The Gazette - May 2020

Sponsored by The Ulverscroft Foundation
Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

BCA TESSLa Tournament

Following the sad but unavoidable postponement of our spring and summer over the board events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proposing a Telephone Email Skype Summer Ladder tournament - TESSLa for short! We hope this will enable members of all playing strengths to have fun playing as much chess as they want on any mutually convenient platform while remaining safe at home. What a great way to keep in touch with BCA friends and make new ones at this difficult time!

At the start of the event, players' names are placed on the TESSLa in reverse playing strength order i.e. the highest ranking player will be on the bottom rung. The aim is to finish as close to the top of the TESSLa as you can, while accruing as many points as possible. Players ascend the TESSLa by beating a higher placed opponent in a Rung Challenge. Players win points from Rung Challenges and also from Points Only Challenges.

Rung Challenges

The controller initially pairs opponents no more than five rungs away from each other. Opponents play two games, reversing colours for the second. When the games are finished the players report the results to the controller. Two points are awarded for a win and one for a draw. Each player also receives 1 point per completed challenge. For example, a player who wins a game and draws the other receives 4 points (2 for the win, 1 for the draw and 1 for the completed challenge) and the opponent receives 2 points (1 for the draw and 1 for the completed challenge). If the player on the lower rung wins both games or wins one and draws one, the players swap position on the TESSLa. In all other cases the players remain on the same rung as before. Players are then free to issue their own Rung Challenge to any available person up to five rungs higher than themselves. The controller advises who is within range and has at least one compatible platform. Players who have Rung Challenge games in progress or who have notified the controller that they are ill may not be challenged. If no players are available, the player waits to receive a Rung Challenge from someone below them or for a higher placed opponent to become available. Players may not decline a Rung Challenge.

Points Only Challenges

These are for the benefit of players who would like to take on more than one opponent at the same time. As with Rung Challenges two games are played and points are awarded accordingly, including 1 point each for a completed challenge, however the rung position of the players remains the same regardless of the result. At any time during the event a player can issue a Points Only Challenge to anyone, regardless of relative rung positions. Players are not obliged to accept a Points Only Challenge if they don't want an additional opponent at that time.

Players may take on opponents that they've played before in a Rung Challenge or Points Only Challenge but not consecutively i.e. they should play at least one other person in between.

Platforms and Time controls:

In email games players should make at least two moves per challenge in any 24 hour period, though the moves can be spread across two games with the same opponent. If players agree they can play the two games concurrently.

For Skype games each player has 1 hour 15 minutes on the clock. The clock is managed by a time keeper such as the controller or a person designated by the controller. The dates and times of the two games are mutually agreed between the players and their time keeper.

For telephone games the default move rate is the same as for email games. Games may be played concurrently by agreement. Alternatively, the game may be played in one call at a faster move rate by mutual agreement.

Players may agree to play by other means of communication e.g. SMS text message, Freechess, Lichess.


For all in one session games e.g. Skype or telephone games to be played in a single call, players must make contact within 15 minutes of the appointed time. For email and other one move per communication games, at least one game should begin within two days of the challenge being issued. If a default occurs, depending on the circumstances the controller may impose a penalty such as deducting a point from the transgressor or awarding the game to the opponent.

Other conditions:

The tournament is open to all members of the BCA, including associate and overseas members.

The use of chess engines is not permitted.

By entering this event participants are deemed to have consented for the controller to give their contact details to all other participants.

Participants meet the cost of their phone calls or internet usage themselves.

Members based in the British Isles can enter their games into the David Hodgkins Annual Best Game competition.

Games will not be graded.

Players must be able to use English algebraic chess notation.

If players have multiple platforms in common but different preferences the player on the lower rung chooses.

Games unfinished by the closing date shall be sent for adjudication, provided at least 35 moves have been made or at the discretion of the controller.

The TESSLa positions and current scores will be published on our email user group at regular intervals and those without email can telephone the controller to get latest news.

The deadline for entries is Friday 22nd May. The start date is 23rd May i.e. the Saturday of the UK Spring Bank Holiday weekend. Players may join the event after it has started and anyone doing so will be placed on the bottom rung of the ladder.

The tournament will end on Sunday 20th September. Please note that the start of the 13th BCA Email Tournament has been postponed until the 1st of October so that there won’t be an overlap. The TESSLa winners will be determined as follows:

- The player on the top rung of the ladder.

- The player with the highest number of game points.

- The highest placed player with an ECF grade of 100 or less.

- The player with an ECF grade of 100 or less who has accumulated the highest number of points.

To enter, please contact the controller, Gerry Walsh, and provide the following information:

- Your preferred platform (telephone, email or Skype)

- Contact details for all platforms that you can use. (Please be as flexible as possible so that this event is as inclusive as we can make it! It would normally be expected that people who prefer email would also be able to play by telephone and that people who prefer Skype would be able to use either of the other platforms, though this may not always be so for example in the case of overseas members.)

- Your grade or estimated playing strength.

Participants will probably be able to play on their preferred platform most of the time so please don’t let the possibility of having to play a game or two on another platform deter you from entering. This is all about as many members as possible joining forces to prove we’re not going to let coronavirus deprive us of our chess! It is hoped that players will participate in the spirit of friendship and that opponents will find an amicable resolution to any disagreements. If a dispute that cannot be resolved by the players arises, the controller’s decision will be final. This is an untested format and there will no doubt be unforeseen issues that will have to be dealt with fairly as we go along. The success of this event relies on everybody's common sense and good will, but we know that members have those qualities in abundance. We can do this!

Committee and Tournament Sub-committee