eNewsletter No. 52 – January 2021

Dear ECF Member

Happy New Year and welcome to the January 2021 edition of the eNewsletter. In this edition we feature a hard-hitting interview with International Arbiter Andy Howie, who describes himself as ’the scourge of cheaters’, and Tim Wall discusses how the current pandemic can get us to look at chess in new and potentially exciting ways. 

We delayed publication of this newsletter to incorporate a report on the Caplin British Online Chess Championships (this is part of Nigel Towers’ monthly report below). We would like to thank the main sponsors, Caplin Systems, along with Chess & Bridge, Chess.com, Chessable, Elk and Ruby, Forward Chess and DecodeChess who all sponsored prizes.

Watching the weekend Caplin Hastings All-Play-All final rounds on the Twitch GingerGM channel was a real treat with Simon Williams and Jovanka Houska hitting the high notes at perfect pitch for all levels of chess enthusiasts.

We have had a good response to our new GoMembership scheme (more below in Rob Willmoth’s report) and details of our Queen’s Gambit initiative are here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-launches-the-new-queens-gambit-scheme/

If you are able to, please support the ECF in these difficult times by renewing your membership – and if you have renewed already, your support is very greatly appreciated. The link to the membership renewals page is here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-membership-rates-and-joining-details/

… and finally, if you have any views you would like to air, provided it is to do with chess, I will be pleased to publish submissions. The chess community includes people with a wide range of views and I’m keen to represent the many different opinions out there. Please email me your ideas and/or articles to rivlinmark@gmail.com

Stay safe

Mark Rivlin

The Cheater Hunter – Mark Rivlin interviews Andy Howie here

Gawain’s Remote Control
A huge achievement for GM Gawain Jones on becoming the European Online Blitz Chess Champion, topping a field of 16 players who had come through an eleven-round qualification stage. His scalps included GM David Navara in the semi-final and GM Alexei Shirov in the final. More here – https://www.europechess.org/jones-gawain-wins-european-online-blitz-chess-championship-2020/, here – https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/dec/24/chess-england-no-4-gawain-jones-wins-online-european-blitz-championship and here – https://en.chessbase.com/post/gawain-jones-wins-european-online-blitz-championship

Out of the Night
Tim Wall on how chess in England needs to shape up to the future here

Director of Home Chess Report
Nigel Towers writes …

ECF Online
The ECF Online Members Clubs continue to be very popular with a growing ‘online’ membership and participation in ECF club events particularly from players who are new to competitive chess. In addition to the ECF Members’ club events we now have around 20 National and regional or local leagues and multiple club competitions now registered and being online rated, with almost 5,000 players on the ECF online ratings lists.

The Caplin British
The Caplin British Online Chess Championships took place over two weeks from 18 December 2020 to 3 January 2021 on the Chess.com platform. This has been 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. The event was organized by the British Isle Chess Championships team including Kevin Staveley as tournament director and a team of around 15 arbiters in the control team.

We had direct entries from numerous titled players in the Open Championships including GMs Mickey Adams, Matthew Turner, Daniel Fernandez, Keith Arkell, Mark Hebden, Bogdan Lalic, IM Ameet Ghasi, and WGM Katarzyna Toma. The blitz championships included GMs Gawain Jones, John Nunn, John Speelman and Nick Pert. The Women’s Championships also saw a very strong group of entrants including WGMs Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Dagne Ciuyksyte and Harriet Hunt.

The event was a great success with almost 800 entrants and around 2,400 entries across the various championships and competitions. There were 10 different championships (Open, Women’s, Seniors (50+ and 65+) Juniors with 6 different age groups and 4 different time controls from Standardplay to Bullet in each championship. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/british-online-chess-championships/

Commentary was provided on GM Matthew Sadler and WIM Natasha Regan’s Game Changer YouTube channel, where you can catch up on the games from the recordings for the different events and rounds.

Congratulations go to GM Michael Adams as the first British Online Champion, following a playoff with IM Ameet Ghasi. Congratulations also to WGM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant as the first British Online Women’s Champion, and to all the new Champions across the different categories and time controls including some very strong female players, the seniors and of course the many junior players who took part during the school holidays.

You can find the full set of the champions and prizewinners along with the winners of the Major Open and rating limited festival events via these links – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/british-online-chess-championships/ and https://www.englishchess.org.uk/prizewinners-list-2020/. We will be holding a closing and awards ceremony on Zoom with a virtual prize giving to recognize the players at the top of the events.

All in all a very successful event and good to see the level of participation and quality of play across all championships.

The British Online was followed by the Hastings All-Play-All, organized by the Hastings Committee with the top English GMs and including two qualifiers from the British Online – GM Matthew Turner and IM Matthew Wadsworth. You can find more details, including an excellent commentary stream from GM Simon Williams and WGM Jovanka Houska here – http://www.hastingschess.com/ and here – https://en.chessbase.com/post/david-howell-wins-hastings-online-tournament-2021

We are currently looking at options for the British and British Online for 2021 and expect the online event to become a regular fixture with timing to be agreed.

