Essex Retains SCCU Under-14 Fleming Board in 2018

updated: 3rd October 2018

Essex's Winning under-14 Team with Fleming Board

There were three Finalists in the under-14 Championship comprising Essex, Richmond and Oxford each of whom had qualified from the East, South and West Leagues, respectively.

The outstanding match between Essex and Oxford, which had been postponed from last season, was contested yesterday (30th September). Essex won 15-9, which enabled them to claim the Fleming Trophy, for the second year running, by vitue of having the greatest total of game points.

Individual match results and final standings are available via the link: Fleming Trophy Final

An excellent report on the Final from the Essex Match Captain is available via the link: Report on the Final

Essex Juniors website:

SCCU Individual Championship 2018/19

Posted: 15th September 2018

The SCCU Championship will be hosted by the 38th Surrey Congress, which takes place at Kingston University from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th October 2018.

The SCCU Champion is presented with Glenroy Trophy, which is held for one year, awarded a prize of £100 and qualified to enter the British Chess Championships 2019.

The Entry Form for Surrey Congress can be downloaded from: Surrey Congress website: Entry Form

Online Entry is available at: Surrey Congress website: Online Entry

The British Championships 2019 will be held at Riviera International Centre, Torquay, from Friday 26th July to 4th August.

Special General Meeting: 28th September 2018

Posted: 8 September 2018

The discussion and proposed amendments to SCCU County Match Rules arose from concerns that the Rules and Appeals sub-committee had regarding what they considered the large number and the nature of the disputes that went to appeal last season (2017-18).

It is normal practice that there is no arbiter present at matches between SCCU counties and any dispute that cannot be resolved by the two captains acting together is referred to the County Match Controller (CMC).

Last season three such disputes arose and on each occasion the ruling made by the CMC was appealed. These cases relate to:
(i) registration of an ungraded player
(ii) conclusion of a quick play finish
(iii) the use of a mobile phone

The decision regarding whether the proposed amendments will be adopted and whether they will apply for the new season will be determined at the Special General Meeting to be held on 28th September 2018.

Any player who wish to express a view should contact their SCCU representative. See: SCCU Who's Who

Stop Press (30th Sept): All the proposed rule changes were adopted and will come into force on 1st September 2019.

SCCU County Championship 2019: Fixture List

Updated: 13 October 2018

The table below gives a summary of county match fixtures for the new season. Fixture dates have been updated to accommodate captain's requests, as follows:

  1. Open: Essex vs Kent moved to 16th Feb (was 2nd Feb)
  2. Open: Kent vs Surrey moved to 29th Sep (was 6th Oct)
  3. Surrey Congress added on 27th October. Dates of Surrey's rescheduled matches (Open, U160, U120) are still to be determined.
  4. U160: M.Sy moved to 8th Dec (was 27th Oct)
    U120: M.Sy moved to 8th Dec (was 27th Oct)
  5. Open: Sy.M moved to 8th Dec (was 27th Oct)
  6. U120: H.M moved to 13th Oct (was 6th Oct)
  7. Open: Sx.Sy moved to 23rd Feb (was 24th Nov)
  8. U140: E.Sy moved to 2nd Mar (was 3rd Nov)
  9. U160: Sy.K moved to 9th Mar (was 24th Nov)
    U120: Sy.E moved to 9th Mar (was 24th Nov)
  10. U120: Sy.H moved to 9th Feb (was 2nd Feb)
    U100: E.Sy moved to 3rd Nov (was 26th Jan)
    U100: Sy.E moved to 16th Feb (was 3rd Nov)
  11. U120: H.K moved to 23rd Mar (was 24th Nov)
  12. Open: Sx.Sy moved to 2nd Mar (was 23rd Frb)

The official list of fixtures (from which the summary is taken) is given by the link: SCCU Fixture List

Please, contact County Match Controller (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to request changes to fixture dates or report errors. 

Stop Press (30th Sept): All the proposed rule changes were adopted, and will apply from 1st September 2019.

