Southampton Chess Club

Latest news

Chess, chat, and coffee on Saturday 6th August

Fancy a few games of casual chess with a drink of your choice on Saturday 6th August? Some of us will be at the Mitre pub on Portswood Road (Google Maps link) from 11.00am to around 12.30pm and you're welcome to join us! We'll probably be in the raised area on the left as you come in to the pub. Bring a chess set if you've got one that you're happy to use around drinks.

We usually meet like this on the first Saturday of each month so make a note and check back here for confirmation. We'd love to see you there.

That's all folks - no more Tuesday chess until September

Thank you to everyone who came to our final session before the summer break, the 10-second buzzer tournament. We had 13 entrants, and everyone won at least one game. Full results to follow soon but congratulations (again!) to Martin Buckmaster, who narrowly took first place ahead of Chuks Okoli.

We'll also post the Club Championship final standings and prizes shortly, but we can confirm Martin Buckmaster as the winner. Martin has won all the Club tournaments this season, in a triumphant return to competitive chess.

Club Championship almost final scores

We're having some technical difficulties with updating the latest standings page so here is the situation in our season-long Club Championship, listing everyone who has played the qualifying minimum 10 games (no one has played 9 games). One more game to go...

  • Martin Buckmaster: 80.0%
  • Tom Anderson: 66.7%
  • Simon Pearson: 62.5%
  • Gillian Moore: 59.5%
  • Frank Manclark: 59.4%
  • Dave Agostinelli: 57.9%
  • Niclas Hordnes: 56.3%
  • Hendrik Esman: 53.9%
  • Kenneth Burns: 50.0%
  • Kevin Sawers: 47.4%
  • Tom Battersby: 45.0%
  • Dave Nelson: 45.0%
  • Ros Hale: 32.0%
  • David Murchie: 26.7%
  • John Taylor: 15.0%

Congratulations to Martin Buckmaster who won the Knockout tournament, beating Frank Manclark in an entertaining game on 10th May.

Face coverings no longer compulsory indoors

As of 27 January, face coverings are no longer compulsory indoors - see the Government website. You are very welcome to carry on wearing a face covering, though. We also urge all participants to take a lateral flow test before attending. Please don't rely on the fact that you feel well - many people have covid with only mild symptoms or indeed no symptoms at all.

Download the current covid-19 risk assessment

Changes to our Club Championship tournament

We agreed at the Club's Annual General Meeting on 30 November to change the time control for our main Club Championship tournament.

36 moves in 75 minutes, followed by a 15-minute quickplay finish is now the default option. However, if your opponent agrees you can also use either of the options below:

36 moves in 75 minutes, then 24 moves every 60 minutes (so the game might need to be adjourned and finished another evening)

80 minutes for all your moves, with a 10-second increment from the start (you'll need to use one of our digital clocks for this one)

2021-22 Club Championship under way

Our season-long Club Championship tournament is well under way. These games are at a 'classical' time control - which means plenty of time to think and play your best moves! - and are put through the English Chess Federation's grading system. See the panel to the right for further details.

Newcomers are welcome to play three Club Championship games before committing yourself and paying any money. After that point, you need to join the Club and the English Chess Federation.

Club membership: This costs £63 for the whole season (£42 for under-18s / full-time students). For existing members, what you've already paid will be discounted against the full-year fee. For new members joining in Dec-Feb, the full-year fee will be reduced by one-third to £42.

ECF membership: See the ECF website for further info - Bronze level is all you need for Club competitions and costs £18 for adults (£6 for under-18s).

Covid-19 precautions - a reminder of the main points

  • You must not come if you have any covid-19 symptoms or are in self-isolation
  • Please consider taking a lateral flow test before coming, as some club members may have health issues which make them more at risk from covid-19
  • Please bring warm clothes - we'll be keeping the external door open for ventilation
  • We're not requiring face coverings, but feel free to wear one if you wish. Anyone concerned with their own risk of catching covid-19 is encouraged to wear a higher grade face covering (especially while playing)
  • Everyone must clean their hands as they enter (we'll provide sanitiser)

Getting to our venue - St Denys Community Centre

Details of how to get to St Denys Community Centre are on their website. The outer door should be open but the inner door has an entry code so we'll make sure someone is around to let people in. Ring the bell on the outer door if you need to!

