Welcome to the April edition of the eNewsletter. Thanks to those of you who responded to my request for views on venues, more on this topic in May. In this edition we have an interesting discussion on whether graded events are better than one-size-fits-all format. Open tournaments have the advantage of a possible pairing of a patzer (like your editor) with a GM. But this is not an FA Cup tie replay played on a January night on a frozen pitch in Carlisle with 18,000 home fans squeezed in and another 18,000 locked out. This is one versus one and we know what the result will be. On the other hand, to get better surely we need to test ourselves against better players and it is challenging to leave your comfort zone. And let’s be honest, the higher-graded players have much more to lose. This topic will also be on this forum so please join the debate.
We also look at an excellent English showing at the European Individual Championships along with an update of GDPR data procedures.
As we near the end of the chess leagues’ season I hope your club or team has exceeded expectations and that you can enjoy a little rest from chess (that’s my April fool for you).
— Mark Rivlin
Across the Board
The Debate – Grading Tournaments – an Open or Closed case?
Do you prefer playing in tournaments with graded sections or with one open Section with grading prizes? FM Tim Wall presents a strong argument for cutting graded sections with players of all abilities in the same pool. Tournament organiser Adam Raoof says club players prefer the graded sections and 140-graded Chris Levy from Hackney Chess gives his experience of ‘playing-up’ in the London Chess Classic FIDE Open. Read the debate here
Is your house or club getting cluttered with old chess equipment, especially clocks? The ECF can help! Carl Portman, who runs the ECF Chess in Prisons initiative explains: “It is true to say that prisoners have time on their hands. In chess terms, I am always looking to make this happen. Such items always fascinate inmates and I am often asked what they are and how they are used. I already donate chess sets, boards, books and magazines on behalf of generous donations from organisations and in some cases individuals, but clocks are expensive, and I am yet to donate a single one. I am looking for about half a dozen clocks, these can be either analogue or digital but I need them to be in good working order. They will have plenty of use in prison after all. These would really make a big difference as many inmates are only able to play for limited times out of their cells and timing a game is of great importance.” Please email Carl at firstname.lastname@example.org or the ECF office at email@example.com
European Individual Championships
There were excellent performances from Gawain Jones and Luke McShane at the European Individual Tournaments in Batumi, Georgia won by GM Ivan Saric with 8.5/11. Both English GMs came joint second; Gawain finished fourth with 8/11 and a TPR of 2787 while Luke finished sixth, also with 8/11 and TPR of 2768 and both have now qualified for the individual world championships to be held in June in Prague. The two other English players were Ravi Haria 5.5/11 and Daniel Fernandez 4/11.
Fabiano Caruana won the Challengers Tournament in Berlin and will play Magnus Carlsen for the world title in London and November. Let’s hope Chess 24’s Colin McGourty’s comment will not come to pass: “there must be a non-zero chance that Rex Sinquefield will now offer a significantly higher prize fund than the bare minimum Agon usually provide for their events in order for FIDE to switch the match to St. Louis [from London].”
GDPR, Data Protection, County and Club Guide
The ECF have produced a document outlining roles for counties and clubs which hold people’s data ahead of the new GDPR rules which come into force on 25.5.18. Please see a PDF of the main points of the guidelines here
To Hull and back
More on details, registering to play and organising accommodation for the 105th British Championships here
Weekend in Doncaster
Details of the 18th 4NCL FIDE-rated congress in Doncaster on 13-15 April here
4NCL fourth weekend
Guildford 1 continue their winning run of 4NCL championship pool with Cheddleton, White Rose and Wood Green in pursuit. Roundup here
Sent by Cable
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable backs the petition to have chess recognised as a sport – here
No ordinary Joe
Twelve-year-old Newcastle-under-Lyme player Joe Hirst won the Blackpool Congress Standard section with a perfect 5/5 – here
World Schools Chess Championships
Head of Delegation Rejean Dupuis and coaches FM Adam Taylor and GM Glenn Flear will lead the ECF delegation to this prestigious tournament in Durres, Albania from 20-29 April – here
Making his Mark
Congratulations to the new County Championships controller Mark Murrell. A solicitor by profession, Mark plays for Wanstead & Woodford CC and Essex.