Queens Park Chess Club’s first organised activity on chess.com will be a transatlantic ‘vote chess’ challenge match against the Central Savannah Riversite Area (CSRA). CSRA is a US club with players from the city of Augusta, Georgia and the neighbouring towns of Aiken and Edgefield in South Carolina.
What is vote chess?
Vote chess is a format in which two teams play a single game of correspondence (aka ‘daily’) chess against each other. In this game, Queens Park is playing with the Black pieces, and each team has three days to discuss and vote on every move. Both teams have access to a private message board for discussion on suggested moves.
The normal rules of correspondence chess apply – the chess.com opening explorer and books on opening theory can be used for reference, and the pieces can be moved around on the board, but chess engines and endgame tablebases must never be used.
Then select the QPCC-CSRA game and choose ‘join game’.
Those who do not already have a chess.com profile can register and play for free.
How do I play?
To start with, introduce yourself on the message board under the vote chess game. Then let us know what you would like Queens Park’s first move with Black to be.
When it’s our move, we have three days to decide what to play. In the first two days, club members of all abilities are encouraged to suggest and discuss potential moves in the position. When we have around 24 hours to go, a vote will be called for the consensus move (or a choice between two or more moves if no consensus has been reached). ‘Voting’ is a case of playing a move on the board, and clicking a tick box to confirm.
It is possible for players to vote at any time on any move they wish, but participating in discussion on candidate moves first, and voting on an agreed move, helps to make this more of a team game, in which we can learn from each other, and play higher quality moves.
Lower-rated players are encouraged to suggest their preferred moves, and higher rated players are asked to respond courteously to any potential mistakes or inaccuracies. Lower-rated players are welcome to ask higher-rated players questions about their proposed moves, to improve their understanding of the ideas behind them.
What happens after we vote on our move?
The opposing team, CSRA, will have three days to pick their move, then it’s back to our turn. The game will continue to a conclusion. At any point, it is possible for teams to vote in favour of offering or accepting a draw, or to resign the game. The outcome of the game will be rated on the chess.com vote chess leaderboard. If there is appetite for more, Queens Park can set up a new game, or even several at once.
Alex: I learned chess moves when I was a child, but I got interested in the game only when I was around 15. I didn’t get to play chess as much as I wished – my parents don’t play, and at school, none of my classmates played either. So mostly I played chess online.
Tell us about your experience with chess clubs in Scotland.
In 2015, I emailed a few clubs close to Glasgow’s west end, where I lived at the time. John McIntyre – President of Phones Chess Club – kindly responded and invited me to join. Eventually, I ended up playing for Phones B team in Division 2 of the Glasgow Chess League for a few years.
After that, I didn’t play chess for some time, as I had other priorities at that point. When I moved to Shawlands in the south of Glasgow, I found Queens Park Chess Club – then known as Govanhill Chess Club – on its Facebook page. My former captain, Colin Paterson, who helped set the club up, also recommended Govanhill to me. So I decided to go along to a session early in the 2021/22 season.
I also went to several meetings of the Thursday Chess Group in Brodies Bar next to Queens Park, including some of their first gatherings in Autumn 2021.
I have played in several chess tournaments in Scotland. I think the 2017 Edinburgh Congress was my first serious tournament, and my most memorable one.
What do you like most about Queens Park Chess Club?
I like the enthusiasm of all members, the willingness to help each other improve, and to involve more people in the game. If I had to pick one thing, it would be the friendliness, and the warm welcome to new members of different ages and backgrounds.
What do you think the Chess Club could be doing better, or differently?
The club could meet more than once a week, and organise its own chess tournaments.
Queens Park Chess Club is known for its friendliness, and the warm welcome to new members
Is chess significantly more popular in Lithuania than it is in Scotland?
You have a large collection of chess books, in English and in Russian. What do you like aboutbooks, compared to digital chess resources?
I like the overall experience of using physical books rather than ebooks, videos etc. I get less distracted and I focus more easily.
If you had to pick only one, what book would you recommend to a newer player (sub-1000 elo)?
Probably, “How to Beat Your Dad at Chess” by Murray Chandler. It is a strong collection of checkmating patterns.
How about a book recommendation for an intermediate player (around 1300 elo) looking to improve their general play?
For general play, Capablanca’s “Chess Fundamentals” is still excellent. It covers the key fundamentals of chess strategy and the most essential endgames.
Lithuania hosted many high level events in the Soviet era, which hugely raised chess interest across the country
Do you have any general advice for new Queens Park Chess Club members?
If you are new to chess, and want to improve, play longer time control games and analyse them afterwards, especially the games you lost. Do not rely on an engine too much, but try to identify mistakes yourself.
Also, do not be too harsh on yourself for not winning games; what matters most is experience.
