FAQs – Ask the Directors

Does the ECF have a view on accepting unfinished games for grading (i.e. where the game is brought to an end by a time deadline, not lost on time), at whatever stage of the game, and the result decided by computer or other analysis?
– Susan Chadwick

The question you ask appears to relate to deciding games by adjudication, without actually mentioning that term. This used to be the customary way of deciding games in many evening leagues, and although the practice is dying out, and there is a significant body of opinion which feels that such games should not be accepted for grading, the current position is that they are accepted.
A subtly different question would arise if adjudication were to be resorted to in an emergency situation (for example failure of the lighting in the playing area) when the rules of the competition did not specifically permit it. In that situation I think the Federation would accept the opinion of the body submitting the results as to whether, in the circumstances, the games should be graded. But in general a special case of that nature would be treated on its individual merits.
— Dave Thomas

When are the new grades going to be out?
– Graham Matthews

I have been asked to answer your question.  To quote the Help page of the online grading database – Grading lists are produced twice a year in late January and late July, with playing cutoff dates of 31st December and 30th June. Please do not contact the Grading Administrator to ask exactly when a list will appear. He will not know, with any certainty, until it appears. Neither will the Home Director, as you can imagine.
— Richard Haddrell

Why don’t you make it clearer on your (grading) site what the letter after grades denote?
– Phil Sorensen

Once you’re on the grading database website – http://ecfgrading.org.uk – click the ‘Help’ link on the left panel. Scroll down the resulting page to the ‘Player Profile and History’ section and it’s the third paragraph down.
— Andrew Walker

Is it possible for one to be a member of two FIDE-approved bodies? I am part of the Chess Society at Coventry University and one of our members has an AICF membership from India. He wishes to play as part of a team representing Coventry University but is afraid that becoming an ECF member will affect his position as a member of the AICF.
– Khaleeq Mannan, Vice-President of Coventry University Chess Club

It is absolutely fine to be a member of as many chess federations as you wish. In fact, in order to play chess in different countries, it may be necessary to join other federations. In England, whilst you do not have to join the Federation to play chess, it is often better to do so if you are going to be a frequent player of graded games, in order to avoid game fees. Some guides to our fees and rates of membership can be found on our website.
What you are not allowed to do is to be registered with FIDE in more than one country. If your friend wishes to play in any FIDE rated event in England and he is not already registered with FIDE, then he will need to choose which federation he wishes to be registered with before he plays: we can only register members of the English federation, and likewise, the AICF can only register their members.
If you or your friend need any further help, please do not hesitate to contact me.
— Gary Willson

I am trying to enter a small tournament in the South of France in early May. I play my chess at the RAC and have never been a member of ECF until yesterday, when I joined at Bronze level which doesn’t appear to be good enough! Requires Gold, I think, but this costs a bit and expires in August – short shelf life. I am happy to join as Gold from 1/9/16 is there any way the £14 I have spent on Bronze can give me Gold for May?
– Stephen Meyler

Sorry Stephen – the membership system operates on a fixed term of twelve months, ending at the end of August. So you are not able to acquire Gold membership for this month without paying the full annual fee to join until the end of August. You can, of course, upgrade from bronze to gold by paying only the difference between the two rates
— Dave Thomas

I renewed membership recently but have lost my number please can you email it to me or tell me how to find it?
– Peter Saunders

Follow this link – https://ecf.azolve.com/MemberFinder.htm – and type your surname in the search box (upper right corner) to find your 2018-19 ECF membership number (the format is two letters (ME) followed by six numbers)
— Andrew Walker (updated 3/10/18)

I am Head of Humanities at Biddulph High School, Staffordshire. I have taught my Year 10 form group how to play chess. I was wondering if you knew of any contacts within the local area who would come to speak to them about the benefits of chess and would be willing to give a few of them a game?
– Nicola Scott

There is a strong chess player in Staffordshire who is doing some work for the Chess in Schools and Communities charity; promoting and teaching chess in state schools. I will forward your enquiry on to him. In the meantime if you would like to stay in touch please send an email to info@chessinschools.co.uk. Your schools chess activity may be eligible for some assistance from the charity.
— Malcolm Pein

