From Mick Riding:

On September 5 we have the opportunity to take part in a historic rematch between North and South, the first since 1894.
To join just click on https://www.chess.com/club/ecf-north
For the background stuff go to https://www.englishchess.org.uk/online-north-v-south-challenge-2020/
The occasion is about participating. Of course it’s nice if you’re a 200+ ECF player, but us lesser mortals need not worry. The match will look to pair people up as closely as possible to their playing strength – so there’s room for all.
The only prerequisite is ECF membership. Be aware most expire end August. So if you haven’t renewed please do – or at least sign up as a Supporter (£10) which can later be upgraded to membership – and your £10 will counts towards membership.

With over-the-board chess unlikely to resume in the near future, for the coming season it is planned to arrange the DCCA League as an online event, with two divisions and teams of four. Details will be circulated early in September.

The League Secretary Bryan Bainbridge has put in hours of work calculating the results of the individual county championships. He has now circulated the following information to clubs.

Play in the Durham County Chess League has been suspended and it is clear that any outstanding matches in the current season will not now be played. This means that South Shields A have won Division A and South Shields B have won Division B.

The following tables will be used to decide the individual county championships. The winners of the four sections are:

Alan Sayers Trophy – David Walker

Robin Horner Trophy (under-165) – Ashwin Bhat

Terry Holmes Trophy (under-140) – Dave Patterson

William Bentley Trophy (under-120) – Liam Bellwood

Congratulations to all the winners!

Mick Riding, the Congress Directory, has just sent out the following post to players who had already sent in their entries:

Hi,

I have met with the Mercure Hotel today and agreed that the 2020 Durham Chess weekender has to be cancelled. Given the complexities of rescheduling this year and the importance of staking out ‘our weekend’ we now should look forward to May 7 – 9, 2021. I am awaiting a contract to sign but the venue is booked (-:

With respect to entry fees you can ask me to return or hold over for the 2021 congress. For return I will need your Account Name, Bank Sort Code and Account Number.

With respect to Mercure accommodation bookings please contact the hotel – h8911@accor.com or 01325380222 and they will organise your refund. Or you can change your booking date for next year.

Some of you may have pre-booked and paid for alternative accommodation on a non-refundable basis. The best advice I can offer is to try and change your booking date if your hotel plays hardball over a refund. And please share your experience with me to pass on to our chess colleagues, particularly if your refund request is successful.

In the coming weeks I will update the website, entry form etc to reflect the 2021 dates. Entry fees and prizes will remain the same. Just please God the government doesn’t mess around with Bank Holidays again! Thank you again for your support and believe me, I share your disappointment it has come to this.

Kindest regards – Mick

Bryan Bainbridge, the DCCA President and League Secretary, has sent this message to all clubs:

In view of the uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus situation, it has been decided to suspend all matches in the Durham County League from Tuesday 17 March. The situation will be reviewed mid-April and a decision will be made at that time.

South Shields A have clearly won the A Division, and South Shields B are all but mathematically certain to win the B Division.

The final rounds of the Ron Evers Tournament, due to be played on Tuesday 17 March, have also been postponed.  It is hoped to play the final rounds in the summer on an appropriate date.

The future of the DCCA Congress, due to be held in early May, must also be seriously in doubt, though at the present moment no definite decision has been made.

The ECF has posted their guidance to leagues: this can be read at ECF and coronavirus guidance

Any comments please let me know. Please inform everyone in your club.

Kind regards, Bryan

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Bryan Bainbridge has been sounding out clubs for their views, and for the moment it has been decided to go ahead with the Ron Evers tournament on Tuesday 17 March as well as league matches scheduled for the next couple of weeks. Of course, the situation may change rapidly.

The North East League matches due to take place on Sunday 22 March have been postponed.

And it has now been decided to postpone the Durham County Junior Championships, which were due to be held on Sunday 29 March.