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Dorset is a good choice of county in which to play chess! Over 200 adult players regularly take part in club matches and competitions and over 100 juniors in chess activities.

There are 48 participating teams in 2 vibrant chess leagues – the Bournemouth & District Chess League (B&DCL) and the Dorset County Chess Association (DCCA) League in which 10 friendly clubs participate. Details of your nearest club can be found by clicking on the ‘B&DCL League’ and ‘Dorset League’ headers at the top of this page.

There is also a B&DCL Team Handicap Knockout Cup and more recently a friendly Bacchus League for new or inexperienced players.

Results from the leagues and cup can be accessed via the ECF LMS (League Management System) – click on the red button on this page, top right. All other current chess news is posted on this website.

Several congresses are run during the year, including the weekend Dorset Open and these 1 day congresses:

Dorset Closed

Dorset Blitz

Dorset Rapidplay

Various juniors chess events.

In July and August 2016 the 103rd British Chess Championships were held in Bournemouth for the first time in 80 years which achieved a record attendance. This was very much down to the considerable work of the B&DCL and DCCA officials Martin Simons and Ian Clark. Along with the successful Bournemouth Grand Chess Congress organised by the B&DCL for 4 years which provided half of the local sponsorship to these championships, clubs across both leagues also provided essential financial support.

Dorset Blitz 160918
Bacchus match - first ever 4 Oct '18
Dorset Junior Chess Championships 2029

Season 2019/20 dates so far

Fri 8 Nov ’19, 6.30pm to 7.15pm (for 7 weeks until Fri 20 Dec),  Bitesize Junior Chess Sessions, Southbourne Chess Club, Tuckton Social Club

Sat 30 Nov ’19,  Southampton Rapidplay, 6 rounds, Southampton University, SO17 1BF

Fri 20 Dec ’19,  Southbourne Christmas Quickplay Handicap Tournament, Tuckton Social Club

Sat-Sun 11-12 Jan ’20  4NCL Divs 3 & 4 South, Maidenhead/Windsor

Mid Jan ’20,  B&DCL Team Handicap KO Cup commences

Sat 8 Feb ’20  Dorset Junior Chess Championships, Bournemouth School for Girls

Sun 15 Mar ’20,  25th Dorset Rapidplay, Greyfriars, Ringwood (pl see “Congresses”)

End May ’20,  Concluding week in the 2019/20 County and B&D Leagues

May/June ’20,  3rd 1 Day Dorset Closed, expected to be Merley, date to be confirmed

Fri-Sun 16-18 Oct ’20,  55th Dorset Open Congress, Elstead Hotel, Bournemouth


IM Alan Merry (240) v Peter Anderson (192), Dorset Open, Bournemouth 2017. Alan (white) to move. What would you play? (Please see the continuation, in "Events & Information" alongside).

Chess problem Kiriakov-Srihari

White to play. What would you do? Position from Kiriakov-Srihari, Abu Dhabi this year. Actual continuation in the "Events & Information" column to the right

Chess Endgame_110819

It is black to play - what would you do and why? Analysis from Peter Anderson who argues pawn endings may look simple, but are often very tricky!

Peter regularly sends in games, he has both played and analysed, on the Ringwood Chess Club website and “Member Games”:

Or, for this particular game, please go straight to the ChessBase link:

Many thanks to Peter for agreeing to publish this here.

In this position it is white to play. Please read the text below first. What would you play as white and can you suggest a continuation?

Chess game 1966 Fischer v Gligoric

This position is from Bobby Fischer v Svetozar Gligoric, Havana Olympiad 1966. Fischer selected the game for his book “My 60 Memorable Games”.  Black has just played 17…..Ka7?? which was regarded as “catastrophic”! What would you now play as white move 18? And what happened next to you think?

Comments etc in the column “Events & Information” alongside, with header Fischer v Gligoric and with this board position

Mike Waddington & Martin Clancy submit ChessBase games - do you like the Smith-Morra Gambit?! This may help you decide!

