ECF Small Club of the Year 2012

Trowbridge Chess Club, Wiltshire

We have some 12 members and meet every Thursday from the beginning of September until the end of May. We also get together once a month in the summer. It is a very friendly club where everyone receives the warmest welcome. Grades vary from 155 to 67. We make sure that all members, of whatever ability, get plenty of opportunities to play competitive chess. Annual fees are kept to an absolute minimum, so that no-one is debarred for financial reasons

Being located in Wiltshire but close to the Somerset border we play in no fewer than five competitions across the two counties: Wiltshire 4-a-side (for higher graded players), Wiltshire Minor (also four a side, for lower graded players), Somerset Division 2 (six a side), Division 3 (four a side) and the Somerset Knock-Out Cup (eight a side). For the Wiltshire competitions we have two squads and in the Minor squad players are rotated so that each one plays the same number of games. In this way weaker players ‘get a fair crack of the whip’; they are encouraged to keep playing and they have the opportunity to improve.

We are a highly inclusive club. We have one player with a disability – profound deafness – who plays an entirely full part in the life of the Club, which includes playing in league and cup matches. All members of clubs in Wiltshire and Somerset were invited to a training weekend, with IM Andrew Martin, at the Trowbridge club last summer.

Our records in the various competitions are very good:
Wiltshire – Winners, 4-a-side 2005/06 and 2011/12; Runners-up 2010/11; Winners, Minor 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2008/09; Runners-up 2009/10
Somerset – Winners, Division 2 2009/10; Runners-up 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2010/11; Winners, Division 3 2006/07, 2008/09; Runners-up 2010/11; Runners-up, Knock-Out Cup 2008/09 (on count back)

In addition, we have a Club Championship in which members are encouraged to play each other twice during the season.

We play a very full part in the administration of Wiltshire County Chess: Club Captain Tony Ransom is Tournaments Secretary, Roy Ludlow is Secretary and Mark Leonard runs the website through the Club’s own site, which is outstanding.

Trowbridge members participate fully in the County tournaments which Tony organises: Wiltshire Open (major and minor individual tournaments, with monthly matches throughout the season); two individual five-minute tournaments; and an annual team rapid play tournament. The Club is well represented at congresses, not only our local one in Frome, but at others far from home, for example Blackpool, Torbay and The West of England Championships in Exmouth, where the Minor Section this year (2012) was won by a Trowbridge member, Tim Woodward.

We are always keen to reach out to the community: we have taken part in a ‘Trowbridge Sports’ event and three members recently gave a coaching session for a local Scout troup.

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