New Players
As well as the elite events we are also looking at how we can support new players who are looking to take up the game following the Queen’s Gambit Netflix series. As part of the Queen’s Gambit initiative we have a ‘New to Chess’ page here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/new-to-chess/ – and would welcome input from members on what additional content we should include. We will also be introducing rating limited events in the members clubs on Chess.com and Lichess and some online coaching sessions targeted at new players.

Director of Membership Rob Willmoth reports — Happy New Year to all ECF members. Let’s hope it is better than last year. The fantastic GoMembership scheme that offers great discounts off hundreds of mainstream retail and leisure outlets was launched last month and the take-up has been good so far. One member commented he had saved £40 off a new computer and this was on top of the January sales discounts. Once set up, the scheme will save you hundreds of pounds a year for a tiny initial cost. You can still sign up now, by simply logging into the GoMembership system using your ECF membership login details and then selecting rewards from the tiles in the top left and adding the reward scheme to your cart.

Alternate Director of Women’s Chess Agnieszka Milewska reports — With the shift this year to the British Chess Championship being held online, I was at first a little saddened at losing the prospect of visiting sunny Torquay for chess! But I was heartened to see a fantastic uptake in the number of girls and women playing in tournaments. I would like to thank everyone who helped in organising the event and all the hard work done during the Championship to make it run smoothly. We had four women arbiters for the women’s tournaments – Shohreh Bayat, Emma Jane Billington – Phillips, Jo Wildman and myself.

A big congratulations to GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant who won Caplin British Women’s Online Championships 2020. As always the commentary team of Natasha Regan and Matthew Sadler was a delight and a learning experience. Results here – http://chess-results.com/tnr543521.aspx?lan=1&art=0&flag=30. I wish you all Happy New Year and every chess success!

Error in my ways
International Arbiter David Sedgwick points out an error in your editor’s review of the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit in the November edition of the newsletter. I wrote – I cannot recall a live tournament where there is applause at the end of a match while other games are going on. David writes – Jonathan Mestel against Lajos Portisch, Phillips & Drew Kings tournament London 1982, is an occasion which immediately comes to my mind. I was present when it happened. It wasn’t at the end of the game, but in the Anatoly Karpov – Viktor Korchnoi, Phillips & Drew Kings tournament London 1984 game, the audience burst into loud applause two minutes after the start of the round when the players shook hands after Korchnoi had arrived slightly late. The other six games were already in progress.

Opening Gambit Scheme
The ECF’s new Queen’s Gambit Scheme, which offers free Supporter membership for women over 18 who have not previously been members of the ECF, together with a package of events aimed at new player joiners, will run alongside the current Free Junior Silver membership scheme with the idea of encouraging women and generally wider participation in organised chess. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-launches-the-new-queens-gambit-scheme/

ECF Academy
Alexander Longson reports — The ECF Academy have now released their syllabus and training schedule for the year. Coaches and speakers lined up for the first few months include many of England’s strongest players. Previous participants include GM David Howell, GM Luke McShane, GM Danny Gormally, GM Glenn Flear and many more. The topics for the first three months are Attacking the King, Positional Play and Learning from World Champions. Parents can find out more and register here

2020 Vision
John Foley reports on the successful Chess-Tech conference held on line in December – here

Problem Corner
Christopher Jones with another chess problem – here

Book review
Gary Lane looks at Rewire Your Chess Brain by Cyrus Lakdawala –

Tweet of the Month
… from European Blitz Champion Gawain Jones

ECF Director of International Chess Malcolm Pein is interviewed by Bob Mills on Talk Radio here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/malcolm-pein-talks-chess-on-talk-radio/

ECF Book of the Year Award – presentation
A fascinating panel discussion on The Complete Chess Swindler by David Smerdon – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9r5xYyIrHI

Intercontinental ChessKid FIDE Challenge
For players under 12, this promises to be an excellent event on January 23. More here – https://www.chesskid.com/article/view/Intercontinental-ChessKid-FIDE-Challenge

FIDE Online World Cadets & Youth Rapid Chess Championships

4th 4NCL Online Congress 15-17 January 2021 – http://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/online/arrangements_4.htm

4NCL Online Spring Congress – http://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/online/arrangements_spring21.htm

4NCL Online season 2 results – http://www.4ncl.co.uk/data/4ncl_online_results_2.htm & http://www.4ncl.co.uk/data/junior_4ncl_online_results_2.htm

Congratulations to all the 4NCL Online Season 2 champions!

4NCL Online
Division 1: ChessPlus Kingston; Division 2: CSC 1; Division 3: Catford Cosmonauts 2; Division 4: Hertford 1; Division 5: Hackney Thirsty; Division 6: Dundee City B

 Junior 4NCL Online
Division 1: KJCA Young Kestrels A; Division 2: May the Fork Be With You 1; Division 3: KJCA Young Kestrels F; Division 4: Barnet Knights A 

Well done Emma-Jane!
Alan Atkinson, ECF Manager of Arbiters writes — Following the decisions on Arbiter title applications approved by the 4th quarter FIDE Online Council Meeting in December 2020, England has another FIDE Arbiter. I am sure that everyone will want to join me in sending Emma-Jane Billington-Phillips congratulations on her achievement!

Chess Magazine
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