Address: Willoughby Arms, 47 Willoughby Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT2 6LN
Meet: Mondays, 6:30pm onwards for social chess
Leagues: Surrey (div 2, div 4, Alexander Cup, Lauder Trophy), Thames Valley (div 2)
Social events: Friendlies, blitz, rapidplay, lectures, coaching, simuls
Junior chess: We do not currently have any formal provision for junior chess, but have a number of qualified chess teachers among our membership and hope to develop a junior club as part of our expansion plans for 2022
Kingston Chess Club in Kingston upon Thames serves the chess-playing community on the borders between south-west London and Surrey. It has been in continuous existence since 1875, making it one of the longest established clubs in the UK. It is also among the friendliest. It meets every Monday at the Willoughby Arms, a splendidly welcoming and idiosyncratic pub situated at 47 Willoughby Road, Kingston upon Thames KT2 6LN, close to both Kingston and Norbiton railway stations and Kingston’s main bus depot (all a 10-minute walk away). Matches and organised events usually get under way at 7.30pm, though social secretary Greg Heath and other club officials aim to be there from 6.30pm to welcome members, play some social chess and start preparing the room for whatever activity is planned for that evening. The club meets and plays competitive matches and social chess in a large, quiet room upstairs, but the gardens (which have heated areas where chess can be played) and bars are also well used. Whatever your chess strength, do come along and give it a try.
Visiting the club
We always welcome new players. On some Mondays, if the Kingston team is playing an away match, there may be depleted numbers at the club, but we always try to make sure someone is there to greet newcomers. Come along, say hello, and if you think it’s for you give your details to one of the officials, who will add you to the club What’s App group and mailing lists. We will assess your strength and soon get you playing matches if that is what you want to do. Or if you just want to play social chess and take part in general club activities, that’s fine too. We try to cater for players of all strengths and ambitions. We don’t charge anyone who comes along to visit the club until you decide to join (the annual subscription is £30). But only club members can play for our teams, and you will also need to sign up with the English Chess Federation if you play club chess, because they rate games and give you a rating score which indicates the strength of your play. All will become clear if you come along, and you will quickly discover that chess is for everyone, regardless of whether or not you know your Sicilian from your Sokolsky.
As well as detailing the club’s activities on this website – where we post news, games and opinion about current issues in the chess world – you can follow and contact the club via its Twitter account and on Facebook. We look forward to hearing from you, and better still seeing you at the Willoughby Arms on a Monday soon. Over-the-board chess is back after its enforced lockdown layoff and the appetite to play the game seems greater than ever. Your move.