Play Chess in Scotland

Welcome to Chess Scotland! This page helps you get started by finding the chess organisation closest to you, and by giving a summary of what each type of organised chess activity does. As an individual, you have a wide choice of venues and types of play - membership (in most cases) is not compulsory, and entry fees are modest. Organisations which offer junior facilities are clearly categorised throughout.

Navigating the Chess Scotland site should be fairly simple. You can reach every page in the site via the top frame bar links. If that doesn't find the information you are looking for try the search box on the home page. Still can't find it - please email the Webmaster

Chess League and Club Finder

City of Aberdeen Aberdeenshire Angus Argyll and Bute South Ayrshire Scottish Borders Dumfries and Galloway Perth and Kinross Stirling Glasgow City City of Edinburgh East Lothian Mid Lothian West Lothian Clackmannanshire Falkirk North Lanarkshire South Lanarkshire Renfrewshire East Ayrshire North Ayrshire East Inverclyde Renfrewshire West Dunbartonshire East Dunbartonshire Fife Highland Moray Western Isles Shetland Orkney City of Dundee

Aberdeen City  Aberdeenshire  Angus  Argyll and Bute  Ayrshire East  Ayrshire North  Ayrshire South  Clackmannan  Dumfries and Galloway  Dunbartonshire East  Dunbartonshire West  Dundee City  East Lothian  Edinburgh City  Falkirk  Fife  Glasgow City  Inverclyde  Highland  Lanarkshire North  Lanarkshire South  Midlothian  Moray  Orkney Islands  Perth and Kinross  Renfrewshire  Renfrewshire East  Scotland  Scottish Borders  Shetland Islands  Stirling  Western Isles  West Lothian 

These links take the viewer to the appropriate league/area page (if there is one), or otherwise to the relevant club page. Leagues have further links to clubs.

Chess Organisation in Scotland

Chess Scotland

Chess Scotland (CS) is the governing organisation for all chess played in Scotland, though much chess activity is decentralised locally and run by leagues, clubs and tournament organisers. On this site, we are concerned primarily with over-the-board (OTB) play for both adults and juniors. Email and postal chess are organised by a separate, but affiliated body, the Scottish Correspondence Chess Association.

The main purpose of CS is to promote chess in Scotland, by providing a framework of rules, guidelines, services and nationally organised events. CS is also the body which represents Scotland internationally on FIDE.

The three main types of chess organisation, leagues, clubs and events, are explained in more detail below, and links to reference pages are also provided: you will find contact details of local organisers there. Use the map above to link to the leagues and clubs closest to you.

Individuals may elect to join Chess Scotland directly - this helps support the national association and to finance the administration of the game in Scotland. Individual membership entitles you to certain benefits, membership info and benefits.


Leagues are organised on a geographical basis to provide competition for local clubs. CS organises the Scottish National Chess League (SNCL), which is the top league standard in Scotland. Other leagues are more regional in nature, and most concentrate on adult chess (though many areas have junior leagues which may be independently operated from the "adult" leagues).

League organisers may be dedicated to the league only, or be a wider body which organises regional events (Edinburgh and Lothians; Tayside and Fife are both examples of wider chess associations). Leagues may or may not be affiliated to CS - the main reason for joining is that league games are eligible for grading. Affiliated leagues may elect representatives on to the CS Council.

Individuals do not join leagues; clubs are the members. Most league organisers are excellent sources of information regarding local clubs - the links from the map above to you to leagues in the first instance, and thence to club data.


Clubs are organised on a local basis, under a variety of banners. Some are exclusively junior (run by schools or youth organisations); some are exclusively adult (works teams); most will accommodate adults and juniors in a convenient community location at least once a week.

Clubs may elect to join one or more local leagues, and/or Chess Scotland directly. The advantages of the former are principally local competition, and of the latter having club championships and other events graded. Clubs affiliated to CS may elect representatives on to the CS Council.

Individuals need to join clubs in order to play in club competitions and in league matches. Membership fees are usually modest, with reductions for juniors, OAPs, unemployed, etc. Most clubs will allow prospective members to sample the facilities before charging admission, and most will actively assist juniors and beginners to improve.


For a small country, Scotland has a rich variety of chess events and tournaments in the CS calendar. The most popular type of event is the 5-round "Swiss" tournament (so named because the method of pairing players originated in Switzerland). This usually runs over a weekend, and entrants are guaranteed 5 games regardless of whether they win, lose or draw in each round. Other popular events are rapid- or quickplay tournaments, where the action is faster, and where 5 or more rounds can be compressed into a single day. There is a vibrant junior scene with events organised regularly throughout the year.

Most local events are independently organised by enthusiasts and club members. Almost all events cater for all ages and strengths of player, and matching systems are used wherever possible to pair players of approximately equal strength. Event organisers may elect to affiliate to CS, in order to receive support in organising the tournament, and to become eligible for Grand Prix points (keen players can follow the weekend circuit around the whole of Scotland!) and for games to be graded.

CS itself organises events on a national basis. The most important of these are the Scottish (individual) Championships, usually held in July; team championships (Richardson, Spens and Campbell trophies); and the national league (SNCL). A large number of junior events are hosted by CS, which also organises training days and international matches for top junior players.

Individuals can enter chess events without being a member of a chess club, though it is usually sensible to have gained experience of competitive play (particularly keeping a game score and using a chess clock) beforehand. The organisers listed on the Events page will supply you with entry forms and other details.

A list of tournament rules is published by Chess Scotland (available for free download or from Chess Suppliers) but most players get by without reading them. Once you have played a couple of tournaments or in club or league chess you will automatically appear in the Chess Scotland Rating list. Grading System Explained Frequently Asked Grading Questions



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