Queens Park were delighted to host a special visit from Rob Colston of Bearsden Chess Club this week.
Rob, an experienced 1900+ level classical, rapid and blitz player, whose impressive career highlights are covered here, delivered an interactive workshop focusing on two key areas:
how to form a plan in the middlegame;
how intermediate players can improve long term.
The participatory event took place in The Bungo on Tuesday 21 March, from 7-8pm. Rob shared two games from his career, in which the Queens Park audience was invited to predict plans, moves and ideas throughout. Rob also provided a range of general tips for learning and development, designed to help intermediate players who are stuck on a ratings plateau.
Rob has kindly provided an in-depth PDF document covering his workshop notes, and notations for the two study games. They are available for download in the links below:
Rob’s key book recommendation is Chess Structures, by Chilean GM Mauricio Flores Rios. The book covers the pawn structures that appear in a wide variety of mainstream openings, from the French and the Benoni to the Caro Kann and the Hedgehog, and what plans both White and Black should look to pursue when they appear on the board.
As stated in the advance information, the event is part of a series of collaborations between Bearsden and Queens Park. Bearsden have been a valued mentor Club, supporting Queens Park to establish in 2019 and to grow and develop in the subsequent years. We are indebted to Rob for his time and expertise, and to Bearsden for their continued generosity.
The next workshop will be an ‘How to Form an Opening Repertoire’ class by Queens Park’s openings specialist, Graeme McKinnon. It will take place on Tuesday 11 April, also at 7pm in The Bungo. There is no need to register for this event in advance; those interested are invited to turn up on the night.
One of Glasgow’s strongest players, Bearsden’s Rob Colston, pictured above, will visit Queens Park on the evening of Tuesday 21 March to share his wisdom and experience in a special interactive workshop.
The focus of the workshop will be twofold: on middlegame planning, and on how intermediate players can achieve steady improvement. With a number of Queens Park players reporting the middlegame as a particular challenge, and being stuck on a rating plateau, we hope the session will provide a valuable source of learning in two key developmental areas.
The session will begin at 7pm and feature a selection of games from Rob’s career. Rob’s FIDE ratings are 1874 classical, 1992 rapid and 1944 blitz. He is also rated 1916 classical with Chess Scotland.
Rob’s career titles include Staffordshire under-18 champion (“in 19… well a long time ago!”), five time champion of London’s Hampstead Chess Club, and three time champion of Bearsden Chess Club (one shared). Representing Hampstead in the prestigious London Chess League, Rob played alongside some incredible talents, including 10 times British Champion GM Jonathan Penrose, three times British Champion GM Jon Speelman, the former world no.4 GM Mickey Adams, and the second Grandmaster in English history, GM Raymond Keene.
Rob has beaten a number of GMs and IMs in tournaments and league games, and we are delighted he has agreed to share his knowledge and experience. Notably, Rob is not taking a fee for his time; Bearsden Chess Club is a kind and generous friend to Queens Park.
For the past 15 months, since resuming weekly meetings following the Covid lockdowns, the Club has been based in Wellcroft Bowling Club. With the chess leagues restarting in the current 2022/23 season, we have faced a challenge with regard to venue access times.
The Bowling Club closes at 9pm, and we are obliged by league rules to start our fixtures at 7:15pm at the earliest. With a 75+0 time control – one hour and 15 minutes for each player – league matches can go on for two and a half hours. This season we have been regularly finishing later than 9:30pm, to the inconvenience of the Bowling Club volunteers.
This Autumn, we began a search for an alternative local venue with longer opening hours. Following a scoping process, the Bungo was a unanimous choice for the Committee. The Club will have exclusive access to the private Bungo-Lo basement function room. With the new venue having a 10:30pm closing time, we will be able to continue hosting home league matches on Tuesdays, while offering extended hours to all Members and visitors.
