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A Vision for Middlesex's County Teams

Middlesex's Senior Match Captain, Anthony Fulton, asks us to publish his vision for Middlesex''s county teams. "Dear Middle...

Friday 4 August 2023

County Success!

Having belatedly congratulated the Division Winners of the 2022-23 Middlesex League season, belated congratulations are also issued to Middlesex's county teams!

Each year the MCCA enters teams into the county championships. The competition is run in two stages:

Stage 1: Regional Stage - Middlesex participate in Southern Counties Chess Union entering teams into the following sections: Open, u2050, u1850, u1650 and u1450.

Stage 2: National Stage - the top two teams in each section qualify for the respective sections of the National competition which pitches the qualifiers of the five chess Unions (East Anglia Chess Union, Midlands Counties Chess Union, Northern Counties Union, Southern Counties Chess Union, and West of England Chess Union) against each other. On occasion the third placed team is requested to make up numbers, so 4/5 in National Stage not a bad return! The team finishing 3rd in Open section progresses onto Minor Counties Competition.

SCCU Stage

During the Regional Stage Anthony's Open and Keith's u1850 were crowned SCCU Champions; Evan's u1650 team finished runner-up, Anthony's u2050 finished 3rd and Dilu's u1450 collected the wooden spoon. Consequently, Open, u1850 and u1650 teams all qualified for the National Stage as of right. the u1450 also participated in the National Stage as Kent declined the invitation to make up places. For full details of respective SCCU performance see here.

National Stage

The u1450 entered at the preliminary stage and met familar foe Surrey. The term third time lucky seemed to apply as the team scored a comprehensive 7.5-4.5 victory. Unfortunately, due to penalties for failing to request permission to play unrated players, the team lost 5.5-4.5. This was disappointing as after a challenging season the team showed their class only to be undone by the rules. Overlooking the disappointment the team score a moral a victory and are in a good place for 2023-24.

Evan's u1650 team were knocked out at the QF round by Greater Manchester A tough result to take but it was the first time in decades that the team had reached this stage. It would be hoped the team now has a taste and will qualify again next season.

Anthony's and Keith teams received byes to SF where both had hard fought wins likewise against Greater Manchester. u1850 won on board count with Open winning a close encounter 8.5-7.5

With both the Open and u1850 teams progressing to the final both teams were seeking to attain their own records: Open were seeking to set a new record of 30 National titles the most of all counties when the competition introduced in 1908; u1850 were seeking to make it a hat-trick of titles where these titles straddled the pandemic. Keith had an easier time of it defeating familar foe Yorkshire 10-6.The Open had another tough match this time against Surrey and after a match that had enough swings and roundabouts ended up winning on board count 37-38 as the two teams could not be separated. A detailed account of the Open match is available in July's Chess Moves.

Congratulations to both Keith and Anthony, both will look forward to defending their doubles in 2023-24. It is hoped that the County will be able to get all teams through to the National Stage in next campaign.

Should you wish to represent any of the county teams do fill in the Play for a Middlesex County Team form or contact the respective captains directly.

Enjoy the photos of the winning captains, Anthony and Keith.

Victorious Open Team

Victorious u1850 Team

Monday 31 July 2023

Middlesex League League Fixtures meeting 2023-24

Congratulations to the following teams for winning their respective divisions for the 2022-23 season:
Middlesex League Division 1: Hackney
Middlesex League Division 2: Albany
Middlesex League Division 3: Harrow Juniors
The trophies held by 2021-22 division winners will be transferred to current winners in due course.

The new season will be fast upon us and with this in mind the League Secretary draws your attention to the following:

The 2023-23 Middlesex League Fixtures meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 12th September 2023 at The Carpenters Arms. Clubs will be contacted in advance to verify:
a) Time
b) Composition of respective divisions for Middlesex League

A key agenda item will be to review the Formula League boundaries - the current boundaries are based on 3-digit rating when of course 4-digit rating is in operation. It is hoped that the competition can be revived once new boundaries established. By way of reminder the competition is a 4 board competition and runs alongside Middlesex League. Individuals participating in Formula League are not exempted from participating in Middlesex League so no nomination issues. It is a good competition for club members who are returning to competitive play or would like to 'blood' themselves!

Clubs should have been contacted by Treasurer to request that they confirm participation in MCCA-run competition ensuring they have paid their dues in advance certainly by 1st September 2023. It is not possible to participate in any MCCA-run competition unless your dues have been paid. The Treasurer urges you to pay soon rather than later to secure your MCCA affiliation.

Enquiries about Middlesex/Formula League should be referred to League Secretary
Enquiries about fees should be referred to Treasurer

Wednesday 15 March 2023

County Championship News

A message from Anthony Fulton, MCCA Senior Match Captain:

"On 11th March 2023 the SCCU Cycle came to an end and all told it was a successful one for the County!
Open - SCCU Champions
u1850 - SCCU Champions
u1650 - 2nd
u2050 - 3rd
u1450 - 3rd/4th (final position to be determined as there is a unresolved dispute however should all teams finish on 6pts it looks as though Mx will miss out on Game Points (2nd tie-break!))

Once again the Open and u1850 teams finish as regional champions and their comprehensive wins in the final round of matches sends out a message to their national rivals.
It is good to see the u1650 once again reach the KO stage after a lengthy break (2014-15)
The u2050 will keep fingers crossed to see if extra teams required, unlikely
The u1450 will rue their slow start to the campaign as they look like missing out.

Now that the regional stage is over we can look forward to National Stage and taking on our national rivals.
The Open will be seeking to regain the National Title which has rested with NCCU since 2014.
The u1850 will be seeking to defend their title and if they do Keith will in essence be the first 3rd team captain to completed a hat-trick of victories (2018-19, 2021-22, 2022-23?). Granted COVID-19 has spoilt a pure hat-trick but it is a hat-trick nevertheless as the team would have won the last three contested titles!

The dates for the National Stages are:
22nd April 2023 Preliminary - All sections
13th May 2023 QF Open and u1850
20th May 2023 QF u1650
10th June 2023 SF All sections
1st July 2023 F All sections

The results for this campaign holds us in good stead for 2023-24 as we should be looking to be getting all teams to National Stage. If we can develop the junior team as well we will show that Middlesex is a force at all levels not only regionally but nationally! 

Congratulations to all captains and squad members for another fully completed cycle!

Go on the Middlesex!"

If you would like to represent the County either contact the captains via the Officers page or complete the following form.

Saturday 9 April 2022

A History of Chess in Brent

Speaking about the history of clubs in the Middlesex area, Willesden & Brent Chess Club Secretary, Anthony Fulton, advises that the club has published a document outlining the history of chess in his borough of Brent. The article has been written in order to show that chess in Brent (actually the former Wembley Urban District and Willesden Municipal Borough) is not alien and it inspires more in the borough to give chess a go!

The article can be found on W&BCC website along with ECF Chess Histories.