eNewsletter No. 54 – March 2021

Dear ECF member

Welcome to the March edition of the ECF eNewsletter. In this edition, Tim Wall writes about  Magnus Carlsen’s growing portfolio of chess-related businesses and we also look at the possibilities surrounding a return to over-the-board-chess.

Physical leagues, congresses and tournaments are slowly edging closer. The 4NCL are one of the first organisations to announce an over-the-board event in 2021 – their 25th Congress in Leamington Spa on 9th-11th July (see below).

Director of Home Chess Nigel Towers confirms in his monthly report below that the ECF are hoping to run over-the-board British Championship events in October at a selection of venues, with an online British Championship beforehand which will also offer qualifying places to the over-the-board British Championship events. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/british-championships-2021/

If you would like to publicise your events please send an email to me – rivlinmark@gmail.com. Please make sure you are following the latest guidelines set out here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/most-recent-ecf-covid-19-guidance-post/

We are extremely proud of ECF Arbiter Shohreh Bayat, who was awarded the 2021 International Women of Courage award at a ceremony that included US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and First Lady Dr Jill Biden. More here – https://www.state.gov/2021-international-women-of-courage-award-recipients-announced/. Shohreh is one of the arbiters at the forthcoming World Universities Online, which takes place throughout March – https://www.fide.com/news/929
In the April edition of the Newsletter, we are featuring an interview with Shohreh.

Stay safe …

Mark Rivlin

The King’s Gambit
Tim Wall on the Magnus Carlsen business empire – here

Director of Home Chess Nigel Towers reports on a return to OTB, the ECF Online Grand Prix, arbiters courses, the British Championships 2021, and the new Registered Coaches Scheme – here

Festival of Britain and Chess
The ECF’s Social Media Officer Danny Rosenbaum writes — Readers of last month’s newsletter will know that the ECF are introducing various initiatives to appeal to new and improving players, such as IM Andrew Martin’s acclaimed chess booklets featured on our New to Chess page here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/new-to-chess/. To further that aim and to mark the 70th anniversary of the Festival of Britain in May, we will be holding the ECF Chess for All Festival with online tournaments, coaching and live streams aimed at beginners and improvers. If you would like to be kept in the loop then watch out for future newsletters … and why not sign up free to receive our weekly ECF online newsletter with news of extensive activities on Chess.com and Lichess.org.

Problem Corner
Another taxing problem from Christopher Jones here

Remote Solving
Christopher Jones writes — On 20th February, the date on which the Winton British Chess Solving Championships should have been taking place, the British Chess Problem Society instead ran the British Open Online Solving Masters. We are extremely grateful to the tech prowess of Brian Cook and his helpers who reproduced the actual event in virtual form and in real time. This occasion proved to be a great success, as can be seen from the large numbers in the final tables here. It was a fun atmosphere without prizes, grading points, and apparatus to exclude possible cheating. We hope that later in the year, pandemic restrictions may be eased sufficiently to enable us to go ahead with the actual staging of the WBCSC Finals, when prizes and grading points will be involved. More details to come …

Back on board
4NCL OTB chess returns on July 9th-11th with its 25th Congress – https://www.4ncl.co.uk/

4NCL news
The 6th and 7th 4NCL Online Congresses includes Improvers sections for social and casual players, and players just starting out in chess –
Friday 26th – Sunday 28th March – http://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/online/arrangements_6.htm
Friday 23rd – Sunday 25th April – http://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/online/arrangements_7.htm

Luke on Spec
Luke McShane on how chess has become fashionable in lockdown – https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-chess-got-cool

Director of Membership Rob Willmoth writes — GoMembership is offering these discounts for Mother’s Day and Easter. To date, 116 members have signed up to the scheme and are taking advantage of the thousands of available discounts.  If you want to sign up, simply log in to your membership account, select menu in the top left and then select the ‘Rewards’ tile. The Easter and Mother’s Day discounts are on top of the existing discount.