The new venue is within a five minute walk of the Bowling Club on 17-21 Nithsdale Road in Strathbungo, just off Pollokshaws Road. It is a two minute walk from Pollokshaws Road bus stops and five minutes from Queens Park and Pollokshields West train stations. On-street parking is available on Nithsdale Road. Click here for a Google Maps link.
The Committee would like to express gratitude to Ian, John and all at the Bowling Club for kindly hosting the Club from October 2021 to December 2022. We are grateful for their generosity.
We hope Club Members will welcome this change. The Bungo follows Govanhill Neighbourhood Centre, McNeill’s Pub and Wellcroft Bowling Club to become our fourth regular venue since formation in January 2019. The original Queens Park Chess Club also used a number of different venues around Queens Park during its lifetime.
We have booked the Bungo until the end of the current season on Tuesday 30 May 2023. We will seek feedback from Members at the end of the season, before making a decision on the potential of continued use of The Bungo in the longer term.
November 2022 was another packed month for the Club. Business continued for our three teams in the Glasgow and Dunbartonshire Chess Leagues, the Beltrami Club Championship got underway, and we initiated a Club Leaderboard. We were represented at national tournaments in Oban and Livingston, and we hosted a group of visitors from the admirable Freedom From Torture charity.
We reached an impressive milestone of 40 members, making Queens Park one of the bigger chess clubs in Scotland. That is all the more impressive given it doesn’t include non-members who: join us in Wellcroft Bowling Club for casual chess on Tuesdays; play in the Thursday Chess Group; and/or join our meetups on Sunday mornings. Full details follow.
32 players competed in the first round of our Club Championship, sponsored by law firm Beltrami & Co. The tournament provides an opportunity for members of all abilities to test their classical skills, gain or improve upon a national rating, and compete for the prestigious trophy.
Round one winners included the Club’s highest rated players Tommy Lally (1616) and Craig Thomson (1606), and defending champion Rhys McCrosson (1477). On the lower boards, unrated newcomers Connor Thompson, Andrew Speirs, Ash Angappan and Paul Stewart also picked up full points. Full results here.
Round two, which has the designated date of Tuesday 10 January, will see six new Members join the tournament. Players unavailable on this date may arrange for their game to take place later in January. The round two draw will be made by Tournament Controller Alex Lane in early December, and will pair winners against winners using the Swiss format.
This month saw the launch of Queens Park’s own elo system in a special Club Leaderboard administered by Club President Graeme McKinnon. “Queens Park elo” does not contribute to Chess Scotland or FIDE ratings – but it does provide all-important bragging rights.
The Leaderboard is open to members and non-members alike, and simply involves playing a timed over-the-board rapid game (10+0, 15+0 or 30+0) with another player during a Club night, and recording the outcome in a score slip.
All players start at 1200. At the end of November, Rhys McCrosson leads and is the first player to cross the 1300 threshold, out of more than 30 players that have played at least one Leaderboard game to date. Click here to see the standings and rules.
Congratulations to Queens Park’s Jordan McNaught, a surprise joint winner of the Major section of the 2022 Oban Congress. Jordan, ungraded, was one of three players to share the prize money with 3.5/5.
Just behind on 3/5 were Alex Lane and Alex Radevic, while Derek Rankine scored 2.5/5. With Queens Park supplying the three lowest seeds of 14 players, it was an impressive outcome for the Club.
Queens Park was also represented in the Minor section by Iain Shields, who got 2.5/5, while Strathclyde Uni’s Liu Zizheng, who regularly visits Queens Park, achieved 2/5 in the Challengers section.
The five round classical tournament (75 mins per player for the first 30 moves, then an additional 30 mins per player) was held in Oban’s Royal Hotel on the weekend of 18-20 November.
International Master Andrew Greet, who will be visiting Queens Park on 31 January 2023 for a special 22 board simultaneous exhibition, won the tournament’s Open section with 4.5/5. An invitation to the simul will be shared with Members in early January.
