2020-2021 Season

At the start of the 2020/21 season all local Over The Board chess remains suspended.  Thus there are no club meetings at the Guildford Institute or league matches.

Online chess activity continues for the club with a Monday evening online tournament and on Thursday club members are entertained with an online masterclass on chess endings conducted by International Master Nigel Povah.  Also several club members are currently a part of teams playing in the online 4 Nations Chess League and the club is going to enter at least one team in the friendly online competition for Surrey clubs due to start in October.

The club’s junior section has been suspended.

If you are interested in any of these activities please contact the club secretary (email in Contacts).


Nearly half the club are taking part in various online activities during the lockdown:

  • An online club championship is taking place on the Lichess chess server on Monday evenings with 20 competitors
  • On Thursday evenings we have a Zoom video conference where one member takes us through some of his games and the rest of us discuss/ analyse the positions which arise
  • Members are taking part in various online competitions which are now taking place, e.g. the 4NCL Online on Tuesday evenings and the just launched English Chess Federation Online Counties Championship on Saturday evenings
  • The Junior Section continues every Monday with 20 minutes of tuition/ discussion on Zoom followed by 40 minutes playing each other on Lichess

If you live in the Guildford area and are interested in joining some of these activities  (but not currently a club member) then contact one of us via one of the email addresses on the Contacts page.


Following the recent UK government advice to minimise social contact the Guildford Chess Club Committee has decided to suspend all activity (for both adults and juniors) until further notice.

We look forward to re-opening when the government advice changes.

Lecture on AlphaZero

ClockAndCastleMasterOn Monday night Guildford Chess Club was fortunate to host Grand Master Matthew Sadler (Ranked England no. 2) and Women’s International Master Natasha Regan for a talk about their award winning book, Game Changer.  They explained how Deep Mind, the Google company, had extended their research from the board game Go, into Chess with a programme called AlphaZero (‘Zero’ involvement from human learning – all learning being done by the computer) and how Artificial Intelligence has enabled computers to leave humans far behind in terms of playing strength.   Having never played before AlphaZero learned how to play by playing against  itself 44 million times, over a few hours.  Sadler_Reagan_pic2

AlphaZero was then matched against the strongest chess programme in the world, called Stockfish.   Stockfish has resulted from extensive investment over the last 30 years or so incorporating the best human techniques for playing.  Showing how Artificial Intelligence can enable fantastic outcomes, AlphaZero then triumphed over 1000 games winning 155 and losing only six.   In their book Matthew and Natasha explain the impact of new ideas on playing which have influenced the strongest human players.


Following the match Matthew and Natasha played a simultaneous against 10 of the Guildford players losing only one game against the whole of the club.  Congratulations to Robert Lydiard on scoring the only win for Guildford.


Another stunning year of success for Guildford Chess Club


The 2018-19 season has seen great successes by individuals and teams from Guildford Chess Club. In July 2018 Jessica Mellor a member of our thriving Junior Section won the Girls’ Gold Medal Under 11s category at the European Schools Chess Championships held in Krakow, Poland. International Master Andrew Martin (Guildford Clun member and leader of the English team in Krakow) said The most unexpected and amazing performance I have seen in 25 years of working on these trips. Let’s face it , anyone who wins playing the Grand Prix Attack and the King’s Gambit deserves all the applause.”  Jessica scored 7.5 out of 9 points and was undefeated in the last 7 rounds of the tournament. The last time an English player achieved a similar result was 2004 which gives a measure of her achievement.


In April 2019 International Master Nigel Povah (Guildford’s leading player for many years) captained the over 65 English team to the silver medal position in the World 65+Team Chess Championship which was held in Rhodes, Greece. England with 13 match points (6 won matches, 1 draw and 2 losses) came only 1 match point behind the winning Russian team (5 wins, 4 draws and 0 losses).



In May 2019 Guildford again won the Four Nations’ Chess League, (4NCL) the strongest chess league in the UK. Leonard Barden wrote in the Guardian: “There were no surprises at the 4NCL, then. Guildford maintained their stranglehold on the Four Nations Chess League by winning all 11 matches in the current season and taking their record unbeaten run to 77 wins and two draws spread over more than six years. The Surrey club win many matches by 7-1 or more and even single defeats are rare. This season its players lost [just] one game out of 88 … Guildford’s backbone is a mix of English and French Olympiad grandmasters whose long experience gives them an edge in team strategy, as was demonstrated in last weekend’s final round.” The fact that so many English Grandmasters play for Guildford in this competition (including England’s current no. 1 player Gawain Jones) is due to sponsorship by Guildford Chess Club members Roger Emerson and Nigel Povah.

Guildford Chess Club has continued this success at the local level, winning no less than 5 division titles in the Surrey League and the Surrey Border League. Nigel White’s Guildford 2 team won the Beaumont Cup (the 2nd division of the Surrey League) and Julien Shepley’s team won the Stoneleigh Trophy (a handicap rapidplay) competition. Other Surrey League teams did well too with Guildford 1 coming 3rd in Division 1 and Guildford 3 coming 2nd in Division 3). Our team lost a closely contested match to Wimbledon in the final of the knockout competition (the Alexander Cup). In the Surrey Border League Guildford A (captained by Nigel Povah) won the Waechter Shield (Division 1); Guildford C (captained by Rob Merriman) won the Graham Smith Shield (Division 3) and Guildford E (captained by Ray Tarling) won the Bill Lowe Shield (Division 6). Also Guildford B (captained by Trevor Jones) was a very close 2nd to Reading in the Tom White Trophy (Division 2).

2018-2019 Season

The new season has been going for a month and the website has finally caught up with a new consolidated fixtures list and a new set of  dates for the Junior Club.

New feature: games and reports

Here is Julien Shepley’s game played against Viktor Stoyanov of Sandhurst  on Monday 3rd October 2016.  (Julien is black.)  Click here

If other club members would like to send me their games (played for Guildford) then send me the pgn file.  If you don’t know what a pgn file is I’ll explain how you can create one.

Everything you wanted to know about Guildford Chess Club