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 mannchess.org.uk/YEvents/FarthingCup.htm.
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: mannchess.org.uk/SNotices/2021-04-17FarthingCup.htm.
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 http://mannchess.org.uk/S&DCA.htm.)
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.
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:
(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 mannchess.org.uk/YNotices/2021-04-28OLSecondarySchools .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
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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