eNewsletter November 2018 – Issue 26

Dear ECF Member

With the season well under way we are closing the year with what promises to be an action packed schedule. Chess players of all levels have a great opportunity to see the very best of world chess as the World Championship between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana comes to town on Friday November 9th and the 10th London Chess Classic (which may feature a world champion, as Fabiano is participating) takes place at Google HQ in King’s Cross and Olympia from 11th-17th December. In the last newsletter we featured a piece about a Chess Festival accompanying the world championship, but this has been cancelled due to the refurbishment of the premises which the organisers were not informed about until mid-October. Updates on the World Championship including ticketing arrangements here – worldchess.com

A good summary of the players’ strengths and weaknesses is here – https://www.chess.com/article/view/carlsen-vs-caruana-caps-predicts-the-2018-world-championship

On the home front we congratulate Adrian Elwin on his election to the role of Director of Home Chess. Adrian narrowly won a tight ballot over our feature writer Tim Wall at the recent ECF AGM in Birmingham. We have an exclusive interview with Adrian below.

Other stuff this time around includes the welcome return of IM Gary Lane’s book reviews and the ECF’s Book of the Year result, as well as your editor’s thoughts on his first AGM and Tim Wall’s take on the strong Isle of Man congress.

I will be around for most of the London Chess Classic and will be pleased to talk with any member who has ideas on improving the newsletter and who may wish to contribute … and please send me details of tournaments, congresses, league events by the 25th of each month to publicity.manager@englishchess.org.uk and I will include them.

— Mark Rivlin

Director line
Adrian Elwin won the election for Director of Home Chess election at the ECF AGM. In his first interview in post Adrian tells Mark Rivlin about his priorities for English chess in the next few years here

Isle of Man
Radoslaw Wojtaszek of Poland won the chess.com Isle of Man congress after a play-off with Arkadij Naiditsch of Azerbaijan. Both players finished on 7/9. Seven players finished on 6.5 – Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk, Hikaru Nakamura, Jeffery Xiong, Wang Hao, Gawain Jones and Baskaran Adhiban. David Howell finished on 6 and Michael Adams 5.5. More here – http://chess-results.com/tnr385685.aspx?lan=1&art=4&flag=30

Board order, order — Mark Rivlin reports from English Chess Federation AGM
Surely there are better ways to spend a lovely autumn Saturday than join the 70 or so hardy souls at the ECF AGM. I could have watched my beloved Leyton Orient drawing 0-0 with Hartlepool in the Vanarama League (long story of decline, a bit like my chess) or make the pilgrimage to Tottenham IKEA with the missus (let’s shelve that one). 

Over the years I’ve sat through a raft of non-chess related AGMs where the Minutes can run into hours and where inconsequential points of order can be dissected until there is nothing left in the test tube. But under the stewardship of the admirable Mike Gunn the ECF AGM ran over time by a paltry 20 minutes. The AGM agenda offers Council the opportunity to grill Board members and there were some feisty exchanges, especially during the discussion on the proposed raising of membership fees. Director of Women’s Chess Chris Fegan made a powerful speech about the ECF being more inclusive towards girls and women players and there were strong representations from the floor as the Board’s Draft Strategy and Business Plan was given the hair dryer treatment. And so it should, the paid-up membership of around 9,000 should indeed make its voice heard and it is good for chess and ECF governance that the Board is put under scrutiny and pressure. 

The business end of proceedings was the election of officers with the only contested elected position being Director of Home Chess. Alex Holowczak had stepped down following five years at the helm and was voted in as Director of Junior Chess replacing Traci Whitfield. The two candidates for DoHC, Adrian Elwin and Tim Wall each had five minutes on the hustings before taking questions from the Council. Adrian won the election by 12 votes and he lays out his vision for chess in England in an exclusive interview with this edition of the newsletter. 

Yes, there are urgent issues facing the Board and Council over the coming year; how to make chess more appealing for youngsters; attracting more girls and women to play; working on a tight budget to promote and deliver chess; sorting out the county championships and setting up more arbiter courses (see details of the next course below), to name some of the pressing ones. But there is an enormous amount of goodwill, expertise and commitment from our unpaid representatives and members who work tirelessly for the good of the game. So let’s accentuate the positive and look forward to a successful 2018-19 which has started so well on the board after our men’s Olympiad team came fifth out of a field of 185 in Batumi. See the facts and figures from the AGM here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-agm-october-2018-decisions/ – and make your voice heard through your membership rep and sending opinion pieces about anything to do with chess in England. My email box is always open – publicity.manager@englishchess.org.uk

Following the AGM, ECF Chief Executive Mike Truran published this message from the Board to members –

The Board would like to thank Council members and those they represent for approving the Board’s plans for extra expenditure in 2018/19 and beyond at the 2018 Annual General Meeting, and also for giving the Board an indication that they are minded to support the membership fee increase proposals required to support that extra expenditure at next April’s Finance Council Meeting. We are very excited about what this may mean for the future development of English chess, and would urge you to read the proposals that the Board put to Council here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/C29.12-b-Challenges-for-English-Chess-and-the-ECF.pdf. We would welcome any comments that you may have on the plans; please direct these in the first instance to your member representatives, whose contact details you can find here at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/about/ecf-officials/, or to your county/league/congress representatives, whose names can be found here at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/C29.3-ECF-Voting-Register-3.pdf.

