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News Archive 2019-20

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Worcestershire and Greater Manchester win national honours

22 Aug. In the ECF Counties Championships Online, Lincolnshire lost to Northumberland in the Open and were also defeated in their u1825 match against Essex ending their dreams of a history-making double. The other Midlands finalists won their matches. Worcestershire beat Somerset, but by a narrower margin than when they met in the group stage. Greater Manchester beat Norfolk in the u1825 Challengers final. See full results linked from the national county match page.

8 Aug. Lincolnshire beat Norfolk in the Open and Worcestershire beat Berkshire in the Minor Open to go to the national finals. In the Major Open, the Mancunians lost to Yorkshire and Shropshire lost to Middlesex B in the Open Challengers. Lincolshire u1825 team kept pace with its senior team and also booked a place in the final by beating Middlesex, while Greater Manchester u1825 beat Surrey.

Lincolnshire and three other Midlands teams go into final stages

3 Aug. Both Lincolnshire Open and u1825 teams have qualified for the ECF Counties Online championships. The open team play Norfolk and the u1825 team play Middlesex. Greater Manchester qualified for the Major Open and play Yorkshire; Worcestershire qualified for the Minor Counties competition and play Berkshire. Greater Manchester u1825 team qualified for the Challegers' competition and play Surrey. All matches are on 8 August.

25 Jul. In the penultimate round of the group stages, Lincolnshire secured progress to the KO stages for both their Open and u1825 teams. Lincolnshire head Open group 1A beating Yorkshire, but Leicestershire lost to Middlesex A. In group Open1B, Greater Manchester beat Essex but are placed only mid-table and meet top-of-table Northumberland in the final round. In Open group 2A, Derbyshire lost to Oxfordshire and Warwickshire drew with Gloucestershire. Both counties are mid-table and unlikely to progress. In Open group 2B, Shropshire were held to a draw by Somerset and Worcestershire beat Hampshire. Shropshire meet bottom-of-table Hampshire and must win to progress to the final stage. See links for full results.

England squad named for Olympiad

25 Jul. Adams, McShane, Houska, Hunt, Wadsworth, and Kalaiyalahan are in the team and two Midlands players are in the reserve squad: Katarzyna Toma (Worcs) and Jonah Willow (Notts).

FIDÉ Online Olympiad 2020

23 Jul. One hundred and sixty three teams have registered for the Online Olympiad. This event replaces the cancelled 2020 Olympiad which was planned for August. Teams have six players of which at least three must be female and two juniors. The weakest thirty teams play in the base division starting on 25 July to fight for twelve places in Division 4. Play in the divisions starts 29-31 July. The format is quickplay 15 minutes plus 5 second increments from move 1.

Alex Holowczak FIDÉ Chief Arbiter for online Olympiad

19 Jul. Alex Holowczak (Worcs) leads a team of fourteen Arbiters for the online Olympiad starting in a week’s time.

Midland counties in online championships

19 Jul. In the Open 1A group, Lincolnshire ensured progression by beating Middlesex A, but Leicestershire lost to Cheshire and North Wales. Greater Manchester kept their hopes alive in group 1B by beating Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire, but will have to win their 4th round fixture against Northumberland on 1 August. Derbyshire and Warwickshire came off badly aginst Berkshire and Middlesex B respectively and Warwickshire have only slim chances to progress in group 2A. Worcestershire won its first group match aginst Somerset and Shropshire levelled with Cumbria in Group 2B. To progress, Worcestershire will need an emphatic win in its final fixture against bottom-of-the-table Hampshire and Shropshire would need to need to lose or draw against Somerset on 25 July. In the u1825 competition, there were two matches only, both involving MCCU teams. Lincolnshire beat GMC to gain progression and retain their 100% online record so far. Leicestershire lost to Norfolk.
4 Jul. Lincolnshire beat Leicestershire, and other Midlands teams lost matches: Greater Manchester to Norfolk; Derbyshire to Gloucestershire; and Worcestershire narrowly to Cumbria. In the u1825 competition, Lincolnshire beat Norfolk and Greater Manchester lost to Northumberland. After two rounds in the Open Divisions, Lincolnshire share the lead with Middlesex A in their group and Shropshire share the lead in thiers. Lincolnshire also have sole lead in u1825 group A. For full results see 2020 county national results.

Midlands clubs in ECF national event

28 Jun. Solihull was the only Midlands entrant in the ECF Major Club competition finishing 5th. Four Midlands teams entered the Minor competition and the most succesful was 3Cs from Oldham, GMC finishing 4th out of sixteen. Other Midland clubs competing were Telepost (Shrops) 7th and Rugby (Warks) 9th.

