Sheffield & District Chess Association

e-Newsletter, April 2021




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Well, the news dates from April, and quite a lot of it in the later part, and gardening activity occasioned by the fine weather has delayed production until early May.  So, “April” it is.


South Yorkshire Wins Farthing Cup


South Yorkshire, captained by Geoff Brown, won the on-line 12-board 3-round competition between North, South, East and West Yorkshire.


This event was dreamt up by the Yorkshire CA’s Competition Controller, Andrew Zigmond, who floated it originally with the proposed name “Ridings Cup”.  Various wiseacres commented that there were only three “Ridings”, and indeed that the word was derived from “Thriding” meaning one of three parts.  The editor of this Newsletter went as far as to suggest, somewhat tongue in cheek, the word “Farthing”, which means one of four parts, as more appropriate, and the suggestion was taken up!


Match details and result tables can be seen on the YCA website at


11 of the 12 games from the final round can be played though on screen via links on the above webpage.


Andrew decided to donate a cup himself, hoping the event would become annual, albeit over-the-board in future, and duly procured the trophy, which you can see here:


4NCL and Junior 4NCL


At national level, in the 4NCL on-line events, local clubs Darnall & Handsworth and Sheffield Deaf, both in Division 4 of the main 4NCL league, and SASCA Sharks in Division 5 of the Junior 4NCL, have finally bowed out.  Winners of Groups within each Division proceeded to semi-finals of a knock-out final phase, but none of our local teams so qualified.

(Round-by-round results are accessible via links under “Events” on


S&DCA OL Team Events


There have now been 4 rounds of the second “season” of the Sheffield On-Line League, with the fifth due to be played on 06/05/2021.

(Full details of results to date in each division can be found at,,,



Rotherham Online Chess


Oliver Brennan’s events continue to draw entries from around the county.  The Online Championship, Season 7, started on 21/04/2021, with three rounds having been played so far (at time of writing.



Return of Organised Over-the-Board Chess in Sheffield


As lockdowns have been eased before returning again, some have engaged in relatively informal over-the-board chess.  Sheffield Nomads opened back in September, but obviously closed again.  Some individuals are known to have met in pubs to play chess, again to be stumped by the next lock-down.  Others doubtless dabbled in OTB chess when the chance came.


As outdoor over-the-board chess is now feasible again, S&DCA General Secretary Geoff Brown tried two 4-player all-play-all events each at a different venue on Kelham Island (which back in history was indeed an island in the River Don, with a dairy farm on it, but is now seamlessly joined to “mainland” Sheffield).  This was essentially a trial run, and was not widely advertised at the time.

(For results see the now-extended report at

(The photographs sent with a report to the ECF were not submitted to the S&DCA website!)


Follow-On Over-the-Board Events


Geoff plans more extensive forays in OTB chess in the future.  The following is extracted from an e-mail he sent.

I'm arranging another one for Sunday 23rd May.  I'm expecting to have five or six venues on board by then which means that numbers will have to be restricted to about 30.  So I'm taking entries on a first come, first served basis.


The plan is to run a series of six events, one a month, with players split into groups of up to six people.  The groups will be at different venues so they don't mingle through the day.  Within each group the players will play an all-play-all.  My intention is to mix groups and venues each month so that, as far as possible, players wouldn't meet more than once and that players play in a different venue each month.


There is no entry fee but players are encouraged to spend at the bar.  If bars and cafés are letting us have the tables for a five hour session then the least we can do is to make it worth their while.  The downside to not having an entry fee is that there aren't any prizes for the monthly events.  However, I believe I'll have some sponsorship to be able to provide a 'grand prix' and maybe some 'petits prix' as well.  Entrants need to be aware that most of the games will be played out of doors, that the general public may be milling around, and that there might be music and other distractions whilst playing.  But this is not to be a rated tournament.  Purely for fun.


How the Yorkshire League Could Restart


Planning for the Yorkshire League usually kicks in much earlier than for the Sheffield League.  Accordingly, although what the situation will be in September and thereafter remains unclear, a consultation has been launched on what “clubs” (and that includes S&DCA) might expect, hope for, countenance and so on regarding an OTB Yorkshire League 2021-22.

