eNewsletter No. 55 – April 2021

Dear ECF member

Welcome to the April edition of the ECF newsletter, and I hope you had a good Easter break. In this edition we feature an interview with Shohreh Bayat, International Arbiter and newly appointed ECF Director of Events. We also have an article from Mark Jordan about diversity in chess.

We’d like to thank members for their continued support in these difficult times. At March 1st 2020 the ECF had 10512 paying members. At the same date in 2021 there were 6756. This represents a 64.2% retention rate which shows the excellent support that members are giving to the Federation.

There is also news from Director of Home Chess Nigel Towers about a return to over-the-board chess.

We are pleased to announce the launch of The ECF Chess Writing Initiative. There are more details below, and we hope this will attract a lot of interest.

Finally, I’m very pleased to report that while we will, of course, be continuing with the monthly newsletter in its present format, we are also publishing an expanded version with all the relevant articles included in full. You can find the first edition of the full version here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/ECF-Newsletter-April-2021-Full.pdf

Stay safe
Mark Rivlin

The Interview
Mark Rivlin meets Shohreh Bayat here

Director of Home Chess Nigel Towers’ monthly column features updates on the British Online Championships II, English Counties 2021, British Championships 2021 and a roundup of the other online leagues and tournaments here

ECF Academy
Alex Longson writes — The March theme in the Academy was ‘Learning from the World Champions – Bobby Fischer’. This has proved to be a popular topic mixing some amazing chess games with a historical perspective on the controversial American grandmaster. Those interested in some of the annotated games and puzzles can get an idea here – https://lichess.org/study/tr78F1Yh
The theme for April is ‘Calculation’ and the emphasis is very much on encouraging and motivating students to work on their concentration and visualisation skills. We are running some new class formats this month to experiment with how best to do this. Readers of this Newsletter may fancy having a crack at one of the Academy challenges this month – The Chess IQ Test Historical Knight Move Exercise here – http://www.cypresschess.com/p/chessiq.htm

ECF Social Media manager Danny Rosenbaum reports on two forthcoming events
Another Marathon

Last year the ECF organised a very successful online 24-hour tournament Checkmate Covid-19 in aid of the British Red Cross. 459 players competed in the marathon, and amazingly after 9872 games and 24 hours it all came down to literally the last second when FM Harry Grieve secured a draw which in a plot line worthy of Thunderbirds (where generally speaking the world was saved with a second to spare) took him to 517 points, edging GM Danny Gormally on 516 points to the top spot. This year we will be holding Checkmate Covid-19: The Rematch. Once again, the more players the merrier and we are hoping to have a field like last year ranging from beginners to top grandmasters.
This year the tournament will take place the weekend of June 5th-6th and of course you don’t need to play all 24 hours! Feel free to dip and out. Only those who have donated £5.00 or more before the event starts are eligible for any prizes. We are hoping that like last year, the chess community will come together to support this great cause and donate even if they don’t think they will be in the running for prizes. There are more details to come, but there is no time like the present! Please act now and join the tournament and donate to the British Red Cross here –
Chess for All
Please spread the word – the English Chess Federation is launching a Chess For All Festival to take place on chess.com from Sunday 30th May-Friday 4th June. There will be training, streams and tournaments all tailored to two distinct groups: beginners and improvers. The ECF wants to reach out to the numerous people of all ages who have been attracted to chess in recent times either because of the pandemic or The Queen’s Gambit. As part of the Festival we will be offering core training in a friendly environment to further newcomers’ love and understanding of chess. We will be giving free Supporter membership for all entrants to the end of the membership season. This will allow anybody that signs up to play in all ECF online tournaments to the end of August – more here at

ECF Finance Council Meeting
This year’s FCM takes place on Saturday April 24th online, starting at 1.30pm, via the Zoom app. The papers are here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/about/ecf-council-and-board/ – and will be added to as more documentation becomes available.

