Royston Chess Club was formed in October 1986, and joined the Hertfordshire Chess Association and its inter-club league the following year. This is the only chess club within a 12-mile radius of Royston and we currently have over 20 members.
The Club meets on Monday evenings, sometime Wednesdays for matches, in the Royston Conservative club in Kneesworth Street, near the town centre. The Club is closed in summer, and on bank holidays; and occasionally on some Mondays if most of our members are engaged in away matches.
Starting in Division 3 of the Herts League, the Club’s 1st team, consisting mainly of county-standard players living in the neighbourhood, quickly gained promotion to Division 1, and were league runners-up in 1990. Fortunes dipped in the mid & late 1990s, although the Russell Trophy (Herts K.O. Cup) was won in 1997 and again in 2001.
After a couple of near misses, the Club were finally crowned Herts League champions in 2002 with a near maximum score, ending Hertford’s domination of the competition. The team’s peak, however was achieved later in that decade with 3 successive League championships in 2007, 2008 & 2009.
The Club has also entered a 2nd team since 1987, originally in Herts Division 7 and consisting of novice players, but gradually improving in strength so that after several promotions, the team lies comfortably in Division 2.
Due to expanding membership, the Club entered a 3rd team about 12 years ago, and more recently a 4th team. We currently compete in Divisions 1, 2, 4 & 6. The Club tries to provide League chess to every regular member, commensurate with their level of ability.
The club also has two teams in the Cambridgeshire league, which gives more scope for players, and a team in the Herts and District league which is grade restricted so giving more games for those that want to get more experience.
Leagues are based on teams playing each other both home and away. So for half of the matches, shared travel (of up to an hour) is involved, and may be on any weekday. There are usually about 12 matches to play in a season with 5 players in each team. All inter-club games are played with chess clocks to ensure a finish on the evening.
Internally, the Club runs two annual championships each season, one for players ranked in the top half of the Club, and the other for the remaining members. There are also 3 one-night tournaments across the season, including a Xmas event, and tuition evenings for less-experienced members, as time permits.
And of course there are friendly games to play against anyone else available.