Club Championship Statement

End of Season 23/24

Club Championship

With a score of 5.5/6, Connor Thompson is the outright winner of our 23/24 Club Championship.

Congratulations to Connor and everyone who took part! You can find the full tournament results on the Chess Scotland website.

A chess player is standing in the middle of the image smiling and holding a silver trophy. There is a row of chess players behind him all smiling.
Connor Thompson proudly holding the Queens Park Club Championship trophy – congratulations!

Season Break

The last night of chess at Queens Park is Tuesday 21st May. On Tuesday 28th May we will hold our Annual General Meeting for members.

After that, Queens Park Chess Club will be on its summer break – there will be no chess on Tuesdays during this time.

We’ll update the site with information on when we’ll be back for the 24/25 season – this will likely be in September.

Chess over the Summer

If you’re looking to play chess over the summer, the Thursday chess group will run throughout the break.

Chess will be running on Thursday nights 6pm-late at the Corona in Shawlands.

We will also have a stall at Bungo in the Lanes on 22nd June generously hosted by one of our Members, Craig.

Thank You

As usual, thanks to everyone who’s made this season of Queens Park Chess Club possible. We’re looking forward to seeing you in the 24/25 season!

If you’re looking to join the club for the first time next season, contact us at with your name and email address to be notified when registration opens.


Engaging Parliamentarians

Queens Park Chess Club has formally written to our two constituency representatives, Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss and Glasgow Southside MSP Nicola Sturgeon, to request clarity on a recent funding announcement, and encourage investment in grassroots chess in Scotland.

In correspondence signed by all five of the Club Committee elected at this month’s AGM, we asked whether there are plans for a forthcoming £0.5m investment by the UK Government to the English Chess Federation to extend to, or be proportionally matched, in Scotland.

Chess does not currently receive any public funding in Scotland. In the early 2000s, Chess Scotland received a small annual grant from the Scottish Government. In letters to our MP and MSP, we argued that chess is a low-cost, popular and accessible activity that helps people to come together, have an enjoyable experience, and get to know other local people from all walks of life. We stated that encouraging social chess in local communities aligns with many public policy priorities, including reducing social isolation, improving mental wellbeing, and strengthening community development, and presents strong value for public money.

We look forward to developing a relationship with both of our representatives on this matter. Alison Thewliss has already engaged with the Chess Club, having visited our chess drop-in event at the June 2023 Bungo in the Back Lanes Festival, pictured above and below.

We join Chess Scotland in encouraging our Members and visitors, and other Chess Clubs in Scotland, to consider writing to their local MP and MSP on this matter. Following an emergency meeting on 6 August, Chess Scotland advise those writing to their local politicians to: use your postcode; mention the English Chess Federation grant; ask about the scope for a similar investment in Scotland; and write an individual letter, rather than a duplicate, as MPs and MSPs do not engage with standard campaign letters.

Queens Park at Bungo in the Back Lanes: 17 June 2023

You Said, We Did

Survey Background

In November and December 2022, Committee Member Rhys McCrosson managed an in-depth survey of Queens Park Chess Club Members

With the Chess Club having undergone massive growth in the summer of 2022, the purpose was to explore views and preferences from our many new Members, on everything from how we should communicate, and what activities we provide, to long-term chess goals, and what Members want from a Chess Club in general.

The 25-question, anonymised survey, provided in electronic and paper formats, was completed by 31 of our then 40 members – a healthy 78% response rate. In addition to multiple choice options, we encouraged specific comments on many key aspects. The Club Committee are extremely grateful for all contributions.

The survey outcomes have been discussed by the Committee in our early 2023 meetings, and are being used to inform decision-making in a host of areas. In this post, we:

  • Share the survey outcomes in full 
  • Highlight key findings
  • Clarify the actions the Committee have taken in response
  • Confirm what other action points are under active consideration
  • Invite further views and comments
Overall views of the Chess Club were positive

