Play Chess in Scotland
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 Organisation in 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
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
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