West Midlands Area Spring online league winners

25 Jun. South Birmingham 1 team were the first league champions of the West Midlands Online league formed in response to the national lockdown following the Covid-19 pandemic. Runners-up were Sutton Coldfield 1. In Division 2, Warwick University were champions with South Birmingham 2 placed second. See WMA home page.

Nine Midlands teams in first round of counties online tournaments

20 Jun. Against teams from other chess unions in the Open Divisions, Midlands teams scored one win, one draw and one loss. Lincolnshire beat Cheshire. Greater Manchester drew with Surrey and Leicestershire lost to Devon. Matches between Midlands teams saw Derbyshire beat Warwickshire while Shropshire beat Worcestershire.In the u1825 competition, all MCCU teams play in Group A, but only Lincolnshire were able to win, beating Leicestershire handsomely. For full results see 2020 county national results.

Marek Soszynski achieves Correspondence title

10 Jun. Marek, a member of Sutton Coldfield (Warks) was awarded the title of ICCF Correspondence Chess Master.

Seven Midlands counties play in ECF preliminary round

6. Jun. The preliminary round was organised so that players and team captains could get used to the new format. Midlands teams fared poorly. In the Open Divisions, Only Warwickshire won their match - against Hampshire. Derbyshire had a torrid time against Somerset. Leicestershire were split several ways drawing an under-1825 mini-match against Middlesex. For further information go to 2020 county national results

Seven Midlands counties enter team in ECF online counties tournaments

4 Jun. Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, Leicestershire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire have entered teams in the new online counties competitions organised by the ECF in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. There are twenty three counties playing nationwide. There are two Open Divisions, both split into two pools. The two highest placed teams from each pool play to go through to the competition semi-final matches. The open competition starts on 20 June. Greater Manchester, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire are fielding both Open and u1825 teams.

ECF appoints Nigel Towers to manage online chess

26 May. Nigel Towers, a prime-mover in the formation of the West Midlands Area Spring Online League and member of Worcestershire CA was appointed to manage online chess for the federation.

Wolverhampton League suspends season

29 Apr. Wolverhampton & District CL truncate 2019-20 season. Halesowen are league champions, Kidderminster A win Div 2, Oscott B Div 3 and Rushall B Div 4. See full results.

West Midlands Area On-line League results

23 Apr. The first matches were played and results are published on the ECF League Management System.

16 Apr. A trial run for newbies to on-line chess saw some exciting games and a few fat fingers. Sixteen teams from twelve clubs including one by invitation from the Isle of Wight are likely to compete.

2020 Nominations for national stages

6 Apr. All over-the-board chess remains suspended, but had it been possible to resume play, the MCCU nominations were (in nomination order): Open Lincolnshire, Greater Manchester; Minor Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Worcestershire; Under-180 Shropshire; Under-160 Warwickshire, Greater Manchester; Under-140 Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire (TBC), Lincolnshire; Under-120 Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire; Under-100 Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire.

Wolverhampton League is 75 today

16 Mar, David Fone reports. Today is the 75th anniversary of the Wolverhampton & District Chess League. A tribute by W&DCL publicity secretary David Short to the founders has been posted to the league’s website. Currently seventeen clubs with thirty four teams compete and the league’s clubs include Kidderminster, Rugeley, Telford and Lichfield.

Worcestershire declares 2019-20 league season void

16 Mar. The Worcestershire, Worcester and District and Dudley and District league season has been declared void with no team champions. All completed game results will be submitted for grading. Since foundation,

ECF recommends suspension of all over-the-board chess

15 Mar. All English chess organisations have been advised to suspend all over-the-board chess because of the spread of Covid-19.

Proposed West Midlands on-line league

10 Apr. Neil Clarke (S Birmingham), Phil Maybury (Warley) and Nigel Towers (Redditch) are asking clubs in the West Midlands area to field teams in an on-line quickplay league to run from April to June.

Coronavirus: league suspensions, congress cancellations

15 Mar. After the English Chess Federation recommended chess leagues to suspend for a period, many MCCU leagues have stopped over-the-board play: Birmingham & Dist, Cannock & Dist, Dudley & Dist, Leamington & Dist, Leicestershire & Rutland, Manchester, North Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Stockport, Wolverhampton & Dist, Worcester & Dist, and Worcestershire because of the Coronavirus epidemic. Also cancelled are several congresses: 4NCL FIDÉ Easter congress at Kenilworth, Bolton Easter, and Notts CA.

