Most of the lower divisions of the Birmingham Chess League contain players considerably stronger than one might expect. This is particularly true in divisions three to six which may contain smaller clubs who run only a couple of teams, but have two or three strong players.
It is a factor which is thought to have inhibited entries for the long running individual tournaments for the six divisions. The result has been a rethink and a new format for the coming seasons in which entries will be based not on which division one plays in, but on grade.
There will still be six competitions with five of them limited to players with grades under 80, under 100, under 120, under 140 and under 160. The sixth competition will be an open event.
Ungraded players must provide evidence of estimated playing strength and anyone failing to demonstrate appropriate to the section applied for, will be allocated to the open competition. The new format was approved almost unanimously at the August meeting of the Management Committee.
In recent years very few Lichfield players have competed but hopefully they will be encouraged by the new rules. Further details can be found on the BDCL website.