Chess League advice and information

23 members attended a lively and warm B&DCL AGM at Tuckton Social Club on Tuesday 21st June 2022 which lasted 3 hours.

Officers gave their reports and all team and individual winners were presented with their trophies. The photos of the winners can be viewed here.

Key Points arising from the meeting:


  • A period of silence was observed in recognition of those members of the League who had passed away since the last meeting: Peter Bytheway (Southbourne), Terry Walsh (Southbourne), Jim Fox (Wimborne), Chris Orchard (Wimborne & Parkstone Knights in the 70s & 80s), Mihail Nutu (New Milton), Don Hewson (Poole).
  • The number of players in our league has fallen by half from around 200 regular players 25 years ago to 100 regular players last season. Whilst recognising last season was the first post-Covid, clubs need to carefully think about what action can be taken to stop or even reverse this trend and any rule changes need to bear this in mind.
  • A small decrease in funds since 2019 when the accounts were last presented at the AGM. It was agreed that team league fees for the 2022/23 season will be reduced to £10 per team to reflect decreasing expected costs going forward.
  • Plenty of junior chess activity and successes in the last 3 years including the Covid period and great to see so many juniors playing in our local league but we would like to see more next season – more help from local clubs and players is required. Finding the key contact in schools is a priority. Plan to resume chess in libraries and to hold the Dorset Junior Chess Championships in 2022/23.
  • A very successful B&DCL league season with, perhaps surprisingly, only a few postponements, with matches generally played in a good spirit. Only a couple of issues raised on ‘excessive noise’ at some matches and the ‘non-recording of moves when there are 30 second increments’.
  • The website had remained vibrant during the last 3 years including the lockdown period with high visitor numbers – also a lot of hard work behind the scenes with many tidy ups and improvements including a revamped junior chess section. The website is now in maintenance mode with a focus on our local events and leagues.
  • The new monthly rating system has settled down and seems to be working well. All events have been submitted for grading. There now seems to be less work for our Rating officer, Phil Wallace, who confirmed his retirement. He was thanked for all his hard work over the past 16 years.
  • All officers re-appointed except that Barry Jolly (New Milton) was appointed as League Secretary and Greg Webb (Wimborne) as Rating Officer.
  • The Two Towns Match was scheduled for Monday, 12th September with new match captains, Richard Ursell (Bournemouth) and Eric Sachs (Poole).

Rule Change Proposals

  • A proposal that all member clubs be represented by one team only per club of six players in Division 1 with no relegation was defeated, the only votes in favour being cast by the representatives of the proposing club, and two abstentions.
  • A proposal emanating from the above proposal for teams of six players in Division 1 and four players in all other divisions was defeated by 13 votes to 6.
  • It was agreed by 13 votes to 4 that players may play up to a maximum of 3 times in a higher team as a “Reserve”.
  • It was agreed, by 10 votes to 4, to remove all references to the Reserved Places system in the League Rules.
  • It was decided unanimously that the remaining proposal – If a nominated team player has not played in the first 3 matches of the season, that player will cease to hold a nominated place and that player’s club will be required to immediately re-allocate a player from a lower team to that higher team – was an unnecessary complication given the preceding decisions.
  • It was agreed, on a vote of 15 to 5, to extend the use of time increments to all divisions of the League, where digital clocks are available.
  • There were a couple of ‘minor wording’ rule change proposals that were approved unanimously.

Bacchus League

An extended and not altogether conclusive discussion took place concerning the Bacchus League, the key points emerging being the value of that League for developing both junior players and those new to the game, the importance of balance between teams (to be achieved by prior consultation between team captains), the importance of limiting publicity for individual achievement in order to avoid the effects of associated disappointment, and the provision within the guidelines for teams to tailor the numbers in teams according to availability. The meeting left the management of the Bacchus League in the 2022-23 season to the League Controller.

Proposed B&DCL Merger with the DCCA

It was recognised there were a number of benefits to a merger including more efficient administration, considerable congruence between the two organisations and opportunities for economies of scale in accounting and insurance. It was further emphasised that the proposal did not extend to altering the structure of the two chess leagues themselves. There were some matters to resolve; in this respect it was pointed out by the President that the merger should not be taken as a given, particularly as the 2 organisations are currently run very differently. However, the proposal was agreed to in principle and the DCCA has been asked to present a proposal document for a merger with the B&DCL for consideration by the B&DCL.

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