The English Chess Federation

The English Chess Federation - the other home countries have their own Chess Unions - is the top and most expensive layer of bureaucracy that English chess players support. Although it organises the British Chess Championships on behalf of all the home countries, national club knock-out competitions and inter-county events, it is often seen as remote from the concerns of the average player. 4NCL, the only league run on a national basis, (or for four nations as its name suggests) was set up independently of the ECF, as was the UK Land Chess Challenge for schools.

This has lead many people not only to ask "What do the ECF do for me?", but to view the answers as insufficient recompensense for the the financial support they are expected to give. Indeed many view the grading service as the only significant benefit they derive from the ECF. Interestingly there are several league sites that record a grading performance for players in their competitions, so clearly this is a benefit that the ECF is not uniquely positioned to provide.

A significant proportion of the ECFs funding comes from a playing tax, the game fee, which is charged on every game that it grades except for those by players covered by the Membership Schemes.

The ECF is taking some steps to improve its image. It has made its grading lists available online rather restricting them to chargeable publications. Also their website has been much extended to include more material of interest to the generality of members rather appearing to be concerned solely with the progress of elite players. The links section is becoming more comprehensive, threatening to render Chingland redundant, and there are now more results from ordinary congresses included for those who like to keep track of the progress of congress playing friends.