Preliminary County Match Fixtures
Date   Event Open U180 U160 U140 U120 U100
Sep '18 1              
  29   K.Syb          
Oct '18 6   M.E  (K.Sy)   Sy.E  M.K   (H.M)  K.E  
  13 ECF AGM         H.Mf  
  20     Sy.E   M.E  Sy.K    
  27 Surreyc (Sy.M)  E.Sx   (M.Sy)  K.E   E.H  (M.Sy)  
Nov '18 3     M.Sy   (E.Sy)  H.M   (Sy.E)  E.Syj
  10 4NCL 1a            
  17 4NCL 1b            
  24   (Sx.Sy)  M.K   (Sy.K)  E.M   (Sy.E)  (H.K)  
Dec '18 1     E.M   Sy.H  K.E    
  8   Sy.Me   M.Syd   M.Syd  
  15 Classic            
  29 Hastings            
Jan '18 5 Hastings            
  12 4NCL 2            
  19   K.Sx  Sy.E   E.Sy  K.M   K.Sy  E.M  
  26     E.Sy   H.K  M.Sy   (E.Sy)
Feb '19 2   (E.K)  Sx.M   Sy.M  E.K   M.K  (Sy.H)  
  9 4NCL 3          Sy.Hj  
  16   E.Ka Sy.M   K.M  E.H   Sy.Ej
  23   (Sx.Syg)   K.Sy      
Mar '19 2    Sx.Syl M.E   E.Syh    
  9       M.E  Sy.Ki   Sy.Ei  
  16 4NCL 4a            
  23           H.Kk  


SCCU County Championship 2019: Entry Deadline Extended

Posted: 15 August 2018

In preparing SCCU county match fixtures for next season it has become apparent that some counties who have entered teams in previous years are experiencing difficulties in finding volunteers to take over from those captains that have retired or are temporarily unavailable.

Although today is supposed to be the last day on which the County Match Controller can accept entries I will extend the deadline by one week to Wednesday 22nd August so that the initial fixtures can be published on the SCCU website the next day (Thursday 23rd).

As in previous years, Open and U180 fixtures will not occur on the same date and clashes with the 4NCL, London Chess Classic and Hastings International congress will be avoided, where dates are known.

Provisionally, I propose to make use of the following dates:
Open, U160, U120:- 6th Oct, 27th Oct, 24th Nov, 19th Jan, 2nd Feb, 23rd Feb
U180, U140, U100:- 20th Oct, 3rd Nov, 1st Dec, 26th Jan, 16th Feb, 2nd Mar

SCCU County Championship 2019

Updated: 21 August 2018

Counties are invited to submit their entry to next season's County Championship. Please submit details of all teams to the County Match Controller, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wednesday 22nd August (deadline extended by one week).

It is intended that the fixtures will be finalised by 31st August.

SCCU Championship 2019 - Confirmed Entries
County Open U180 U160 U140 U120 U100
Essex  ✓  ✓
Hertfordshire        ✓  ✓  
Kent    ✓  ✓  
Middlesex  ✓  
Surrey  ✓  ✓  ✓  ✓  ✓

Rules Relating to Entry into SCCU Competitions

Posted: 9 August 2018

Acting on the resolution agreed by Council at the AGM held on 1st July 2018, the Executive Committee has adopted the following documents:

  1. Conditions of Entry to SCCU Competitions
  2. Note on Processing of ECF Data

Congratulations to Surrey - ECF Minor Counties Champions 2018

Posted: 10 July 2018

SCCU President, Mark Murrell, reports from Leamington Spa

Surrey Team The Finals of the ECF County Championships 2018 were held at the Warwick Trident College on Saturday 7th July.

Although more accustomed to playing in the Open, Surrey, the SCCU's only representatives to make it through to Finals Day this year, were making a rare appearance in the Minor Counties, where teams are restricted to an average grade of not greater than 180 ECF.

Opponents, Lincolnshire, were reigning Minor Counties champions, whom in recent seasons have shown themselves to be a force to be reckoned with.

