The North East Online League is a new initiative, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to allow players in the region to continue playing club matches in an easy-to-access league that combines the Northumberland, Durham and Cleveland County Association areas.

Matches are played online on Lichess.org, between teams of 4 players. The time control is 45 minutes plus 15 seconds per move. All matches are played on Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm, with an interval of 2 weeks between rounds. Requiring players to be ECF Members or Supporters before playing their first game in the NEOL enables the games to be ECF Online Rated, and has also helped to boost 2020-21 ECF membership figures from the region. Season 1 – October to December 2020 The first season attracted a total of 20 teams of four players each from 12 different ECF-afffiliated chess clubs throughout the North East: From Northumberland: Morpeth & Tynemouth (playing in combined teams); Forest Hall, Gosforth, Jesmond, Tynedale, Newcastle University and Jesmond. From Durham: Durham City and Bishop Auckland. From Cleveland: Thornaby and Billingham Synthonia. These teams were organised into 3 divisions, with 6 teams each in Divisions 1 & 2, and 8 teams in Division 3. A total of 5 matches were played by all of the teams, and only 3 boards were defaulted out of a total of 200 games.

The winners of the Divisions were:

Division 1: Durham City A

Division 2: Durham City B

Division 3: Tynedale

For a full list of the results, please see the ECF’s League Management System page for the North East Online League: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/62801/home

Season 2 – January to March 2021 This time we have 24 teams, from a total of 13 chess clubs. The additional teams come from South Shields, Darlington, Durham City and Forest Hall. This has enabled us to expand to 4 Divisions, each of 6 teams. Each Division will hold an all-play-all competition of 5 rounds: Round 1: Tuesday 19 January, 2021 Round 2: Tuesday 2 February, 2021 Round 3: Tuesday 16 February, 2021 Round 4: Tuesday 2 March, 2021 Round 5: Tuesday 16 March, 2021 The NE Online League Meeting is scheduled to take place on Zoom on Tuesday 30 March, and will make decisions about a potential Season 3 starting in April. New teams joining in Season 3 will be expected to join the lowest Division, unless the League Meeting decides otherwise. Games can be watched live on Lichess.org by following the links in the Match Cards on the ECF LMS page. Here are the fixtures for Season 2:

Division 1: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/64912/efixtures

Division 2: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/64919/efixtures

Division 3: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/64926/efixtures

Division 4: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/65243/efixtures

For further information and applications to enter new teams, please contact me at: tim@northumberlandchess.com and/or 0750 372 2366 (Tel/WhatsApp).

Today David’s wife Sue called with the very sad news David passed away yesterday after an 18-month battle with leukaemia. Many of us will have memories of David – mine is one of admiration for a man who carried on as if his illness was a million miles away, no bad words for anybody and always a smile and a friendly word.
If anybody wishes to post a personal Condolence card I have the Baynes’ home address – just post mickriding@hotmail.co.uk.

Because of the current problems with over-the-board games, the NCA has decided to organise an online competition to allow local players to compete against each other at a standard play time rate.

There are three sections:

  • Open
  • Under 2000 ECF rating
  • Under 1700 ECF rating

Players must be current or former residents of Northumberland or Durham. They must also be ECF members at Supporter level or above.

The competition has 7 rounds, starting 24 October 2020 and finishing by 2 April 2021. Games will be played on lichess at a rate of 60 minutes per game plus a 15 second increment.

For more details, see this document:

For free entry, email championships@northumberlandchess.com with the following details. Closing date for entries is 23 October 2020.

  • Player name
  • ECF membership number
  • Email address
  • Telephone (optional)
  • Lichess handle
  • Section entered

UPDATE 7 November 2020:

Pairings and results are now available on Chess Results – click on the relevant section next to “Tournament selection”.

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 😀