Southampton Chess Club

Latest news

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 £10 to the end of December, or £5 for under-18s / full-time students.

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.

Tournament updates

Robin Williams still leads the way in our season-long Club Championship, and he'll take some catching! Paul Hurn is doing well on 64%, then Gareth Jones on 63%, and a large chasing pack in the 50s. See the latest table here.

The next local congress is at Fareham on Friday 29 Feb to Sunday 1 Mar. It's organised by Castle Chess and you can download an entry form from their website. The Dorset Rapidplay in Ringwood on Sunday 15 March has just reached capacity, but do get yourself on the reserve list if you're keen to play. More details are on the Dorset Chess website.

The English Chess Federation keep a calendar of tournaments - click here. And they've recently released the mid-season grades, which take into account results up to the end of December. Here's the grading database.

Happy new year...

...and may your chess in 2020 be strong! The Chess Club starts again on Tuesday 7th January, with the next round of Club Championship games and also our B team and A team facing each other in division 1 of the league.

We're around half-way through the season but newcomers are still very welcome. See the information to the right or just come along to a Tuesday session and have a game. We start playing at 7:30 but please aim for 7:00-7:15 so we can say hello and explain how the Club works.

Tournament update - December

Robin Williams continues to lead the Club Championship, with a very solid 4 wins and 1 draw - a 90% score. Gillian Moore leads the chasing pack, with a group of players a bit further back either side of 60%. See the latest table here

The Knockout Cup draw is up - click here. Please try to play your first round game by the end of January.

Tournament update

Our Club Championship is four games in, and the table is beginning to take shape. Nice going so far for Tomasz Wilamowski and Robin Williams who are both off to 100% starts - see the table here. Better luck soon to those who haven't got points yet, unless they're going for an ambitious Swiss Gambit strategy...

The draw for our club knockout tournament will be done soon, so make sure you've told Kevin that you'd like to take part. Send Kevin an email.

Finally, entries are still open for the Hampshire Chess Congress, which takes place on Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd November at the Lysses House Hotel in Fareham. More details are on the Hampshire Chess Association website.

Countdown to the 2019-20 Club Championship

This season's Club Championship begins on Tuesday 24th September! Come along at 7:00pm or so and we'll pair everyone up to play a game in the Club Championship. This runs throughout the season and you just have to play on 10 evenings to qualify for prizes - you aren't expected to play every Tuesday, though of course you're welcome to. We start the games at 7:30 but try to arrive well before then as the latest person to arrive will miss out if we have an odd number of players.

Annual General Meeting key decisions

Thanks to all who attended the Club AGM on 3rd September. Minutes are in the Club filesharing area (ask a Committee member for the link) and here is a summary of the decisions made:

Changes to the Quickplay Championship
All three of our quickplay tournaments will now be included in the Quickplay Championship, instead of just the September and May 10-second buzzer tournaments. People's percentage score at their best two tournaments will be added together to determine the Parsons Trophy winner. Because it's based on players' best two performances, you'll still have a chance of winning the Trophy even if you miss one of the tournaments. We also agreed to scrap the small entry fee and prize money for the quickplay tournaments

Club subscription fee
The Club subs for 2019-20 were set at £51, unchanged on last year. This is reduced by 1/3 for full-time students, under-18s, and people on some sickness / disability benefits. Please pay your subs to Paul Chinkin as soon as you can, and definitely before your 4th game in the Club Championship. All Club members also need to join the English Chess Federation, so they don't charge us for putting our games through their grading system. If you're intending to play in any weekend congresses this season then it's probably worth going for Silver membership, otherwise Bronze is fine - see the ECF website.

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 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)