eNewsletter October 2017 – Issue 14

Welcome to the October edition of your e-newsletter from ECF. A new season beckons with local leagues, 4NCL, county championships and a raft of individual tournaments to keep us busy. In this edition we cover the game across the board, from chess in prisons to next year’s British Championships; from the Isle of Man tournament with a cast of Hollywood A-listers to a perfect 5/5 for the new English women’s champion.

As well as proudly reporting on further successes for our talented pool of young players, it feels like chess is buzzing in the UK and this little anecdote shows how the game still has that magic touch. At Hackney Chess Club we meet socially for beer and blitz (unfortunately the former sometimes trumps the quality of the latter) at the Rochester Castle pub on a Saturday night. The pub is full of young people enjoying a pint or two before heading off for an evening of clubbing and we regularly see some of these young folk watching over our shoulders. Last week a young lady called Amelia and her boyfriend Tony were watching with great interest and Tony took the plunge and gave an excellent account of himself (he took a game off me, hardly an achievement) and told us he plays regularly online and didn’t realise how much better games across the board are. We sincerely hope he comes back because after a few ‘coaching’ sessions from our legend that is Terry Donnelly, his opening repertoire will be good enough to let loose on the London League Div 6.

This is the great thing about chess, thousands of us play it to a certain level, but millions play it to a lower level and love the game. It is a great credit to Adam Raoof that in his London rapid and long-play tournaments he is opening sections to Under 80 level which will give casual players the chance to become club players and even stronger. The same can also be said of the excellent initiative of the casualchess.org set-up, particularly their work in getting more women into chess.

Have a great season!

— Mark Rivlin

Ensure you insure – cover all the squares with Tradewise insurance
The insurance company specialising in chess players, take advantage of the Tradewise special motor insurance offer for ECF members. Click the link –

The ECF can arrange insurance for for clubs and congresses –

King Gongs – ECF 2017 awards
This year’s awards recognise individual and club achievements —
President’s Awards for Services to Chess – Bryan Bainbridge (Bishop Auckland), Malcolm Pein, Steve Rumsby (Banbury)
Club of the Year – Halesowen Chess Club, West Midlands
Small Club of the Year – Maldon Chess Club, Essex
Congress of the Year – Calderdale Chess Congress, Yorkshire
Website of the Year – Downend and Fishponds Chess Club, Bristol
Magazine of the Year – The Gazette, magazine of the Braille Chess Association
More can be found here —

To Hull with Black
Next year’s British Chess Championships will be making a debut appearance in Hull which this year is celebrating its accolade as UK City of Culture 2017 with a raft of events, conferences and performances. Says current British Champion Gawain Jones, “The British Championships has a long and prestigious history. It has a great atmosphere and I’ve always loved playing the tournament. I’m sure Hull will do the Championship proud.”

Jailhouse Rook
Carl Portman’s work as Manager for Chess in Prisons for the ECF has given him an inside view of how chess can be a conduit for change, and his book ‘Chess Behind Bars’ is essential reading for professionals working with prisoners and everyone who is interested in the potential of chess to help people. Carl’s aim is to get the book to every prisoner in the country and he recently met with North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis to discuss his work. A meeting with a parliamentary committee is in the pipeline. ECF president Dominic Lawson reviews the book here (scroll down towards end of article) – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-4841528/Inside-criminal-mind-lazy-greedy-crafty.html

English Rapidplay Championship
Liverpool Chess Club hosted the first English Rapidplay Championship in the iconic Cunard Building with over 260 participants challenging for various titles available and a share of the £10,000 prize fund donated to the tournament by main sponsor Signature Living. GM Danny Gormally was crowned English Rapidplay Champion; Jonathan Pein won the Major; Peter Garrett won the Intermediate; and Oliver Stubbs took the Standard. Gerald Cohen won the Sunday one-dayer. More here — https://www.facebook.com/LiverpoolChessClub/