(Details can be found on the Yorkshire CA website at


ECF Inter-County Chess


The ECF Director for Home Chess has issued the following statement regarding over-the-board inter-county chess:

1.  The 2019/2020 OTB Counties Season will be formally abandoned at the regional stage, with no final stage [i.e. there will be no playing of the suspended 2019/20 county finals].


2.  The ECF intends to run a friendly 2021 Counties ‘Summer’ Competition in August and early September, open to any County Association that wishes to participate.


3.  The 2021/2022 Counties Season will start with a new set of regional matches [i.e. Union competitions] in the Autumn of 2021, based on a clean break from previous years [i.e. any nominations by Unions already for counties to play in the 2019/20 county finals will not be brought forward].


(The ECF does not have the right to direct Unions as to the conduct of their own arrangements for nominating counties for the 2021/22 ECF county finals; it is a matter for individual Unions to decide what they do, but this is a minor point.)


The plans in 2 and 3 above are of course subject to Government response to developments in the current pandemic.


There are also plans to restructure the upper rating (formerly grading) limits for the various sections of the inter-county championships.  This will be the subject of a Zoom meeting on 08/05/2021.


New On-Line Chess Club for Secondary Schools


Another organisation to climb on the “on line” bandwagon is Chess in Schools and Communities.  They plan an On-Line Chess Club for Secondary Schools, regarding which a notice appeared on the Yorkshire CA website at .htm.


2021 British Chess Championships


The 2021 over-the-board British Championships, which would have taken place in July/August 2021, in Torquay, were cancelled some time ago, with a plan to hold a second on-line British Championship event instead.  Whilst small-scale outdoor OTB chess is possible, large-scale events can still not sensibly be planned.


Those with qualifications for the 2021 OTB Championships are thereby qualified for the planned 2022 OTB Championships, in Torquay.


The second on-line British Chess Championships are now scheduled for 24/07/2021 to 08/08/2021, with a novel twist.  The on-line event will involve initial “group” events from which players qualify for finals, but, and this is the novelty, those qualifying for the on-line finals will also be invited to participate in additional over-the-board finals to take place in hotels in early October, with accommodation available at the venues.


Holding different finals (Open, Women’s, Seniors’ and Juniors’ standard-play championships) in separate hotels serves to reduce the complexity of Covid mitigation, but of course hampers those players who, between moves, like to wander round other events to see what is going on there.


For further information see


ECF Membership Fees


At the ECF Finance Council Meeting held by Zoom on 24/04/2021, the various Membership Fees were set for 2021-22 at the same rates as for 2020-21.  Little of this meeting would interest the average chess-player, but, for the record, a report on this meeting can be found at


International Chess


This is not intended to be a recurrent item in the Newsletter, but . . .


1)  The FIDE 2020 Candidates Tournament (played over-the-board) which started on 15/03/2020 in Yekaterinburg and was then suspended due to COVID at the halfway stage, was eventually resumed, and was concluded on 27/04/2021, over 400 days after it started (I make it a 409-day event in all), making it the longest over-the-board chess tournament in history!  It was originally scheduled to last only 18 days.  (Routine traditional correspondence events could of course last 3 years.)


The winner, incidentally, on 8½ out of 14, was the 30-year-old Champion of Russia, Ian Nepomniachtchi, who is now due to meet Magnus Carlsen in November 2021 to contest the World Championship.


2)  There were of course no British players in the Candidates this time round.  Concurrent with the Candidates was the latest event in the series of rapidplay events called the “Meltwater Champions Chess Tour”, this particular event being the “New In Chess Classic”, which ran from 24/04/2021 to 01/05/2021.  Besides a static core of competitors in the overall “tour”, a couple or so guest extras are invited, and so it was that Sheffield-resident GM Gawain Jones came to play in it, finishing 15th out of 16 with 3 points out of 15 (1 win and 4 draws).  His win was against 4th-placed Wesley So, whose queen got trapped in the middle of the board and lost.

(Play through that win on screen by clicking here.)




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