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MCCA OTB Resumption Plan

At MCCA AGM (28th July 2021) the Council were of one voice and hoped that some form of OTB play could take place for 2021-22. The commitment...

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Hendon vs. Rest of Middlesex match report

An enjoyable time was had by all when a Rest of Middlesex team descended on The Holly Bush to play Hendon. The match was arranged to celebrate the change of venue for the latter and to show the MCCA’s commitment to resuming OTB play after a difficult 18months for this format of chess.

With the entirety of the county to call upon, The Rest of Middlesex team could be significantly stronger than that of Hendon but for the sake of fair play it was suggested that the teams for this maiden match should fall between 1800 to 2300. The suggestion was a good one as it transpired that both teams were well matched, although Hendon were slightly stronger towards the tail.





Rest of Mx




J. Richardson (B)


0 - 1

D. Foord (W)


(2) ½ - ½


R. Willmoth


½ - ½

B. Eames


(7) 1 - 1


G. Senior


0 - 1

M. Gallana


(6) 1½ - 1½ 


S. Marin Stoica


½ - ½

F. Chin


(4) 2 - 2


G. Jain


½ - ½

I. Calvert


(1) 2 -3


D. Levy


½ - ½

L. Fincham


(3) 2 - 4 


D. Amoir


½ - ½

P. Conway


(5) 2½ - 4½


J-C. Sartenaer


1 - 0

J. Oh (Jr)


(8) 3½ - 4½


Hendon Ave.


3½ - 4½

Rest of Mx Ave.



The match was played in good spirits even if glory was sought with the bragging rights being claimed by Rest of Middlesex; Marco’s game (Bd3) proved to be decisive difference.

The venture was a novel one for the MCCA as, at least in their recent past, they had never organised or participated in a match of this kind. MCCA used to play against a combined London League team for the Ralph Barnett Trophy on an annual basis but that ceased decades ago and no other format of allowing a combined MCCA to play was formulated. The occasion clearly allows players to socialise and warm-up for the respective County and League campaigns; this benefit cannot be overlooked. It is hoped that matches of this kind will be a permanent one on the MCCA calendar, if so in time both the D1 Champions and Rest of Middlesex teams will show their ‘true’ strength and provide spectacles as entertaining as this initial match.

For a Hendon view of the match see here

County Chess

County Chess has had a challenging and transformative 18months.

The SCCU’s 2019-20 cycle finished just before lockdown began; its’ end saw a successful one for Middlesex as they won both the u180 and u160 divisions; were placed 2nd in Open and gave creditable performances in u140 and u120 divisions. In lifting the u160 title Keith Jones became the first Middlesex Captain in this division to win a hat-trick. Lockdown of course prevented the three teams from participating at the National Stage where all would have been harbouring hopes of lifting their respective titles.

Although the National Stage did not go ahead the ECF ran an online competition during the Summer – ECF Online County Championship – and Middlesex proved they could be successful in this format also. They were the only team to enter three teams in the Online County Championships – two in Open Division and one in u1825 The Open Division 2 were the only team to be crowned Champions when defeating Oxfordshire but, the other teams performed equally as both were knocked out in the semi-finals (Open Division 1 by Northumberland and u1825 by Lincolnshire.) A team was not entered for the 2021 version but, entries overall were down compared to 2020 – only 10 teams total in both Open divisions in 20201 as opposed to 23 in 2020. The final online competition of 2020 was the National 100 in which Middlesex provided significant numbers for The South Team. This proved to be the difference as The South went onto lift the title with a 100%. This team comprised of u100 players bodes well for Middlesex’s u100 and junior teams when OTB resumes. All told a successful online campaign!

With OTB play resuming we await to hear what happens with County Chess. Notwithstanding when it does resume you will note there is a change in divisions. The ECF has adopted the 4-digit grading system so naturally the grading bands had to be revised. The divisions are now:

We shall see if the effective return to the pre-2009 grading boundaries will make a significant difference to participation. With respect to Middlesex, it is hoped that those who have represented the teams prior and during lockdown irrespective of format will be willing and able to do so once again. If so, Middlesex will look to sweep titles at both Regional and National Stages as they used to doon regular basis in the past. The Open team for example can look to break their hoodoo of finals losses (x in y years!) and finally extend record of the most National Titles won (Middlesex hold current record of 29 titles). News will be circulated on both the website and through MCCA Captains once the position of County Chess is finalised. Watch this space!

Friday, 1 October 2021

Hendon vs. Rest of Middlesex

In order to celebrate the resumption of OTB play Hendon, the only recognised Middlesex League Champions for 2019-20, have agreed to play an 8board match against the Rest of Middlesex on 30th September 2021. The match not only celebrates the intention to return to OTB play but is also one to congratulate Hendon moving to a new venue – The Holly Bush in Hampstead. It has been sometime since a Club has been based in Hampstead, the Hampstead Community Centre was the home of Hampstead Chess Club before their dissolution.

One criterion for the respective teams is that the grades cover 1800-2300 range so that Rest of Middlesex do not have an unfair advantage! For this cycle at least the Rest of Middlesex also need to consider the following: Members of the team are comprised of –

a)       Individuals whose Club is affiliated to MCCA who are committed to playing OTB

b)      Individuals whose Club is not affiliated to MCCA but is in Middlesex catchment area and they are committed to playing OTB, e.g., Hillingdon League, London League, Thames Valley League, etc.

c)       Individuals who are unaffiliated to any Club but satisfy County Championship Eligibility rules

The idea of the League Champions playing the Rest is something other sports and Chess Associations have regularly engaged in but is new to Middlesex. It is hoped that the idea will be an ongoing one and matches will be played annually. If so, it can potentially replace some of the defunct competitions once run by the MCCA, e.g., Winter’s and Ralph Barnett Trophies – Middlesex Team Competition and MCCA match against London League.