County match results

14 Mar. Warwickshire u160 Midlands champions. Lincs beat Notts in the MCCU championship and join Warks at the top of the table. In the u160 competition, Warks beat Derbys to become Midland u160 champions.

12 Mar. Worcestershire u100 team defaults two matches on fears of Coronavirus. Notts and Leics share the u100 Midlands title.

1 Mar. In the Minor Counties, Leics beat Notts. Worcestershire u140 beat Lincs and finished with wins in all their matches to qualify for the national stages. In the u100, Warks beat Staffs. The default date for Preliminary round national stage games is on or before Sat 25 April.

Warwickshire Open Congress

23 Feb. GM Mark Hebden wins Warks Open. Mark was sole first on 4½ points from 5 games ahead of FM Jonah Willow. The Women's prize was won by Anna Szasz (Yorks Jun) and is joint Warwickshire women's champion with Imogen Dicen (S Birmingham), Lionel Riou-Durand (France) was first in the u1975; Phil Foley (London) won the u140; and Phil Love (Newport, Shrops) the u110 tournament.

County match results

22 Feb. In the Minor Counties, Lincolnshire beat Shropshire in a 12-board match when flooding would have made travel difficult. In the u120 competition Worcestershire beat Derbyshire.

15 Feb. Undefeated Warwickshire win Midlands team Championship. Worcs gain their first win. This match saw a historic first with a female board 1, IWM Kata Toma for Worcestershire and possibly first in any MCCU county first team match. Warwickshire have a home win against Leicestershire and finish their season without loss.

RIP John Pakenham, President MCCU

9 Feb. MCCU CEO Ray Dolan records that John was for many years a Warwickshire delegate to the MCCU followed by positions as non-executive director, chairman and than President. For longer than a decade he helped organise the Birmingham Rapidplay and was an enthusiastic and much appreciated volunteer coaching young children at the Bloxwich Junior Chess Academy. His contributions will be sorely missed. John Fahy, secretary Warley & Quinborne CC, writes: "Sadly John Pakenham passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. He was taken ill again shortly after Christmas/New Year and bravely faced up to the situation, never once feeling sorry for himself and always thinking of those around him. He will be sadly missed at Warley & Quinborne and in the wider chess community having served to provide and promote chess for many a decade. Our thoughts and prayers are with John and his lovely family. " The Funeral service will take place at Sandwell Valley Crematorium on Friday 13th March 2020 at 1.45pm. Sandwell Valley Crematorium Newton Road, West Bromwich B71 3SX. Donations please to St Mary's Hospice - Selly Park.

National stages County Team competitions

ECF website reports. Nominations are due by 22 March. The draw will be published 1 April and the default dates are: for Preliminary rounds 25 Apr; quarter Finals 16 May; semi-finals 13 June and the finals will be on 4 July at Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport-NEC.

County match results

8 Feb. Leics conceded their u140 match against Lincs. In the u120, Nottinghamshire beat Derbyshire. In the u100, and Leics beat Worcs.

Bloxwich Junior club 10 years old!

4 Feb, Ray Dolan reports. Walsall’s mayor and mayoress Paul and Chris Bott invited Bloxwich Juniors to the Mayor’s Parlour to join them celebrate their tenth birthday. Starting with only 6 players, the club now has 30 members. The club has provided 5 players for English squads in recent years. See pics on junior page.

County match results

1 Feb. In the Minor counties, Warks beat shrops and Leics beat Worcs. Greater Manchester narrowly beat Notts in the u160 to earn a Midlands nomination for the national stages.

25 Jan. In a 12-board match, Notts beat Shrops in the Minor Counties. In the u100, Notts Juniors lost heavily to Warks and Leics beat Notts.

18 Jan. In the Minor Counties, Lincs beat underdogs Worcestershire while in the u120, Leicestershire beat Staffordshire, Notts nearly annhilated Worcs and Shrops beat Derbys.

Robert Richmond (1956-2020)

Former Nottinghamshire CA delegate to MCCU Robert Richmond’s death was announced. While a student, Robert was President of Cambridge University CC. He was a strong player and turned down an FM title earned for his second place in the 2004 FIDE World Major (Smith and Williamson). Robert will be best remembered for his contributions to chess orgaisation being BCF's Finance Director (2003-8) and Nottinghamshire CA’s President 2010-3. Robert’s obituary by John Swain is on the ECF website.

Two MCCU counties to have teams in the national open stage in 2020

1 Jan, Peter Sherlock reports. Lincolnshire have elected to enter the Open and join Greater Manchester. The remaining five counties in the MCCU Minor competition now compete for three places in the national stage of the Minor Counties. Shropshire were the only team wanting to enter the national u180 competition.

