There are many things and ideas uniting people in this world. This is true for all the people throughout history in any country on the planet. We are biologically predisposed to stick together and find similarities with fellow humans.
Many are united by the idea of patriotism, or duty. Others are united by the love for their profession. Some form groups to play and enjoy music together. And then there are people who enjoy board games. Hundreds of thousands of people all around the world. And what united a big portion of us? Love for chess, of course.
As we know, chess is a unique strategic game, that has been around for many centuries, and it has been played everywhere. From backyards to international tournaments. But how did it get so global? Through a carefully structured system of local chess clubs!
There were small tournaments held within those clubs, that quickly grew into competitions between clubs, and from there into bigger competitions on the international platform. Earliest of those tournaments involved England, Ireland, and France and was held in 1834. Everything escalated quickly enough and by 1886, the first World Championship was organized. In the late 20th and early 21st century, love for chess hasn’t shrunk a bit. Many more chess clubs are formed all over, gaining a younger audience. Nowadays, it’s more than common to have a chess club for kids at your local elementary school. We can talk about the benefits of chess for hours, but that’s a story for another time. For now, let’s focus on the chess clubs, that became a solid part of the culture, especially around the UK.
Besides the school chess club, what’s the face of chess in the UK today? As we mentioned, there are fresh clubs organized all over the country, but many have withstood political and economic hardships and survived for decades, if not centuries. So, regardless of whether you’re looking for a chess club for beginners, or you’re a seasoned player looking for more practice, this short UK chess club guide will come in handy. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Situated in Basingstoke, UK, this club was established back in 1898. It’s still going strong today, welcoming all players, from beginners to masters. This club organizes games for both juniors and adults, spreading the love for chess and educating the community for more than a century. The junior games are held every Saturday morning, to accommodate the school schedules. So if you are an avid chess lover in Basingstoke, make sure you pay a visit!
It is situated in Fareham, Hampshire, UK and founded in 1947. First starting in a wooden hut called “White Horse Pavilion”, this club has changed location several times, presently locating at Duke of Connaught’s Own Club in Western Road, Fareham. It organizes games and tournaments and blitz games both within the club and with other clubs as well. It is open to anyone interested in joining and the new season starts every year September 1st!
One of the veterans on our list, it was founded in 1866. Located in South Tyneside, this club is on a mission to educate and inform its local community on the wonderful benefits of this great game. Nowadays the club organizes its games at the New Ship Inn, a beautiful location for inspiration and learning! Here, you’ll find many like-minded people, and, hopefully, come back for another game!
This remarkable club was founded in 1822, which makes it not only the oldest club in both Scotland and the UK but one of the oldest in the world. Today, it’s approaching its 200th birthday, with many fresh ideas and plans ahead. It’s a place for both entertainment and education. There are special tournaments and classes for young players, as well as both professional and casual games for everyone interested. The club presently runs 6 teams in total: 5 teams for adult players and 1 junior team. Naturally, the club has changed many locations in the city, but nowadays, having its own premises sets the Edinburgh club aside, giving it a respectable position among chess clubs throughout the country.
If you are planning on dropping in, make it a Tuesday night, as there will definitely be someone to show you around and give more information on upcoming events.
This club has a long history too. It was established in 1895 in Devon, South-West of England. Like all the clubs mentioned above, the Exeter club pays much attention to educating the younger members of the community, regularly organizing classes and competitions. The club traditionally meets on Tuesday nights, welcoming anyone interested in a casual game, or a more serious membership.
There you have it, a glimpse into the chess life of different corners of the UK. If you are bitten by the bug already, and can’t quite decide on what to do with it, let us give you a few pointers!
First of all, find yourself a good chess set, if you don’t already have it. If you are looking to buy chess set and find the best chess set for your needs, check out more universal options, in case you are a beginner. You can safely bet on a wooden chess set with quality-made Staunton pieces, which will serve you well and be definitely worth the purchase. Don’t pay extra money for some custom made antique set, that you’ll be too anxious to even unpack. Just get a good quality wooden standard portable chess set for your entertainment and education.
The next step is finding a local chess club near you and making time to play every weak at least. We bet you’ll find like-minded people there and definitely make some new friends. Boldly dive into the mysterious world of chess and never look back!