Oct 07, 2023

CRS Academy’s work recognised by the English Chess Federation

This October marked a significant milestone for our Chelsea Chess Club. We established it as our first independent junior chess club back in 2019 and have since grown to welcome over 30 children aged 5-12 each week.

Today the Chelsea Chess Club is one of only eleven junior clubs in the country to be recognised by the ECF Junior Development Pathway initiative.

We are proud to have attained Level 2 Status within the English Chess Federation’s Junior Development Pathway scheme. The recent competitive successes of our students, both individually and in team competitions, and the high quality of our website were highlighted by the ECF as contributing towards our successful application.

            “The English Chess Federation’s Junior Development Pathway is a new initiative by the ECF to create a structured and formal progression plan for junior chess players which incorporates existing coaches, junior clubs, associations and programmes”

ECF Juniors Website, Autumn 2022

This acknowledgment is a testament to the dedication of our coaches, the enthusiasm of our young chess players, and the support of parents within our community.

We are confident that the club’s journey doesn’t end here. We aspire to earn ‘Centre of Excellence’ status and are already working towards it.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed.

Oct 08, 2020

England’s historic chess scene is facing an “hour of need”

England’s historic chess scene is facing an “hour of need” with tournaments shut down because of Covid-19 and a national federation in danger of financial ruin, officials have warned.

The English Chess Federation, the body that oversees a network of more than 600 clubs across the country, said membership is expected to fall a staggering 55 per cent this year – mainly due to the coronavirus outbreak.

While a handful of over the board events have restarted elsewhere in Europe, in England players are unable to meet and play in person because of the UK government’s “rule of six” that restricts groups meeting up, as well as local lockdowns in place around the country.

Some events have been moved onto online platforms, with the ECF setting up an online presence, the ECF Online Clubs facility, with around 5,000 members across various platforms, and a new online rating system.

However, that has not stopped the number of ECF members dropping from around 12,500 in 2019/20 to a projection of around 5,500 by mid-October as chess players decide not to renew.

The latest published figures as of September 19 (see table below) are just 4,891.

The ECF, which is run by volunteers and is not eligible for government sports funding, is fully aware of how worrying this is. A report due to be presented at its annual general meeting this month will say Covid-19 has had a “devastating effect on the ECF, both operationally and financially”.

Individual clubs, some of which date back 150 years, also face an uncertain future. Clubs in England often meet in venues such as pubs, community halls or hired rooms, which in some cases show no signs of reopening.

Many club members are also from older age groups, seen as particularly at risk from Covid-19, which has, at the very least, dampened enthusiasm for a return.

England has one of the most thriving chess scenes in the world with local and regional leagues all over the country, a circuit of weekend congresses and a national league called the 4NCL. Events such as the Hastings Congress, the UK Chess Challenge and the London Chess Classic are also world-famous.

Grassroots chess has a rich history in England.

The English Chess Federation lists nearly 3,000 clubs on its website, but it is believed only around 600 are active.

Manchester Chess Club is regarded as England’s first major provincial chess club, founded in 1817, but the oldest still in existence is believed to be Liverpool Chess Club, which was founded in 1837.

North of the border the Edinburgh Chess Club, established in 1822, is not only the oldest club in Scotland but one of the oldest in the world.

England’s national team is ranked 13th in the world by the international governing body FIDE and its top play is the Cornishman GM Michael Adams (2716 FIDE).

read more at chess24