eNewsletter No. 31 – April 2019

Dear ECF Member

It is with a great deal of pride that we lead with England’s superb performance at the World Team Championships held in Astana, Khazakstan in March. The England team of Mickey Adams, Luke McShane, David Howell and Gawain Jones, plus reserve/analyst Jon Speelman secured England its first-ever Silver medals in this tournament. The medals are also the first for England in a major team competition since we won Gold in the 1997 European Championship. Luke, who won the Board 2 Gold kindly shares some insights into the tournament and his own plans for the coming year. David won the Board 3 Bronze and Gawain the Board 4 Silver.

I’m delighted to bring a lighter tone to the newsletter with an irreverent cameo from author Danny Rosenbaum on how not to improve your game. There are also the results of the other crucial referendum in the UK (whether grades should go four-figure Elo and be published monthly) along with news from the Chess Trust and Glorney Faber alumni event. 

Finally, it’s that time of year again and we list the main Easter congresses. 

Best wishes, Mark Rivlin

A stunner in Astana!

England trailblazers – (L-R) Jon Speelman, Luke McShane, Michael Adams, Gawain Jones, David Howell and Malcolm Pein

You would have got extremely generous odds against England finishing second in the World Open Teams Championship. But those dapper ECF blazers worn by the team and backroom staff certainly had a silver lining as England gained their best ever team result since 1997. Leonard Barden’s piece in the Guardian is well worth a read – https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/mar/14/chess-england-win-first-medal-for-22-years and Chess.com provided an excellent roundup here – https://www.chess.com/news/view/england-grabs-silver-at-world-team-chess-championship

We hope this result is a catalyst for more great things to come. It will be interesting to see how the fab four (assuming they all play) share the spoils in the British.

Following the tournament we interviewed Luke McShane, who won the individual Board 2 Gold. The England team’s achievement was celebrated at an event hosted by Chris Flowers on April 4. ECF chief executive Mike Truran noted the importance of the Chess Trust and Academy in supporting our young talent and Director of International Chess Malcolm Pein reiterated his thanks to the Scheinberg Foundation without whose support the team would have been unable to compete. It’s worth noting Malcolm turned down an invitation to the 2017 event because the ECF did not have the funds.

Improved gradings
The grading consultation closed last month and there were more than 900 responses to these questions – ‘Do you agree with the Board’s decision to move to monthly grading?’ and ‘Do you agree with the Board’s proposal to use a four-figure Elo style system?’ Each age group and  membership category voted in favour for the proposals. Says Mike Truran, ‘All age ranges and membership categories responded favourably to the proposals to move to monthly grading and four figure numbers. That is very encouraging, and we feel gives us a strong mandate for implementing the proposals. Our thanks to ECF webmaster Andrew Walker for collating this information.’
Detailed results here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/grading-consultation-initial-results/

Titles and Trainers
At the latest FIDE titles seminar held in Astana, Brandon Clarke has been awarded the IM title and David Clayton the IA title. And at the FIDE Trainers’ Seminar, Tim Wall was awarded FIDE Trainer status and Adam Taylor FIDE Instructor status. Congratulations to all.

Happy ending in Skopje
Banbury Chess Club’s James Jackson had a fine performance at the European Individual Chess Championship in Skopje, winning his last three games to finish with 6/11 and a 2416 rating performance.

Chess friends with benefits
As the newly launched Supporter category joins Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, here is an update to the benefits of joining and supporting the ECF – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/membership/membership-benefits/

Cheque mates
The ECF Finance Council meeting takes place in Birmingham on Saturday 27th April 2019. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/2019-finance-council-meeting/

Reelin’ in the years
The ECF Yearbook 2019 is now available in full colour priced at £13.50 for members and £15.50 for non-members. Click this link to order your copy –
Accelerating to success
– from Ray Edwards, chairman of the Chess Trust on the Accelerator Programme
The Chess Trust charity at a recent trustee meeting agreed to extend the funding of the important Accelerator Programme for a second year. This important programme funds chess training and coaching for up to 12 of the most promising young players in England. GM Peter Wells manages the programme on behalf of the charity.  He aims to mentor the young players, guide them to play in appropriate tournaments and coach them (with others) to help them become strong chess players.
Presently, the majority of the bequests to The Chess Trust are designated to support junior chess; however, the Chess Trust welcomes donations for all chess-related purposes except those of a professional nature. You can find more information about the Chess Trust here – http://www.chesstrust.org.uk/

Director of Women’s Chess Chris Fegan’s round-up
The main emphasis for DoWC has been the preparation for the ECF Finance Council meeting which takes place at the end of April in Birmingham. The two main items for me are the DoWC Budget and also a motion in respect of the County Championship. As an ECF flagship event, the participation of females in the County Championship is woeful and we need to change this situation. I am proposing that in the final stages of the Open section all teams must play at least one female. I have also had discussions about flexibility in the implementation of rules regarding the ‘pool of women’ that Counties can approach to make the new regulation easier to comply with. If we do not take action to improve the situation then we are paying lip service to increasing and supporting regular women’s participation in English chess. The 4NCL have had a similar rule in their competition for years – the ECF should be emulating this.