Having just finished the National County Championship, I am keen to understand whether there is a similar competition organised internationally, be it restricted to (say) Europe, or unrestricted worldwide, or somewhere in-between (whatever that may be). Point being, that once a team wins the English competition, there is currently nowhere else to go, except to do it all over again the following year. I appreciate that under the present regime, international competitions are organised by age group rather than grades, but would have thought there is room for both, as in English Chess.
– Peter Hughes

Thanks for getting in touch. There exist amateur competitions with graded sections and with ‘world titles’ but they are run by a commercial company. I think FIDE run graded competitions on their online server but I have never checked.
FIDE’s definition of amateur in their official world championship is under 2300 but it has U 1700 and U2000 sections please see – http://www.fide.com/images/stories/NEWS_2015/FIDE_News/World_Amateur_Chess_Chmp_regs_2016_.pdf. You should also look at this – http://amateurchess.com/
— Malcolm Pein

I was late renewing my membership and played in a Rapidplay in September. I’ve renewed but do I still need to pay the organisers of the Rapidplay for the game fee or is it now paid?
– Nigel Hepworth

Thank you for your query. Where appropriate, we invoice the organisers for any game fee that arises, and not the individual players. Organisers should have collected the fee from non-members directly. If you believe you owe the organisers any money, you will need to contact them directly.
— Gary Willson

Do you provide chess clubs within schools? I would like to set up a chess club in school and wondered if there were members who were able to run something like this. Thank you in advance.
– Victoria Tucker

Hello Victoria – we don’t, but follow this link for an organisation that does — http://www.chessinschools.co.uk/
— Andrew Walker

Regarding league fees – after a player has played three games, on the fourth game a charge of £16.00 falls to the league that’s been played in. If that player then becomes a Bronze member or above after the fourth game,  will the charge still stand?
– Stephen Burton

In general terms, bronze membership can be renewed/purchased at any point during the membership year, and it will be applied across the whole year. This is because we cannot until all the games have been submitted who has played.
In practical terms, our cut-off date is the end of June 2018, so provided a member has renewed by this date, the charge of £16 will not apply, irrespective of when the games were played in the season.
— Gary Willson

Really enjoying the updated ECF website. I am still finding my way around it. Unfortunately I need to register a game abroad (West Wales Chess Congress) and cannot find the necessary form. Can you help please?
– Martyn Maber

On the homepage, Martyn – third section down [Grading Matters etc] via the link titled ‘Grading of games played abroad
— Andrew Walker

Please can you send me link as to the benefits of the Silver, Gold and Platinum memberships?
– Arun Chopra

Of course, Arun — https://www.englishchess.org.uk/membership/membership-benefits/
— Andrew Walker

Can you please provide me information as to where I can obtain chess pairing software and how much it costs? There seem to be several versions but which ones are the best to use for local events and congresses (currently non-FIDE rated but might be one day)? Do you buy a copy to keep or do you have to pay for a licence every year?
– Drag Sudar

The following programs are endorsed by FIDE —
https://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/C04Annex3_FEP16.pdf
Swiss-Manager is the one that is used for most high-level tournaments, such as official World and Continental Championships. It is increasingly used for a large number of tournaments in England. You can find out more about it here — http://swiss-manager.at/
— Alex Holowczak

My current ECF Arbiter card expires on the 17th August. I will naturally want to renew it for the benefit of the Cotswold Chess Congress and three local Junior events for which I regularly work at. Please advise how I achieve this?
– Kevin Markey

There is no longer any such thing as an ECF Arbiter card. A list of arbiters is maintained and updated regularly on the ECF website.
— Alex Holowczak

I am secretary of Wotton Hall Chess Club, Gloucester. My question is ‘does the ECF have a policy with regard to DBS checks for officers of a chess club?’ We have a number of junior members, some who play friendly chess at our weekly club evenings and some who now playing in our league teams. Should I be recommending that all team captains and club officials are DBS checked?
– Ian Robson

The ECF does not have a strict policy, because this is a matter for each club and league to decide internally for themselves.
— Alex Holowczak