Surrey had posted notice of their intent with a comfortable 12 - 4 win in the quater finals in the far west of Somerset against Cornwall, who managed to forget to bring their half of the boards! The semi-final was hosted much closer to home at Wanstead House where the EACU Champions, Suffolk, were dispatched 9½ - 6½.

As to the Final, this report is based on the view point from the control room as the results passed my desk on their way to the results server. Neither team was able to take full advantage of the 2880 grading points at its disposal, with Surrey the notional statistical underdogs, 6 points on average below a Lincolnshire team averaging 175.

Final score: Surrey 9 vs 7 Lincolnshire.

Team Captain, Julien Shepley, selected a representative side for the Final with players from the Open, U180 and U160 squads.

Congratulations to Julien and his Champions (below, 2nd match from the left): Chris Briscoe, Russell Granat, Gwilym Price, Robin Haldane, Julian Way, David Sedgwick, Philip Stimpson, Nick Faulks, Owen Phillips, Graham Alcock, Jonathan Eckert, Trevor Jones, James Fox, Anthony Collins and Nicholas Grey.

Photographs reproduced courtesy of Chris Lamming.

6th DeMontford Bell Kings Place Festival - Results

Posted: 11 July 2018

Surrey Team

The 6th DeMontford Bell Kings Place Chess Festive took place at Kings Place, Kings Cross, on Saturday 7th July.

Open (81 players)
1st GM David Howell (5.5/6); 2nd= GM Luke McShane, GM Matthew Sadler, IM Peter Roberson (5/6)

Major (U170) (44 players)
1st= Graham Bolt, David Cork (5/6); 3rd= Kier Eyles, Jason Rihel, Andrew Waters, James MacDonnell (4.5/6)

Minor (U145) (50 players)
1st Denis Dupuis (6/6); 2nd= Ian Clarke, Salvatore Pepe, Geoffrey Bishop, Mohsen Abedian, Timothy Crouch (4.5/5)

Amateur (U120) (52 players)
1st= Filip Simic, John MacDonald, Paul Fisher, Thomas Bruce-Caddick (5/6)

My First Tournament (U85) (39 players)
1st Samuel Albert Brown (5.5/6); 2nd= Finlay Stevens, James Coward, James Sutherland (5/6)

Full results are available on

Photos by Brendan O'Gorman can be viewed at

2nd Tunbridge Wells Congress - Results

Posted: 8 July 2018

Photo © Brendan O'Gorman

The 2nd Richard Haddrell Memorial Congress took place at Tunbridge Wells Bridge Club over the weekend of 9th-10th June 2018.

Open (33 players)
1st GM John M Emms (4½/5); 2nd= IM Robert Bellin, GM Bogdan Lalic, IM Justin HY Tan, FM Martin R Taylor (4/5)

Major (U160) (23 players)
1st= Peter Dirmauskas, Peter, Brendan O'Gorman (4/5); 3rd= John Cook, Rix Malanta, John R McKenna, Roy K Shapland, Andrew C Waters (3½/5)

Minor (U127) (27 players)
1st= William Ellinger, Anthony M Langley, Nicholas Rutherford, David W Smith, William Stock (4/5)

Full results are available on the Tunbridge Wells Congress website.

Photos by Brendan O'Gorman (joint winner of the Major) can be viewed at

Privacy Notice

Posted: 25 May 2018

New Data Protection Regulations come into force on 25th May 2018. You can find our about how the SCCU processes personal information in our Privacy Policy.

The Union is committed to processing personal information lawfully, fairly and transparently by authorised people in a secure way. In doing so the Union ensures that It is collected and processed for specific purposes, is adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary to run the Union and its chess activities, is accurate and up-to-date and is kept for no longer than is necessary.