Once you have some experience and are comfortable playing over-the-board, start playing competitive chess. Join Queens Park’s Club Championship and start playing for one for our teams in the Glasgow or Dumbarton league. Our captains this season are Rhys, Caitlin and Jass, and members can talk to them about playing on a league team.
You are particularly strong at King-and-pawn endgames. Do you have any tips on how to convert an advantage in these types of endgames?
A main general principle of endgames – especially when Queens are off the board – is to involve your King as early as possible. The same rule applies to King-and-pawn endgames.
Make your king active as early as possible, centralise it, occupy more space. As for pawns, the creation of a passed pawn makes your chances of winning the game higher.
Do not rely on an engine when analysing games you lost; try to identify mistakes yourself
Do you have a favourite chess player, current or historic?
I do not have single favourite chess player. I admire many games of Alekhine, Capablanca, Tigran Petrosian, Fischer, Karpov and Carlsen. These players represent different playing styles, but in my opinion, Magnus Carlsen is ultimately the best player. He combines both the attacking and positional styles of previous generations.
What are your future chess ambitions?
To play good chess, and try to raise my national Chess Scotland classical rating to 1600. To be honest, combining work and family life and achieving significant results in chess is very hard! So I am trying to make realistic aims for now.
If successful, we will invest in chess sets, a website and public events, to support even more local people to join us to play chess, connect with others, and improve their wellbeing.
The grant distribution will be decided by residents of Govanhill via the democratic process of participatory budgeting.
If your postcode starts G42 7 or G42 8, you can vote for free via WhatsApp or text: simply send a message to 07919 364 673, with your name, address and our voting reference: K6. Voting is open now until noon on Wed 5 Oct. Both chess groups appreciate all support.
Govanhill residents can vote for up to ten local projects in total: five in the small ‘Kickstart’ grant category, and a further five in the larger ‘Action Project’ category.
Information on our proposed project follows below. Full details from all 27 proposed projects and information on how to vote is available here.
Our Proposed Project
Connecting and Supporting Govanhill Through the Ancient Game of Chess.
Queens Park Chess Club – in partnership with Thursday Chess Group.
The European Parliament recognises chess’ unique value: connecting diverse people, improving wellbeing, providing comfort. Two groups will build on existing interest in playing chess in Govanhill by improving access.
A joint proposal by two Govanhill-based groups – Queens Park Chess Club and Thursday Chess Group who wish to build on growing local interest in playing chess as a way of improving general wellbeing. Together they have established free weekly casual chess meetups on Tuesday evenings in Wellcroft Bowling Club, on Thursday evenings in Brodies Bar, and on Sunday mornings at the Queens Park boating pond.
The purpose is not to popularise an already widely-played board game, but to connect people, enhance cross-demographic community links, and provide an enjoyable experience – among other valuable outcomes. In a 2012 European Parliament declaration, the unique value of chess was highlighted for its wide social, health and educational value, from improving social integration and reducing discrimination to tackling addiction and enhancing memory.
Participants include people with mental health issues, Ukrainian refugees and other foreigners with no local social connections, older people suffering from loneliness, and younger people seeking to improve their confidence and self-esteem. One recent participant reported in the popular WhatsApp group, “these [meetups] have really helped my mental health, just seeing people and speaking to them in person”. The number of participants at each session has risen significantly, from an initial 3-10 in early 2022 to a typical 15-30 and more in recent months. In August 2022, Chess Scotland highlighted the “lively local chess scene emerging in Queens Park” .
Both groups now wish to improve capacity and outreach work to ensure more people can be involved, by sharing a £1k grant to invest in equipment and materials, digital information provision and public events. Currently players are often asked to bring their own sets, resulting in shortages, and we wish to develop and promote a new website, and participate in local festivals and wider partnership activities in 2022/23 and beyond.
Funding Themes Covered
Improving Mental Health
Supporting Young People (up to 21)
Supporting Older People (over 60s)
Govanhill residents can visit www.govanhill.info for information on how to vote for our proposed project before the deadline of noon on Wed 5 October.
Their generosity continued over the summer break, as Queens Park was offered five places in the 2022 Bearsden Grand Prix, a weekly online rapid tournament that offered cash prizes in three sections: under 1800, under 1500 and under 1200.
The games were played on chess.com on Tuesday evenings from mid-May to mid-September. The time control was 12+5, with up to five rounds played each night, points being awarded for wins, draws and participation.
The tournament concluded this week. While Queens Park’s contingent didn’t take any gold medals, Derek Rankine was runner-up in the u1500 section with 31 points and Jass McNeill was also second in the u1200 section with 25.5 points. Graeme McKinnon, Giuseppe Bosco and Rhys McCrosson also took part in the series.
Our thanks to Bearsden and our congratulations to host team winners Alan Sharp (u1800), Alistair Goodall (u1500) and Chris Monk (u1200).
