of the ECF Director of Junior Chess and Education and her decision is final.  The ECF are not obliged to fund any applicant.  Awards are not made retrospectively. 

Players may also apply to the Chess Trust http://www.chesstrust.org.uk/ for financial assistance. Applications will need to be supported by a detailed explanation of the request and how it will improve the development of chess.  All applications will be considered but priority will be given to those with the greatest benefits to meeting the Trust’s objectives. Applications in writing should be made to the trustees of The Chess Trust at the English Chess Federation Office.

Travel and Accommodation

In general, parents are responsible for arranging players’ and their own travel.  There may be some events, notably the U16 Olympiad, where the ECF may arrange group travel.  Players and accompanying persons are required to use official hotels booked by the ECF through tournament organisers.  The ECF maintains a travel insurance policy that may cover a portion of financial loss for those who are ECF members; however, travellers may wish to consider purchasing additional private travel insurance.  Responsibility for the ECF’s portion of logistical support rests with the Director of Junior Chess and Education, who is supported by the Junior Directorate Finance Officer, Head of Junior International Chess and Heads of Delegation.

Personal Rights

This term refers to the right usually granted by World Youth and Cadet and European Youth Chess Championships organisers to the previous year’s Medal winners.

2017/18 English Youth Champion

Titles for a boy and a girl in each birth year (ages 7 to 18) are awarded from the English Youth Chess Championship Grand Prix.

Target Rating

This term refers to a player’s peak rating from FIDE rating lists published in August 2017 to April 2018, inclusive, and must be based on a minimum of 20 FIDE rated games in that period.  Targets are set out in the table below.

Target Grade

This term refers to a player’s standard play grade from the ECF grading list of January 2018 (as may be amended by 1 April 2018), unless specified earlier in the policy that the July 2017 list is being used for a specific event. It should be a grade in Category X or A.  Targets are set out in the table below.

Selection Targets for 2018 WYCC, WCCC & EYCC events

Birth Year World & European Youth and World Cadets 2018 Target Rating Target Grade
2000/01 U18 Open/Boys 2200 200
  U18 Girls 1950 170
2002/03 U16 Open/Boys 2100 190
  U16 Girls 1850 160
2004/05 U14 Open/Boys 1969 175
  U14 Girls 1780 145
2006/07 U12 Open/Boys 1836 160
  U12 Girls 1600 130
2008/09 U10 Open/Boys 1700 135
  U10 Girls 1500 110

Selection Targets for 2018 WSCC & ESCC event

Birth Year European & World Schools 2018 Target Grade
2001/02 U17 Open/Boys 180
  U17 Girls 140
2003/04 U15 Open/Boys 170
  U15 Girls 130
2005/06 U13 Open/Boys 150
  U13 Girls 115
2007/08 U11 Open/Boys 130
  U11 Girls 100
2009/10 U9 Open/Boys 110
  U9 Girls 70

Qualifying performance at a 2017 Major or Developmental Championship

A player who competed in 2017 at one of the below events in the official ECF team and scored at least the points indicated below will receive an invitation to one event, either the WYCC/WCCC or the EYCC (a choice will not be offered if the player expresses interest in both):

  1. European Schools (Budva, Montenegro) – 5.5 points from 9 games
  2. European Youth Chess Championships (Mamaia, Romania) – 5.5 points from 9 games
  3. World Youth Chess Championships (Montevideo, Uruguay) – 6.0 points from 11 games
  4. World Cadet Chess Championships (Brasilia, Brazil) – 5.5 points from 11 games
  5. World Schools Chess Championships (Iasi, Romania) – 5.5 points from 9 games

Wild Card

This term refers solely to Major championship invitations:

  1. For all U8 players who, apart from the English Youth Champions, are invited on a developmental basis.  The goal is two players in each U8 section.
  2. To recognise exceptional circumstances, for example material illness that warrant an exception to targets, activity or other criteria in this policy.  Parents must provide a statement summarising the nature of the exception to policy for consideration.  Players, parents or coaches should contact the Director of Junior Chess and Education when they become aware of exceptional circumstances that warrant a wild card invitation.
  3. Where fewer than two players in a given section accept invitations to compete, or the overall size of the delegation is small (less than 14) at the discretion of the Director of Junior Chess and Education invitations may be extended in descending rating or grade order to additional players who have ratings or grades of at least 80% of the stated targets (but otherwise meeting all other selection criteria) to seek to increase representation for the event.

Selection criteria and procedures in this policy are predicated on traditional rules and arrangements for the particular championships, many of which are beyond the ECF’s control.  The ECF reserves the right to change selection criteria without notice, to not issue any invitations for any particular event and to withdraw any participant or an entire team in the interest of health, safety or as a consequence of misconduct.  The Director of Junior Chess and Education reserves the right to limit the size of a delegation and numbers of players invited in each section. Invitations are a privilege, not afforded by virtue of a player’s status as an ECF member.  This policy is effective for specified events in 2018 and will be reviewed after the ECF Council meets in October to elect Board members for the next term.

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