The aim of the Bacchus League is to offer graded league condition matches for players who do not normally get the opportunity to play in league matches, or are new to more competitive chess, in a friendly and welcoming environment.

The league was formed following a small circle of chess friends exchanging ideas whilst enjoying an evening glass or two of Merlot. But calling it the “Merlot League” seemed to exclude those with other preferences for an evening nightcap. So Bacchus, the God of Wine, was suggested. This reflects the friendly, though not necessarily alcoholic at all, nature of the league.

In the 2019/20 season, 8 teams from 5 clubs took part.
In 2021/22, as chess cautiously restarts after the COVID inflicted break, there are 3 teams due to compete, though it is hoped more will join.

If you would like to enter a team into the Bacchus league, please contact Martin Simons here.

Bacchus - first ever match at Poole 4 Oct '18

The first ever Bacchus league match, played in 2018


  • We want to encourage any chess club within Dorset to enter our friendly Bacchus League. There is therefore no requirement for the club or team to be playing in either the B&DCL or Dorset Chess League.  There are no match or league fees for participating.
  • Playing in the Bacchus League does not jeopardise eligibility for the B&DCL or Dorset League.
  • The league season runs from October to May, though there is some flexibility to join in part of the way through the season.
  • Games will be played under FIDE rules.  This includes the use of clocks, scoresheets and touch move rules.
  • Players who play 3 or more games will need to be English Chess Federation (ECF) members, Bronze level or higher.  Details on joining are on the ECF website.  Joining the ECF is free to new junior members.
  • Players should in general be rated under 1450 (100 old money grading). One player in each team over 1450 is permitted but only if both captains agree in advance.
  • Teams are typically 4 boards, but can be more if the team captains agree, or could be 3.
  • The spirit is to try and organise teams of about equal strength and for teams to be in playing strength order, but there are no penalties if this convention is not followed.  To try and ensure teams are reasonably matched, captains are encouraged to make contact, pre matches taking place.
  • We encourage matches to start at 6.30 pm or 7 pm (rather than 7.15 pm or 7:30 pm) to allow every opportunity for juniors to play.  It is desirable that the combination of the start time and time control will lead to matches being finished by 9 pm.
  • In order to ensure games are rated, the time control must be a minimum of one hour duration for each player for at least 60 moves. Other than this, captains can agree on the time control. Examples of acceptable times controls are:
    (1) 1 hour each on the clock for all moves or
    (2) Each player has 1 hour in which they must make 30 moves.  After Black’s 30th move the clocks should be set back 15 minutes and then played to a finish or
    (3) 1 hr plus 15 secs a move increment.
  • The aim is for each team to have about 6-10 matches a season in total, and the number of rounds will be adjusted accordingly.  So for instance:
    – if 3 teams enter then the league would most likely be run as a triple round giving 6 games per team
    – if 5 teams enter then the league would most likely be run as a double round giving 8 games per
  • Results will be published on the website and a league table produced. However, there will not be any prize for winning the league as it is considered that taking part is the priority.