eNewsletter No. 56 – May 2021

Dear ECF member

Welcome to the May edition of the newsletter. We are continuing with our new hybrid format with the email edition providing a quicker read format and links, and the new long-form magazine-style PDF available from the ECF website at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/ECF-Newsletter-May-2021-Full.pdf

In this edition we feature the promising junior Kenneth Hobson, Tim Wall’s op-ed, the problem corner from Christopher Jones along with the usual news, views and upcoming events, and we are now delighted to announce some exciting additions to our roster of contributors with four iconic figures of English chess – GMs Michael Adams, Peter Wells (starting next month) and Keith Arkell – who, along with Ian Watson will provide columns and features. To keep you in the loop we will be launching a monthly Forthcoming Events item with a link to the ECF calendar.

This month’s newsletter also includes a superb first submission to the ECF Writing Initiative from Peter Burgoyne of Hackney Chess Club. Please do send in submissions on any aspects of chess direct to me at rivlinmark@gmail.com. Finally, at last, we can show that over-the-board is enticingly close as we feature Sheffield CC’s return to the pub (outside, of course) with pints and a live opponent opposite you.

Of course, we need to be vigilant and we have the latest Covid-19 guidelines, along with news on the Blitz Marathon to raise funds for the Red Cross, the Festival of Chess and the English Online Blitz tournament.

— Mark Rivlin

The Interview
Mark Rivlin interviews Kenneth Hobson, one of the top juniors in the ECF Academy here | Annotated PDF here

Game of the Month
England Number 1 GM Michael Adams looks at the Luke McShane v Gata Kamsky match from the European Club Cup Online 2021

Writing on the Wall
Online chess is too close to home for our op-ed writer here

ECF Writing Initiative
Peter Burgoyne with Part 1 of his trilogy ‘My Life in Chess’ here

Director of Home Chess Nigel Towers reports on ECF Online, including the Saturday Masters, the ECF Online Grand Prix, British Online Championships as well as the return to over the board chess, the British Championships and how the ECF is helping new to chess players – read his report here

Arkell’s Endgames
The first in a monthly series of endgame articles from GM Keith Arkell here

Director of International Chess Malcom Pein writes …
Our international players have had very few opportunities to play other than online, but a step in the right direction will be the European Individual Championships which will be staged in a hybrid format. This involves every country setting up their own venue for players to play online in the same room, socially distanced and under arbiter supervision. The tournament will qualify 36 players to the FIDE World Cup to be held in Sochi in July. The event will be run as a knockout with 36 groups of eight players. The format is the same as the World Cup, with two games of classical chess and then play- offs. I’m delighted to have Shohreh Bayat as our main arbiter and the venue will be Hilton DoubleTree in Elstree, Hertfordshire (unfortunately, no spectators allowed). This event is happening because the European Individual scheduled for Reykjavik in March/April was cancelled, although just recently they were announced again to take place in August. The next event scheduled for the England teams is the European Teams Championship which will be held in Slovenia in November

The latest guidelines for OTB and hybrid chess are here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/covid-precautions/

Director of Membership Rob Willmoth reports …
Exciting news! The first ChessKid UK national championships will take place on Saturday, June 5th. This will be a huge event and it is advisable to enter early. England number one player GM Mickey Adams will be doing a free training camp for early registrants. This is a unique opportunity to learn from a great player. The tournament is in age group sections and there are prizes in each section. You do not need a ChessKid account to play in the event (this will be provided). The entry fee for the event is £35 with early birds registering before May 24 receiving a £10 discount. Closing date for entries is May 31st. More here – https://www.chesskid.com/article/view/coming-soon-chesskid-uk-championship. Also, with the ECF’s new programme with ChessKid, you can get a further £5.00 discount by entering the code UKECF. Registration here – https://www.events4chess.com/events/?event_ID=1373

Study Corner
Ian Watson on how to solve studies here

Director of Junior Chess Alex Holowczak writes …
ECF Online Schools Championships results – Under 19 1st Hampton School, 2nd Wilson’s School, 3rd Reading School. Under 11 1st King’s College Junior School, 2nd Westminster Under School, 3rd Brentwood Primary School

Key workers
ECF Manager of Chess in Prisons Carl Portman is the subject of a piece in the FIDE newsletter (Issue31). Carl is joining prominent writers and commentators in the Chess for Freedom conference, which is looking at the potential of chess in prison initiatives. The conference will be available to watch on the FIDE YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35hRstpeO3c

