eNewsletter December 2018 – Issue 27

Dear ECF Member

Welcome to the Christmas and New Year edition of the eNewsletter. Part 1 of the London double chess feast bill is over (well done Magnus) and we have the most wonderful anecdote from the guys at Wanstead & Woodford Chess Club concerning a keen chess player they met in the boozer after two of their teams had played in the London League last week. Part 2 of the double bill begins on 10th December with the London Chess Classic, the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour. As you may have gleaned from my short report on the ECF AGM in Birmingham in last month’s newsletter, there is a mood of change in the air within English chess. The world championship provoked interest, with TV, print and social media giving excellent coverage, and the Federation has announced an excellent initiative for chess players and fans who don’t want a grading or to play competitively but like an occasional social game. I suspect there are thousands of people like this and joining the ECF for a fiver a year will hopefully get them interested enough to dip their toes in joining a club and playing in leagues and tournaments.

Tim Wall has penned a wonderful article on his day at the World Championship, and we also include a roundup by Director of Women’s Chess Chris Fegan, while Gary Lane reviews a new edition of Paul Keres’s Practical Chess Endings classic. I’m around at the Classic, so if anyone wants a natter about the newsletter, please email me at publicity.manager@englishchess.org.uk

Seasonal Greetings to all members! The next edition will be landing on your computers around 8th January 2019 …

— Mark Rivlin

If Carlsen did pub chess …
So here is the scenario – Wanstead & Woodford have finished two matches in London League. Their second team beat King’s Head 2 by a healthy 7-3 margin, while the thirds were hammered 7-1 by Lewisham. The Wanstead posse found the nearest hostelry to go over games and have a swift half and go home (fake news alert). And, as if the whole episode was specially designed for an abstract film noir with eight lines of subtitles, as the guys walked into Pendenville’s Oak on High Holborn, a three-minute walk from the London League’s Citadenes Hotel venue, who happened to be sitting there but World Champion Magnus Carlsen (who also had a three-minute walk to the boozer)! Said WW’s Kevin Sweeney, “We were out celebrating our team’s victory and unfortunate loss  at the nearest Wetherspoons, and found another victor. It took him three weeks to find the cheapest ale house in Holborn!”

On top of the world
Tim Wall reports from fortress World Championship – here [PDF]

London Chess Classic 10th Anniversary
It does not feel like 10 years ago that the London Chess Classic first laid down its marker as what has become one of the world’s most prestigious tournaments. This year sees World Championship challenger Fabiano Caruana battle it out in an exciting new Knockout format from December 11th-17th with Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave for the LCC and Grand Chess Tour title. With a mix of classical, rapidplay and blitz, there’s a healthy pot at stake of $300,000 (and $120,000 to the winner).
Accompanying the Classic this year is an expanded British Knockout Championship with a £50,000 prize fund and a stellar field led by members of England’s successful Olympiad team – Mickey Adams, David Howell, Luke McShane and Gawain Jones. For the first time, the event also includes places for England’s top two women players, Jovanka Houska and Harriet Hunt. In total, 12 of the country’s top players will be fighting for a place on the Classic auditorium stage to determine the winner. Like last year, the event will be staged at Google HQ and Olympia. And the festival hall will again provide plenty of spills and thrills for hundreds of professional and amateur players at all levels, from the FIDE Open to various weekday and weekend tournaments. Most events are sold out, but spectator tickets are still on sale.
More here – www.londonchessclassic.com – and here – https://tickets.londonchessclassic.com/spectators.php

New membership driver … for a fiver
A new initiative from ECF offering a £5 per year membership for people who play chess socially or exclusively online and want a connection to the Federation. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/federation-announces-new-ecf-supporter-arrangements/

Beating cheating
Alex Holowczak, Chief Arbiter 1st 4NCL International writes – “At the first 4NCL International during a routine Anti-Cheating check by the arbiting team a player was found to have used electronic means to assist them with their games. After further investigation, that player was subsequently disqualified from the tournament. The details have been forwarded to the FIDE Fair Play Commission, and consequently it is not possible to comment further on the case at this time. We have received a number of questions about the scores of the players in the tournament. Page 13 of the FIDE Anti-Cheating Guidelines, which are binding on us given the tournament is FIDE-rated, say the following – “In an individual Open tournament, the offender shall be excluded from the final ranking. Each of the offender’s games shall be considered a loss, but the score for the opponent shall remain unchanged. All games shall be reported as unplayed”. None of the 8 games played by the player have been submitted for FIDE rating, and they will not be submitted for ECF grading” —  Alex Holowczak, Chief Arbiter, 1st 4NCL International

