Southampton Chess Club

Latest news

Chess at the Mitre pub on Saturday 1st June

It's the first Saturday of a new month so some of us will be at the Mitre pub on Portswood Road (Google Maps link) from 11.00am on Saturday 1st June. All are welcome to come along for some games of friendly, ungraded chess until around 12.30pm. We'll probably be in the raised area on the left as you come in to the pub. Please bring a chess set if you have one that you're happy to use around drinks.

We usually meet like this on the first Saturday of each month (including through the summer when we don't meet on Tuesday evenings) so make a note and check back here for confirmation. We'd love to see you there. Club members old and new are welcome, as are non-members. Come along if you've been meaning to try out the Club for a while or if you'd simply like to give in-person chess a go. No charge, no commitment - just turn up!

Back for the new year!

The chess club starts again on Tuesday 2nd January. Newcomers are very welcome so if you've made a New Year's Resolution to play more chess then please come along! See the panel on the right for more details of how our Tuesday evening sessions run, and get in touch with any queries or just turn up ready for a game. It's helpful if you can arrive before 7.15pm so we can say hello properly and make sure you're all set to join in.

We've also made the draw for our annual knockout competition - see the 2023 Activities page and please play your first game by the end of January

Festive fun - blitz tournament on Tuesday 19th December

Tuesday is our last session of the year and as usual this means we're having our annual blitz tournament! The time control is 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment and the games are not rated, so do come along to St Denys Community Centre tomorrow before 7.30pm for some good fun and lots of blunders. All are welcome, whether or not you're a club member, and there's no charge.

We aren't meeting on Boxing Day so our next session will be on Tuesday 2nd January, for our normal Club Championship tournament. See the panel on the right for more details.

2023-24 Club Championship has begun!

Our season-long Club Championship tournament started on Tuesday 26 September. It was great to see several newcomers, along with many existing members returning for the new season.

We start our Tuesday evening sessions at 7.30pm but please try to arrive between 7.00 and 7.15 so we can get everyone registered and set up to start on time. See the panel on the right for how to find us and full details of the Club Championship format.

Newcomers are welcome to play three games before joining the Club. This hopefully gives a good opportunity to decide whether in-person, competitive chess is the thing for you. The Club's annual membership fee for 2023-24 is £75, with an option for new members to pay £25 for membership up to the end of November. Joining the English Chess Federation is also needed as we put all our games through their grading system. ECF membership costs £18 for the Bronze level, which is all you need for our club tournaments. ECF membership details are here.

Tournament on Tuesday 12 September - all are welcome

We're under way with the new chess season and our next session is a blitz tournament on Tuesday 12 September. We'll be using a 10-second buzzer so get practising your quick moving skills! There's no charge, just turn up at St Denys Community Centre in good time for a 7.30pm start. Everyone's welcome, especially if you came along for the first time on 5 September. Here's our plan for the next few Tuesday evening sessions:

  • 12 September: 10-second buzzer tournament
  • 19 September: Annual General Meeting - please have your say on how the club is run
  • 26 September: Our season-long club championship tournament begins

2022-23 tournament results

Many congratulations to Chuks Okoli for winning this year's Parsons Cup lightning trophy! Chuks scored 100% (6 out of 6) in our September tournament then 7 out of 8 in December, giving him a percentage score of 94%. Alec Wilson was second on 79%, with Niclas Hordnes third on 74%. For the full results please see our 2022-23 activities page.

Season-ending buzzer tournament on Tuesday 30 May

It's our final Tuesday evening session of the season next week and we'll be playing the third leg of our lightning (i.e. very short time control) tournament. All are welcome, whether or not you're a club member - if you've never joined us before, please come along and see whether you might like to get involved when the 2023-24 season starts in September.

As with the first leg of the lightning tournament back in September 2022, we'll be using the dreaded / loved (delete according to preference) 10-second buzzer! It's not good for the nerves but always leads to some entertaining games and a few surprise results. Please aim to arrive at St Denys Community Centre by 7.15pm on Tuesday so we can get everyone registered and start at 7.30.

The results will be put towards overall standings for the Parsons Trophy. Everyone's best two performances (as a percentage score) in the three tournaments are added together to give a total score. You can see the Christmas and September tournament results at the 2022 activities page on our website.