We hope to continue collaborations with Bearsden in 2022/23 and are planning towards two special events – watch this space!
Above images created with the help of artificial intelligence using DALL-E.
It has been almost 90 years since a player represented Queens Park Chess Club in official competition. As far as we can tell, the last occasion in which the historic Queens Park Chess Club played in formal competition, was losing to Dundee in the 1936 Spens Cup final.
The rapid event, played over five rounds in a Swiss format (i.e. ‘winners play winners’) tournament at the 20+10 time control, was held in East Kilbride’s Holiday Inn hotel on Sunday 4 September 2022.
Not only did the name of Queens Park Chess Club once again grace a national competition, but the Club was recognised among the prize-winners. The top performers were:
Alex Lane: Alex (pictured above, left) shared second prize in the internationally rated intermediate section with a superb 4/5. On the top board in the final round, Alex narrowly lost to section winner Ishan Kumar of Bearsden, and shared 2nd prize with Liu Zizheng (above right) of Strathclyde University, a regular visitor to Queens Park.
Rhys McCrosson: despite being a major rating underdog in the open section, Rhys (fourth from right) scored 2/5 against fierce opposition. Rhys, who holds a current Chess Scotland Allegro rating of 1240, delivered a performance rating of 1734.
Graeme McKinnon: Graeme (third from left) achieved 3.5/5 in the intermediate section and was placed 5th of 43 in the final standings.
A number of other Queens Park members, plus regulars from Chess in the Park & Brodies Chess Group, scored points and strong mid-table finishes in the intermediate section. Those competing included Jordan McNaught, Caitlin McCulloch, Derek Rankine, Iain Shields, Chris Dinwoodie, Ryan McGill, Jonny Linney and Finn MacLeod.
Several were playing competitive chess for the first time and reported greatly enjoying the experience.
The overall standings and individual results are available on the Chess-Results website:
Rhys: I started playing chess when I was a bit younger. The first thing that stood out for me was actually the geometry of the game. Then I saw it appear in different TV shows and movies, and when I was a child, I honestly just liked how the characters that played chess were portrayed.
Nowadays though, the main attraction is the fact that it is truly a game that is open to all regardless of your background. The game is rigid, tough and almost scientific – yet so aesthetically pleasing to look at.
How long have you been playing?
I’ve been playing on and off since I was around six. My Dad, and my Mum’s friend Laura, both tried to teach me the game. I didn’t really play much until I was eight, when I played my Dad most weeks when I went to visit him. I joined the chess club in my Primary School in the south side of Glasgow when I was nine, and I participated in School tournaments between the ages of 10-11.
I quit chess on the last day of Primary School, despite being my School’s number one player, after being heavily taken for granted at the prize giving ceremony (super petty stuff – I know! I was a child though…)
I didn’t play much again until I was 13-14, when my friends encouraged me, and I decided to play my Dad every few months. I really started playing regularly again around fifth year of school, when I was 16 years old, on the worst apps you could imagine. By this point, I was playing most days.
By the time I started studying at the University of Glasgow, I’d fully adopted the game again. I was playing pretty much every day, sometimes for more than an hour a day, mainly as a way of procrastinating from my seemingly never-ending workload! I continued playing nearly every day until the end of my degree, when I reached 1500-1600 rapid on chess.com.
When did you join Queens Park Chess Club – and why?
Shortly after finishing my degree, in the summer of 2021, I stumbled upon Queens Park Chess Club under its former name of Govanhill Chess Club. I went along to one of their outdoor chess sessions at the Queens Park boating pond on a Sunday morning, and then to Wellcroft Bowling Club where the club meet during the week, and I’ve been a regular member ever since.
I had actually wanted to join a chess club for a while, but because of the pandemic and everything being shut, I just didn’t have the option. When I found out about Govanhill Chess Club, I decided to go ahead and check them out. I felt I was finally strong enough to start taking the game a bit more seriously and the club was so local to me – at the time I was living in Eglinton in Glasgow, close to Queens Park. It was a perfect fit.
I would encourage new members to set small, realistic goals. Chess is hard. You’re not going to improve from 1000 to 2000 in a year.
Was winning the Club Championship your personal highlight of last season?
It’s hard to say really. It probably was the highlight of the season for me, but I also had some decent games that I was pretty proud of (amongst many that we don’t talk about…).
One of my favourite games of the season was against our south Glasgow neighbours, Cathcart. I was on board #1 with the black pieces. I was fortunate enough to face the King’s Gambit, an opening I am highly confident playing against. I hit my opponent with a lesser known side-line that they were clearly unfamiliar with. Let’s just say, white’s opening didn’t exactly go as planned.
What do you like most about Queens Park Chess Club?
The diversity of the members. It’s that simple. The diversity was the first thing that struck me when I joined, which makes sense, given Govanhill is a remarkably diverse community. It’s this diversity that demonstrates the fact that chess truly is a game for all demographics and backgrounds.