I am a Vietnamese chess player, now studying at Loughborough University. I’m aware that your Federation has organized number of tournaments and it will be pleasure to participate. I’m already registered with Loughborough chess club, and I am going to meet them soon. Can I apply for an ECF grade, even though I am already registed with FIDE? One more question — can I participate in the County Championships and become a member of county teams?
– Nghia Dong

With regard to the County Championships, the eligibility criteria are as follows:
C3.1. A player is eligible to represent a County in the Championship if the player meets one of the following criteria:
(i) Birth in that county.
(ii) Five years’ domicile in that county at any time.
(iii) Two months’ immediate previous and present membership of a club either in or affiliated to that County.
(iv) One month’s immediately previous and present domicile in that County.
(v) Present attendance as a student at a school, college or university in that County.
— Alex Holowczak

Does the ECF have a model chess club constitution? If not, isn’t it a good idea to produce one to underpin the effective running of clubs?
– Paul Barasi

The ECF does not have a model constitution for clubs.
— Alex Holowczak

I was organising an U11 tournament today in Lincolnshire and I have a question regarding eligibility to represent counties at chess. One parent’s school is in Peterborough which is a unitary authority, apparently. She has been told that as a unitary authority, they do not belong to a county, so players from those schools are allowed to play for any county (including Lincolnshire). Is this correct? My understanding is that a child can play for — the county of their birth; the county they live; the county they go to school in; or the county of any chess club they belong to.
– Ian Scott

The ECF has rules for its own County Championship, but these do not extend to independent events such as the one you are referring to. Each independent event is free to establish their own rules.
— Alex Holowczak

As a low graded player who has been disheartened by the foundation sections of congresses, where I often come away without a win, I played at Ashton under Lyme this weekend in their rapidplay and won 3 games, as the foundation was under 80. I think foundations should be pitched at that level. I did not play the Blackpool congress this year because I am fed up with never standing a chance. I feel if congresses lower the bar there may be more interest in chess in general – if the bottom section people don’t play then how will chess survive, because eventually the prize money will drop?
– Angie Renshaw

The ECF sympathises, and recently introduced an Under 100 section at the British Championship, having previously only had an Under 120 section. Independent event organisers are free to choose whichever sections they want, and so they remain outside of the ECF’s direct control.
— Alex Holowczak

I wondered if you could explain to me how as an ungraded player can join a tournament. I cannot join a local chess club (Southampton being my nearest) as my working hours don’t suit. As an alternative I thought that perhaps I could travel to some tournaments and gain experience and a grading that way. When I look at the tournaments/events on the listings I don’t know which ones would be appropriate for a beginner. Is there a way of knowing which are open to beginners?
– Robert Fletcher

As you appear to have found, the ECF has a tournament calendar, which you can find here at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/event-calendar/
If you are a relative beginner, I recommend looking for tournaments with the lowest possible grading boundary. Typically you will struggle to find tournaments with sections that have a lower limit than approximately 100, although some tournaments with lower section limits do exist. The only real way to know this is to go to each tournament’s website or entry form to check which sections they are running.
— Alex Holowczak

I run a chess club at a small primary school in York. I am very fortunate this year to have six players all of whom I would estimate to be playing at between 60-100 grade. I would love to give them the opportunity to play other schools as a team but can’t find any information about anything appropriate on your website.
– Ben Rich

On the main menu is this link, Ben – NATIONAL SCHOOLS – and it’s the best place to start, as it runs every year and covers the whole country. The chap in charge is Neill Cooper.
— Andrew Walker

I am the headteacher of a small Suffolk primary school (104 pupils) and I am very keen to start a chess club. I have no idea where to start. We do not have a single chess board in school and I wondered if there was any help / advice on how to get a set of boards / chess pieces and how to set up and run a club. I would be keen to have the opportunity to be in some sort of league where pupils could play against other pupils from other schools. I look forward to your reply.
– Rory Michael

I believe we can help. There is a charity called Chess in Schools and Communities which supports the development of chess in state schools. They will be pleased to send you sets boards and pieces to help your chess activity. They also and have a Suffolk coordinator Mike Usher who can signpost you to local opportunities. Please do get in touch with CSC via info@chessinschools.co.uk
— Malcolm Pein

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