Chess Terms
English Chess Federation (ECF)

English Chess Federation (ECF)

There are many national chess federations, like the Russian Chess Federation and US Chess, but the English Chess Federation is the organization that oversees chess in England. Let's learn about what the English Chess Federation is, what it does, and more!

Here is what you need to know about the English Chess Federation:

What Is The English Chess Federation?

The English Chess Federation (also known as the ECF) was founded in 2004 and is the governing body for chess in England. It took over these duties from the British Chess Federation (BCF), after Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Channel Islands started overseeing their own chess activities. The BCF had been presiding over chess in England since 1904 but was restructured to become the ECF for the 2005-2006 chess season.

English Chess Federation
England Chess Federation logo. Photo: ECF.

Why Is The English Chess Federation Important?

The ECF is important for many reasons. It is the FIDE affiliate for England and still oversees the British Chess Championships. The ECF also selects and finances English teams for international competitions, including the European Team Chess Championship and the Chess Olympiad. 

On, the ECF has an official club for all English-registered players. They hold three events a week on the live chess server and are an active community. If you are an official ECF member, you can join the ECF Members' Club as well and participate in online rated events!

In May 2020, the ECF held a 24-hour Chess Marathon on that raised an estimated $12,000 for the British Red Cross. This event had many of England's top GMs participating, including Michael Adams, Matthew Sadler, Gawain Jones, Keith Arkell, Luke McShane, and Simon Williams.

English Chess Federation
Four streams in action during the ECF 24-hour marathon. Photo:

English Chess Federation Grading System

Unlike most chess federations, the ECF does not use an Elo or Glicko rating system. Instead, its rating system produces an ECF grade, which is calculated and updated twice a year instead of monthly as FIDE, US Chess, and most other federations do. The ECF plans to move to monthly grade updates in 2020.

ECF grades are three digits instead of the normal three- to four-digit ELO ratings. A conversion formula equates ECF grades to normal ratings. For example, an ECF grade of 100 is roughly equivalent to a 1450 FIDE or 1543 US Chess rating, while an ECF grade of 200 is roughly equivalent to a 2200 FIDE or 2264 US Chess rating.

English Chess Federation
ECF grades and the equivalent FIDE and US Chess ratings. Photo: Reddit.

As of January 2020, the ECF Grading Database states that the top English players are GMs Sadler, David Howell, Adams, McShane, and Jones who all have an ECF grade above 260 (Sadler tops the list with an ECF grade of 281). In contrast with the FIDE ratings, Adams is the top player with a 2701 FIDE rating, and Sadler is at number two with a 2694 FIDE rating (as of July 2020).

English Chess Federation
GM Michael Adams at the 2017 World Cup. Photo: Maria Emelianova/


You now know what the ECF is, what it does, what ECF grades are, and more. If you reside in England, check out the Official ECF Club and participate in their active community!

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