SCCU County Championships

Posted: 27 March 2018

The final matches were completed this weekend and the winners in each of the sections are:

SCCU Division Grade Winner
Shannon Open Middlesex
Montague Jones u180 Middlesex
Amboyna<td/ u160 Middlesex
Ebony u140 Essex
Harry Woolverton u120 Middlesex
David Smith u100 Surrey

SCCU nominations for the ECF National Finals are:

ECF Division Team 1 Team 2 Team 3
Open Middlesex Sussex Essex
Minor Counties Surrey - -
u180 Middlesex Essex Surrey
u160 Middlesex Essex -
u140 Essex Surrey Hertfordshire
u120 Middlesex Surrey Essex
u100 Surrey Essex -


Dates for the ECF National Finals are

  • 28th April* Preliminary Round (if required)
  • 12th May* Quarter Finals – Open, Minor Counties, U160 and U120
  • 19th May* Quarter Finals – U180, U140 and U100
  • 09th June* Semi Finals
  • 07th July Finals

*by mutual agreement matches can be played on the following Sunday or before the specified dates

The draw is expected to be made later this week once the National Controller has obtained nominations for vacant places.

For further information: ECF County Championships

FIDE Laws of Chess - Jan 2018

Posted: 1 January 2018

The new FIDE Laws come into force today. The regulation on illegal moves is made common across standard, rapid and blitz games.

Competition Rules: "7.5.5 After the action taken under Article 7.5.1, 7.5.2, 7.5.3 or 7.5.4 for the first completed illegal move by a player, the arbiter shall give two minutes extra time to his opponent; for the second completed illegal move by the same player the arbiter shall declare the game lost by this player. However, the game is drawn if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves."

Appendix B. Blitz: "B.2 The penalties mentioned in Articles 7 and 9 of the Competition Rules shall be one minute instead of two minutes."

See FIDE Handbook, section E.01

Report on the 125th Anniversary Match

Posted: 25 September 2017

One hundred and thirty five players assembled at the Hall School on Saturday16th September to celebrate the Southern Counties Chess Union’s 125th anniversary of organising chess in the South of England.

Proceedings opened with SCCU President, Julie Denning, welcoming the assembly of Past Presidents and players, and continued by remarking on the longevity and success of County Chess in the Southern Union spanning the length of the River Thames and beyond; and which, at greatest extent, comprised Cornwall on the West coast through to Norfolk on the East coast.

Opening move

The match itself began shortly after 1:45pm with Life Vice President Martin Cath making the opening move on the board of the top rated players, IM Richard Bates (South of the Thames) and GM Jonathan Hawkins (North of the Thames). South had won the toss and took White on odd numbered boards.

In a surprise twist to proceedings the eight attending current and past SCCU Presidents were paired in a North v South mini-match. Tim Thurston, David Smith, Chris Majer and Ron Brown for the North had the grading advantage over David Sedgwick, Julie Denning, Mike Gunn and David Howes for the South. However, it was the South Presidents who prevailed with David Howes gaining the only decisive result by converting his rook and pawn ending on the stroke of 5:30pm.

Formally representing their counties were Ian Hunnable, President of Essex Chess Association, Chris Majer, President of Hertfordshire Chess Association and John Wickham, Chairman of the Norfolk Association.

Chess players from 15 past and present SCCU counties took part in the event, spanning the South of England from Devon to Norfolk. Oxfordshire and Berkshire representatives were reassigned to team South to even out the numbers. Middlesex and Surrey not surprisingly provided the largest contingents as they did back in 1921. It was Norfolk however that had the best county performance among the counties with multiple representatives with a 75% success rate. You can view the results by County as the match happened but here is my overview.

Playing area

John McDonald scored the first win of the match as early as 2:23pm, which gave team North an early initiative as their lead fluctuated between 1 and 2 points. Graham Alcock and David Gilbert did the double over Essex at 3:40pm to clear the deficit and may even have held the lead for a moment depending on the order of finishes for the 3 results reported at this time. Within minutes Essex had struck back to take the lead again through U180 match skip, Gavin Hughes. Once again team North’s lead fluctuated between 1 and 2 points before Efe Shimwell a talented blind junior levelled the scores once more for Team South at 3:55pm. Parity restored but again short lived.

