County Championships

Summary Updated 18/03/21

The following is an edited version of a document circulated on 14th March 2021 by Mark Murrell, ECF Controller, Counties Championship.

2019-2020 No Herts teams qualified for the National Stages, which were postponed due to covid-19. If enough interest is shown amongst the qualifying counties, which is thought unlikely, the National Stages could be held in autumn 2021.
2020 – 2021 It will not come as a surprise that there will not be a 2020/2021 over-the-board county championship.
2021 – 2022 It is hoped the National Stages can be held over the traditional period – spring to early summer.

Provisional dates are:
23 Apr 2022 Preliminary round
14 May 2022 Quarter Final - Open, Minor Counties, alternate rated limited sections
21 May 2022 Quarter Final – alternate rated limited sections starting with highest
11 Jun 2022 Semi Final
02 Jul 2022 Final

4-digit ELO style ratings were introduced at the start of the 2020/2021 season. To align the ECF County Championships going forward with other 4-digit rating events, it is proposed to change the rating limited sections to U2000, U1800, U1600 and U1400. However the British Championships look likely to use:
ECF 180 / National 2050
ECF 160 / National 1900
ECF 140 / National 1750
ECF 120 / National 1600
ECF 100 / National 1450

The Minor Counties team average would not exceed 2000. This does mean reducing the number of championship events from 7 to 6, though if there is sufficient interest a U1200 section could be included. This would bring the County Championships in to line with the likely format for the 2022 British Championships for example.
Team Structure The Open, U2000, and U1800 sections would be 16 boards; the U1400 12 boards. It would be good to see whether the U1600 (120 under Clarke grading), with a wider band, can sustain 16 boards once again.
You too will be giving consideration to your own Union county competitions where similar considerations apply. You will need certainty as to the national competition, which we hope Council will bring in April.

Online Chess
The first season of the online version of the County Championships was notable for the re-engagement of counties for which the over-the-board competitions has become impossible. Some local clubs have attracted new members who are looking for a change from online chess. It is an opportunity to revitalise our chess communities.
A second season of the Online Counties Championships is scheduled for June through to August, straddling the second season of the Online British Chess Championships. It will stay with the 6:30pm time slot on a Saturday evening and the 2.5 hours playing session. A similar format to season 1 is envisaged – separate Open and U1800 Championships. It would be good to see a U1400 event too.
Events do need to self-fund so there will be an entry fee for season 2. Use of interclub matches on may avoid the need for captain administration too, at least until the final stages. The LMS (ECF League Management System) now has a high degree of functionality so less to do for team captains than in season 1.
The North v South match will run again following on from the National Finals.

Alan Brewis