ECF Chess for All Festival
Danny Rosenbaum writes … As Muhammad Ali once said, “Even the greatest was once a beginner.” The Queen’s Gambit and Covid-19 have combined to inspire many people to take up chess for the first time or perhaps revisit it, having lapsed.
We welcome everyone to join our Chess for All Festival where we will be holding a week of training and tournaments aimed at beginners and improvers (both juniors and adults). The term tournaments should not be daunting. The idea behind them is to provide a range of games with people of similar strength to try out and practise their chess. All elements of the week are optional.
We are pleased to announce that IM Lorin D’Costa will be coaching the improvers and Lateefah Messam-Sparks will be coaching the beginners. For only £15, entrants can get four training sessions as well as access to the tournaments, plus early joiners will be given the ability to play in a simultaneous game (one of which will be conducted by GM Keith Arkell).
In addition, we will be giving free ECF 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. The Festival will run from Sunday 30th May to Friday 4th June. More details and the schedule here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/chess-for-all-festival/ – and registration form here – https://britchess.wufoo.com/forms/q1foayuu0jdiqeh/

ECF Awards 2021
Stephen Greep writes … Details of how to apply for this year’s ECF awards have been released. There have been changes to the committee structure and there are new awards for the top ECF priorities of  Contributions to Community Chess, Junior Chess, Women’s Chess and Accessible Chess, together with existing awards of Club of the Year, Small Club of the Year, Online Chess Contribution, Congress of the Year, and the President’s Awards for Services to Chess. Entries for this year’s awards close at the end of June. More can be found on the ECF website. Enquiries and nominations to the Award committee Chairman Stephen Greep at sjgreep@gmail.com and more details here at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/nominations-invited-for-this-years-ecf-awards/ [PDF]

Forthcoming Events
See the ECF events calendar here

ECF Academy
Alex Longson reports … The theme for April was Calculation and Board Visualisation. Some feedback we have had during lockdown is that children are struggling to calculate when solving a position set up on the board – perhaps a knock -on effect of a diet of online blitz and easy tactical drills? So we thought it would be interesting to set some visualisation challenges. Some examples –

Studying a position on paper and then trying to set up on a board from memory
Does a Bishop on g4 cover the square b7?
How many moves would it take a knight to travel from e1 to c8?
The ‘Czech Chess IQ Test’ – readers, please take the challenge here – http://www.cypresschess.com/p/chessiq.html

Another thing we have really decided to concentrate on is accuracy instead of speed. Lichess continues to release some great new features and one that we really like is Puzzle Streak where the player is challenged to solve as many puzzles in a row as they can, with  no timer. Generally speaking, to beat a strong player you need to make a lot of good moves in a row and a single mistake can be costly – so why not introduce that into your training?
May’s theme is Endgame Technique where we will test the notion that juniors play the endgame badly!

Marathon for the British Red Cross
Danny Rosenbaum writes … Doing good by playing chess, what could be better? Last year, thanks to the hundreds of people who played, donated, and streamed (including numerous GMs) we raised over £12000 for the British Red Cross.
The second charity 24-hour marathon tournament is fast approaching, taking place on the weekend of June 5-6 with 24 hours of blitz chess and players of all strengths taking part. Last year we had great feedback from players  who loved the opportunity to lock horns with grandmasters as well as players of their own level.
Please tell your friends, colleagues, and all and sundry about the event and get them to join in.  You do not need to be a member of the ECF to play. To enter, simply join our open club free of charge at https://www.chess.com/club/english-chess-federation and register for the event at https://britchess.wufoo.com/forms/qtlj19e1rs4q16/. On the form there is an option to donate to the British Red Cross – please join the hundreds who did so last year and make this year another successful fundraiser. Only those who have donated £5 or more before the event starts are eligible for 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. We are very grateful for the support from prize donors which this year include chess.com, Chess & Bridge, Elk and Ruby, Forward Chess, DecodeChess, as well as chess book authors like Ben Graff and Carl Portman.

