The Club celebrates its 125th anniversary.

Guildford Chess Club was founded on 10th April 1896 and so 2021 is the Club’s 125th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion we decided to stage a 125-Board Simultaneous display on Guildford High Street on 11th September and to accommodate all-comers, we invited nine Masters to each take on 12-15 opponents. Thanks to our long-standing involvement in the 4NCL we had a wide pool of strong Guildford players to choose from, so we had a good mix of talents to appeal to a wide array of participants.

The nine Masters: Back row: Matthew Wadsworth, Andrew Martin, Harry Grieve, Gawain Jones; Middle Row: Nigel Povah, Alex Golding, Nick Pert; Front Row: Akshaya Kalaiyalahan, Jessica Mellor.

We put out a significant amount of publicity amongst local schools and chess clubs across Surrey and the surrounding area, as well as through the ECF and various other chess outlets. We also put up a series of banners and posters in Guildford Town Centre.

We set up a booking system on Eventbrite, so come the day we were fully booked on all 125 boards for each of the three 1½-hour playing sessions at 10.30, 12.30 and 14.30, with over 50 people awaiting the opportunity to step in, if games finished early or there were no-shows. We were fortunate with the weather on the day. After a brief opening ceremony with an address by Councillor Mrs Marsha Moseley, the Mayor of Guildford, play got underway and we saw a huge number of people taking interest throughout the day.

The Mayor playing the first move on Gawain’s board against William Golding. Note the iconic Guildford Clock in the distance on the right, which is the foundation of Guildford Chess Club’s logo.

Two rows of 60 or so boards at the top end of Guildford’s cobbled High Street.

Every participant received a certificate acknowledging their participation and their master opponent, and those achieving a result (win or draw) also received prizes. The event was well managed by a team of helpers, acting as controllers and stewards.  Over 410 games were played, with the masters only conceding 17 draws and 7 losses. The most notable performances came from Gawain Jones (who only conceded two draws in his 50 games, despite facing the strongest opposition) and Andrew Martin and Alex Golding, both of whom won all their games.

Andrew Martin taking on a group of boys from Guildford’s RGS Prep School

The event was so well received that there were many enquiries about how regularly we ran this and would we be doing it again next week or next year!  Most pleasingly we attracted a lot of interest, resulting in a boost in the club’s adult membership, as well as in our junior section, which was relaunched after the pandemic. For more details go to the Junior Section tab.

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