For the rest of the afternoon team North held the ascendency (the Presidents match aside) and by mid afternoon after 3 hours play had established their biggest lead of 8 points with just over half the results in.

The first Guideline 111.4 switch to 5 second increments occurred at 4:20pm with IM Jack Rudd, all the way from Somerset, living up to his Speedy Gonzales reputation, forcing his opponent, Carsten Pedersen, onto increments.

By 5:30pm there were still 25% of games still in play, a sign of the competitiveness of the match notwithstanding the festive atmosphere.

With just under 4 hours play Team South had narrowed the gap to a deficit of two with 6 games outstanding and going down to the wire. Team North though held its nerve with Essex’s blind player Voldi Gailans sealing the win to take North to the cusp of victory, 4 up with 4 to play going into the final minutes of the match. A draw sealed the match for Team North who also scored two further wins though it was Team South that won the final game of the day to finish just 5 points adrift. Final score 36½ - 31½. Average team grades: North 147 and South 148.

Matches over a large number of boards are few and far between, as are matches that are representative of all ages and abilities, as this one was. My inspiration for the event was the 400 board 1921 SCCU North v South of the River Thames match. The South had the better of the top 200 boards but the strength in depth of the North side led to a significant winning margin of 217½ to 182½. Anthony Fulton has taken a look back into time to provide the historical context for and a report of the 1921 match taken from the Middlesex County archives along with the individual scores.

As skipper for the South, Mike Gunn, quipped at least the gap has been narrowed!

For me the highlight of the day was walking into The Swiss Cottage public house, a somewhat large and sprawling establishment, at the end of a long day to find chess players everywhere at home with old and new friends alike. There is more to chess.

Mark Murrell Tournament Director


  • The Hall School for hosting the event free of charge
  • Hertfordshire Junior Chess Association for supplying the equipment
  • David Sedgwick for supplying the score sheets and liaising with the English Chess Arbiters’ Association
  • Angela Eyton and her team for unrivalled catering throughout the match
  • Michael Flatt for superb coverage on the SCCU website and match operations
  • Julie Denning, David Smith, David Sedgwick and Stewart Reuben for their detective work in locating and contacting past presidents.
  • Anthony Fulton of Middlesex County Chess Association for providing the historical context for the match and the detail of North v South 1921
  • Brendan O’Gorman for a gallery of photographs capturing the vibrancy of the event perfectly
  • Match Captains, Mike Gunn and Chris Majer, and their county recruiters that I know about, Anthony Fulton, the Essex Chess Association match captains, Owen Phillips and David Gilbert.
  • Arbiters, Stewart Reuben and Rik Thomas
  • Appeals Panel pool: IM Jack Rudd, Francis Bowers, Owen Phillips, Anthony Fulton and Michael Flatt
  • 135 Participants: for not only supporting this celebratory historical event but providing a competitive and dispute free match truly worthy of the occasion

53rd Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Congress - Results

Posted: 3 September 2017

The 53rd Berks and Bucks Congress took place at St Piran's Prep School, Maidenhead, on Bank Holiday weekend, 26th-28th August 2017.

Championship (22 players) 1st= Freddie Hand, Giampiero Amato (4½/6); 3rd= Olugbemiga (Ben) Ogunshola, Stephen Prior, John Wager (4/6)

Challengers (19 players) 1st Daniel Varney (5/6); 2nd Peter Finn (4½/6); 3rd= Joshua Z Cavendish, Jonathan Fowler, Raghav Nayak (4/6)

Reserves A (18 players) 1st= Michael Lucey, Lance Carter, Peter Tickner (4½/6)

Reserves B (19 players) 1st Ben Aubury (5½/6); 2nd= Scott Leadbetter, Tim Cutter, Mark Stone (4/6)

Reserves C (18 players) 1st= Nandinee Thatte, Feng Zhu (4½/6); 2nd= Georgia Headlong, Andrew Challinger, Hou Ning Zhu, Nigel White (4/6)