There are now 5 new games, thanks to Mike Waddington and Martin Clancy. They can be found through “Games” on the main menu bar and then click on “Chess Base link games”. Then you should just click on the link of the game you are interested in please.

It will not have gone unnoticed that 3 of these games are the Smith-Morra Gambit. In the latest one, submitted by Mike, he turns the tables on Martin in a game he says reflects well on the 2 players.

If you have a game you wish published, ideally with analysis, please email me at: [email protected] Any format will do fine, including a scanned copy of the scoresheet.

Thank you!

Mike (Jay) 18 June ’19

B&D KO Handicap Final: Highcliffe had to make late team change with Ken Smith coming in. But it now meant they needed to win the match at least 3.5-2.5

Purbeck (left) & Highcliffe KO Cup Final 0306194 Jun ’19: Highcliffe and Purbeck played out an epic final last night. The match result was in doubt right until the end. For the winner, score detail and reports by the 2 captains please go to B&DCL Team Handicap Knockout Cup on LMS. LMS can be accessed clicking on the red button near the top righthand side of this page
(pictured left the 2 teams just before play started – Purbeck on the left. And then, immediately below, the Highcliffe team, followed by Purbeck)

Highcliffe KO Cup Final 030619Purbeck KO Cup Final 030619

County League Div 3 decided in the last minute of the last match - defending champions Poole B win 4th match in a row, but title eludes them by just half a game point as Wimborne B become champions

Dorset County League website

A most dramatic season end in County 3

On 16 May County League Division 3 had what must be one of the most tense and exciting finishes in Dorset league chess  history. After some 9 months, 20 matches and over 200 hours of games it came down to the last minute of the last match of the season! A short report of what happened appears below and both clubs have put first class reports on their websites (links also below).

17 May: Last night’s match at Poole was like a cup final in County League Division 3. Apparently the match outcome was in doubt right up to literally the last minute according to Wimborne B Captain Colin Wilson. Colin reports it was Graham Hillman who secured the vital draw in his game against Tarik, with seconds to spare – the last one to finish. So, although Poole B won their 4th match in a row, the margin of victory, 2.5-1.5, fell tantalisingly short by just half a game point. Wimborne B are the new champions of this Division and very well done to them. But also congratulations to 2017/18 champions Poole B who fought all the way and it could not have been closer or more exciting. The details of the result, with Poole B winning 2 games, Wimborne B 1 and 1 drawn is on LMS.

An excellent and full report on the dramatic finish to this match has been written by the Wimborne B Captain Colin Wilson. It appears on the home page of the Wimborne website:

Please also see another very well written report, this time on the Poole website from Poole B Captain Tarik:

White to move. Black has just played 10...e6. What would you play?! (no3)

This game features local player Mike Yeo (white) playing A. Erdal-Smith in 1979. With brilliant play the game was to finish just 10 moves later. The continuation by white is shown under “Chess Events” in the column alongside and the full game is under “Games” on the Main Menu bar

Mike Yeo chess position 1979 posted 210419

Van Geet opening; white to move - what would you play?! (no2)

This position is from Mike Waddington v Steve Peirson, opening round Dorset Open 1 July ’18. Black has just played 6…c5. The continuation by white is shown under “Chess Events” in the column alongside

Mike Waddington v Steve Peirson, Van Geet 170419

Rook and bishop v rook; white to move - what would you play?! (no1)

The difficult rook and bishop versus rook endgame is often considered drawn. But in this game, Nakamura v Duda, St Louis 2019, black does not get it quite right. The winning continuation by white is shown under “Chess Events” immediately to the right

Chess position Nakamura-Duda 2019

Dorset Rapidplay

Bruce Jenks chess player
Pictured Bruce Jenks, who has won outright, or shared, the Rapidplay Cup a record 8 times