Inclusivity in chess
Mark Jordan is leading research into this important subject. More here

Brought to book
The ECF have published the popular ECF Yearbook which can be viewed online free of charge here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-yearbook-2021. As always, a lot of hard work from contributors, the editing team and the layout by our webmaster Andrew Walker have combined to make this an excellent read. The print version will be available from mid-April at a cost of £15.50 including postage and packing for members. Please watch the website for more details as they are posted …

British Chess Championships 2021
Some news here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/british-championships-2021/

From chess board to keyboard
The ECF launches its Chess Writing Initiative. Open to all ECF members, this is the perfect platform to showcase your writing skills. More here

The kids are alright
Director of Membership Rob Willmoth writes — I am very pleased to announce that the ECF has arranged a partnership with ChessKid – https://www.chesskid.com/. This is the best software tool on the market for children to learn and improve at chess. You can set up a Basic account for free, and if you then want to upgrade to Gold you will receive a 25% discount. The difference between the Basic account and the Gold account is substantial, and can be viewed here – https://www.chesskid.com/membership
You can upgrade by following the instructions below —
1) Set up a ChessKid account at https://www.chesskid.com/ – if you have one already then please go to point 2 below
2) Join the ECF Juniors ChessKid group at https://www.chesskid.com/register/kid/group/YT6R4X or by entering the key – YT6R4X – in your settings at https://www.chesskid.com/settings/account
3) Update to Gold at 25% discount at https://www.chesskid.com/membership/promo/ECFJuniors or by clicking GoGold in your account and entering the code ECFJuniors

Organising online
Witney Chess Club’s Patrick Moss writes …

New ECF Registered Coaching Scheme

European Online
Director of International Chess Malcolm Pein reports — Four English teams participated in the European Online Club Cup. I was particularly pleased to see Guildford make their first foray into Europe as 4NCL champions. Wood Green, Wood Green Monarchs and Celtic Tigers all pretty much played to their seedings in the qualifying groups and several opportunities were provided to some of England’s best young and junior players to gain experience against strong opposition. Even I was afforded one such opportunity, but wasted it by playing badly in my individual game against Alexei Shirov.
Guildford progressed through a tough qualifying group and an even tougher play off group to get to the ten-team final. Guildford lost three matches by the narrowest margin and ended seventh (see the report from Roger Emerson below).
David Howell and Gawain Jones both confirmed their excellent reputations in online play, winning individual board prizes. Howell’s 2725 performance on board two secured a bronze and Jones’s 2708 performance on board four was good for an individual silver. Internet chess is a young man’s game which was rather confirmed by the failure of the favourites Baden Baden and the success of the youthful German team SF Deizisau e.V.
The ECF International Directorate will organise a hybrid tournament in May to enable some of our top players to participate in the European Online Individual Championship where the top 36 qualify for the World Cup. Results are here – http://chess-results.com/tnr550240.aspx?lan=1&art=8&turdet=YES&flag=30

Guild edge
Roger Emerson reports on Guildford’s challenge here

ECF Events Director
We are delighted to announce the appointment of WFM and IA Shohreh Bayat to the post of Director of Events. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-events-director/

Problem Corner
Our PM (Problem Maestro) Christopher Jones is back with another monthly assignment here

Book Review
Gary Lane in prolific reviewing form this month with this star-studded line-up —
The Lasker Method to Improve In Chess by Gerard Welling and Steve Giddens
Carlsen’s Neo-Moller by Ionannis Simeonidis
How to Beat Magnus Carlsen by Cyrus Lakdawala
World Champion Chess for Juniors by Joel Benjamin
Defend Like Petrosian by Alexey Bezgodov
More here –

The 7th 4NCL Online Congress takes place 23rd-25th April. More here – https://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/online/arrangements_7.htm

Tweet of the Month
It’s Surrey right number with Epsom CC on the up (not downs) …

Wizards of Oz
The over-the-board Doeberl Cup took place in Brisbane with Justin Tan and Daniel Fernandez finishing top in the Premier Division with 7.5/9. Results here – http://chess-results.com/tnr551239.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9

Georgia on my mind
David Rowson from Kingston Chess Club writes — In March, the British-Georgian Society screened the film Glory to the Queen over a Zoom meeting. Directed by Tatia Skhirtladze, the film focuses on two Georgian women’s world chess champions, Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze, and two leading contenders, Nana Alexandria and Nana Ioseliani. As is well-known, Georgia dominated women’s chess from 1962 to 1991. More about the film here – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8682060/

Chess Magazine
This month’s taster is here

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