FAQs – chess and the ECF

What’s the difference between the various membership levels?

There are five levels of ECF membership, as follows —

ECF Supporter – £10.00 per annum (from 1/9/20)
Supporters receive the newsletter, but no game fee exemptions, and access to discounts negotiated by the ECF on members’ behalf
(see ‘What exactly do I get for my membership?’ section below)
BRONZE member – adults £18.00 per annum, juniors (under 18 on 1/9) £6.00
Bronze members receive exemption from game fee in leagues and club internal events
SILVER member – adults £27.00 per annum, juniors (under 18 on 1/9) £6.00
As Bronze, but Silver members also receive exemption from game fee in non FIDE-rated congresses
GOLD member – adults £39.00 per annum, juniors (under 18 on 1/9) £19.50
As Silver, but Gold members receive exemption from game fee in all events
PLATINUM member – adults/juniors £75.00 per annum
Platinum members receive the same benefits as Gold members; the additional cost should be seen as a donation

A complete list of benefits for all members can be found here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/membership/membership-benefits/

Is the grading code the same as the ECF membership number?

No, they are not the same thing. The grading code is used to assign game results to the correct person in the grading database. Each player is assigned a grading code when they start playing graded games and will retain that code throughout their entire playing career. Grading codes (sometimes called grade codes or grading references) are made up of six numbers and one letter e.g. 152535A or 968676G.
The membership number will be assigned when the player becomes a member of the ECF. Membership numbers begin with ME, followed by six numbers e.g. ME007867 or ME089878.

How does the grading work, and how long before I/my child has a grade code?

A person’s grade is calculated using the results of their games that are submitted for grading. A minimum of five games is required for a published grade. The ECF publishes two different grades for each player – a Rapidplay grade, for those games where each player has at least 10 minutes but less than an hour for the game, and a Standard grade for longer games. Games of less than 10 minutes are not currently graded.
A more detailed explanation of how grades are calculated can be found at http://www.ecfgrading.org.uk/new/menu.php#notes
At the moment, grades are published twice a year, in January and July. These grades are based on games from the six months ending December 31st and June 30th. A new player with 5 graded games in that period will get a grade. A new player will be assigned a grading code the first time their games are submitted for grading.

How do I/my child enter tournaments?

Most tournaments have entry forms which can be found in a number of places —

    • downloaded from the tournament website
    • downloaded from the ECF Calendar
    • paper copies at other tournaments or clubs

Just fill in the entry form and follow the instructions for paying. If the player is not a member of the ECF, or is not at the correct membership level, there may be an additional charge may be made to cover grading / rating.

Who should I tell if an event is missing from my/my child’s grading record?

In the first instance, the person to approach is the organiser of the event, as it his/her responsibility to submit the games for grading. If he/she confirms that the games have been submitted correctly, then an email to the Grading Database Administrator — grading@englishchess.org.uk — is the next step.

Why is my/my child’s membership only six months long instead of a year?

The ECF membership year runs from September 1st to 31st of the following August e.g. 1/9/19 – 31/8/20. New memberships usually go on sale approximately two months early, on July 1st, so new members may choose to take advantage of a 14-month membership, and members looking to upgrade for the new year can do the same for their upgraded membership.

Does the ECF provide coaching?

The ECF does not provide coaching directly. However, on this page of the website — https://www.englishchess.org.uk/coaches-new/ — we provide a list of people who provide coaching and have asked the ECF to advertise their services. Do please note, however, that it is the responsibility of individuals or the organisation hiring them to ensure that they meet any safeguarding requirements.

How can I find the nearest chess clubs for me/my child?

The ECF maintains a list of clubs on their website. It can be found at https://ecf.azolve.com/clubfinder.htm. Once the club finder page opens up, you can search by the name of the club (if you know it) or by your town or postcode, and set the radius for how far you’re prepared to travel. Contact details are provided when you click on the map pin for each club.

Do I have to join the ECF to get a grade?

No, you don’t. However, if you play more than five or six games a year, joining the ECF is the cheaper option, and the more games you play over the course of the year, the cheaper it effectively becomes.

What exactly do I get for my membership?

The services provided by the ECF are listed on the ECF website at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/what-we-do/ and membership benefits are listed at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-membership-2020-21/

Who runs the ECF?

Council is the ECF’s governing body, and sets the ECF’s overall strategic direction with the advice and support of the ECF Board. The ECF is a federation, and so Council is made up of representatives from various constituent bodies in England such as regional unions, counties, local leagues and congresses. The ECF Board consists of a number of executive and non-executive directors from both the chess and the business world who are usually appointed for three-year terms by Council. All directors are unpaid volunteers who receive no payment for their services. The ECF Board is responsible for the day-to-day running of the ECF in accordance with the strategic direction set by Council. The ECF Board is supported by the ECF office in Battle, East Sussex, and a large number of officers, all reporting to individual directors, without whom the work of the ECF could not take place.

How do I donate to English chess?

The Chess Trust was established in 2015 with the support of the English Chess Federation for the furtherance of chess. The Trust has the capacity to support a wide range of activities.  Its objectives are –

    • The advancement of amateur sport by promoting the study and practice of chess in all its forms, principally, but not exclusively, for the benefit of the residents of England; and
    • The advancement of education by promoting the development of young people through the teaching and practice of chess.

The Chess Trust welcomes donations and bequests, including those with specific requests on how the donation should be spent consistent with the objectives. Donations are tax deductible for UK tax payers and there is the option to add Gift Aid – click here for further information.

The Trust may support a wide range of chess related activities consistent with the objects. The Trust intends to utilise any funds received to meet its objectives in the immediate future and for the long term. Any organisation or individual may apply for support from the Trust when it has established adequate funding. For further information, click here …