Knotty Ash and John Ripley Cup Finals

The finals of the John Ripley and Knotty Ash Cups will be held on Tuesday 10th May 2022 at Prescot & Knotty Ash Chess Club, which is Alder Social Club Alder Road L12 2BA. Start time will be 7.45pm.




Merseyside Chess Association Annual General Meeting

The 2021/2022 Annual General Meeting of the Merseyside Chess Association will be held n Wednesday 18th May 2022 at Aigburth Cricket Club, Southwood Road, Liverpool L17 7BQ. The meeting will begin at 7.30pm.

The meeting is open to all MCA affilliated club members.



New Facebook Group Launched for Merseyside Chess

In recent weeks the Executive Committee have looking at expanding the platforms on which we communicate with members of the association.

The Merseyside Chess Association Facebook Page is now active

It is planned tha the Facebook page will become one of the primary channels of communicating chess related matters to those with an interest in chess as it is particularly suited to providing timely information and announcements.

The link to the group is:

I would encourage you to join the group and post to the group.

I would also encourage you to share this link with as many people as possible so that we may now begin to increase membership of the group.


Russell Cowell

MCA President

Statement by the Merseyside Chess Association with respect to Covid-19

10th January 2022

There is little doubt that operating chess competitions over the last couple of year has been extremely challenging given the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had. For a large part of those last couple of years, the decisions on whether we were able to operate were essentially taken out of our hands. Even now, Covid-19 still casts a considerable shadow over us being able to operate chess competitions on Merseyside.

Even when the time came when the leagues were able to operate again, it wasn’t simply a matter of turning everything back on as before. Re-introducing chess on Merseyside came with an inherent need to consider exactly how chess should be organised so that it can be re-introduced in as safe and effective way as possible.

What is apparent, and is not surprising, is the necessity to strike the right balance between trying to keep chess operating effectively, whilst trying to do introduce rules or guidance that would help keep people safe. No doubt, no matter what has been, or will be decided, there will always be as many opinions as there are people as to where the correct balance lies.

One of the main purposes of putting this statement together is not simply to explain decisions that the Executive Committee have taken, but hopefully to also provide some assurance to all players on Merseyside that the committee take its responsibilities seriously and gives due consideration to what steps should be taken in response to the ever-changing situation.

As we now come out of the New Year and enter the second half of this difficult season, the time was right to re-evaluate where we are, how each of the leagues and competitions are operating and what steps, if any, should be taken to maintain a safe and effective playing environment.

In the last few days, the Executive Committee have considered cancelling the remainder of the season, but it was decided that it was neither desirable nor necessary to do so. Also considered was the possibility of the season being temporarily halted to allow us to take stock of the current situation with the Omicron variation of the virus. Again, it was decided that this was both undesirable and unnecessary.

With suspension and cancellation of the current season being ruled out, the decision is, therefore, that the second half of the season will continue uninterrupted unless and until government actions prevent us from doing so.

The Executive Committee has decided that, should the government take an action that prevents the season continuing, then this will only be considered a temporary halt to the season and all competitions will be held in abeyance until such a time we are able to start up again. Competitions will, under those circumstances, pick up where they left off. This will be the position going forward unless any period of suspension is of such length that it would impact on next season.

The Executive Committee does not consider it is practical or possible to mandate that restrictions be imposed on clubs, players, venues, or chess matches as it is considered that the government restrictions that are placed on the venues that host the clubs will be sufficient.

Instead, the Executive Committee is asking that all players, captains, secretaries, and club members give due consideration to the health, safety, and welfare of others when in the presence of others. The Committee asks that due consideration is given to the sensitivities of others also, such as those individuals who may be worried about those who are not wearing a mask, have not been vaccinated or may not have been tested for Covid.

The Executive Committee, therefore asks that all players, captains and those responsible for playing venues, undertake a continual review of the arrangements that are in place, which may include pairing players together on boards where both players prefer to wear a mask, ensuring, where possible, that playing tables and players are suitably distanced from each, discouraging observers from congregating around boards, especially where it is self-evident that the players on that board are themselves wearing a mask .