We're back for 2023

The club resumes on Tuesday 3rd January, meeting as normal at St Denys Community Centre for a 7.30pm start. Please see the box to the right for more information. Newcomers are very welcome - as you'll see on the right, you can come along for three evenings without paying anything to see how you get on. Playing more competitive chess is a splendid new year's resolution...

Christmas lightning tournament

On Tuesday 20th December we had our second lightning tournament of the season, an 8-round tournament using a 5-minute time control. Nowhere near enough time to think properly!

We had 15 participants and here is the top 3:

  • Chuks Okoli: 7 points (out of 8)
  • Niclas Hordnes: 6.5 points
  • Alec Wilson: 6 points

These results will be put towards overall standings for the Parsons Trophy at the end of the season. We play 3 lightning tournaments through the season, and everyone's best two performances (as a percentage score) are added together to give a total score. Full results for the Christmas tournament and the 10-second buzzer tournament held in September are at this link

We have a week off for Christmas, so the next club session is on Tuesday 3rd January with Club Championship games starting at our usual time of 7.30pm.

Club Championship starts on Tuesday 27 September

Our season-long Club Championship competition starts this Tuesday evening! Please see the box to the right for a run-down of how the tournament works.

We start playing at 7.30pm but please arrive a bit earlier (from 7.00pm) so we can get people entered and paired up for a game. Also, if we have an odd number of people then the last person to arrive will miss out on a graded Club Championship game. If there is an odd person out, though, we encourage them to stay and play friendly games once other people's graded games have finished. One or two games will often finish fairly quickly so this might well be a short wait.

Our Club membership fee for the season is £93 but new members are welcome just to join for Sep-Nov for £31. You can also play 3 games free of charge before committing yourself to joining. All members also need to join the English Chess Federation as we put our games through their grading system. This costs £18 for the season - ECF membership details are here.

Nearly time for the new chess season

The Club will be resuming soon! Newcomers and familiar faces alike are very welcome, and here's the provisional plan for the first few weeks of the season. All the sessions are at St Denys Community Centre, Priory Road, Southampton. We start at 7.30pm but please try to arrive a bit earlier for introductions, registration etc.

  • Tuesday 6th September: Annual General Meeting (AGM)
  • Tuesday 13th September: Friendly unrated games
  • Tuesday 20th September: Lightning tournament - several games at a very short time control
  • Tuesday 27th September: Club Championship season-long competition starts (see the box to the right for more details of how our Club Championship works)

This programme will be confirmed at the AGM on 6th September so check back here afterwards for an update. We'll also set the season's membership fee at this meeting and present the Club's trophies to last season's award winners. Many congratulations to:

  • Club Champion: Martin Buckmaster
  • Under 1750 Champions: Tom Anderson & Simon Pearson
  • Under 1600 Champion: Niclas Hordnes
  • Under 1450 Champion: Ros Hale
  • Quickplay Champion: Martin Buckmaster
  • Knockout Champion: Martin Buckmaster
  • Most Improved Player: John Taylor

A note for newcomers

You are very welcome to come to the AGM but feel free to wait until the 13th September session, at which we will actually play some chess!

Changes to our Club Championship tournament

We agreed at the Club's Annual General Meeting on 30 November 2021 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)

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!

Information for Visitors

Southampton Chess Club was founded in 1883 and is the largest chess club in the Southampton area. We welcome visitors and newcomers of all abilities, although see below for what one of our normal sessions looks like - we are serious about our chess!

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

Children and young people are welcome but under-16s must be accompanied by an adult as the Club is not set up to take responsibility for children. Also note that games often finish quite late although we do have an optional rate of play for school-age children which means their game will finish no later than 10.00pm. Other clubs in the area do have activities aimed at children - see the Hampshire Junior Chess Association website for details of children's chess activities.

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. We get started at 7.30pm so the game will finish by 10.30pm at the absolute latest (usually 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)
  • Shorter rate of play for young people If either of the players in a game is in school year 11 or below, they can insist on a shorter time control to ensure their game will finish by 10.00pm. This is 30 moves in 60 minutes for each person, then 15 minutes to finish