West Midlands Area League


Contacts, rules, policies

Updated 31 March 2021

Organising committee

The league organising committee comprised Nigel Towers (Redditch), Rob Sutton (Worcester) and Stephen Woodhouse (Longbridge).

Fixtures, match results, team captains

The most recent information about fixtures and other information about the league is maintained on the English Chess Federation’s League Management System. The information on LMS is used by team captains to set up and report results of West Midlands Area League matches. Instructions to enable captains to send and accept challenges on chess.com is linked from here. The current team captains are shown in the table below.


Teams and captains are as follows:


Division 1  
Team Captain
Hereford Kieran Lappin
Longbridge 1  
Redditch Nigel Towers
Solihull 1 Julian Summerfield
Warwick University Alumni James Munn
Worcester 1 Rob Sutton
Division 2  
Team Captain
Isle of Wight John Wrench
Kidderminster David Waud
Longbridge 2 Paul "Spike" Bignall
Mutual Circle Chris Evans
Solihull 2 Julian Summerfield
South Birmingham Matthew Little
Stourbridge Julie Wilson/ Colin Woodall
Worcester 2 Rob Sutton

WMA league rules

The full rules can be viewed linked from here. Players must be members or supporters of the English Chess Federation. Briefly, matches have four boards and each player has two games on one evening (one as white and one as black) against the same opponent using the chess.com platform and a time control of 15 minutes plus 10 seconds increment from move 1. The captain of the 'home' team is responsible for issuing the match challenge and the opponent team captain for accepting a challenge. Each of the two matches played between the same two teams on an evening are scored separately in terms of match points and teams winning on aggregate in the evening get a bonus of one point. A match win is scored as 2 points, a draw as 1, and a loss as 0. At the end of the season tie-breaks between teams with equal number of match points are made using game points. Players must adhere to the fair-play rules of chess.com and the English Chess Federation (see below). The results of games are sent for online grading by the ECF on a monthly basis.

ECF Fair play and anti-cheating for online play

The policy document is available linked from here.

ECF Safeguarding

The league has adopted the safeguarding policy of the English Chess Federation linked from here.

Foundation clubs

Greenlands, Redditch, Stourbridge, and Worcester City from Worcestershire were joined by an off-shore guest, the Isle of Wight Chess Club organised by former Worcestershire team captain John Wrench and eight clubs from outside the county for the first season: Coventry Chess, Mutual Circle, Rugby, Solihull, South Birmingham, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield and Warwick University.

Formation of the league

Nigel Towers (Redditch) took up the challenge to get Worcestershire players online after the country closed down for the Covid-19 pandemic. His work was supported by WCA when Worcestershire CA officials urged clubs to field teams in an online league. Although Nigel was not able to replicate the missing Worcestershire over-the-board league, he widened the net by asking clubs in neighbouring leagues to participate. The league is independent of Worcestershire Chess Association.


The first 'practice' matches using a four-board team playing two rapidplay games with the same opponent were played in mid-April. The first league matches were played on 16 April and there were sufficient team entries that the league was run with two divisions.


The Covid-19 pandemic originated in China probably in the last part of 2019. The spread of this respiratory infection was declared a global health emergency late in January 2020 and the first UK cases were detected about the same time. In February, more and more case were reported in England and hospital intensive care capacity was full leading to calls for the Government to take action in early March. Several clubs had already closed their doors by the second week in March and WCA suspended all play in the Worcestershire League on 14 March. A week later the UK Government imposed a 'lockdown' prohibiting all but essential travel.