Dorset Rapidplay Cup winners over the 24 years

2019 M Duggan, A Pleasants, M Waddington
2018 J Weatherlake, G. Sawicki, M. Waddington, P. Anderson
2017 O. Garcia, A. Pleasants
2016 O. Garcia, K. Goater
2015 K. Harman, B. Jenks
2014 C. Bellers, B. Jenks, A. Pleasants
2012 K. Harman
2011 L. Laker
2010 B. Jenks
2009 W. Braun
2008 M. J. Simons, W. Braun
2007 I. Clark, B. Jenks, W. Braun
2006 M. Simons
2005 W. Braun
2004 B. Jenks
2003 B. Jenks, B. Hirsch
2002 A. Pleasants, I. Clark, B. Hirsch, B. Jenks
2001 G. Willetts
2000 G. White
1999 G. White
1998 B. Hirsch, M. Waddington
1997 B. Jenks
1996 I. Clark, K. Goater, G. White
1995 M. Freeman, G. White

New ECF grades at end of Jan '19 will not affect County & B&D Leagues except for small number of players moving from L grade to A-E

ECF Matters - Dorset ChessThe 24th Dorset Chess Association Rapidplay will use the new grades which are due at the end of Jan ’19.

And, as per last year, a very small number of “L” grades may be updated, in County & B&DCL, if they become “A-E” grades. ECF “F” grades are similar to our “L” grades and would be discussed with the club or clubs involved to decide which is the best or fairest grade. A reminder will be given at the end of Jan ’19.

"How do Chess Players Think?"....asked Martin Simons in 1998

In the position below it is black to move. What would you play? Try and spend about 10 minutes analysing.

This is taken from a fascinating NewsKnight article 20 years ago written by Martin Simons. Martin was trying to discover how players of different styles and strengths decide which move to play from a given position. He had a panel of 6 players from grade 108 to 194.

The actual match was Panchenko v Speelman (Sochi 1982). On page 6 Martin explains what Jonathan Speelman played and what happened next. Jonathan has been British Champion 3 times and at his peak in January 1989, was the 4th strongest player in the world

The full article, running to 7 pages, can be viewed by going to “How do Chess Players Think?” on the extreme left on the very top menu. Please click on a page to expand. Clicking again may enlarge more. On the 7th and last page, Martin summarises the 9 options that everyone considered.

Chess NewsKnight_211118

After a successful trial last season all County League & B&DCL results and current league tables appear on the ECF League Management System (LMS). Scores are actually entered by Captains, typically just after matches finish and most often with some comments about the match.

ecf logoNo need to send results to the League Controller thanks. LMS can be accessed by clicking on the red button near the top of this home page and going to “Dorset”. For viewing, no password required

Alan Dommett, Mike Waddington, Steve Peirson and Van Geet - follow Alan's Analysis of 4 games from the last Dorset Closed

Position after white move 21 Waddington V Peirson

Your move as black. White has just played 21. Be1

Mike Waddington (white) v Steve Peirson, Open Championship, Dorset Closed 1 July ’18 Merley. Van Geet Opening

The full game is analysed in “Games” by Alan Dommett. Alan comments just before this position that Steve had organised his defence well…. In his own analysis Steve remarks “I was pretty happy after 21 Be1 and Fritz agrees, assessing the position as -0.9. It gives a whole host of moves to maintain an advantage such as Na5, Qc8, Kg8 and g6. It wasn’t so keen on my idea of swapping off the rooks but I thought with my slightly weakened king side and his weak c pawn I could either get the queens swapped off or gain control of the d file…..”

Alan Dommett analyses a French Defence Exchange Variation, Nick Stout v Richard Ursell, Dorset Closed, Merley 1 July '18

Nick Stout v Richard Ursell Dor Closed 1 July '18

Nick Stout (White) v Richard Ursell in a defining game at the Dorset Closed at Merley 1 July ’18. Richard, who went on to become Dorset Major Champion, has just played 7….Be7. Opening: French Exchange Variation. Alan Dommett has analysed this game under “Games” Main Menu, along with 1 game from each of the other 3 sections. In the above game Alan comments “The isolated d-pawn is, all too obviously, taboo (7…Qxd4?? 8.Bb5+) making 7…Nc6 the more natural developing move as it springs the trap, but Black knows this target will not go away and is content to merely safeguard his king as quickly as possible”. In fact, Alan’s comments became reality late in the game when the impending loss of the d-pawn played a key part in white’s later decision to resign.