The Executive Committee will not ask that individuals are asked to provide evidence of a vaccine status or a negative Covid test as a condition of playing but do expect all individuals to take personal responsibility for their owns actions.

The circumstances, of course, do not only apply to situations where teams play against each other in competitive matches, but apply equally to club nights, travelling in cars or meeting socially either before or after a match.

All individuals who are part of the Merseyside Chess Association are encouraged to get tested regularly and to also get themselves vaccinated.

The Executive Committee will ensure the situation is kept under constant review and will take further decisions should the need arise.

 Russell Cowell – Merseyside Chess Association President



John Ripley and Knotty Ash Cup Competitions

It has been noted that there have been some technical difficulties in correctly operating the John Ripley and Knotty Ash Cup competitions during the current seasons. This has, in part, been due to some technical difficulties with the association website and league management system.

The decision has been taken, in order to avoid confusion, to remove both John Ripley and Knotty Ash Cup competitions from the League Management System.

Whilst contingency arrangements are implemented, club captains and secretaries are asked to contact the tournament controller, Will Cook, if there are any questions relating to either competitions.

The Executive Committee are currently and actively exploring an alternative platfom on which to manage these competitions.

Further updates will be made available in due course and as soon as the situation has been clarified.

Russell Cowell - MCA President

MCA Cup Competitions

After some teething problems both cup cometitions are online now.

Please enter the team squads and team captains in the CLM.

Please submit the missing match results.

Thank you.



Unregistered Players

Unregistered Players

In order to play in any MCA league or tournament every player has to have an ECF-Code (formerly ECF-Ref-number). To gain this they need to become  a member of the ECF. Upon joining  the ECF they will be assigned an ECF Code.

To join the ECF use the links below:
ECF memberships are available from £ 10.00
New members – JOIN HERE

To register with the MCA and be entered on the CLM once you have your ECF code please forward  your ECF code by e-mail to:
Matthew Carr This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

Clubs are encouraged to ensure all players are registered both with the ECF and the MCA. Playing unregistered players is not allowed although at the start of the season the MCA is showing some latitude to clubs and will accept the word of Clubs that they are making every effort to get all their players registered. Where they are having difficulties they should explain the situation to the relevant League\Tournament controller.

A team persistently playing an unregistered player runs the risk of board and possible match point deductions in accordance with standard MCA tournament rules

Just to remind Clubs this earlier notice was posted on the MCA website:

By way of warning without an ECF Code it is not possible to list players on the CLM neither for the club nor for the team. Clubs are reminded that playing an unlisted player may lead to board deductions which could adversely affect the match result. To avoid this, clubs mustbregister new players immediately at the ECF and submit all their ECF details (Name, ECF Code / ECF Ref Number, sex (M/W), rating number (if existing)) to the league controllers and the webmaster.

Tom Webb


CLM Access for Club Officials and Team Captains

CLM Access for Club Officials and Team Captains

There are serveral CLM user groups with different access rights for the CLM. The important user groups are:

Administrator, Tournament and League Conroller, Team Tournament Controller, Chair, Club Secretary and Team Captain

To get CLM access rights, you have to register yourself at the MCA website with your real name. You can choose any username. After registering please send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. mentioning your club and position (e.g. Team Captain of Atticus 6).

The MCA webmaster (position vacant) or anyone with administrator rights (Super User) and the necessary knowledge will deal with your request of access.

Please be aware that you must never ever abuse your access rights. If you abuse your access rights you will lose all access rights and be banned and blocked immediately.


Important rule changes for the Season 2021/22

Continuing the work from befor the Coriona Crisis, we have to inform all of you about some very important changes, which have already been approved by the MCA Committee and/or the AGM:

Important rule changes for the Season 2021/22

The introduction of the new ECF rating system has caused some changes:

The 440-League becomes the 6000-League

  • The minimum ECF rating number is 1300. Players with a grade below 1300 will be counted as 1300.
  • Players with an ECF rating number above 1700 are not allowed to play in this league.
  • Players without an ECF rating number will be counted as 1300.
  • The combined ECF rating numbers of all players shall not exceed 6000.