A book at board time
Four books were on the ECF Book of the Year shortlist this year – Lajos Portisch on the Ruy Lopez, Jan Timman on world champions Euwe to Kasparov, Ilya Smirin on the complexities of the King’s Indian and Jacob Aagaard on decision-making on the board. The judges unanimously agreed on ‘Timman’s Titans’ by Jan Timman pp 332 £23.95. In their decision, Ray Edwards, Julian Farrand and Sean Marsh praised a chess book which covers nearly every aspect of chess – history, character, ambition, styles of play, technical aspects, a rare chess set, wives and even dreams! More here –

And plenty to be borrowed…
The ECF Library is taking shape, following the delivery of 50 shelving units and 200 boxes of books to Head Office. Having sorted thousands of books and constructed the shelving, the library is close to being launched. Says ECF Office Manager Gary Willson, “My thanks to a great team of helpers which included Gerry Walsh, Michael Farthing, Bob Elliston, George Jelliss, Marc Bryant and Ollie Willson.”

The TT motorbike fest, which has made the Isle of Man a household name, has some serious competition with a stellar field in this year’s international chess tournament. With a £50,000 first prize in the Masters section the field includes Carlsen, Nakamura, Anand, Kramnik, Caruana, Gelfand, Adams and Eljanov. As we go to press, Magnus Carlsen leads on 7/8. Further information here – iominternationalchess.com and live coverage at chess24.com with great commentary from GM Simon Williams and WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni.

One step ahead
Crowthorne Chess Club member Louise Head won the 2017 England Women’s Championship, played in West Bromwich, with a perfect 5/5. WFM Kanwal Bhatia came second and WFM Sarah Longson, WIM Sue Maroroa and WFM Meri Grigoryan finished joint third. More here –

Classic FM (and a few GMs)
The London Chess Classic is just round the corner, and this year celebrates its ninth birthday. Once again the event will be hosted at the Olympia Conference Centre between 1-12 December. As well as the Super GM tournament (the final leg of the 2017 Grand Chess Tour) there will be the huge Festival of Chess for players of all levels to participate in. More details here – londonchessclassic.com and here – http://tickets.londonchessclassic.com/spectators.php

Young talent
ECF Director of Junior Chess and Education Traci Whitfield reports …

  • Elite Junior Player Programme
    A raft of IM and GM norms have been achieved with 1x IM Title and 1x FM title awarded, and other titles waiting to be confirmed by FIDE. Details here – https://englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/elite-junior-player-reports-2016-17/
  • International programme
    The ECF Academy offered a large number of taster days for this hugely popular programme at its most recent study weekend in Coventry in September. Applications for the programme starting in January 2018 close on 15th October – see page 14 of the prospectus for the form here – https://englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ECF-Academy-prospectus-2017-18.pdf
  • Shreyas Royal finished second to Hungary’s Giang Tran Nam in the European Youth Chess Championship (Under 8 section). Both players finished on 8 out of 9 points but the Hungarian achieved first place on tiebreak. In August Shreyas also gained an excellent fourth-place finish in the World Cadets Chess Championships Under 8 tournament in Pocos de Caldas, Brazil.

ECF Schools
The 2017-2018 season started with the ECF Secondary School Chess Tournament on 17 Sept at Eton College. Over 50 teams entered from 38 schools and the event was won by Gonzaga College. Full results at https://englishchess.org.uk/NSCC/u19-open-2/. The ECF organises nine separate competitions for schools each year – details and instructions to enter can be found at https://englishchess.org.uk/NSCC/

Adeste FIDEles
The ECF has two new FIDE Trainers following the European Youth Chess Championships in Romania, Charlie Storey and Meri Grigoryan.

In Memoriam
A tragic loss for English chess – news of the untimely death of Peter Poobalasingam, aged just 27, has been met with shock among the chess community. WFM Sarah Longson pays a fitting tribute here – and there are personal memories and games of Peter’s here – http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=9290