OPEN Semi Final – Northumberland 7.5 Middlesex 4.5. A fantastic result against a super strong team. Well done lads and good luck for the final against Lincolnshire on the 22nd.

U150 – Semi Final. Northumberland 5.5 Essex 6.5. A wonderful campaign comes to and end with the very last game to finish. No regrets, there have been some wonderful individual and collective efforts – well done all.

ECF100 – Northern Raiders 7.5 East Saxons 8.5. A regional competition, our guys lose their first match by the tightest of margins. Plenty still to play for!

A brief and positive update.
North Tyneside Council have agreed our use of a 32m x27m hall for the 2020 event. In pre-Covid times the hall can accommodate 1,000 people. Our target is 120. So I am writing now to urge you please, get your entry prepared and share these updates as far and wide as you can.
By the end of next week I will issue a document that makes clear what preparations/protocols will be in place to protect your well-being.
Of course the situation might change but that’s out of our hands. What’s in our hands is getting the players required to make this weekender another success. And to this end I/we are very dependent on your support.
If you are going to enter now regardless great. Some already have. But remember to caveat your booking so that if the event has to be cancelled due to Covid then you will get any hotel deposits refunded – or at least your booking carried over to a date that suits you. Any issues with hotels alert me and I will address them on your behalf.
For now that’s it. I am very excited about this and need to share asap to get some momentum kicked in. More in a week’s time.
By all means post queries but try not to advise how stupid I am please. Thank you mickriding@hotmail.co.uk

There won’t be any more action in the 2019-20 league season, since it’s clear clubs won’t be in a position to welcome guests before the ECF memberships expire at the end of August.

Our constitution says we must hold a League Meeting in September to decide the composition of the leagues for 2020-21, and that proposals for rule changes be submitted a certain time in advance, league delegates be elected, etc.

Notice is hereby given that, unless a cure for the virus is found within the next fortnight, the business of the League Meeting will be held over to the next Extraordinary General Meeting, whenever that may be. An EGM may be called at 21 days’ notice for a purpose stated in advance.

The question of who finishes in the promotion and relegation places is moot, because the 30 teams won’t all be back up and running at the same time. My light pencil sketch of the 2020-21 season involves a 5-match fixture list starting in December or January, with teams allocated to divisions of about 8 on the basis of average grade (Open, U170 and ???) No team will be penalised for declining to play league games while CoViD restrictions are in place.

Latest ECF Online County Championships
 
Open – Northumberland 8 Beds & Herts 4
 
U150 – Lincolnshire 4 Northumberland 8
 
Both teams go through to the semi-finals as group winners with a game to spare – well done team 🙂 Meanwhile……
 
The ECF are launching a North/South/East/West team tournament for ECF players rated U100. Interested please email mick.riding@hotmail.co.uk – come on, we can we must 😀

Because of the current uncertainty surrounding resumption of over the board chess, I have decided to conclude this season’s county championships without further play.

Round 6 games already played in the Zollner and Sell will still count, with all other competitors awarded a half-point bye for round 6. There were no round 6 games played in the Gilroy, so final standings will be as at the end of round 5. This means that the county championship winners are as follows:

  • Zollner – Yichen Han.
  • Sell – Darren Laws and Martin Seeber.
  • Gilroy – Jeff Baird.

Congratulations to all of the winners.

The complete final standings are as shown below.

David Walker, tournament organiser.

Gosforth Chess Club has Reopened

Monday night (13/07) Gosforth had 8 players as we reopened for OTB. Registered and disinfected on arrival. Anybody venturing out re-disinfected on return. Masks mandated. Clocks, sets, table cleaned before use. All kit used put in same box for next week. Nobody took up the option of disposable gloves and nobody insisted their opponent wore them. We have a simple guideline for attending – if might help you by all means post mickriding@hotmail.co.uk

OPEN – Northumberland 9 Essex 5

UNDER 1825 – Northumberland 10 Greater Manchester 7

Both teams top their groups with 2/2 and have a great chance of reaching the semi-finals. In addition we had 37 players in all reflecting great credit on ourselves and our Durham friends. Keep it up lads!!

Yesterday (14th March), the ECF issued updated guidance regarding coronavirus in which they suggested that all evening league chess be suspended for a period of three weeks. I believe that the Zollner, Sell and Gilroy county championships fall under this guidance, and so have decided to suspend play in these events.

Affected players have been notified by email and should not play any championship game, even if it has already been arranged.

I will review the suspension no later than 4 April, but I think that there is a good chance that the county championships will have to be terminated early this season.

I realise that normal club nights may still be taking place, but my intention with this action is to remove any sense of obligation on players who may be uneasy about playing in the current climate.

UPDATE 24 March 2020: the championship suspensions have been extended to 12 June when they will be reviewed again.

UPDATE 12 June 2020: following discussion within the NCA executive, the championship suspensions have been extended to 12 July when they will be reviewed again.

David Walker, tournament organiser.

The ECF has issued a further statement on coronavirus, making the suggestion that all evening chess leagues be suspended.

Notwithstanding that “it is for individual leagues to decide on their own policy and the ECF cannot make decisions for those organisations”, there is clearly an unacceptable legal risk to any volunteer-run organisation that chooses to carry on in the face of such a suggestion by the national governing body.

Therefore, I will no longer expect the following matches to be played on their scheduled dates:

Tynemouth C vs. Gateshead 17th March
Forest Hall E vs. Alnwick 18th March
Gosforth Salters vs. Tynemouth D 23rd March
Leam Lane Bullets vs. South Shields D 24th March
Gosforth Woodbines vs. Forest Hall E 30th March
Morpeth C vs. Forest Hall F 8th April
Alnwick vs. Gosforth Centurions 8th April
South Shields D vs. Forest Hall F 16th April

While it might seem odd to target league matches and allow friendly club nights to carry on, I think the key is that we make sure no-one feels compelled to attend their local club by the prospect of losing league points. Assuming the virus affects Britain the same way it affected Italy, Spain and France, we should probably expect the coming club night to be the last before the venues are asked to close.

Keep calm and wash your hands. My lichess.org handle is Hazyshade, what’s yours?