Arbiters’ course
A reminder that the ECF will be running an ECF Arbiters course in conjunction with the Chess Academy at Staverton Park on the weekend of 13-14 April. More details here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-arbiter-course-registration/

County Championships
The draw for the finals of the County Championships is here –

ECF Awards 2019
Paul Bielby, Chairman, ECF Awards Committee on this year’s awards — Yes, it’s April again, and time to start thinking of the ECF Awards for the 2018-19 season. The ECF Awards Committee invites submissions for the following awards for the year starting July 2018 The President’s Award for Services to Chess;  ECF Club of the Year; ECF Small Club of the Year; ECF Website of the Year; ECF Congress of the Year. For the purpose of these awards, the season starts with the 2018 British Championships. Up to five President’s Awards may be made. A small club is defined as one having fewer than sixteen members. To recommend entries for any of these awards, detailed citations should be sent as an email attachment to the Chairman of the Awards Committee, Paul Bielby at paulrogerbielby@gmail.com to be received on or before Sunday 19 May, 2019. Citations for Website of the Year can be minimal, as a website should be its own best advertisement. Two further awards, Magazine of the Year and Player of the Year, fell into abeyance last year due the lack of suitable entries. They can be resurrected if we receive suitable citations. 

English Women’s Championship entries are now open for what promises to be the best English Women’s Championships to date. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/2019-english-womens-championship/

Winning’s a loser’s game
At last, an article on the realities at the lower-to-middle rankings of the chess pecking order. Danny Rosenbaum, who plays for Hackney Chess Club and is the Secretary of the Hamilton Russell Cup (https://hamiltonrussell.wordpress.com/) shares the secrets of how not to improve your game

Easter bunnies?
Wherever you live and whatever your level, there is an Easter Congress for you and my apologies to the organisers of the Southend Easter Congress which takes place 19-22 April for not publicising the event in last month’s newsletter.


4NCL Congress, Stevenagehttp://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/information_easter19.htm

West of England Congress – http://chessdevon.org.uk/

CCF Coulsdonhttps://www.ccfworld.com/Chess/Adult%20Competitions/Longplays_Easter.htm

Bolton Easter Congresshttps://boltonchessclub.webs.com/

The ECF Calendar has all the details – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/event-calendar

Immediately after the performance in Astana, England’s heroes were back in 4NCL action for the fourth weekend – http://www.4ncl.co.uk/, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/mar/22/chess-england-luke-mcshane-gawain-jones-david-howell-4ncl, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/feb/15/chess-guildford-4ncl-showdown-with-manx

CHESS magazine taster – click here

Review King
IM Gary Lane looks at Game Changer by Natasha Regan and Matthew Sadler, along with Carl Portman’s Chess Behind Bars. More here –

Can you help?
A request has come into ECF from Tim Clare. Over 30 years ago I sustained a spinal injury in a car accident which left me as a permanent wheelchair user (tetraplegic). At the moment, I do not have any transport so I am limited to where I can play chess. My new mode of transport is currently waiting for adaptations and will take at least nine months. I am looking for a chess partner to improve my game and keep my brain from stagnating. My level of chess has never been rated but I imagine I am of a low club standard. (Editor’s note – Tim is based in Windsor. Please contact him directly on 07956 483201 or via tim@cluckingchickens.co.uk if you are able to help him)

Glorney Faber Alumni Day 
Desmond Beatty, organiser of the Glorney Gilbert organiser on the first Glorney Faber alumni day – Since its foundation in 1948, it is estimated that over 2,000 players from at least 9 nations have played in the Glorney Faber/Gilbert, Robinson and Stokes Cups.  Over the past 4 years, the archive project has identified many of these players by name.  This year it is time to try to find and contact them all to invite them to the first Glorney / Faber Alumni Day to be held in conjunction with the Glorney Gilbert International 2019 in the Carrickdale Hotel and Spa, Co Louth, Ireland on Sunday 21 July 2019.Specifics of the event will be determined based on levels and nature of interest but are expected to include an Alumni lunch, some chess and the opening ceremony of the Glorney Gilbert International 2019.  The schedule will be such as to facilitate those who wish to travel in and back on the day. The ask, therefore, is that you spread the word amongst your chess colleagues, both in your own federations and beyond asking for any and all player who participated in the Glorney Faber Gilbert Robinson Stokes Cups since 1948 to register their interest in coming to Ireland for this reunion event on the ICU website.  
Jeff Cox and Nancy Cox – https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=10137