Another thing I really appreciate is the incredible democratic approach that the Club Committee takes towards decision-making. This is entirely in line with my principles. I recently decided to join the Committee, become a team captain, and help manage its social media on Facebook and Instagram, and its clubs on chess.com and Lichess.
What do you think the Club could improve on?
While I think the Club is generally good on diversity, I’d really love it if it could improve its female representation. It’s not entirely the Club’s fault – many women simply don’t play chess, for multiple reasons, but I think it’s mainly because of historical biases that have culminated in a very male-dominated game.
Things don’t need to be like this. Hopefully the club can become more proactive in attracting women to the game, because I like to think everyone connected to chess in Glasgow and Scotland would agree that it could only be for the better.
Do you play, learn and improve, outside of the Club?
Yeah, definitely! I spent years playing chess without a club. At this point, I’m pretty used to teaching myself things. There are a number of online videos and website resources I use to support my development.
What could the Club do better? It could be more proactive in improving its female representation.
Do you have any chess aspirations for the coming season?
The aim is definitely to try and retain the Club Championship title, although if someone more deserving wins in 2022/23, then I can only use that experience to improve my game.
Aside from this, It would be pretty nice if I could lead my team to a promotion to Division Two in the Glasgow Chess League, but it remains to be seen what level of opposition we will be facing in Division Three.
Queens Park Chess Club is taking in lots of new members on the back of summer outreach activity across the south side of Glasgow and online. Do you have any advice for those coming to a Chess Club for the first time?
Honestly – make realistic goals.
Some people just want to come, play a few informal games, have a drink and a good chat, and we completely welcome that. Other people come to the club with the intention of improving their game.
For the latter, it can be so easy to start engaging with the game and setting yourself the goal of going from, let’s say, 1000-2000 within a year or two. The truth is – it’s not going to happen. Chess is hard, man. It’s better to set yourself a series of relatively small goals like going from 1000 to 1050 by the end of a period of months, and then 1050-1100 by the end of another few months, and so on.
Just enjoy the game and learn to appreciate the good times when they come. Don’t get bogged down with every single loss because, statistically speaking, you’re going to lose… a lot. You’ve got to learn to lose before you can learn to win.
Thanks to Rhys for making the first move in this interview series. Look out for more member interviews throughout the 2022/23 season.
Newcomers, beginners and those returning to chess after a long absence will receive a very warm welcome at the first evening of the new season, alongside returning members, on Tuesday 30 August at 6:30pm.
The Club is expecting an influx of new members for the 2022/23 season as a result of awareness-raising activity through the summer. We held chess sessions at the Queens Park boating pond weekly on Sunday mornings from the start of June (pictured above), promoted our activities on social media, met a great bunch of folk at weekly chess meetups on Thursday nights in Brodies Bar, and we even appeared on ITV’s News at Ten!
To that end, at the first meeting of the new season, Club Champion Rhys McCrosson and Club Secretary Derek Rankine will provide a free introductory session on classical over-the-board chess, covering rules, etiquette, use of clocks and scoresheets, and practical gameplay tips.
A new Club President, Graeme McKinnon, will also be providing a formal welcome alongside Derek, with news on plans for the season ahead. Meanwhile, Graeme and Rhys, plus Alex Lane, Jass McNeill and Alex Radevic, have joined Derek and Harvey Dellanzo on an expanded Committee with new roles.
Another major item of news is: the Club has anew name. At its 2022 AGM, the Committee decided to change the name from Govanhill Chess Club to Queens Park Chess Club.
The purpose of the change is to highlight our current home in Queens Park, to reflect the reality that our members are drawn from a number of communities around Queens Park, including Govanhill, Crosshill, Shawlands, Langside and Mount Florida, and to develop a link to a historic club with the same name, which started in 1873.
The roots of both the historic and the current Queens Park Chess Club lie deep in Govanhill, and Govanhill will continue to be at the heart of our meetings and activities.
Check out our in-depth report on the fascinating history of the original Queens Park Chess Club, produced with the generous assistance of Chess Scotland historian Alan McGowan, and the story of the new Club, which was established in 2019.
With membership fees set at just £40 annually, and a £20 concessionary rate, we are confident Queens Park Chess Club will provide superb value for money, as well as a highly valuable and enjoyable opportunity to learn and socialise with other chess enthusiasts.
We look forward to bringing a greater number of local people together to learn, play and appreciate the ancient game, and we hope to see you at a future meeting on Tuesday evenings in Queens Park from 30 August.
Social Media & Contact
In addition, Queens Park Chess Club now has an Instagram profile where we will be sharing stories of our adventures throughout the season. Visit and follow here.
We have also updated our Facebook page to reflect the name change. The website domain name will follow suit later in the season.