Club Championship starting on 12 October

We've now had two weeks of friendly, unrated games and the clear majority view is to get the season-long Club Championship under way for 2021-22. So that's what we'll do! Here's how it works:

  • Arrive at St Denys Community Centre from 7.00pm and register for the tournament
  • We'll then pair you up with someone for a competitive, ECF-rated game
  • The time control is 36 moves in 75 minutes for each person, then 24 moves every 60 minutes (so the game might need to be adjourned and finished another evening)
  • If both players agree then the time control can be 36 moves in 75 minutes, then 15 minutes to finish (so the game will definitely finish on the night, by 10.30pm but often earlier)
  • On future sessions, you'll get paired up for a game with someone who's doing roughly as well as you are (the Swiss System) but we will swap people around a bit in favour of relative beginners. It's not always fun to have a run of bad losses against far more experienced players, though it can be a good way of learning!

If anyone would like to play friendly games for another week then we'll do that. Some of the newcomers who we've had the privilege of welcoming recently are quite new to in-person chess and we're keen to help them get used to it.

Time to play chess!

After a long pause, Southampton Chess Club is starting again on Tuesday 28 September. We're back at St Denys Community Centre, starting at 7.30pm.

The first couple of sessions will be unrated friendly games to get us all used to playing in person again. This will also help newcomers to meet some people and settle in nicely, we hope.

Please turn up for a 7.30pm start on Tuesday. We'll start collecting joining fees in a couple of weeks' time and, as normal, newcomers can play free of charge for a few weeks.

Details of how to get to St Denys Community Centre are on their website. We are really looking forward to seeing you - whether you're a Club veteran or a new player. Let's play chess!

Start of 2020-21 season delayed

The Club committee is reviewing the situation, consulting with Club members, and deciding when it will be viable to start the 2020-21 season. Please check back here and (for 2019-20 members) look for email updates from the committee.

The St Denys Community Centre managers have set the capacity for our room at the Centre at 14 people, i.e. 7 games taking place. The English Chess Federation's covid-safe guidelines - click here - say the following conditions should be followed when 'government advice allows people to meet but sets a limit on how close they can be':

'In competitive chess under socially distanced conditions, either player may demand the use of two boards, one player using a ‘master’ board, the other player using a ‘subsidiary’ board. Both boards should conform to the usual standards for competition play and both should be of the same design. Sets should be of the same size and a standard Staunton pattern.'

Several current Club members are very reluctant to return under the current restrictions, which means it is not viable to start the new season at the moment. We will keep this under review and hope to return soon.

Chess Club suspended from 24th March until further notice

The latest coronavirus outbreak guidance, issued on the evening of Monday 16 March, is that everyone should avoid non-essential travel and contact with others. Because of the short notice, the Chess Club is going ahead tomorrow, 17th March. Important - please do not come if you are in any of the vulnerable categories or if you have any flu-like / cold / cough symptoms. A committee member will be at the Community Centre from 7pm and if no one else shows up, that's absolutely fine! Do not feel at all obliged to come.

Following on from tomorrow, due to the stark advice given by the Prime Minister earlier this evening, the Chess Club will be suspended until further notice. If you like, use the time to do some chess studying or playing online and remember that the ECF has set up online groups at two of the popular online chess platforms - details here.

Club members will be kept up to date by email, and watch this space for more information as and when the situation changes. Best wishes and good health to all.

Information for Visitors

Southampton Chess Club was founded in 1883 and is the largest chess club in the Southampton area, and is pleased to welcome visitors and newcomers of all abilities.

The club meets on Tuesday evenings, 7.00-10.30 p.m., September to May inclusive (except between Christmas and New Year), at the St. Denys Community Centre (next to the Junction Inn), Priory Road, St. Denys, Southampton, SO17 2JZ.

Future League and Cup matches, along with details of meetings and other events are available on the Club Calendar

For more information, please see the "About the Club" page, email Club secretary Kevin Sawers or call 07815 600227.

Club Championship format

Most Tuesday evening sessions are focused on our season-long Club Championship competition.

These games are put through the English Chess Federation grading system so you need to be a Club member (and an ECF member) to take part. Newcomers are welcome to play three games in the Club Championship before committing to joining for the season, though.

Here's how the Club Championship works:

  • Arrive at St Denys Community Centre from 7.00pm and register to play a Club Championship game
  • We'll pair you up for a game with someone who's doing roughly as well as you are (the Swiss System) but we will swap people around a bit in favour of relative beginners. It's not always fun to have a run of bad losses against far more experienced players, though it can be a good way of learning!
  • The time control is 36 moves in 75 minutes for each person, then 15 minutes to finish (so the game will finish on the night, by 10.30pm but often earlier)
  • If both players agree then the time control can be 36 moves in 75 minutes, then 24 moves every 60 minutes (so the game might need to be adjourned and finished another evening)
  • Alternatively, if both players agree then you can play with 80 minutes for all your moves, and a 10-second increment from the start (you'll need to use one of our digital clocks for this option)