The 600-League becomes the 7200-League

  • The minimum ECF rating number is 1600. Players with a grade below 1600 will be counted as 1600.
  • Players with an ECF rating number above 2000 are not allowed to play in this league.
  • Players without an ECF rating number will be counted as 1600.
  • The combined ECF rating numbers of all players shall not exceed 7200.

Knotty Ash Cup

  • The ECF rating number of Knotty Ash Cup players must not exceed 1700.
  • Players with an ECF rating numbder grade above 1700 are not allowed to play in this competition.

Listing Players, New Players

In order to enter the competitions every Club must enter the complete team squads and name ail team captain onto the CLM before the start of the season.

Comprehensive guidance on how to do this has already been issued and it is imperative that clubs take on this work prior to playing matches and ideally before the start of the season.

By way of warning without an ECF Code it is not possible to list players on the CLM neither for the club nor for the team. Clubs are reminded that playing an unlisted player may lead to board deductions which could adversely affect the match result. To avoid this, clubs shall register new players immediately at the ECF and submit all their ECF details (Name, ECF Code / ECF Ref Number, sex (M/W), rating number (if existing)) to the league controllers and the webmaster.

For the purposes of clarity: You will recall that at the last AGM in May 2021 it was agreed that the MCA would no longer register players with the ECF but that this task would be taken on by the club or the individual.
It is the club’s responsibility to register their players, which includes submitting their ECF details to the league controllers and the webmaster.

For guidance please visit:

CLM 3 How to's and Manuals
Merseyside Chess Association


Tom Webb
on behalf of the MCA Committee



Fixtures 2021/2022

Fixtures 2021/2022

The fixtures of the new season are now final. All clubs are invited to have a MCA Leagues and Tables. If there might be clashes of other reasons for changes clubs can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Spreadsheets are available for download:

Club-Fixtures2021-2022-final.ods and Fixtures-2021-2022-final.ods





Message from the President

It feels a long time since we were able to meet our chess colleagues for over the board chess.

When we stopped playing in March it did seem possible we might be able to resume playing in early 2021.  This was overly optimistic and a better estimate now would be for a restart of the league in September 2021.

In the meantime, the MCA has started an internet chess league with a long time control.  Initially, I was sceptical, but I am now beginning to enjoy it and I would urge all of those who have stopped playing to give it a try.

The current league will finish in March 2021, but we may continue with a fresh competition ahead of a restart to the OTB league.

On behalf of the Committee I would like to wish you all a peaceful Christmas with hope for a better year in 2021.



Merseyside Chess Association: Newsletter No. 1 July 2020

Merseyside Chess Association

Newsletter No. 1 July 2020

Message from the MCA Secretary

We are introducing this monthly newsletter as a way of keeping in touch with the MCA league clubs and their  members during these difficult times. All contributions welcome. As with most elements of day to day life,  normal chess community life has changed dramatically and the impacts of Coronovirus on the game are numerous. In this initial newsletter, we will  update you on the outcome of the committee’s decision with regards resolving the 2019-20 season and start the conversation on planning for a 2020-21 season, if that proves possible. I don’t need to tell you haw complex and uncertain future planning has become as a result of the virus’ impact on society so do bear with us as the conversation progresses!

In good news I know a few of the clubs have taken up internet chess in matches with each other and reports I’ve heard back have been that they’ve been good fun. Even I (technophobia is deffo one of my flaws!) have attempted a blitz match with Liverpool Chess Cub recently and whilst I was enormously rusty having not played properly for months, I can certainly see the appeal more now that I’ve tried it so would encourage others to do the same. It’s worth giving it a go if you can, even if you’re an over-the-board player at heart like me. It’s easier to connect in from a computer or mobile phone than I’d expected and it could help prevent you getting as rusty as I am! Do get in touch if your club is running internet chess matches and we can start to pool the relevant info to share with other clubs via this newsletter or other means.

