The club has been in existence for many decades (see this entry in the British Chess Federation Yearbook 1954-5). In later years it used to meet in the United Reformed Church Hall (off Northbrook Street). In 1988 it moved to Mary Hare Grammar School, its home for 28 years. Its current home (from September 2016) is Woolton Hill Church Hall - see venue details. Traditionally it met on Thursday evenings but from February 2019 it meets on Wednesdays.
If you are planning your first visit, it is best not just to turn up on a Wednesday evening, in case we are not meeting or having a league match. Please check the diary or contact David Skyrme (details below) to find out details:
- Membership secretary - David Skyrme. Tel: (01635) 254151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Meeting times: Wednesdays from 7.30pm to approximately 10pm; league matches go on until 10.30pm.
- Chess season September - Easter. Sometimes a few matches are played in the summer term.
- Membership fee: £40 per term or £5 per visit. There is no charge for the few occasions we open in the summer term - we usually take a break from June - August.
Some Facts and Figures
- We cater for all abilities - even fairly novice players have ended up playing in our team, after some coaching by fellow players.
- Although we have hosted juniors in the past, our low mumbers mean that this is currently impracticable. There is a Berkshire Junior Chess Association which runs various events. We also recommend the thriving Basingstoke Junior Chess Club that meets Saturday mornings.
- Several of our players have resumed playing chess after gaps of 25 years or more
- You can play serious (e.g. 5 minute Blitz chess with clocks) or casual (letting your opponent take back bad moves)
- Our first team were top of the league division 1 - for about 3 weeks in 2007! They generally finish around mid-table, but were relegated to division 2 at the end of 2010-11. After two seasons back in Division 1 they were again relegated, at which time both A- and B- teams merged (for 2013-14)
- The newly merged team won Division 2 in 2015, so we again fielded two teams
- Our second team only started in 2004, and though usually near the bottom finished top of their division in 2010, so were promoted to division 2, they were demoted in 2011, then promoted again and just held their position. The two teams merged for the 2013-15 seasons.
- There were a record 13 entries in our 2014-15 club championship. Each player plays all the others. Our first champion (2011-12) was our former chairman, now Honorary President, Mike Marlow. Our most recent champion is Andy Robbings (both 2014-15 and 2015-16). Full results of each season's championship is on our championship page.
- There's nothing stopping you playing in more than one club (though you cannot play in league matches for more than one club in a single county); in the past some of our more enthusiastic players have also played in the same season for clubs in adjacent counties, including clubs at Bicester, Wantage, Swindon and Oxford.
- Each player normally gets through 3-4 social games in an evening
- We're always looking for new members, so we've actually produced a promotional flier (PDF). Print out (on A4, double-sided and fold in 2) and give to your friends!
- Modern chess computers can calculate over 500,000 positions a second, the human brain about 5, but (some) humans can still beat (some) computers.
This page last updated 24th January 2019