For those who don’t know me, my name is Lee Davis and I am a member of Hereford Chess Club and I am thinking of setting up a new chess league for teams within a radius of 45 minute travel time from Hereford. I have given the league the working title of The Marches League and I am asking for your views on whether your club would wish to take part in such a league.

The proposal is for 4-board matches with a relatively short time control (but long enough to be eligible for ECF/WCU grading) either for clubs whose players who do not currently have access to competitive league chess or for clubs who may choose to use the league as an opportunity to provide competitive chess for those who may find the opposition in their local league competition a little too daunting – or even as preparation for more challenging competitive league chess.

I have had some initial interest in the idea from Hereford Chess Club, The Hereford Cathedral School Chess Club, and Malvern Chess Club. Additionally Hereford has a history of playing two annual friendly matches with Presteigne Chess Club and I have had some conversations with ex-members of the seemingly-now-dormant Ludlow Chess Club about linking with the burgeoning Leominster Club or entering as two separate clubs . Abergavenny Chess Club is also within the suggested range of the league,

I would be prepared to run the league for the first season at least (- offers of help would be welcome), and I have a proposal before the AGM on12 August of the Herefordshire Chess Association asking for their support for the creation of the league. I envisage that games could be sent for grading through that route; clubs based in Wales will have their own mechanism for submitting results for grading – although as a Welsh registered player myself I have links with the WCU National Grading Officer and may be able to arrange for the games to be submitted direct or through the Gwent Association.

Originally I had thought that clubs may choose to play home and away and where that travel time would be too excessive a neutral venue would be available upstairs at ‘The Herdsman’: Hereford’s club venue. However the Hereford Cathedral School Chess Club have advised that they would only be able to play games that start at around 4:00 p.m.

Therefore an alternative proposal has been put forward: that we play the league in a manner similar to that used by the Four Nations Chess League and the Welsh Chess Premier League, namely that all the teams come together at one venue on (say) 4, 5 or 6 Saturdays or Sundays throughout the season (depending on the number of teams – the advantage of 4 boards is that clubs would not need to play each other twice to equalize the number of whites and blacks for each team). Both the Hereford Cathedral school and Hereford Club haver offered their venues and the idea of all the league’s teams and players coming together is an attractive one.

Hereford Chess club and the Cathedral School could supply the equipment – although as Digital Clocks are the future of chess I would hope to persuade the Herefordshire Chess Association to fun the purchase of a few more so that we can play incremental time limits (say all moves in one hour with a 10 or 30 second increment to avoid the stress the risk of losing on time). If we choose the weekends option I may ask for a small donation to cover the purchase of tea and biscuits.

I would be grateful if you could email back – preferably before the 12 August so that I can brief the Herefordshire Chess Association meeting – with your views as follows:

In principle my club would/would not be interested in the Marches Chess League.
My club would only want to play in the league if the matches were weekday evenings/weekend afternoons/ either of these.
My club would prefer the following suggested time control for the games.
I have the following additional comments or suggestions.



With best wishes -- looking forward to hearing from you soon.  If I have not sent this email to the right person in your club I would be grateful if you could send it on to the right person – Thank you

Lee Davis