Six Key Findings

  1. The Club is perceived as successful, with an average score of 4.67 out of 5 on from 31 respondents, and many positive comments about different aspects of the Club. This indicates that radical change is unwise and unwanted. 
  1. Most members feel, definitely or to some degree, that the Club: is good value for money (95%); is inclusive (92%); is having a positive effect on their mental health (73%); is helping them improve their chess (67%); and is transparent (60%).
  1. 74% feel highly informed about Club activity – and another 23% “to some degree”. However, some responses and comments highlighted dissatisfactions with various areas of Club communications, including message frequency on WhatsApp. 
  1. There is a wide spread of chess interests – but a clear preference for rapid (45%) and classical (29%) time controls – and three leading priorities: casual OTB chess (selected by 23 as a top priority for the Club), league matches (21) and the Club Championship (17). Many suggestions on activities are put forward, from Chess 960 and ‘Hand and Brain’ tournaments to guest lectures and Christmas parties.
  1. The Club has a large pool of potential volunteers – 26 of the 31 Members that completed the survey said they would consider volunteering in some capacity.
  1. The comments suggest Members particularly value: the Club’s friendly, welcoming ethos; its community atmosphere; and its mix of casual and competitive chess interests and activities.

Click here to download a PDF summary of the full survey.

Click on the image to see the illustrated survey results

Changes Made

The following actions have been taken as a direct result of the survey feedback.

More Focused Digital Communications

WhatsApp is a clear preference for direct communications (74% of Members selected WhatsApp as their preferred choice, followed by 12% for email and others at 3% or lower). The Committee therefore decided that WhatsApp will continue as our main direct communications channel.

Most Members said they want to hear from us once a week (58%); a further 24% selected once a fortnight or once a month. As a result, we reduced frequency of WhatsApp Member communications from several times a week towards once a week. 

We also experimented with a weekly Club Newsletter over eight weeks in the initial months of 2023. The Newsletter was produced in PDF format and shared via WhatsApp and email – see the final issue here. It was, however, time-consuming to produce, and we received feedback that it was not being widely read. We now share weekly messages, usually on a Sunday, to our announcement-only Members WhatsApp group with information on upcoming activity. As not all Members use WhatsApp, we support this with occasional emails about key events.

More Relevant Content

Staying with communications, there is a clear preference for hearing about Queens Park Chess Club activities (30 of 31 over-the-board, or OTB, and 24 of 31 online) in our updates, and about other OTB events in Scotland (24 of 31). We now focus on these in WhatsApp Members updates, and on our website and social media. Other topics e.g. general chess resources and top level chess news, are minority interest, and we do not cover these regularly in Club communications.

The QPCC Website (which 20 of 31 respondents regularly engage with) is the most popular secondary communications channel, and some commenters welcomed content and features such as Member interviews. The Committee will continue to provide regular blog updates on our website, shared on our Facebook and Instagram.

In response to specific requests, we also created dedicated overview webpages on the Club Championship and on our league and Cup teams.

The Chess Club is developing a constitution on the back of the survey
Delivering Weekly Announcements

71% of respondents said they would value a brief welcome from a Committee Member at each Club night, and we started doing this in January 2023, since we made the move to The Bungo. The announcements are currently made by the President (Caitlin), Secretary (Derek) and Social Media Manager (Rhys) on rotation. 

The announcements welcome newcomers, provide brief information on that night’s activity, and highlight any notable recent results and upcoming events. To minimise disruption, announcements are made between 6:45-7pm, close to the start of the night, and last no more than two minutes.

Welcoming Newcomers

Some comments indicated that people felt puzzled about what to do on their first visit to the Club. Each Committee Member now makes extra effort to approach anyone coming into the Club for the first time, to welcome them, explain how the Club works, find out about their aspirations, and ideally pair them with someone for an initial casual or Leaderboard game.

When interacting with newcomers, we clearly explain that it will always be free to play casual chess at Queens Park. We clarify that we offer a paid Membership for those looking to participate in competitive chess, and Members-only events. We will also signpost those interested to our local partner, the Thursday Chess Group, and to our Chess in the Park summer and autumn Sunday morning meetups.

Dropping Plans for Online Events

With only 2 of 31 Members choosing online chess as one of three top priorities, there is clearly low demand for online tournaments and similar. The Committee decided to leave our and Lichess Clubs available for Members to use to find and challenge each other, but not to invest any time in their development or setting up online events – contrary to original plans. The Committee agreed it is very easy for individuals to find online opponents – and that the purpose of Chess Clubs likes Queens Park is to provide over-the-board opportunities. Our focus and energy is now fully directed towards OTB chess. 

Constitution & Restructuring

With a high pool of willing volunteers, and administrative pressure on the existing Committee given the sharp growth this season, we decided to create a suite of new voluntary roles, develop a Constitution, and elect the Committee at our AGM, beginning with the next one in August 2023.