In the internationally rated Minor section, Connor Thompson achieved three consecutive wins to finish on 3/5, while Jonny Linney got 2/5 and Ryan McGill got 1/5. The time control for the five round Swiss pairings event was 20+10.
Freedom From Torture
The international charity Freedom From Torture, which provides therapy and support for people who are recovering from torture, visited Queens Park this month. The charity’s Scottish branch runs a chess group for some of its service users. On 23 November, the group joined us for some casual games and advice on learning and development.
Our Members greatly enjoyed meeting the group and sharing some tips around opening principles and middlegame strategy. The group have an open invitation to join us again anytime in future.
Our interview series continued with Ryan McGill as our November subject. Ryan is an enthusiastic new Member who arrived at Queens Park Chess Club via our local partner, Thursday Chess Group.
In his interview, Ryan tells us about how his interest in the game developed, picks out several highlights from his first few months in the Club, and shares some useful advice to newer players.
Meanwhile, the Thursday Chess Group is also growing in size. This month they set up home in a new location, the Corona Bar in Shawlands. Thanks to a successful joint bid to the Thriving Govanhill Fund, players no longer have to bring their own chess sets, and can turn up for a game anytime from 6pm on Thursday.
Our internal Club training sessions continued with Alex Radevic hosting one on practical endgames on 29 November. Alex used our new demonstration board (purchased with Thriving Govanhill funding) to set up and work through a series of positions with a group of eight.
Next month, Graeme McKinnon will take a class on developing an opening repertoire. The session will be particularly valuable to those at intermediate level who are less clear about how to build up an appropriate depth of knowledge in their favoured openings. A session invitation will be shared via the Club Member WhatsApp group next month.
Queens Park’s impressive start in the Glasgow Chess League continued with a 2-2 draw away to the Glasgow University A team on 16 November. The result, achieved from wins by Tommy Lally and Paul Cumming on boards two and four respectively, keeps Queens Park’s promotion chances in good health at the top of Division 3b.
In the Dumbarton & District Chess League, Queens Park’s A team in Division 1 lost 0.5-3.5 at home to Stepps A. Craig Thomson achieved Queens Park’s half point by drawing an opponent rated more than 400 points higher, and ungraded Connor Thomson put up a tremendous fight against 2000+ rated Stepps opponent John Henderson.
Queens Park’s B team had mixed fortunes in Division 2 of the Dunbartonshire League. Caitlin McCulloch captained the team to an impressive 3.5-0.5 win away to a Giffnock side featuring her father, Andy, on 7 November. The following week, on 15 November, the team suffered a 4-0 defeat at home to an impressive Strathclyde University side. The second game saw league debuts for new and ungraded Queens Park Members Sachin Vats, Greg Forrest and Sagar Kukreja.
The Dunbartonshire teams are frequently rotated with a view to giving newer players experience alongside some of our higher rated Members. Those wishing to join a future team are encouraged to respond to calls for league players issued by captains in the Members WhatsApp group.
As some Members have reported difficulty finding the latest league tables, this website will feature a regularly updated set of tables on a dedicated new League Info page. In addition, our website calendar also provides detail on all league fixtures across the 2022/23 season, as well as special events.
In early 2023, Queens Park will be going national. We have registered teams in two Scotland-wide Cup competitions – the Spens and the Richardson.
The ‘first’ Queens Park Chess Club, which was active from the 1870s to the 1930s, won the prestigious Spens Cup on several occasions. While it is unlikely we will match their success on our first try, we will look forward to following in their footsteps and testing ourselves against other Clubs across the country in the five board Cup.
Queens Park may be entering the Scottish National Chess League too. The Committee are considering an invitation to join Division Five for the current season, with fixtures beginning in January.
Finally, those in Govanhill and Shawlands may have spotted our above poster, highlighting the three regular and free-to-attend chess meetups around Queens Park. The posters are currently on display in community noticeboards and selected venues.
