Getting going again

6 September 2021
Leeds Chess Association
Minutes of Special Committee Meeting at Alwoodley on Wednesday 1 September 2021


  • Ian Strickland (Chair) West Leeds
  • Stephen Burton West Leeds
  • Stephen Forbes West Leeds
  • Mike Bramson Pudsey
  • Paul Clarke Rose Forgrove
  • Clive Davies Rose Forgrove
  • Peter Rawcliffe Harrogate
  • John Hisphon Alwoodley
  • David Pedro Alwoodley
  • Rupert Jones Leeds
  • Samuel Playford University
  • Paul May Limewood
  • Apologies : Mike Farley (Copperworks), Peter Mason (Leeds

2. Purpose of Meeting
To determine if it will be possible to re-start league chess for the 2021-22 season now that Covid-19 restrictions are starting to ease, and discuss the arrangements if so.

3. Club Reports
All present reported a mixed position with some members not wanting to restart yet, but on the other hand a good deal of interest from others and from new players. To summarise by Club:

  • Copperworks: Mike Farley had emailed in advance of the meeting to advise that they will not be playing in the league this season.
  • Alwoodley: David & John reported that they have resumed chess on club nights and are keen to restart league chess, intending to field 3 teams in the main 5 man leagues.
  • Rose Forgrove: Clive reported that Rose Forgrove have also resumed chess on club night and plan to enter 4-5 teams in the league, to be clarified once we know the likely format.
  • Harrogate: Peter confirmed interest in restarting – this would be at the St. Roberts Club venue which would mean maximum of 1 team at home. He thinks Harrogate will wish to enter 2 teams if their first team is in the 1st division.
  • University: Samuel confirmed they wish to enter 2 teams as normal and will look into seeing if it’s possible to secure a larger room, to make social distancing easier.
  • Leeds: Rupert reported that Leeds are keen to resume with 2 teams, unclear if the West Riding venue will be available straight away so plan to use space at Peter Mason’s nearby office instead if necessary.
  • West Leeds: Ian confirmed that they intend to field 1 league team and will now need to finalise arrangements with their venue.
  • Limewood & Scarcroft: Paul confirmed that they should be able to field 2 teams on the understanding that there would only ever be 1 team at home due to the size of the playing room
  • Pudsey: Mike reported that their venue at Farsley Liberal Club is open but arrangements for restarting have not yet been discussed. It’s unlikely that Pudsey will be able to raise 2 teams but will need to consult further.
  • Moortown: Regrettably, Moortown were not present at the meeting due to an incorrect email address being used on their invite. For now we assumed that they will be entering at least 1 team.. Mike B will try to reach Mark McGinty by phone to explain and find out where Moortown stand.

4. Proposed 2021-2021 League Format

From the club reports it was clear that we are in a position to restart the main leagues.
Based on the numbers reported it looks like there will be between 18-20 teams participating.
After some discussion it was agreed that the1st Division will consist of each Club’s first team plus Rose Forgrove B.

Assuming that Moortown confirm participation the 1st Division will comprise 10 teams:

  • Alwoodley A
  • Rose Forgrove A
  • Rose Forgrove B
  • Leeds A
  • Pudsey A
  • Moortown A
  • West Leeds
  • Harrogate A
  • Limewood & Scarcroft A
  • University A

Remaining teams will be in Division 2.

ECF Grading
We will be using the new ECF “4 digit” system. MB to try to produce an initial list from the ECF LMS and publish on the website. We understand that gradings should now be updated monthly but it was agreed that until this settles down we should give flexibility for teams to play in playing strength order instead if ECF gradings are demonstrably wrong , for example due to player inactivity or for rapidly improving new players. Where this is needed captains should clear it in advance with the tournament secretary. This provision is already in the rules but it was thought it might be needed more often when we start up, as no chess has been played for so long,

Other competitions

  • It was agreed that we should run the Mini & Rapid Leagues, and the Arjay, as normal . All clubs are asked to provide the number of teams they wish to enter after consulting their members.
  • There will be no pre-season Team Lightning
  • We will not organise the Norman Ellis / Appleby individual competitions at this stage – to be reviewed as matters progress, it’s possible that we’ll be able to run them at the end of the season on consecutive weeks for example.

5. Timetable
All clubs to confirm numbers for main league teams to Mike B by no later than Wednesday 15 September so that he can produce a fixture list. The first date for the new season to be Wednesday 6 October 2021.

6. Covid-19 Considerations
All acknowledged the need for common sense precautions, but it was generally agreed that we should not be creating specific new rules to try to regulate this. Some venues may have their own rules which players will need to observe, and where that’s the case clubs should let all other teams know in advance.

General precautions discussed and encouraged will include but are not restricted to:-

  • Ensuring the playing room is as well ventilated as possible and arranged so as to give maximum possible space between boards
  • Providing hand sanitiser at the venue entrance and in the playing room
  • Providing disinfectant wipes to sanitise equipment before play
  • Asking players to set up and put away their own boards sets & clocks
  • Having a supply of masks available in case a player who wants to wear one will still be able to play if they forget to bring one
  • Encouraging players not to gather around another board to spectate
  • Making sure that all players know that they should not come to any venue if they have any symptoms
  • It was agreed that the Tournament Secretary should use maximum discretion in avoiding the use of penalties if boards are defaulted because a player has to withdraw late after developing new symptoms.

7. In memoriam
It was agreed that all venues will hold a minute’s silence in advance of the first league games to remember all those members of our chess community who have sadly passed away since March 2020.

8 . Results of 2019-20 competitions
It was agreed that Leeds A should be formally recognised as Div 1 champions for the season 2019-20 because they were already mathematically certain to top the league at the point when play was suspended.

Mike B will reactivate the league website and update the archive to reflect this. He will also record the teams /individuals leading in the other competitions at the point play was suspended, with an accompanying explanation.

9 . ECF Membership
All players will still need to join the ECF – this can be done on line at their website and they still have different tiers of membership

10. League Finances & Fees
Stephen Burton reported that the accounts haven’t been audited for obvious reasons but we still have well over £3000 cash on hand so there will be no need to increase league fees for the new season.

He distributed invoices to each club present for small balances in credit or debit due to game fee adjustments from the 2019-20 season, to be dealt with in due course.

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