Twitch and shout
Danny Rosenbaum writes … The ECF is delighted to announce our dedicated Twitch channel at https://www.twitch.tv/ecf_commentary. Twitch has become an increasingly popular platform for chess broadcasters and we intend our content to appeal to a broad range of players. The channel was set up by WIM Natasha Regan and GM Matthew Sadler who have written award-winning books and their excellent videos are available on the GameChanger and Chess for Life YouTube channels. Much of their content is live commentary of events and they will also be commentating on events for the ECF Twitch channel. Additionally, we will have regular guests including WFM Louise Head, GM John Emms, IM Malcolm Pein, FM Peter Sowray, and Phil Crocker and Colm Buckley of Chester Chess Club.
Elsewhere in this newsletter you will be reading about our charity marathon for the British Red Cross. We have already lined up several guests including British Champion GM Michael Adams to appear on https://www.twitch.tv/ecf_commentary
Please follow the channel by scrolling down to the heart icon and clicking on it. This means that you will get notifications (if you want them) about any time we go on air.
We’re not overambitious but please help us overtake Hikaru Nakamura (only 1.2 million to go). If you’ve missed a video you can watch it back on Twitch – some will also be available on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/EnglishChessFederation/ so please also consider subscribing there as well.

Alternate Director of Women’s Chess Aga Milewska writes …
I’m delighted to invite girls and women chess players to join our official English Chess Federation (ECF) women’s team on Lichess.org. 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 on Mondays. Remember to include your name and ECF membership number when you apply to join the team. We have important upcoming tournaments so please do join our squad!
More here at www.englishchessonline.org.uk/england-womens-team/

ChessKid FIDE Challenge
More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/intercontinental-chesskid-fide-challenge-2/

David Howell, sixth of the best
Hikaru Nakamura won the chess.com Titled Tuesday blitz on May 4, his third win in three showings. David Howell had an excellent 9/11 performance to finish sixth. More here – https://www.chess.com/news/view/nakamura-wins-may-4-titled-tuesday

Arbiter Regulations
David Sedgwick writes … The new FIDE Regulations for Arbiters, approved by the FIDE Council on Monday 19th April, have now been published at arbiters.fide.com/news/6041. My earlier fears that they might come into force at little or no notice have proved to be unfounded. The effective date is Thursday 1st July.

ECF Yearbook
The print version of the ECF Yearbook 2021 is now available and ECF President Dominic Lawson sent us this message —
The ECF Yearbook is beautifully produced, with an especially stunning cover. Congratulations to all responsible, and especially to Andrew Walker for his immense efforts (from a very impressed former magazine and newspaper editor)
John Upham’s review is well worth a read as well — https://britishchessnews.com/2021/04/17/ecf-official-chess-yearbook-2021/?fbclid=IwAR1tQHaqrdjOrpakRrNrwInRdRonBcXjptevhzSxCVjj8TO3MElivrc8tsQ
More here on ordering a printed copy – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-yearbook-2021/

Stop the clocks!
Lara Barnes and Alex McFarlane celebrate their civil partnership – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/lara-alex/

Around the world with Gawain
Gawain Jones won the Bob Wade Memorial in New Zealand with an impressive five-and-a-half-from-six. More here at https://www.times.co.nz/news/grandmaster-takes-honours-in-howick-memorial-chess-tournament/. Gawain then took on the best in the world in the New In Chess Classic rapidplay event (won by Magnus Carlsen) and despite not making the cut for the knockout stage, Gawain said on Twitter, ‘My own result was disappointing, but I really enjoyed the challenge and am very grateful to have the opportunity. I feel I learnt a lot and am looking forward to battling again soon’.