County match results

11 Jan. A day for two Notts-Leics matches at Bramcote with one win for each county. In the u140, Notts beat Leics and in the u100, Leics beat Notts Juniors.

4 Jan. Notts celebrated the New Year with a u100 win against Staffs extending their lead in the table.

14 Dec. Leics beat Shrops in the Minor Counties. Notts and Warks draw in the u160 and share the lead into 2020. Shropshire u120 beat Worcs. In the u100, Notts Juniors suffered a big defeat against the Nottinghamshire team and Leics beat Staffs.

7 Dec. In the Minor Counties, Lincs and warks drew. Worcestershire confirm their leadership of the u140 contest with a clear win against Leics, while Lincs beat Staffs and Notts defeated Derbys. In the u100, Notts just pipped Warks.

Bolton Rapidplay

1 Dec, Rod Middleton reports. Paul Macklin (Chorlton) and junior Yitchen Han (Forest Hall) on 5½/6 shared first place in the Open. John Hall (Alwoodley) won the Major with 5½ points and David Aston (Pensby) scored a perfect 6 winning the Knights tournament. Over ninety players particpated.

County match results

30 Nov. Two match results. In the u140, Lincs beat Derbys and the new Worcs u100 team head the u100 table after drawing with Staffs.

23 Nov. Worcs u140 team crush Derbyshire.

16 Nov. Shropshire’s new team has first win - Shropshire returning to the championship after an interval of a few years beat Worcestershire while Lincolnshire beat Leicestershire. In the u120 competition, Leics beat Notts and Staff beat Derbys.

9 Nov. New county teams make their debut - In the u160s, Notts beat Derbys. Worcestershire's new u100 team beat the new Nottingham Juniors team.

5 Nov, Peter Sherlock reports. Consultation on national stage Quarter final date - The National controller for the county team competitions is consulting whether the default date should be altered to avoid clashes with Bank Holiday and 4NCL. Please send responses to Peter Sherlock and Ray Dolan.

2 Nov. Under 160 Bears maul Mancunians. In the u160 tournament, Warwickshire beat Greater Manchester; and in the u140, Worcs and Leics both had wins.

England third in European team championships

2 Nov. After drawing with Russia in the penultimate round at Batumi, England beat Germany in the final round to gain the bronze medals behind winners Russia and runners-up Ukraine.

Under 120 competitions results

26 Oct. Staffs playing at home beat Worcs and Leics, also at home, beat Worcs.

Imogen Dicen wins England Girls' Championship

21 Nov. Imogen from Coventry Chess Academy was placed first on 4½ points.

Birmingham rapidplay results

20 Nov. The open was shared by Dicu Dan-Alexandru (Uni Warwick) and IM Alan Merry (Suffolk) with 5½ points out of 7 games. Phil Bull (Wolverhampton, Staffs) won the Major outright on 6 points. Nikic Saso (Slovakia) took the Intermediate tournament by storm winnning all seven games. The Minor tournament was won by Karan Kukreja (KE Camp Hill School, Birmingham) with 6 points. The event attracted 150 players and was controlled by Alex Hlowoczak. Full results are at Chess-Results.com.

First county match results of the season

19 Oct. Warks continued their winning streak with wins against Worcs in the championship and against Leics in the u100. Leicestershire had compensation, however because their u140 team beat Derbys.

12 Oct. Warks beat Notts in the Midlands Championship and Greater Manchester beat a depleted Derbyshire team in the u160. In the u140 competition, Worcs made good start in defending their u140 Midlands title beating Staffs and Notts beat Lincs.

New chess league in Herefordshire

1 Oct, Lee Davis reports. Four teams have entered a Marches Chess League with the inaugural matches to be played on 12 October at Hereford.

UK Schools Daventry Terafinal Midland successes

22 Sep. Jonah Willow (W Nottingham) was 2nd and Jacob Boswell (Cheddleton, Staffs was third in the under-18 tournament. Nearly 200 players took part.

New Season County Fixtures list

6 Sep, Peter Sherlock reports. Six new teams have entered compared with last year and three have dropped out. Greater Manchester have again declined to enter the Midlands team championship, but request they are nominated for the open sectio of the national stages. The Inter-county team competions start on 12 October with matches in three: the Midlands Championship, the u160 and the u140 competitions. See the full fixtures list. At the union AGM, county representatives agreed that incremental time controls would be used whenever possible: see rules.