Essex County Chess

Essex teams play in the County Championships (Open and limited by ECF grade) for chess players of all standards to compete against opponents of similar playing strengths, initially from other southern counties and, if a qualifying place is secured, nationally. Any player who does not have a published grade can be allocated a tournament grade by the respective championships controllers on the submission of an indication of playing strength. Matches for teams of 12 or 16 players are usually played with a 4½ or 5 hour playing session on a Saturday afternoon.

Eligibility conditions for representing Essex are one of:

(i) Birth in the County;
(ii) Five years’ residence in the County at any time;
(iii) Two months immediate previous and present membership of a club either in or affiliated to the County;
(iv) One month’s immediately previous and present residence in the County;
(v) Present attendance as a student at a school, college or university in the County.

The boundaries of Essex are defined in the west by the River Lea, in the north by the River Stour and in the south by the River Thames.

Players who would like to represent Essex in the County Championships, but who are not yet involved in the County Match Programme, are invited to contact the appropriate Captains as listed below to indicate their availability.


Website Trophy

Presented in 2018-19 a new trophy for perpetual competition will be awarded annually to the player who finishes on top of the Aggregate table (highest points score – see link below) for County Championships matches. If two or more players finish on the same score the trophy will be awarded to the player with the higher or highest average; if tied players have the same highest score and highest average the trophy will be shared. All matches played in the SCCU Counties Championship and the ECF Counties Championships to count.

2018-19 winner: Kyan Bui of Wanstead.


Teams for 2019-20

At its meeting on 23 July, the ECA Executive decided once again to enter all sections of the SCCU County Championships, which act as the qualification competition to the ECF County Championships. The one caveat to this is that we understand there is doubt over the SCCU U100 section and that Essex might be the sole entry. If this should be the case, rather than let the U100 team squad be entered into the ECF U100 without any prior matches, there is a suggestion that the Essex U100 team may play in the U120 section as a second team. Further developments on this thread will unfold in due course.

The Match Captain and the Assistant Match Captain are elected at the AGM. The Match Captain usually takes charge of the Open team. The remaining team captains are appointed by the Executive.

Match Captain, is Mark Murrell, Email
Assistant Match Captain is David Smith Email:

Team Captains for 2019-20 are:

Open – Mark Murrell
U180 – Paul Kenning
U160 – Simon Moth
U140 – Peter Nickals
U120 – Malcolm Crane
U100 – Malcolm Crane

To contact any or all the team Captains, please use the Contact Form from the main menu.

In addition to the above sections, in recent seasons when the Open team has failed to qualify for the ECF Open, Essex has been offered a place in the ECF Minor Counties competition. The SCCU does not currently run a Minor Counties section, but at the ECF level, this competition is for teams with a maximum average grade of 180.


Players who would like to represent Essex in the County Championships, but who are not yet involved in the County Match Programme, are invited to contact the appropriate Captains as listed above to indicate their availability.

Eligibility for the grading limited sections will be determined by players’ grades “included in the last list published, or scheduled to be published, on or before 15th September 2019”, i.e. the new Grading List, when published and when it has passed through the revision stage in August. ECF Grading List