County League & B&DCL Champions 2018
Many congratulations to all the successful teams!

Chess winners

County Div 1: Wimborne A

County Div 2: Wimborne B

County Div 3: Poole B

B&DCL Div 1: Poole A

B&DCL Div 2: Highcliffe A

B&DCL Div 3: Poole C

B&DCL Div 4: Poole D

B&DCL Div 5: Southbourne E

Team Handicap KO Cup: Poole

The Phase 1 ECF League Management System (LMS)

ECF Grading etc

ECF League Management Software (LMS) (updated 13 June ’18)

Both the B&DCL AGM at Southbourne 12 June ’18 & the Dorset County League 20 June ’18 voted to use LMS from the start of season 2018/19 as the system to record results, update league tables and give grading information. The current website will continue as of now, but it will not show 2018/19 results, league tables or grading updates. Niki was sincerely thanked for all she does for Dorset Chess, but it was explained that it was in the best interests of Dorset Chess to use the ECF system which has proved successful. The existing website, will news and events etc will very much continue as of now.

Previous report updated March ’18

Dorset has been one of many Associations and Leagues participating in Phase 1 of the ECF League Management System (LMS). This is, of course, running in parallel with the current system of results and league tables on our website. There is a link to ECF LMS, then click “Dorset”, on the very top menu. You do not need a password to view information, only to enter results. You will see the system allows for listing fixtures by club and other searches are also possible.

In recent months, Phil Wallace, the LMS Project Leader for Dorset and our Grading Officer, has set up club captains to enter results themselves on LMS and this has been a successful and evolving operation.

Subject to local consultation and agreement, it is proposed to use this software next season to provide the fixtures/results and league tables through an ongoing link from our current website. The B&DCL & County AGM’s in June ’18 will be asked to decide. We believe this has many advantages and reduces administration time considerably. But we would not run our own system for results and tables in parallel. As Malcolm says on the video link below, it is far quicker to enter a result on LMS than send an email. Many captains have said it takes only 2 minutes.

The software is still being developed all the time so there will, inevitably, be future changes.

Malcolm Peacock is the ECF Officer responsible for the LMS, especially its development. His video is aimed at all those who have been given access to LMS for the first time to enter results and runs for about 12 minutes. Phil Wallace is keen to get any feedback on whether current LMS users feel this might be helpful for anyone about to use LMS for the first time.

Pl click on this link:

Digital Chess Clock

Time Increments with chess clocks (updated 13 June '18)

At both the B&DCL AGM 12 June ’18 & the Dorset County League 20 June ’18, members voted in Time Increments for B&DCL Div 1 matches in season 2018/19. 1 hour + 30 secs a move for each player. And also agreed Time Increments can be used in B&DCL matches Divs 2, 3 4 & 5 provide both Captains agree in advance, and, of course, digital clocks are available. But this option will not be available 2018/19 for Dorset County League Divs 2 & 3.

Previous notes below:

Time Increments seem a popular way to go currently in all kinds of chess competitions, especially congresses and leagues. So, these brief notes are simply intended to help understanding for anyone wanting to learn more. Sometimes it is known as the “Fischer” system (time increments were added in the privately organised Fischer v Spassky 1992 rematch and quickly became popular – and first introduced by FIDE in a World Championship match in 1998)

What does “Time Increments” mean?

The first requirement is to have available digital clocks, like pictured above and capable of calculating increments. Essentially, it means a specified amount of time, such as 10 seconds is given for each move and this is added to whatever is allocated to each player for the whole game – such as 1 hour

What are the advantages?

It is claimed Time Increments allow players more time to think on each move, improve the quality of play and minimise time scrambles. There is also a perceived benefit of making possible longer games in terms of moves played, but not necessarily with time needed. Time Increments remove the need to apply the controversial “2 minute rule” (this rule allows a player with less than 2 minutes on their clock to claim a draw if the opponent is making no effort to win by normal means, or it is not possible to win by normal means)

What are the disadvantages?

