January 2021

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).