Our new President, Caitlin, has been appointed for a 16 month term to oversee these significant changes. As of this summer, all Members can put themselves forward for a Committee role, and vote on who is elected to join Caitlin on the new Committee for next season. In addition, we will be establishing a number of non-Committee voluntary roles in season 2023/24. Further information on how to self-nominate and vote will be provided at the end of the current season. 

The Constitution will set out the Club ethos – including a provision that it will always be free to play casual chess with us – as well as the role and remit of the Committee, and expectations on Member conduct. It will also include a complaints procedure, as requested in a couple of survey comments. 

The Committee may expand league teams and events in future

Future Developments

This section indicates additional actions that the Committee have discussed on the back of survey outcomes, and are considering acting upon in future. Much of the decision-making here will be passed over to the new Committee, elected at the August 2023 AGM.

A Second Club Championship

In response to rapid being the most popular chess format (45%), the Committee may decide to create a Rapid Club Championship over two or three evenings next season (one format could be three 15+0 games per evening). The 2023/24 Committee would need to decide whether they have the capacity to administer such a tournament, to create enough diary space between league, classical Club Championship games and other events, and manage software and digital screens to generate and display pairings between rounds.

A Fourth League Team

In response to league matches being the second top priority overall (21 of 31 Members) after casual over-the-board chess, the Committee is considering operating a fourth regional league team next season – we currently operate three. This would provide more playing opportunities to the 48% who answered no (13%) or yes to some degree (35%) when asked if they were happy with the number of official graded games we offer, and allow for potential membership growth.

The trade-off is a challenge in administration, including managing complexities of separate player pools, player availability, the potential of having two teams play on the same evening, and of teams meeting each other in the same division. With more home games, this also leaves fewer free dates across the season for additional activity. An additional concern is low demand for certain fixtures this season, and that any fall in Members next season would lead to a strong possibility we may not have enough active players for four league teams, plus participation in the National League and Cups.

An Interactive Members Group

60% of survey respondents would like a new digital space created to interact with other Members, and the Committee is open to establishing one. There is however, no consensus on platform. WhatsApp (8 of 19 who want a new space selected this as a preferred option) and Discord (5 of 19) are the two leaders, and Facebook, Reddit and a website forum were among other choices.

WhatsApp is more popular and widely used, but lacks functionality and is intrusive. Discord is much less familiar but allows e.g. creating separate sections for subjects like games analysis, finding an online partner, highlighting upcoming events, and off-topic interests, which Members could find more useful, if willing to take the time to download it. 

One of the reasons for a lack of action to date, is the Committee noted a number of conflicting views on WhatsApp – as evidenced in negative comments such as “too many messages”, “too many different groups”, “intermittent and unexpected messages”, “off the cuff”. We are also unsure about how to moderate for poor etiquette on any instant messaging platform, such as a Member using a large group to communicate with one other Member only, to promote non-chess interests, or to use bad language. The feedback will be passed to the new Committee for potential action in 2023/24.

The Committee noted mixed views on interactive WhatsApp groups

Publishing Accounts & Minutes

At the beginning of each season, starting in 2023/24, the Committee intend to publish an annual statement of accounts for the preceding season, and the minutes of each AGM, on our website. The purpose will be to improve the lowest scoring ‘general views’ metric of transparency on decision-making and expenditure, where 16% said the Club is not adequately transparent, and 23% were unsure or preferred not to answer. 

Raising the Membership Fee 

The survey shows the Club undoubtedly provides excellent value for money. Given the Committee expect additional costs next season, including rent and more/higher competition entry fees, the 2023/24 Committee are likely to discuss raising the annual membership fee. 

This may not be a particularly popular action point, but given the current £40 (£20 concessions) annual rate, any raise is likely to be modest, and would still present strong value for money compared to other Chess Clubs in Glasgow. An increase would also provide more resources for ongoing activities if Membership levels stay the same or rise, and minimise any fall in income in the event of a drop in Members.

Further Comments

We are again thankful to those who took the survey. The outcomes have already added value to the Club, and have provided a great deal of valuable information to the Committee on how Members would like to see it develop in future.

The rest of the Committee wish to express particular gratitude to Rhys for his time and expertise in producing, managing and sharing the survey, and in illustrating the responses. 

If any Club Members, including those who missed the original survey, or who joined in 2023, have any comments or concerns about any of the above, you are welcome to email them to a Committee Member.

Additional email comments will be fed into future Committee planning discussions.

Images created with artificial intelligence using DALL-E


New President: Caitlin McCulloch

Caitlin McCulloch is the new President of Queens Park Chess Club.

