The origins of Poole Chess Club can be traced back to 29th November 1928 when Mr C.J Chapman, Mr W.H. Curtis, Captain P.H. di Marco, Mr H.J. Bastable and Mr Curtis Smith met to discuss the forming of a chess club.
Throughout this time the club has merged with a previous Poole Chess Club, seen a split to create B.D.H Chess Club which then became Merck, and a merger of the same two clubs to create Poole Chess Club.
The club has hosted many events such as simultaneous matches against Russian master Eugene Znosko-Borovsky and the world’s first woman’s chess champion Vera Menchik.
One character during the 70’s and 80’s was Greville Marples whom was a retired professional businessman. Greville travelled everywhere regardless of the time of the year on his bicycle and always were his ruby wine coloured suit. He was a great stalwart of the club.
The current Poole Chess Club in its present incarnation was formed in 1999 as the merger of Parkstone Chess Club and Merck Chess Club and moved to the Royal British Legion (RBL) in 1990. This is the present home of the club and has been for 30 years.
To mark the golden jubilee of the the club a simultaneous event was arranged and played at the Arts centre in Poole (now the Lighthouse). GM Nigel Short whom was the then 2nd ranked player in world at the time agreed to play and support this event in November 1988 where he played 40 boards from Poole chess club and local players. This event was a huge success and went on to the early hours of the following morning when the auditorium needed to be closed. I believe he did not lose but agreed several draws. I am advised he was paid the sum of £400 for this event which was funded by 35 players paying £10 each and £50 funded from the club accounts. Nigel went on to play Gary Kasparov for the World Chess Championship in 1993 played in London.
In the 90’s one of our strongest members was Stephen Shuttler whom came to the club as a Junior and went on to achieve a grade of 200 and became one of the strongest players in the area and Dorset. Other prominent members that gave service to the club in officer positions were David Burt, Chris Ambrose, Derek Needham, Alf Bullock and Margaret Goodwin.
During the 90’s the club managed an average membership of 15-18 players through the 90’s and had teams in Division 2, 3 and 4. Chris Ambrose became the BDCL league controller and was instrumental in changing the number of team players from 5 to 4 to accommodate a lower level of club membership not only at Poole but in the area and to make it easier for transport arrangements to away games i.e 5 vs 4 in a car.
The club has hosted many events such as simultaneous matches against Russian master Eugene Znosko-Borovsky https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Znosko-Borovsky and the world’s first woman’s chess champion, the British-Czechoslovak-Russian chess player, Vera Menchik https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vera_Menchik
The above history takes the club to end of the 20th Century, an update of events from 2000-2020 will be posted in detail in due course.
Currently, the club has currently one of the largest memberships of clubs in the area and has currently 10 teams playing in all local leagues. We have won many trophies including the 1st Division championship in the 17/18 season and have created a club record by winning 5 trophies in one season.
The club has initiated local chess incentives, including the introduction of social cafe chess in the area which is played at Flirt cafe on Wednesday afternoons, since 2011. This has been hugely successful in recruiting new and international players including and IM Alphonso De llorentas and other strong players.
We look forward to the future and continues enjoyment of playing chess at Poole.