A further note from ECF Director of Chess Adrian Elwin – Anti-Cheating Proposals
“In light of the case of cheating at the recent 4NCL International, the board is investigating ways of protecting players from the effects of cheating. While cheating can be dealt with at any competition where it is discovered, there is no formal system of ensuring that offenders do not re-offend. Initially, the board is contacting other organisations in a similar situation in order to establish the ‘best practice’ for dealing with cheats. The intention is to produce an advisory set of guidelines and best practice which competition organisers will be invited to adopt. Other actions covering reporting of cheating, recording and potential punishments are under consideration and will be based on the ‘best practice’ used elsewhere”.

World Cadets
A 14-strong England squad participated at the World Cadets in Santiago, Spain More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/2018-world-cadets-chess-championship/ – and here – ;

ECF National Schools Girls Tournament
For 2019 entry please follow this link – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/NSCC/

Weekend Academy
Mimi Khan and David Gray report on the latest ECF Academy study weekend in Coventry – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/ecf-academy-study-weekend-november-2018/

Director of Women’s Chess Chris Fegan with the latest developments
The last month has been an important one in English Women’s chess with both on the board activity and also off the board work. With regard to the chess playing itself we have had the UK Open Blitz Championship Finals held at St John’s Hotel Solihull and this followed the Qualifying competitions that had been held throughout the UK in September. 16 women competed in the final, which was won by IM Sophie Milliet with 13.5 out of 15 ahead of Madara Orlovska who scored 11. Congratulations to Sophie and Madara and indeed all the women who competed. We are now looking forward to the London Chess Classic 2018 which will take place as usual in December and where we are hoping for many female participants and once again there is free entry to women. I am very pleased that this year the top two UK women players will compete in the British KO Championship for a first prize of £15,000 and I will be watching even more closely than usual how the event unfolds (and will be quietly supporting Harriet Hunt and Jovanka Houska).
Off the board we have had two major developments which I have been pressing for agreed at the ECF Board, and am hoping they will play a major role in ECF activity in 2019. Firstly I now have sign-off in regard to my proposals for the Grant Scheme to support more women in chess, and existing clubs and other organisations and individuals can now write to me with their applications for grants/support in relation to their plans for women’s chess in their areas. I will be looking for plans to not only support the existing   women players that we have in English chess but also schemes that bring new women players into the game. I am hoping the first grants will be agreed before Christmas. This brings me to the second development, which is the new ECF Supporter scheme, at a cost of £5 per individual, which is designed to involve social chess players and especially women with the ECF. I am also very pleased with this and it is an exciting and innovative idea, which is long overdue.

4NCL International Congress
GM Oleg Korneev and GM Tamas Fodor tied for first place in the first 4NCL International Congress Open in Telford with 6.5/9. GM Matthew Turner and GM Simon Williams got the two qualifying places for the British Knockout Championship in December. More here with all the  results – http://www.4ncl.co.uk/

4NCL Harrogate Congress
The 21st 4NCL FIDE-rated congress takes place in Harrogate 18-20 January 2019 with three sections. More here – http://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/information_21.htm

Finding a resource
The newly launched ECF Resource website – https://www.ecfresource.co.uk/ – is a treasure trove of luminaries, titles, awards and results – in short, everything you want to know about chess in England is there (or will be). A further note about the site and using the errata form is here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/the-ecf-resource-website/

Here comes the Sun
The health secretary backing chess to beat dementia; read all about it in the nation’s biggest selling tabloid – https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7909703/health-secretary-matt-hancock-backs-chess-dementia/