Caitlin, pictured above, was elected to the Club’s most senior role by a Committee vote on 7 March.

The role was previously held by Graeme McKinnon, who stood down at the start of March as a result of new demands on his time. Graeme oversaw the rapid growth and transition of the Club, from a small entity with seven paying Members in 2021/22, to one with 46 Members and six teams competing in various leagues and cups.

Caitlin’s appointment, for a 16 month term, will help Queens Park to continue its transformation and consolidate its position as one of the largest and most active Chess Clubs in Scotland. Caitlin, a University librarian, joined the Committee in Autumn 2022, and is Team Captain of Queens Park B in the Dumbarton & District Chess League.

Harvey Dellanzo, Club Treasurer, said: “Graeme’s thoughtful approach to the development of the Club, in what has been an exciting and challenging season with tremendous growth, has been appreciated. I am delighted to announce that Caitlin will fill the vacancy. Caitlin has an extensive range of relevant skills and experience, and embodies the Club’s welcoming ethos. She was a unanimous choice for the Committee.”

Derek Rankine, Club Secretary, said: “I share Harvey’s gratitude to Graeme for his hard work this season, and his enthusiasm for Caitlin’s appointment. The 16 month term will provide additional stability over season 2023/24, and support the Club’s plans to develop a Constitution, bring in a new volunteer structure, and hold a democratic, Member-wide election at the 2023 AGM. We look forward to working with Caitlin in her new role.”

Caitlin embodies the Club’s welcoming ethos.

Harvey Dellanzo

Caitlin, who has been playing in chess tournaments since the age of 12, is the modern Chess Club’s third President, after Graeme (2022-23) and founder Julien Papillon (2019-22). Archive records indicate Caitlin is almost certainly the first female President in the entire history of Queens Park Chess Club. A previous incarnation, founded in 1873 and active until 1936, had a tradition of male-only Presidents.

Caitlin said: “I want to thank the Committee for entrusting me with this position, and to applaud the work Graeme has done. I’m looking forward to building on the established success of Queens Park Chess Club over the next 16 months. My father was the President of Giffnock Chess Club and it’s exciting to be following in his footsteps.”

Scotland’s top active player, International Master Andrew Greet, who plays board one on the Scotland Olympiad team, welcomed the announcement. He said: “I recently had the pleasure of visiting Queens Park and playing Caitlin in a simultaneous match. I congratulate Caitlin on her appointment as President, and I am excited to see the positive impact she will have on the further development of this vibrant Chess Club.”

I’m looking forward to building on the established success of Queens Park Chess Club.

Caitlin McCulloch

About The Apostrophe

Every so often, the Chess Club receives a communication, with the following general thrust:

Why do you ABSOLUTE MORONS spell your own name wrong???!!! EVERYONE knows it’s Queen’s Park, not Queens Park!! What are they even teaching in Scottish schools these days?? *

It’s true, we purposefully leave an apostrophe out of our name, even though many deem it “incorrect” and “just plain wrong”. 

You may be curious: why do we go by Queens Park Chess Club – rather than Queen’s Park Chess Club? 

Buckle in. Here is the full story.

It begins on 3 August 2022, when the Covid pandemic was receding, lockdowns and restrictions were heading into the rear view mirror, and normality was returning to Scottish life.

In its Annual General Meeting in Brodies Bar, by the north corner of Queens Park – and home to our Thursday Group partners at the time – the Chess Club Committee were excitedly planning for a busy new season, one which would see the return of league chess

A landmark decision was taken at this meeting, as shown in the following extract of the AGM minutes:

Agenda Item 5: Name of Club

There was a discussion over the potential value of changing the name from Govanhill Chess Club to Queens Park Chess Club, to develop a historical connection with a previous Club of that name, active from 1873 to the 1930s, and to help attract new members from a wider set of neighbourhoods including Shawlands, Langside and Mount Florida.

Harvey reported that he voted in 2021 to retain the existing name, but having since learned about the 1873 Club, would now like to change the name to continue a historic local tradition. Julien and Graeme highlighted the reality that most members already come from the wider Queens Park area outside Govanhill. Derek said the change of name would be helpful in avoiding a situation in which small, precarious clubs are set up in the different neighbourhoods around Queens Park. He noted some online discussions about setting up a Shawlands Chess Club, and felt it would be better for a single, active and sustainable Club to serve the area.