Alternate Director of Women’s Chess Agnieszka Milewska writes — We are inviting women and girls to join our official ECF women’s team on Lichess.org. You can access more information here – https://www.englishchessonline.org.uk/england-womens-team/. The squad is open to women and girls of all abilities. We host an arena tournament every day between 6.00 and 7.00pm, apart from the days when we have team matches (Thursdays, Sundays and occasionally Mondays). Remember to include your name and ECF membership number when you apply to join the team.

The Online Grand Prix Series will run until November – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/2021-online-grand-prix-series/

Titles for Peters
ECF International Rating Officer David Clayton writes — I am pleased to announce that FIDE have accepted the application of FIDE Master title for Peter Richard Markland and Peter Nicolas Lee. Their ratings of 2390 met the rating requirement, and I was able to track down their Olympiad games from the 1970s to prove the minimum games requirement. We are grateful to John Upham from British Chess News for these links on both players.
http://britishchessnews.com/2020/11/21/birthday-wishes-peter-lee/ | http://britishchessnews.com/2020/04/13/happy-birthday-to-peter-richard-markland-13-iv-1951/

Are you the ref?
Arbiter courses announced for April – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/arbiter-courses-in-april/

Alexa, who was chief arbiter at the FIDE World Corporate Championship?
The ECF Director of Junior Chess and FIDE arbiter Alex Holowczak was awarded the prestigious role of Chief Arbiter at the inaugural edition of the FIDE Online World Corporate Chess Championship played in February. There were 284 teams and 1,467 players representing companies from 78 countries. Matthew Carr was also an arbiter at this event. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/alex-holowczak-chief-arbiter-fide-world-corporate-championship/

British Universities Championship Online
Victory for Cambridge! The tournament took place in the first week of March – http://chess-results.com/tnr550327.aspx?lan=1

News from FIDE
To benefit chess in education, chess for people with disabilities, and the support fund for distinguished chess seniors, and in connection with the World Corporate Chess Championship, the governing body of chess, FIDE, have organized a fundraiser. All participant companies have been asked to make a donation towards one of these three social projects, but you can also contribute, and your help would be more valuable now than ever before. You can make a donation using this link –

Great Minds
John White reports on the new Mindsports Centre in West London.
The First Mindsports Centre in the UK will be ready to open its doors this coming Autumn in time for the new chess season. The former Salvation Army Hall in Ravenscourt Park has been purchased with a company, Mindsports Property Limited, as the new owners. This was entirely funded, bar a small investment from Chris Skulte and myself, by four members of the Young Chelsea Bridge Club and the Go Investment Fund. The architectural plans are being drawn up, with an appointment of contractors and a schedule of works to be finalised shortly.

I believe that as the most pre-eminent Mindsport, in terms of profile and numbers, this is a unique opportunity for chess at just the right time. By establishing a playing and training centre for MindSports in superior surroundings, the centre will offer club and league chess the highest quality of venues. It will also allow Bridge, Chess and Go to raise their profiles. For further information please contact me at jdrw9591@gmail.com

Open Line of Duty
Ellie Gibbs, Casting Producer, STV writes — I’m writing from a television production company based in Glasgow called STV Studios. We are making a new television series for Channel 4. The series involves a murder mystery, and we are looking for pairs of people to turn into detectives and try and solve the case. We thought members of the chess community might be interested in finding out more and wondered if you would be interested in sharing our details? We would like to encourage people to apply if they are interested. We had a thought that logical chess players might make fantastic detectives! People can find more info and can apply at https://stv.submit.com/show/3. The civilian ‘detectives’ will have police resources at their disposal – pathologists, forensic scientists, psychologists etc. They will be competing to see if they can be the first to identify the suspect and bring them to justice.
If you would like to find out more, I am on 07816 084059 or you can email us on murder.island@stv.tv. Filming will be in May, and will adhere to Covid safety regulations.

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