And so to Bled
Tim Harding reports on the World Seniors –

Chess in the press
There was a lot of coverage on TV, print and social media during and after the World Chess Championship. Here are some snippets —
Chess writer John Saunders – http://johnchess.blogspot.com/2018/11/carlsen-caruana-2018-through-glass.html
Caroline Davies in the Guardian on reaction to the world championship – https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/dec/01/magnus-carlsen-tie-break-fabiano-caruana-sparks-soaring-interest-in-chess
Malcolm Pein plays Sky presenter Niall Paterson (Sky News) – https://twitter.com/i/status/1067720354762817536
… and the ECF’s President having a polite dig at HIGNFY – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ive-got-news-for-you-its-stupid-to-mock-chess/

David and Sophie rock around the clock
The inaugural UK Open Blitz Championship took place in Solihull first weekend of December. GM David Howell won the Open with 13/15 ahead of Witney CC’s FM Marcus Harvey (12.5) who was the only player to take a point off the champion, and GM Danny Gormally was third with 11 points. IM Sophie Milliet won the women’s title with 13.5/15 ahead of Orlavska Madara (11.5) and WFM Rasa Norinkeviciute with 11 points. WIM Sarah Longson came fourth, also with 11 points. 

Education and Chess
John Foley from the Education Commission of the European Chess Union writes: Next week marks the annual London Chess Festival. This year the first event is the 6th annual London Chess Conference (8/9 Dec) of which the theme is “The Future of Chess in Education”. This major conference brings together 50 experts on chess and education from around the world.  Topics cover: educational visions, the future of school education, the professionalisation of chess teaching, transversal learning, chess and mathematics, chess for children with learning needs, chess in prisons, chess in communities etc. Speakers include Baron Mark Price, until recently UK Minister for Trade and Industry; John Claughton from the International Baccalaureate; Bachar Koautly, Deputy President of FIDE; Jesper Hall, chair of ECU’s Education Commission, Malcolm Pein, CEO of Chess in Schools and Communities; Graeme Gardiner, founder of Gardiner Chess in Australia; Boris Bruhn, President, German School Chess Association; GM David Smerdon, economist at University of Queensland; and Professor Fernand Gobet, the leading chess psychologist. There will also be presentations from leading software outfits LearningChess, Chessable, ChessKid, DeCodeChess and Lichess and displays from Millennium chess computers and Rochade Chess. Following the conference there will be ECU accredited teacher training courses for teaching chess (10/11 Dec) and teaching chess and mathematics (12 Dec). More details here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/chess-and-education/ – and here – www.londonchessconference.com

Making the Grading – ECF Director of Membership on more frequent grading lists
The calculation of grades for players and the publication of grading lists is recognised as being a core function of the Federation. Annual grading lists have been published since time immemorial, and for the past few years the time interval has been six-monthly. The Board recognise that there is a clear demand from many sections of the chess community for more frequent grading lists. They have set a target of providing monthly grading capability for the 2019/2020 season. The present method of calculating grades was devised to handle batch processing of of results, with each batch containing a significant number of results for each active player. This method of calculation is statistically unsound once the frequency of calculation is such that the number of results in each batch for the majority of players is small. Moving to more frequent grading lists will require us to replace the ECF calculation method with a more suitable one. For this reason there is no merit in a half-way house of, for example, quarterly grading lists.
We assure organisers that, at least for a transitional period, there will be no requirement for leagues or club competitions to submit interim results while the event is still in progress, although as at present with six-monthly lists such interim submissions will be encouraged.

CHESS magazine tasterclick here [PDF]

Rapid Response
GM Danny Gormally with his thoughts on the British Rapidplay (and a note on Carlsen-Caruana) here – ;
Danny’s blogs are featured in GM Simon Williams’s website gingergm.com, well worth a visit – https://gingergm.com

Happy endings
IM Gary Lane reviews the revived Paul Keres’ Practical Chess Endings –

Uxbridge Junior Tournament
Daniel Knight, manager of Uxbridge Junior Chess Club is launching a new junior tournament on Saturday 19th January 2019. More here!

Nick Grant, sponsor of England chess teams – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/rip-nicholas-grant/ and an obituary from the Times – https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=9953
Irish FM Philip Short – https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=9819
Eric Schiller, American chess player and author – https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=9924 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Schiller
Roy Ashmore, Basingstoke Chess Club – https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=9961