Newcomers, beginners and those returning to chess after a long absence will receive a very warm welcome at the first evening of the new season, alongside returning members, on Tuesday 30 August at 6:30pm.
The Club is expecting an influx of new members for the 2022/23 season as a result of awareness-raising activity through the summer. We held chess sessions at the Queens Park boating pond weekly on Sunday mornings from the start of June (pictured above), promoted our activities on social media, met a great bunch of folk at weekly chess meetups on Thursday nights in Brodies Bar, and we even appeared on ITV’s News at Ten!
To that end, at the first meeting of the new season, Club Champion Rhys McCrosson and Club Secretary Derek Rankine will provide a free introductory session on classical over-the-board chess, covering rules, etiquette, use of clocks and scoresheets, and practical gameplay tips.
A new Club President, Graeme McKinnon, will also be providing a formal welcome alongside Derek, with news on plans for the season ahead. Meanwhile, Graeme and Rhys, plus Alex Lane, Jass McNeill and Alex Radevic, have joined Derek and Harvey Dellanzo on an expanded Committee with new roles.
Another major item of news is: the Club has anew name. At its 2022 AGM, the Committee decided to change the name from Govanhill Chess Club to Queens Park Chess Club.
The purpose of the change is to highlight our current home in Queens Park, to reflect the reality that our members are drawn from a number of communities around Queens Park, including Govanhill, Crosshill, Shawlands, Langside and Mount Florida, and to develop a link to a historic club with the same name, which started in 1873.
The roots of both the historic and the current Queens Park Chess Club lie deep in Govanhill, and Govanhill will continue to be at the heart of our meetings and activities.
Check out our in-depth report on the fascinating history of the original Queens Park Chess Club, produced with the generous assistance of Chess Scotland historian Alan McGowan, and the story of the new Club, which was established in 2019.
With membership fees set at just £40 annually, and a £20 concessionary rate, we are confident Queens Park Chess Club will provide superb value for money, as well as a highly valuable and enjoyable opportunity to learn and socialise with other chess enthusiasts.
We look forward to bringing a greater number of local people together to learn, play and appreciate the ancient game, and we hope to see you at a future meeting on Tuesday evenings in Queens Park from 30 August.
Social Media & Contact
In addition, Queens Park Chess Club now has an Instagram profile where we will be sharing stories of our adventures throughout the season. Visit and follow here.
We have also updated our Facebook page to reflect the name change. The website domain name will follow suit later in the season.
Govanhill Chess Club’s 2021/22 season concluded at the end of May 2022.
Visit the blog section to learn more about our activities over the season, which featured a Club Championship, inter-club friendlies, simultaneous exhibitions, the Scottish National Online Chess League, internal rapid tournaments, and more.
A date for the diary is Tuesday 30 August 2022, when the 2022/23 season will begin at the usual 6:30pm in Wellcroft Bowling Club, who have kindly agreed to host the Club for a further season.
On Sunday mornings during the summer, we will be meeting regularly at the picnic tables near the flagpole in Queens Park, for casual chess in the park. Non-members are very welcome to join us. We plan to be there from 10am to noon every Sunday, from 5 June to 28 August.
As the Bowling Club season starts in late April, with Monday as a meeting date for bowling league business, the Chess Club will switch to Tuesday evenings for the final six weeks of the 2021/22 season.
The six relevant dates are:
Tue 26 April
Tue 3 May
Tue 10 May (final Club Championship date)
Tue 17 May (home friendly vs Cathcart)
Tue 24 May
Tue 31 May (final meeting of 2021/22 season)
The meeting times will remain 6:30-8:30pm.
This is a temporary change. The intention is to retain Mondays as the usual meeting night for the 2022/23 season, which will begin in late August/early September.
* Update: at the 2022 Chess Club AGM, in August 2022, it was agreed to permanently shift to Tuesday evenings for the 2022/23 season owing to Bowling Club activities on Mondays at the start and end of the season.