eNewsletter No. 51 – December 2020

Dear ECF Member

Welcome to the final 2020 edition of the eNewsletter. It has been a difficult year for many in the chess community and our thoughts are with the families of colleagues and friends who are battling with the virus and those who have died this year. In this Christmas edition we have an interview with IM and WGM Anna Rudolf, who combines a successful chess broadcasting career with various social media outlets on chess. We also feature two articles devoted to adult beginners, following the rise in interest in chess from lockdown and the Netflix mini-series, The Queen’s Gambit.

On the home front we are delighted to launch the new ECF Members Rewards scheme that offers thousands of discounts from 270 UK retailers, both on the high street and online. We also look at the forthcoming British Online Chess Championships sponsored by Caplin Systems (see these links for the webpages, entry form and all our various sponsors, to whom we are hugely grateful – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/british-online-chess-championships/, and https://www.englishchess.org.uk/caplin-british-online-championship-prizes/) and Alex Longson gives a detailed roundup of the ECF Academy. We also have exciting news of the ECF’s Queen’s Gambit Scheme, which will include an offer of free Supporter status for women over 18 who have not been members of the ECF before to complement the current Free Junior Silver arrangements.

We still need more members who have not renewed their membership to do so please. This can be done seamlessly here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-membership-2020-21/

We have decided not to continue with the Obituaries section in the eNewsletter, but if anyone wants to write an obituary of a club or county colleague I will publish it. Please send submissions to manager.publicity@englishchess.org.uk

Stay safe and have a great Christmas and New Year.

— Mark Rivlin

Chief Executive Mike Truran writes — we are planning to implement an extension of the Supporter package aimed at new players and building on the interest generated by the Queen’s Gambit mini-series. The proposal is being worked on by Natasha Regan, Rob Willmoth and Nigel Towers and will be available shortly. Some key points as follows –

The Queen’s Gambit Scheme, which offers free Supporter membership for women over 18 who have not been members of the ECF before, will complement the existing Free Junior Silver package. It will last until the end of the membership year and will include –   

  • All current ECF Supporter benefits   
  • ECF Online Club membership, and the ability to play in regular club events   
  • An opportunity to join ‘new player’ events at the upcoming British Online Championships and beyond …

Further details will be posted on the ECF website when everything is finalized.

Going Balipstick
Mark Rivlin interviews Anna Rudolf here

Director of Home Chess Report
Nigel Towers writes — ECF Online continues to be very popular with a growing membership and participation in club events. We have regular team battles and 1:1 internationals with matches this month against South Africa and Russia with streaming commentary on YouTube, and there has been a big increase in participation in rated events from online leagues and congresses.
In what has been a testing year with virtually no over-the-board chess after March, we have a great event to end the year – the Caplin British Online Chess Championships which take place over two weeks from 18 December 2020 to 3 January 2021 on the Chess.com platform. These will be the first British Online Chess Championships in 116 years since the tournament started in 1904 and means the British continues in a different format without a gap. With under two weeks to go, entry levels are looking very good.
There is a range of Championship events at different time controls including Standardplay, Rapid, Blitz and Bullet. So please do enter now for the qualifiers here – . Commentary will be provided by GM Matthew Sadler and WIM Natasha Regan, via their Game Changer YouTube channel. You can find full details of the schedule, entrants to date and prizes on the tournament web site here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/british-online-chess-championships/

We are also running a number of ‘new player’ events alongside the British Championships as part of the Queen’s Gambit Scheme. These will include two rating-limited events and some online coaching sessions targeted at new players. Despite the challenges the ECF has faced over the past nine months, it has been heartening to witness a surge of interest from a combination of lockdown and the ‘QG effect’ [for more, click here]

Director of Membership Rob Willmoth writes — Christmas is coming, and despite the different tiers systems in place around the country, shops have re-opened for the festive season spending spree. The ECF is bringing some Christmas cheer by providing further incentives to members. Last week Newman Tuition went live, offering discounts for our members on academic subjects. This is aimed mainly as a benefit for children. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/newman-tuition/

We are delighted to announce a truly fantastic new incentive that we are hoping will go live in mid-December. Named GoMembership, the scheme offers great discounts on retail, leisure, travel and eating out. There are over 250 different retail outlets involved, ranging from Costa Coffee to M&S and Tesco and with all Vue Cinemas offering discounts. There is a modest fee to sign up (priced according to your membership level, and free to Platinum members). The sign-up cost will almost certainly be recouped in your first purchase, and multiple times over the year. Please see this flyer for further details.

ECF membership is slowly increasing but is still not at the same level as this point last year.  If you have not renewed your membership, it would help the ECF greatly if you did so and this will allow you to take advantage of the significant financial benefits from GoMembership – click here

Caplin Hastings Online All-Play-All – Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 January, 2021
Marc Bryant writes — in just about any other year we would be getting ready for the Caplin Hastings International Chess Congress but, as with the majority of events of all types, this is not possible in 2020. However, the organizers are pleased to announce the Caplin Hastings All-Play-All Online Tournament which will take place on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 January 2021. The event has a player fund of £7,500.

This will be a 12-player all-play-all, rapid play format (15 min +10 sec per player per round). Six rounds are scheduled on Saturday and five rounds on Sunday, with play starting at 13.00 GMT on each day. Players confirmed so far are GMs Michael Adams, Luke McShane, Gawain Jones, Glenn Flear, Mark Hebden, Danny Gormally and Keith Arkell. David Howell has also expressed interest. The final list of players will appear as soon as confirmed. Two places will be reserved for the winner and runner-up of the Caplin British Online Chess Championships.