I would very much like to gain more understanding of the different MCA clubs positions at the moment, in regards things such as likely levels of interest in internet chess; how your home venues are getting on in terms of re-opening plans and their position in relation to clubs attending; the general appetite and confidence levels of membership as it relates to playing in person next season subject to rules & regs etc. I will be in touch with club secretaries by phone by the end of this month to start these informal conversations. My email box is a pretty depressing place right now (!) so calls will likely work better than emails if that suits everyone. Also I would like to talk to some human beings that aren’t in my immediate circle please!

I hope that you and yours are weathering the storm and most importantly staying healthy. I very much look forward to a time when we will be able to be and play together again.

Message from the MCA President & Treasurer

2019-2020 Season

The majority opinion of the clubs which responded to our consultation on how to wrap up last years season is that the past season should be considered cancelled and no trophies awarded in all league and cup competitions.

We appreciate this is really hard for some, particularly those who were looking strong for winning their divisions. It was a difficult decision to take.

2020-2021 Season

We are not able to start the new season until we, and English Chess, determine how to play over the board chess in a manner that is covid safe, complies with government regulations and with which players feel confident. The ECF has published a statement here – for your information.

From the date we agree it is possible to restart, we will need approximately 8 weeks to organise the league into divisions, prepare the fixtures and arrange a limited AGM.

Currently, the earliest date we can envisage making the decision to restart is 1st September, 2020 which would mean a likely league start date of about 1st November. This date is, of course, speculative and could be delayed.

At this stage it is difficult to foresee the make-up of the league for the coming season. We will possibly lose players, teams and even clubs from the previous season.

We ask clubs to begin assessment of how many teams they are likely to enter next season so that when a decision is made to restart we receive entries quickly and speed up the start date.

If clubs feel that any of their teams should be promoted on the basis of last season’s performance, please let the secretary know in writing.

We welcome input into how the decision to restart will be made.

Internet Chess

In the meantime, we are looking to start an internet chess league. In order to start this league as soon as possible please consider your club’s position and likely entry.


The treasurer will be happy to collect trophies to ensure we keep tracks of their whereabouts for next year. Please could clubs contact the treasurer direct to arrange.

Dave & Leon

Merseyside League and Cup competitions 2019/2020

Merseyside League and Cup competitions 2019-2020

  • Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation we have had to take the decision that the 2019-2020 league season is now ended.
  • In the circumstances no attempt will be made to complete the fixtures.
  • The AGM planned for May will not now be held. It may be rearranged at a later date if need and circumstances allow.

Over the next few weeks the committee will need to decide how best to finalise the 2019-2020 season:

  • Will any trophies be presented and, if so, on what basis - the league positions as of 19th March, 2020 or by some other means or not at all?
  • The promotion of teams who were clearly better than the divisions that they were in will be managed regardless of any decision on trophies.

Preparations for next Season 2020/21:

  • We will then need to receive entries for next season which we would hope to start in September 2020.
  • The continued closure of pubs and clubs may prevent this.
  • Another major issue may be the availability/willingness, particularly of our older members, to play over the board(OTB) chess in the near future.
  • If the number of players does fall we may want to consider, at least temporarily, reducing the numbers of boards in some divisions and/or relaxing the eligibility rules.
  • We may also wish to set up a separate internet based league to satisfy those unable to play OTB chess.

The Committee welcomes your club's views on the above and if people feel a committee meeting over remote video conferencing platform would be useful, do let me know.





ECF Clubfinder

Dear chess club colleagues

The English Chess Federation aims to provide all of its members with up-to-date information, such as members' grades, news, organisational changes in local chess, forthcoming chess events, and the location and details of chess clubs across the country. To do this most efficiently, the Federation depends on club details being correct on the Club Finder here ---

MCA announces the suspension of the Liverpool Chess league.

MCA announces the suspension of the Liverpool Chess league.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus problem and recommendations from HM Government,
all fixtures in the Liverpool league and cup competitions are suspended until 30th April 2020.
By that date a decision will need to be taken whether matches can be resumed or the league programme cancelled. If cancelled, we will need to decide how best to finalise the 2019-2020 season.
David Pearcey 
President MCA
You may follow the FIDE Candidates 2020 Tournament in Yekaterinburg, Russia from March 15 until April 5. Today (18/03/2020) they are playing Round 2.