Chess League advice and information

Below is a message from Martin Simons on behalf of the B&DCL Committee following a meeting held on 12th August 2021.


Subject to the ever changing Covid situation and UK Government guidance the B&DCL is hoping to make a restart to over the board league competitive chess in October for those who wish to play, whilst following the UK Government guidelines.

At last week’s Committee Meeting we made some important positive decisions to help this happen. We also covered other decisions relating to the completion of the B&DCL 2019/20 league season (including the Team Handicap Knockout Cup), the B&DCL AGM, the Two Towns Match and the B&DCL/DCCA merger.

Due to people’s understandable concerns regarding Covid, we are expecting there will be less players and fewer teams, and, as a result, many teams may find themselves playing in higher divisions than would be planned for in a ‘normal’ chess season. We also think there might only be 4 divisions, maybe 3, for the 2021/22 season given the possible reduction in numbers.

Club Secretaries have been asked to provide information by Sunday 12th September including:

  • The number of teams each club would like to enter in the B&DCL for the 2021/22 season (including the Bacchus league).
  • The divisions the club prefers its teams to play in.
  • The captains for each team and their contact details.
  • The club home night for each team.

The goal is to generate the first five rounds of league fixtures by Sunday 26th September so that the first set of league matches can start in the week commencing Monday 11th October.

We are looking for a B&DCL League Controller so if you would like to help out we would really appreciate the support. In the meantime, on a temporary basis, I and the B&DCL League Committee will be overseeing the 2021/22 league fixtures.

This is likely to be a unique season. We know there may be some problems ahead so we will need to be as agile, flexible and understanding as possible regarding the league fixtures and rules. We will try and accommodate individual requests.

Thanking you in advance for your support.
Best Wishes,

Martin Simons – B&DCL Chairman, August 2021

2019/20 League Season

The season will not be completed but as all divisions are clear cut in terms of league winners, trophies will be awarded to the teams leading their respective divisions as shown on LMS prior to the first Lockdown in March 2020, and will be as follows:

  • Division 1 – Southbourne A
  • Division 2 – New Milton A
  • Division 3 – Poole C
  • Division 4 – Poole D
  • Division 5 – Poole E

Individual winners (all clear cut winners except Division 2, both players played the same number of games):

  • Division 1 – Mark Littleton (Wimborne A) – 7 points
  • Division 2 – David Bradley-Brock & John Belinger (both New Milton A) – 6.5 points
  • Division 3 – Richard Smith (Poole C) – 6 points
  • Division 4 – Tony Pritchard (Poole D) – 6 points
  • Division 5 – Tim Jones (New Milton B) – 5.5 points

The divisional trophies will be not presented at the B&DCL AGM (please see reason given below) but at each club’s AGM perhaps with an officer of the B&DCL present. Photos are welcome and these will be added to the Dorset Chess Website and/or Weekly Newsletter for visibility and recognition.

The engraving of trophies may take place before or after each club’s AGM depending on logistics.

None of the 3 teams (Wimborne D, Southbourne C and Highcliffe C) in Division 3 on 4 points will be relegated (unless requested). It is expected Poole D (top of Division 4) will be promoted (if requested) as there are likely to be fewer teams in the 2021/22 season (please see below). Other teams at the bottom of their respective divisions may be relegated.

B&DCL Team Handicap Knockout Cup – Currently at semi-final stage, this will be resumed asap. The winner of the semi-final match between Highcliffe and Wimborne will play Weymouth in the Final.


Due to Covid concerns and considerations, and to avoid large indoor gatherings, the next AGM is not likely to be held until the scheduled 2021/22 AGM, probably in June 2022

Two Towns Match

Due to COVID concerns and considerations, and to avoid large indoor gatherings, there will be no Two Towns Match in September 2021.

2021/22 League Season – Subject to ongoing permitted UK government guidelines

  • It is likely there will be 4 divisions (reduced from the current 5 divisions) following some limited initial feedback that there is likely to be less players and fewer teams willing to return immediately.
  • There will be a Bacchus league for new / inexperienced players & juniors. Matches must be of at least a 2 hour duration (one hour for each player) for them to be rated. Ideally matches to start earlier than 7.30pm if possible especially on school nights.
  • To encourage more teams and more players, the B&DCL will not be charging an entry fee per team for the 2021/22 season (2019/20: £15 per team).
  • Clubs will be invited to submit their teams, team captains, contact details, venue nights, any special notices etc and the divisions they would like their teams to play in, to the B&DCL Chairman (acting as League Controller) by Sunday 12th September.
  • Priority of allocation of teams to the higher division will be given to the team that has ‘won’ the lower division (and effectively ‘promoted’) in the 2019/20 season in preference to the team that was bottom of the higher division (and effectively ‘relegated’) unless other teams withdraw when both teams might be accommodated. It is likely that some teams in the lower divisions will be offered higher division places.
  • First set of fixtures (rounds 1 to 5 if there are six teams in a division) to be produced and advised to clubs by Sunday 26th September. For there to be a valid season (with league winners, promotion and relegation) teams will need to play each other at least once (minimum requirement). This allows for some slippage of fixtures for Covid reasons.
  • League matches planned to start in the week commencing Monday 11th October.
  • The Reserve player rule to remain in place. However, there should be some flexibility if requested.
  • To play in the B&DCL league or cup matches is the individual player’s own choice and responsibility.
  • It is the responsibility of the B&DCL to ask clubs to follow UK government guidance.
  • It is not the responsibility of the B&DCL to dictate what restrictions there should be (or should not be) for each match. It will be the responsibility of individual venues and clubs to follow UK government guidance and undertake their own risk assessments. All venues should provide sanitising gel, be well ventilated, and we discourage players from gathering around boards particularly at the end of matches. Most venues will probably not insist on the wearing of face coverings and the B&DCL cannot insist on it either given the UK government guidance (see end of document). However, we encourage face coverings to be worn, particularly when walking around the playing room. Should a venue insist on the wearing of face coverings, the League Controller and all clubs to be advised well in advance as this directive is unlikely to change. If a player is only willing to play if their opponent wears a face covering then this cannot be enforced but can be agreed by the teams beforehand (and this is to be encouraged) hence some flexibility may need to be required regarding the 10 point grading rule (now the 75 point rating rule) for board order (as there may only be one player in the opposing team who will accommodate this request).
  • The B&DCL Team Handicap Knockout Cup to start in January 2022 if UK government guidelines allow and there are no further restrictions / lockdowns.
  • The second set of fixtures (rounds 6 to 10 if there are six teams in a division) to be produced for February 2022 if UK government guidelines allow and there are no further restrictions / lockdowns otherwise teams will only play each other once during the season.

B&DCL / DCCA Merger

Discussions will be placed on hold until the 2021/22 AGM.

UK Government Guidance on Face Coverings – Updated 20th July 2021

Please read the latest government guidance on face coverings.

Here is an extract:

  • From 19 July 2021, there is no longer a legal requirement to wear face coverings in indoor settings or on public transport.
  • Lifting restrictions does not mean the risks from COVID-19 have disappeared, but at this new phase of the pandemic response we are moving to an approach that enables personal risk-based judgments.
  • Face coverings are expected and recommended in indoor spaces where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
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