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In this paper we propose a new routing protocol for wireless sensor networks called energy-efficient chain-cluster routing protocol (ECR) and introduce the main idea of the protocol architecture. This protocol uses the hybrid way to manage the networks, and it takes advantages of both central control and distributed algorithm to form a topology with two- hierarchical chains' formation. ECR includes a simple but efficient cluster-head-leader selection criterion, which prolongs the time of the first node die in the network and improves the energy efficiency. Advantages of ECR are simulated by comparing with both low-energy adaptive clustering hierarchy (LEACH) and power-efficient gathering in sensor information system (PEGASIS).