Women’s Power
A message from ECF Director of Women’s Chess, Chris Fegan

I am delighted to inform all ECF Members and supporters that at the recent ECF Council AGM, it was agreed to TREBLE the Director of Women’s Chess’ budget for the current financial year. A dedicated amount of £5000 has been allocated to spend in encouraging more females of all ages to play chess and I will be using this in the form of grants to existing chess clubs, leagues, congresses etc. and others to put into effect schemes to enable more women to play our game and I will be inviting applications to me for grants. I am working with Board colleagues and others on the exact and detailed nature of the scheme and will give further information as soon as possible.

Georgia on their minds – the England Women’s team lining up in Batumi: (L-R) Akshaya Kalaiyalahan, Jovanka Houska, Dagne Ciuksyte, Sue Maroroa and Louise Head[/caption]

Birmingham Blitz
The UK Open Blitz finals will take place on Saturday 1 December in Solihull, Birmingham. Three GMs head a title packed field in the Open final section and there is a similar titled field in the Women’s final section. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/2018-uk-open-blitz-finals/

Top Markos
In the ECF 2018 Book of the Year Award, there was a strong shortlist this year, with GM Jan Markos winning the award. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-book-of-the-year-2018/

Brought to book
IM Gary Lane reviews a new chess biography on Fabiano Caruana; a much lauded book on the English; Endgame Virtuoso Magnus Carlsen;  IM Lawrence Trent’s video on the Albin Counter gambit and Cyrus Lakdawala’s book on Ulf Andersson’s ‘Bulletproof Strategic Repertoire for White’ –

BBCA Rapidplay
This popular one day rapidplay tournament is on Sunday 11th November 2018, and there is plenty of time to enter. More here – https://form.jotform.com/81766005914963

Hull of an achievement
At the ECF AGM it was noted that Hull Chess club’s Stephen Greep was to be given a special award for his work at the British Championships (also included was Wakefield Chess Club’s Mike Denison). Stephen presided over some excellent activities in the summer including a GM at the Local with WGM Jovanka Houska doing a simul ahead of the championships in early July and during the championships he led an excellent three-day summer school.

Entitled to smile
Congratulations to Andrew Horton and Joseph McPhillips who were awarded their FIDE International Master titles at the recent FIDE Congress. Lewis Martin was awarded the FM title, and congratulations too to Tom Thorpe, who has been awarded the FIDE International Arbiter title. 

Stefan-ately worth considering
Playwright Richard McElvain is bringing his adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s masterpiece novella ‘Chess’ to the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden from 13th – 17th November. The play has enjoyed excellent reviews excellent reviews and if you haven’t read the book I can thoroughly recommend you put out strong hints for people to place it under the Christmas tree with your name on it. ECF members will get a special two-for-one ticket offer. Tickets here – https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/the-chess-player

Falling Short
An apology is due to GM Nigel Short for omitting to mention his appointment as Deputy President of FIDE in the October newsletter. We were on a tight deadline to include the results of the FIDE election and Olympiad results from Batumi and we missed this piece of news, so sorry Nigel – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/nigel-short-fide-vice-president/

Arbiter Course
The next ECF Arbiter Course is at the University of Warwick on 17-18 November. Registration here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-arbiter-course-registration/

Junior news
Congratulations and best wishes to Alex Holowczak who takes over from Traci Whitfield as ECF Director of Junior Chess. 

Accredited coaches – a note from Alex Holowczak
Please be advised that the Manager of Coaches post is vacant, and we have various technical problems concerned with the DBS checks that mean we are not able to accept new Accredited Coach applications at the moment. While those problems are being resolved, we are taking the opportunity to review the Accredited Coaches scheme. We are hopeful that these problems can be resolved as soon as possible, and we will be in touch once we are able to accept Accredited Coach applications again. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Alex Holowczak, Director of Junior Chess

National Schools Individual and Team Blitzhttps://www.englishchess.org.uk/NSCC/blitz/

World Cadets
The world cadets championships are taking place in Spain in Santiago de Compostela from 3rd-16th November. The England team profiles are here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/world-cadets-chess-championship-2018/

White Rose in bloom
An excellent Yorkshire Junior Chess Day on October 20 at Upperthong Junior School, Holmfirth; Peter Cloudsdale’s report here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/yorkshire-junior-chess-day/

IM Andrew Martin has published the dates for the 2019 National Schools Chess Championships –  https://www.englishchess.org.uk/NSCC/

4NCL International Congress
GM Oleg Korneev won the 4NCL International open with 6.5/9, with GM Tamas Fodor coming second. Matthew Turner and Simon Williams bagged the two qualifying places for the British Knockout. Full report in the December newsletter …

4NCL Harrogate Congress details – http://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/information_21.htm

European Club Cup
The 34th event of this tournament was played in Porto Carras, Greece. Mednyi Vsadnik St Petersburg came first with AVE Novybor second. England’s representation was Wood Green (20th), Grantham Sharks (33rd), Blackthorne Russia (36th), White Rose (46th) and 3Cs (52nd). There were 61 clubs participating. More here –

CHESS magazine taster
November edition highlights here

Yes Minister – Shreyas Royal meets Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Shreyas Royal celebrated his father Jitendra Singh’s news that the family have been given an extension of their visa in the UK with a visit to Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Pictured below, L-R, are ECF President Dominic Lawson, Sajid Javid, Shreyas, Jitendra and CSC Events and Client Relations Officer Tereza Pribanova