Commentary will be provided by GM Simon Williams and WGM/IM Jovanka Houska via Twitch.tv/gingergm​. We hope the all-play-all will provide some Hastings chess interest and entertainment at the traditional time of year. In the meantime the organizers wish you all the very best for Christmas and the New Year and look forward to welcoming players back to the 96th Caplin Hastings Congress 2021-22.

See the Congress website – www.hastingschess.com – for full details of Terms and Conditions and Tournament Rules. For further enquiries please contact Marc Bryant Email: bryant8830@yahoo.co.uk Tel: 01424 436313

Let us begin
Mark Rivlin and Sean Marsh with a double take on welcoming adult beginners to chess and coaching them to a higher level …
Mark’s | Sean’s

Covid-19 updates
The ECF have put together a collection of articles and procedures around Covid-19 – more here at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-covid-19-helpful-articles/

World Youth & Cadets Online 2020 teams

ECF Daily Championship 2021
Andrew Caswell writes — the 2021 ECF Daily Championship 2021 on the Chess.com platform will open for registration on 17 December and commence on 1 January 2021. There will be three separate tournaments based on chess.com Daily ratings at the point registration opens –
1750 and above; 1400 -1749; Under 1400
Entrants will be randomly split into groups of four and will play two concurrent games against the other three players in their group with a three days per move time control. The winners of each group will progress to the next round of the competition. All members of the ECF Members Club on Chess.com will automatically receive an invitation to take part as long as the settings on their profile permit this.

Team England
The ECF endorsed Team England club on Chess.com has now beaten Russia in the mammoth 665 board match, although there are 11 games still to finish. Final confirmation will be some time off, but it is expected that Team England will therefore win both the World League and European League in 2020. If any ECF members have not yet joined the team, there is time to do so before the new season gets under way on 15 January via this link – https://www.chess.com/club/team-england and clicking the ‘Join‘ button

4th 4NCL Online Congress 15-17 January 2021

4NCL Online Spring Congress – Tuesday 2 February – Tuesday 27 April, 2021

Riding high
The latest edition (162) of the superb Northumberland Chess Association magazine from Mick Riding has been published. The game file requires ChessBase Reader – Magazine | PGN

Rating category extensions
The ECF has decided on a temporary extension of the periods for all rating categories by one year to avoid an ongoing loss of player categories and rating status. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/rating-category-extensions/

Worth rating for
November online ratings here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/november-online-ratings-are-out/

Cure a star, Demis!

County U18s Online Championships
Warwickshire take the honours, followed by Kent, Oxfordshire and Yorkshire. More here – http://chess-results.com/tnr541241.aspx?lan=1&art=0&rd=7&turdet=YES&flag=30

European Online Women’s Clubs Cup
Teams have been announced here – http://delega.pl/EOWCC2020/list_of_teams_and_players.html

ECF Academy
Alex Longson writes — the fourth and final training weekend of the 2020 ECF Academy concluded on 14-15 November with valuable coaching contributions from GMs David Howell and Luke McShane, and there was also a parent and student session on growth mindset from GM Pete Wells and Dr Barry Hymer who recently published Chess Improvement: It’s all in the mindset.

2021 ECF Academy applications are now open here – https://www.delanceyukschoolschesschallenge.com/sales-page-ecf/

The 2021 Academy will include   

  •   Regular training material and structured development path   
  •   Plenary sessions for students and parents   
  •   Classical and correspondence training games   
  •   Regular Q&A sessions and chance to submit games and questions to coaches   
  •   Parent community

Chess Trust Accelerator Programme
Alex Longson writes – the Accelerator Programme is an initiative funded by the Chess Trust and provides high level coaching and support to England’s most promising junior players. This summer the programme was restructured with GM John Emms and IM Adam Hunt joining the programme as head coaches and Alex Longson providing management support. Outgoing Head Coach GM Peter Wells remains on the selection committee alongside GM David Howell, GM John Emms, IM Adam Hunt, IM Malcolm Pein, WFM Sarah Longson and Junior Director Alex Holowczak.

The selection committee met on 24 November and have offered places on the programme to two new candidates to join the existing eight students. Elis Denele Dicen has accepted her invitation and the other invitation is pending acceptance.

Please visit the Chess Trust website for more information about the Chess Trust and the Accelerator Programme – https://www.chesstrust.org.uk/

Tweet of the Month
Leon Watson reminds Sport England to polish its image —

Problem Corner
Christopher Jones with the monthly chess problem here

Hear Today
Sarah Longson on the The Queen’s Gambit mini-series and the resurgence of chess on the Radio 4 Today programme – here

Playing the Spanish
Our own Mark Rivlin on Talk Radio Costa del Sol – choose 0900-1000 and when the programme begins, go to 16 mins 50 secs for Mark’s interview on The Queen’s Gambit and all things chess … https://www.talkradioeurope.com/on-demand

Book review
Gary Lane looks at Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual (5th edition) here –

Girl Power
IM Lorin D’Costa writes — the Beth Harmon Masterclass, sponsored by Gillhams Solicitors, presents a fantastic opportunity for sixth form girls (years 12 & 13) to learn about chess. Streaming on Friday 18 December at 2pm on Zoom, the event is open to girls of all chess levels. The Masterclass includes coaching and analysing games that Beth Harmon played in The Queen’s Gambit Netflix show. And for those who would like to play, there is a Beth Harmon Arena tournament on the Lichess server. Participants can also interact in a Q&A session with some of England’s top female sixth formers who will also be in the session. To participate, please contact me with your name, year and school at sheplaystowinuk@gmail.com
Set up a free Lichess account to play in the tournament – https://lichess.org/signup. Those who sign up will be given the Zoom details a few days before the event. Girls’ chess has never had so much interest, and this is a great opportunity for years 12 & 13 girls to get involved and learn about the royal game!

CHESS Magazine
This month’s taster is here

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