Finance Council meeting
The ECF Council met on Saturday 24 April, this meeting being termed the ‘Finance’ Council and has the particular responsibility to approve the Board’s budget for the year ahead as well as dealing with any other business brought to it or raised by members of the Council. It is made up of local representatives of counties, unions, leagues and congresses and direct members as well as the directors of the ECF and some other officers.
This year the financial side of things was unusually free of controversy with a decision to freeze membership fees and with a careful budget designed to allow support for a comeback of chess but with an eye on the difficult financial situation the last year has presented. The only issue of debate was a resolution making the Board free to vary the budget in the light of changing circumstances, though such changes would have to be brought before a further Council meeting. In the end, however, this motion was passed with overwhelming support, perhaps reflecting the recognition by Council that the Board really does need some wriggle room in these uncertain times.
Another block of business centred around constitutional issues, probably of little interest to the bulk of members but, of course, considered vital and essential by the political side of the chess world! One special motion effectively froze for a year the Council’s own voting register which determines how many votes members of Council carry and in normal times depends essentially on the number of chess games they have organised. Another issue was whether directors of the ECF should be allowed to stay in office if regularly re-elected or if, like American Presidents, they should be limited in the number of terms they could serve. A variety of options on terms of service were offered but in the end Council decided that there should be no limits. Of perhaps slightly more interest was a motion to include ‘rating’ as we must now call ‘grading’ of online games and blitz games as worthy of being included in the criteria for representation on Council. This narrowly, but clearly, reached the 75% in favour that is required for constitutional changes of this sort.
And finally, and at least of interest to a few hundred of the membership, was a motion to change the rating boundaries in the County Council championship. This was inspired by the need once again to move to rating and a belief that advertising something like an “under 1642” competition as a translation of a grade of “under 140” was somehow unsatisfactory. I didn’t personally see it mattered that much: after all we all cope quite happily with cans containing 454 grams! No, seriously it needed to be done, but was surprisingly controversial. Those that organise these teams were worried that certain of the new ranges would prevent some teams being fielded at all and that other players would find themselves unused for want of a section of appropriate standard. Sadly, after all the other business had been completed little time was left for discussion. However, it was agreed that those with knowledge of the problems (principally the county and union reps or their proxies) should meet again separately with Nigel Towers, the ECF Director responsible, and Mark Murrell, the County Championship controller, with the brief to hammer out the matter in a smaller and slightly more informal Zoom meeting. I’m delighted to say that these good people have indeed met after the main meeting and achieved success in their endeavours. The 2021-22 County Championship is set to roll!
— Michael Farthing, Chair of Council

Brought to book
Gary Lane provides an enticing pot-pourri of book reviews this month with the following —
Chess Scribe – A 50-year Anthology by David Le Moir
Terry Shaw, Australian Chess Ironman, Games and Writings by Ian Rogers and Ralph Shaw
Chess for Educators by Karel Van Delft
Carlsen’s Neo-Moller by Ionannis Simeonidis
The Lasker Method To Improve In Chess by Gerard Welling and Steve Giddens
More here –

4NCL News
Return to OTB 25th 4NCL Congress announced! Mike Truran writes … I’m very pleased to say that we’ve booked the four-star conference centre hotel Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa for our 25th 4NCL Congress on 9-11 July 2021. This will be our first OTB 4NCL congress since the start of 2020, if restrictions are indeed lifted on 21 June as we all hope. Although we are not publishing entry forms just yet, our friends at Guaranteed Events are happy to field early accommodation enquiries. As usual with 4NCL congresses, no money is taken until after arrival at the venue, so there is no financial risk to players booking accommodation early should a Covid-19 resurgence require the congress to be postponed or cancelled. Please do NOT try to book accommodation direct with the hotel as you will not get the preferential 4NCL arrangements.
As the proverb has it, ‘There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip’, but on the (possibly heroic) assumption that restrictions will ease as HM Government hopes over the next few months we’ll be publishing information, entry forms etc on the 4NCL website once we have our organisational ducks in a row.
See here – https://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/online/arrangements_8.htm

Seventh 4NCL Online Congress results at https://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/online/winners_7.htm

Just one more move
Christopher Jones with another Lt. Columbo-style chess problem here

Games, sets and matches
Geoff Brown, General Secretary of Sheffield & District Chess Association writes … We’ve returned to playing OTB in Sheffield! Now that pub beer gardens (back yards) are open to groups of six, we are running a Grand Prix style monthly series of multi-venue events. We started on 25th April with eight players split into two groups of four. And then the players played a round robin within their groups.  The events are to be Covid aware and as safe as we can make them with equipment being cleaned after each game and players wearing masks whilst sitting at the board.
Our next event is planned for Sunday 23rd May when it is hoped we will have five venues and about two dozen entrants. Playing the games out in the open meant that we attracted some interest from the general public which was very pleasing. For further information then either email gd_brown@sky.com or call me on 07931 563787

Lager than life – Sheffield chessters back on board

Tweet of the Month
Mum’s the word for Vishy Anand in this game from 1980

Syd Kalinsky – Danny Wright and Tom Barton remember a major figure in English chess here and here – https://ilfordchessclub.com/syd-kalinsky/

Chess Magazine
This month’s taster is here

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