There are views that time scrambles are an exciting feature of the game and managing your time properly is part of the game. Also, games with Time Increments would be slightly faster, in the sense of more moves being played in the time available, and some players may not welcome this

Does it make games last longer?

Not necessarily. Much depends on how much time is allowed for each move. Experience over the years has suggested that most games played with increments are slightly shorter than those with a quick-play finish. For example, if each player had, say, 1 hour each and 15 seconds a move, a game of 36 moves would last no more than 2 hours 18 minutes. It would need an unlikely 120 plus moves to have a chance of going over 3 hours. At time of posting this (21 May), 1hr + 30secs is the preference. It that was adopted a 60 move game would last 3 hrs, 70 moves 3hrs 10 mins and an unusual 90 moves 3hrs 30mins

Would players need to record their moves if time increments are used?

For standard games, players are now required to record all the moves of the game even when they have less than 5 minutes left on their clock if the Time Increment is 30 seconds or more per move. This is clearly an important change, as when there are no Time Increments, FIDE rules state it is permissible to stop recording moves when a player has less than 5 minutes on his or her clock in a time period. The recording of moves in Rapidplay, of course, has never been required.

Are time increments proposed for competitive chess in Dorset?

Since this article was posted there has been interest in trialling Time Increments in both the Dorset County League and also the B&DCL. Discussions have taken place at Committee Meetings of both leagues. No decisions have been made and, in any case, approval would have to be given at the forthcoming AGM’s. But the option most preferred is to apply Time Increments with digital clocks across all Division 1 matches in both the County League & B&DCL season 2018/19. And to allow Time Increments to be used below Division 1 in both leagues, but only if both captains agree in advance and on a match by match basis.

Chess is a great game for everyone!

Dorset Chess Association supports and encourages chess playing throughout the county

To view club details and make contact with secretaries etc, please see details by clicking on B&DCL & Dorset League on main menu above. Some clubs have websites and links to these are through the menu at the foot of this home page.

If you seek social and informal chess during the day, the Bournemouth, Southbourne, Poole & Wimborne clubs run sessions typically in café type settings. Please click on “Relaxed and casual chess” below

Relaxed and casual chess locally

You may be interested in more informal chess and there are currently these weekly opportunities: Monday Kinson Community Centre, Kinson 1.45pm to 5pm Tuesday Ludo Lounge, Southbourne Grove, Bournemouth 2.30pm to 5pm; Wednesday Flirt Café Chess Club, Bournemouth 2.30pm to 5pm, also Wednesday Amberwood Inn, Walkford around 8pm; Friday (from 2 Nov ’18) Royal British Legion, Wimborne from 10am; Thursday, Highcliffe Community Association Greystones 1.45pm; Thursday, Caffe Tratt, High Street Swanage, 10.15am to 12.15pm; Friday The Crooked Book, Boscombe 11am to 1pm

(There are no board fees, but chess players are expected to buy a drink, i.e tea/coffee/soft drink or something to eat)

Laws of Chess

Here is a link to the FIDE website and the laws of chess: Laws of Chess

The laws run into many pages; listed below are a few of the less understood ones:

Extracts from the FIDE Laws of Chess (as at July ’17)

Most recent laws of chess (Jan ’18), in which most recent changes highlighted: Laws_of_Chess_2018_-_EB_approved_-_highlighted_correction_version 

Please also refer to the B&DCL Rules (updated June ’17) and the Captains Notes, both on the website



Dorset Chess
Dorset Chess3 weeks ago
If you are interested in forthcoming congresses in both our region and beyond, you may find this ECF link useful:
Dorset Chess
Dorset Chess added 58 new photos.1 month ago
11 rounds of quickplay chess - all in a day!
Dorset Chess
Dorset Chess shared a link.4 months ago
The previous owners were unaware it was a long-lost piece of the medieval Lewis Chessmen.