Alex Lane asked if there would be any bureaucratic challenges associated with the change of name, and it was noted the Club would need to notify a number of parties, and change its website domain name, official email addresses, and Facebook page name.

There was a discussion about the merits and drawbacks, and Julien called the matter to a vote. With five votes in favour of the change and two abstentions, it was agreed the Club would henceforth be known as Queens Park Chess Club.

Graeme said he strongly felt the change was for the best, as a local person who has lived in, and is passionate about, several of the local neighbourhoods. Harvey said the Club’s debt to Govanhill, and its period as Govanhill Chess Club, should be fully acknowledged. Derek said he was working on a historical webpage that would include a timeline and a prominent reference to its Govanhill roots.

What the minutes don’t record, is why the apostrophe was left out when the new Club name was adopted.

Immediately following the above vote, the question was asked: “before we do the league registrations and everything, are we spelling Queens Park with or without an apostrophe?” 

Blank looks followed. “You know, I’m actually not sure.” “Is it owned by the Queen?” “Is it a reference to multiple Queens?” 

Then someone said “Look!” and pointed out the bar window to Queens Park. Heads turned to follow the outstretched arm. Almost as one, the Committee said: “No apostrophe!”

Sure enough, the official Glasgow City Council park signs, look like this:

The answer was settled (history doesn’t record why no-one simply took their phone out and Googled). We registered our apostrophe-less new name with Chess Scotland, the Glasgow Chess League, and other parties. We developed a new logo, changed our banking name, website domain, sorted out our social media channels, email signatures etc. All using Queens Park.

Several months passed, and Committee Members began to notice the preferred description of Queens Park is actually: Queen’s Park. We started seeing it everywhere. On the Glasgow City Council website. In official city documents. Queen’s Park Football Club. Friends of Queen’s Park. Queen’s Park Parkrun. Even the ubiquitous Wikipedia uses an apostrophe in its Queen’s Park entry. Everywhere an apostrophe, it seems, apart from the signs on the Park. And your humble Chess Club.

So when we realised the mistake, why didn’t we make the change? Well, by now we had become used to it – among other reasons to stick with it. It made us distinctive. It had become part of the modern Club’s lore. There are two Queens on a chessboard – not one. We feel the park is owned by the good people of Glasgow, not a monarch. And maybe, just maybe, over drinks in a private conversation with a trusted friend, we may reluctantly concede, if we were absolutely sure no-one else was listening, that retrofitting the apostrophe would have involved some hard (OK, mild) work.

So there you go – if you are the latest person to ask the above question – you will have received a link to this page. Still not happy? Take it up with whoever commissioned the Queens Park (sic) signs for Glasgow City Council. 

Finally, if you are curious about who the mysterious Queen of Queens Park is, it’s named after Mary Queen of Scots, whose forces were defeated in the nearby Battle of Langside; and not after Queen Victoria, as commonly assumed. It was created from land donated to the City of Glasgow in 1857, designed by the influential architect and botanist Sir Joseph Paxton, and initially known as the South Side Park. 

We leave the reader with a closing thought. Mary died in 1587, and could never be said to have ‘owned’ the Park. Perhaps the apostrophe has been wrongly used all along. Perhaps Queens Park Chess Club, and whoever made the Park signs, proudly stand on the grammatically correct side of history. Perhaps, if there are any ‘absolute morons’ in this story with a poor grasp of the rules and traditions of the English language, it isnae us pal – awright? 

* in reality, these questions are invariably put to us very politely. Main image created by artificial intelligence using Dall-E.


The above post has generated some unexpected debate! Thank you to those who commented. 

We are delighted to give the final word to Bob McCalden, Chair of the UK Apostrophe Protection Society (yes, it’s real!), who kindly took the time to review our situation and comment. Bob provided the following notes and clarifications:

  • The usage, or not, of an apostrophe in “Queen’s Park” is somewhat inconsistent, even by Glasgow City Council – although the “general view and established usage” for the area favours inclusion of the apostrophe.
  • Possessive apostrophes can also denote an association, not solely ownership.
  • As Queens Park Chess Club’s name is derived from the area, it may be strictly correct to use an apostrophe.
  • Queens Park Chess Club is, however, a brand name, and brand names can justifiably drop apostrophes – see the Waterstones example.
  • Consistency is key: “If you want to omit the apostrophe, make sure you do so everywhere.”

While we will remain Queens Park Chess Club, we support good apostrophe hygiene, and are happy to promote the Apostrophe Society’s simple rules on usage.