ECF Online County Championships – National Pool

The National Pool is an ad hoc pairing of players who find themselves without a game when their County is otherwise in action, or is not but they’d still like to play a rated game. So far as this website is concerned, we will publish the details of “National Pool” games involving Essex Players. For the wider interest, you can still find the details of all the games by clicking on the “NP on ECF LMS” link below.

Navigation: Minor Open | U1800 | National Pool | NP on ECF LMS

Guide to playing games on

Several games on the first day failed to start or were late starting. This may have something to do with players not knowing the full requirements for making or receiving the Challenge, which differs in one important respect with what players may be used to on Lichess. In Lichess, the Challenge is issued in the player’s Profile. In the players should first be linked as Friends and when giving and receiving the Challenge, they should both be in “Live chess“.

Here is the guide:
  1. Join your opponent as a “Friend”. A simple step which makes the challenge easier. Either player can do this.
    When the pairings are published, find your opponent’s username. Sign into your account. Then click on your opponent’s username when you know it and click on the Add Friend button, to send an invitation. Your opponent will need to accept this invitation, so check back later. If your opponent makes the invite, respond when you get the message to accept. The Friend link can be removed when the game has been played.
  2. On the match date, if you are to play White, you will need to issue a Challenge to your opponent. Do this, say, five minutes before the due start time, as follows:
    1. Sign into your account. Find the Play menu (usually down the left side bar) and click on Play to open it, then click on Live chess. This is important to be in Live chess.
    2. The screen displays a large board and to the right of that several options.
    3. Click on the button Play a friend – now you understand why it is important to invite the opponent as a Friend.
    4. Select your opponent from the list of Friends.
    5. Now set up the details of the time control:
      1. Click on Time, then on the More button and finally Custom;
      2. Type the minutes 60, secs 0 and inc 15 and click OK;
      3. Set the Rating dropdown to Rated and the Colour dropdown to the colour you are playing (White or Black – usually White makes the Challenge, but sometimes Black may have to do it).
    6. When all the requirements of 5. have been set, click the Play button and wait for your opponent to respond. Be ready for your opponent to accept the Challenge BEFORE the due start time of the game, as the game will then be in play.
      Also important: don’t start any other games against anyone else while you are waiting. Be disciplined; concentrate ONLY on the game you are preparing to play.
    7. If your opponent does not respond by the due start time, send a message. Tell your opponent to be sure to be in Live chess (Play/Live chess) to receive your Challenge.
  3. Play the game.

To receive your opponent’s Challenge (e.g. if you are playing Black): you need just the same to go into the Live chess area. So sign into your account, click the Play menu, select Live chess and wait. When you receive the Challenge, make sure it is from the opponent you are expecting to play and do not accept Challenges from any other player, check it is set correctly (60 0 | 15, Rated, with the correct Colour and if all is correct, accept. If the details are wrong, send a message to your opponent.

Download this Guide: Guide to (pdf)

Essex National Pool match details

Played 12 June 2021

Board White v Black
2 John Horton 1692 1-0 Adrian Billingsley 1725 (Braintree)
4 Shruti Pai 1625 1-0 Kenneth Butcher 1650 (Braintree)
5 Philip Ware 1528 0-1 Dai Harris 1582 (Hackney)
9 Huzaifa Baig 1308 (Thurrock) ½-½ Stephen LeFevre 1392

There were 10 pairings declared in the National Pool, but half the games were decided by default; 50% absenteeism.

We all have a preference for which colour we would rather play; most we suspect prefer to be White. Moreover, in League chess, we toss a coin to decide colours, these being shared equally, with a perceived slight advantage to be White on odds. There is therefore an interest in the results of ad hoc pairings, in teams declared as “White” and “Black”, i.e. where one “team” is White on every board and the other Black on every board. In the current instance, of the five games played (four of them involving Essex players), the “match” score was 2½-2½, giving credence to the notion that, in the game of chess, Black does OK.

National Pool games