The Glasgow team, one of six league and cup teams Queens Park is operating this season, has outperformed expectations, and developed a strong chance of winning promotion to Division 2 for the 2023/24 season.
The top of the league table is currently as follows:
Queens Park (15pts – 9 games played)
Lenzie Dementors (12pts – 10 games)
Glasgow Uni (11pts – 8 games)
Hamilton D (8pts – 9 games)
Hamilton C (7pts – 8 games)
Queens Park sit top by three points, with three fixtures remaining. Glasgow University are four points behind, with one game in hand, while Lenzie Dementors have played an extra game, and are three points off the pace.
A busy league schedule in March & April will see Queens Park try to pick up maximum points in an effort to maintain the lead over the higher rated Glasgow University team, which got one win and one draw from its two fixtures vs Queens Park, and the talented Lenzie Dementors junior team.
With Division 2 operating six-board teams, compared to four-board teams in Division 3, Queens Park will be able to operate a larger team in the new season if the campaign to win the league and achieve the promotion spot is successful.
Despite being formed in January 2019, 2022/23 is the first opportunity Queens Park has had to complete a league season, owing to the impacts and disruptions of the Covid pandemic. A league win on the first time of asking will be a notable achievement for the Club.
Team Captain Rhys McCrosson, pictured top, said: “I believe the team is almost guaranteed promotion.”
Here are two games from the team’s latest fixture, a 4-0 win at home to Hamilton C on Thursday 9 March (the ‘home’ game was in fact played in Hamilton, as a result of junior players in the visiting team and licensing restrictions in The Bungo).
In the first game, Connor Thompson won an impressive 13 move (!) miniature, while in the second, Rhys set up a Queen sacrifice to deliver mate. Click on the links for access to the full games.
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.
October was a busy and productive month for Queens Park Chess Club. Our three league teams had two matches each, we had good representation in the Major and Minor section of the Dundee Congress, and we met Grandmaster Daniel King.
One immediate use of the grant will be to purchase additional chess sets for the Club and for our local partner, the Thursday Chess Group, to address recent shortages and enable even more people around the Queens Park area to join us for casual and competitive chess.
Read on to learn how our players fared in six league matches and a national tournament.
Our Division 3b Team, captained by Rhys McCrosson, got off to a winning start away to the talented juniors of Hamilton C, scoring 3.5 to 0.5. This included a win on board one for J Craig T Thomson, formerly of East Kilbride, in his first game for Queens Park – and his first league game in decades!
The second match was at home to Lenzie Dementors, another extremely strong junior side. The score was 3-1, with wins for Rhys McCrosson, Paul Cumming and Jordan McNaught. The two wins put Queens Park top of the league at the end of October.
There are many fixtures to come, and next month will see the team visit Glasgow University A, who are also likely to be pushing for promotion to Division 2. Results and standings are available on the Glasgow Chess League website.
The first game resulted in a loss away to Renfrewshire. Jordan McNaught won for Queens Park on board two. Tommy Lally, formerly of Airdrie and Shettleston Chess Clubs, and currently Queens Park’s strongest player by grading, was winning his game on board one and almost saved a draw, but a mistake in time pressure led to a 3-1 loss.
The A team drew its second game, home to Phones A on 24 October. The away side had the impressive Pavlos Bozinakis, rated 2177 FIDE, on board one. Pavlos had to work hard to beat 1481 rated Alex Radevic. A win from Graeme McKinnon, and draws by Harvey Dellanzo and Derek Rankine achieved the team’s first league point of the season. See Division 1 results and standings.
Caitlin McCulloch – who this month joined the Club Committee – captains Queens Park B in the Dumbarton league Division 2. The first game featured four unrated players against Bearsden B. Harry Thomson picked up his first win for the Club on board four in a 3-1 home defeat on 11 October.
In the second match, away to Stepps B on 27 October, the team secured a 2.5-1.5 victory, with wins from Chris Dinwoodie and Jonny Linney, and Tommy Lally got a draw on board one. See Dumbarton Division 2 results and standings.
The Dumbarton league fixtures provided valuable experience for many players new to competitive, classical over-the-board chess. Next up for Queens Park B is away to Giffnock on 7 November (Caitlin’s father, Andrew, plays for Giffnock, raising prospects for an inter-family clash!). The A team host Stepps A the following evening.
A contingent from Queens Park attended the Dundee Chess Congress (pictured above) on the weekend of 14-16 October. Held in the University of Dundee’s Chaplaincy Centre, the five round classical event (time control: 90+15) featured three sections – Premier, Major and Minor.
The Premier section was tied by IM Andrew Greet of Bearsden and FM Keith Ruxton of Sandy Bells Chess Club. IM Greet kindly donated several chess sets to Queens Park at the start of the 2022/23 season, and has agreed in principle to give a simultaneous match against our Members in early 2023. We intend to arrange a date and issue a call for players later in the Autumn.
Three Queens Park Members competed in the Major section – Alex Lane, Rhys McCrosson, and Jordan McNaught. They were joined by Liu Zizheng of Strathclyde University, a regular visitor to Queens Park, who finished on an impressive 2.5 points out of 5.
In round two, Rhys achieved a superb victory with the Black pieces against top seed Donald Heron, rated 1797. Rhys finished on 2 points. Alex scored three draws to get 1.5/5, and achieved a national rating of 1316 in the process, while Jordan finished on the same score with one win and one draw.
Iain Shields and Chess in the Park & Thursday Chess Group regular Ronnie Martin played in the Minor section. Both finished on 2 points, Ronnie scoring two wins and three losses, Iain achieving a win and two draws.
Govanhill won their first game in the final round of the Scottish National Online Chess League, a 3-2 victory against Lenzie 2.
The games were played at the 25+10 rapid time control on chess.com, with the scores as follows:
Faidon Filipsson (w)
Angelo Lynn (b)
Julien Papillon (b)
Chrysa Mitraka (w)
Derek Rankine (w)
Humam Al Dakl Alla (b)
Jass McNeill (b)
Yashwardhan Shankar (w)
Niall McCamley (w)
Tavish Railwani (b)
On the back of a run of defeats, the result unfortunately wasn’t enough to prevent Govanhill finishing bottom of Division Four. Congratulations to Division winners East Kilbride, who achieved promotion.
Govanhill suffered a 6-2 defeat at home to Bearsden on 29 March, in the latest of our series of graded friendlies.
While the away leg on 1 March saw Govanhill take a narrow win, Bearsden took revenge with wins on five of the eight boards. James Todd scored Govanhill’s only win on board six, while Rhys (board two) and Giuseppe (board five) achieved draws.
Govanhill’s first foray into national competition starts this weekend with two matches in Division Four of the Scottish National Online Chess League, or SNOCL.
SNOCL was created by the Scottish Online Chess Organisation in 2021 to provide a new channel for inter-club competition while over-the-board leagues are suspended.
The second iteration of SNOCL takes place over January to March 2022, with Govanhill being one of 18 clubs around Scotland taking part. All matches will be played on chess.com at the rapid time control of 25+10.
Govanhill’s teams for rounds one and two are:
SNOCL Division Four
Round 1 – East Kilbride vs Govanhill (11am, Sun 30 Jan)