Archive for the ‘Luton Chess Club’ Category

Or ‘we don’t forget what was’ in English.

More pics and details about the revival of Luton chess club to follow…and yes it is only a matter of time before I return to the helm and run the club myself (marooned abroad so about a decade)…assuming it hasn’t folded by then of course.

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The University of Bedfordshire/Luton chess club recently attended the freshers fair in the student union at the university main campus in a bid to attract new members. There are pictures below where lifelong club members put their wits against the freshers!

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CHESS, May 1952, Vol.17 no.200, p154

In 1951, it was decided to run an International Union of Students’ Chess Tournament in conjunction with the National Union of Students’ Arts Festival at Liverpool this Easter. The British Universities’ Chess Association co-operated, and some eight teams with three players in each were expected to meet from April 4th to April 10th, but by the opening date only one Belgian, one Dane and one Indian were at Liverpool to meet the British and Finnish teams. It was known that players were to come from the Soviet Union, and their non-appearance brought many enquiries from reporters. There was no “mystery” about the matter; the late choice of players had meant late applications for visas. In fact, only four days was required for the issue of these once Bronstein and Taimanov were known to be waiting in Prague.

The three individual players were grouped into an “International” team, and while awaiting the arrival of the Russians a short Tourney was held in which Finland beat Britain by 2-1, and the International team by the same margin, while the British trio beat the latter by 3-0.

The Soviet Grandmaster and Master arrived at 6 a. m. on April 10th, and a tournament was hastily arranged with the fast time limit of 40 moves in two hours. This was unfortunately necessary, as two games a day had to be played on two of the five days available. The other competitors were the Finnish master Pastuhoff and his fellow-countrymen Nyren and Rutanen with the Danish player Dinsen and the Indian Katragadda.

As was to be expected, the Russians won all their games against the other players, though they met stiff opposition. Nyren had a drawn position against Bronstein after 40 moves but was outplayed in the ending. The draw between the Russian players was a bitterly contested struggle. Taimanov, a concert pianist by profession, gave short recitals to the other competitors, and Bronstein’s work at the British section of the Institute of Languages in Moscow was of great service, even if he appeared to speak our language rather more quickly than most British people!

Unfortunately the impossibility of issuing advance publicity meant that few spectators witnessed the rare spectacle of two Soviet masters playing in a tourney in Britain.

In their individual game Bronstein avoided a draw by repetition on the fifteenth move, and after intense study of the transition to the middle game obtained a superior position, but as the time limit approached he had to make twelve moves in three minutes. At this point Taimanov sacrificed a piece for an attack which gained him a draw by perpetual check, Bronstein having missed a winning line.

The text above has been lifted from the following site:

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Luton moves forwards

On August 30th 2022, a meeting was held at Luton Chess Club, in the library of the University of Bedfordshire. Around 12 people came and it was agreed that the club would meet there each Tuesday. It is expected that more members will join the club once the university opens its doors to students for the coming academic year. Should you need further assistance, do not hesitate to ask.


The Library, Luton campus.

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Regarding Luton Chess club, talks are taking place with the student union in The University of Bedfordshire main campus, which is where the club will be based. Plans are being put together and the local media will be contacted once things are in place. It is beginning to look like the hangover from COVID is leaving now and the club will be open for business again soon, hopefully with a team in the Bedfordshire League. Now that the club is affiliated to The University of Bedfordshire, this offers a level of security and stability the club hasn’t had in a long time. And with a population of over 200,000 there should be a chess club in town. We really ought to have a secure playing venue and at least 30 members…let us hope for brighter days or put differently a return to normality now that there’s no pandemic interfering with matters. Sadly I cannot be there to oversee operations and tidy things up but the club is in good hands, and so we are hopeful that Luton will have its own chess club again.

I shall post further details in due course.

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‘The moon is red and bleeding, the sun is burned and black.’

I can’t begin to tell you how colourful and oftentimes chaotic my life has become, having been abroad for 22 years now, and visited some 36 countries along the way (many of which I worked in more than once). But the day when it is time to head home will one day come.

‘Time it waits for no man my future it is revealed. Time it waits for no man my fate is sealed.’

When that does happen, when I am a retiree of sorts, I will reach my rightful place. It’s only a matter of time before I become the Secretary of Luton Chess Club and also President of the Bedfordshire Chess Association.

If I cancel tomorrow the undead will thank me today.’

Administrative roles and obligations have been in place for the online versions of our club for some time now, the history of our country has been in my hands alone for many years, moreover in a bid to revive the club, much advertising will take place here. Moves are being played.

‘The demon in your mind will rape you in your bed at night.’

Lyrical encores aside, I am unflustered by what lies ahead and do not lie awake at night, erm…well singing Iron Maiden songs. The diagnosis is, I will live forever and am not ‘too evil’ to be the club secretary (when that day comes). More honest chaps might ask, since I won’t die young, can’t I run the thing from abroad…and perhaps I can.

Evil updates soon to follow…oh and lastly, do enjoy the song below (it has a chess reference).

Mark. J. McCready

11.15am, June 30th.

Room 7113, Intown Holiday Hotel,

Pattaya Saisong Soi 11


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In due course I will post information about Luton Chess Club. Sadly, it has fallen into disarray since the lockdown, with it remaining closed for long periods and then unable to field a team in the Bedfordshire Chess League, due mainly, to a lack of interest.

There are plans afoot to revive matters and soon I shall spell out the details. For a town its size, and university backing, Luton Chess Club should be in much better shape than what it is. Let us hope for a move in the right direction before the summer is out.

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Is there anything better to do than grabbing journalists and giving them a kick up the backside? Probably not…well probably there is. Seek out Primary Source material perhaps?

According to folklore and legend my hometown had it’s own league in the 70’s. Thankfully, we postmodernists do realize that history is per se discourse thus develops. Okay. Let’s look at things before the…before thee…thee so called Fischer-fiasco as our comrades once put it.

So a wintery 1952 it is. Here’s a snapshot of the Beds league. Even then Luton already has almost an entire league of its own, some 19 years before the famous Fischer – Spassky match and the ensuing ‘chess-explosion’ England underwent thereafter.

As some of you may know Dennis.V. Mardle went on to be given a C.B.E for his work on Polio, from which he suffered. He was an exceptionally strong player and many of his games can be found of this site.

Together the pgns above shows us that chess clubs flourished across Luton not long after the war had ended… .

More on Mardle can be found here:


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In more recent years, Luton Chess Club has been in turmoil; with no fixed abode and a diminishing list of members you could write the names on the back of a stamp, it even moved to Bedford and played there for a while.

A sorry state of affairs arose, making the club the least popular in the league. But all that’s changed. We now have a playing venue that is modern and spacious. It’s location has re-titled Luton Chess Club as The University of Bedfordshire.

The University of Bedfordshire. (not your average looking chess club).

Beginner or expert, improve your chess and thinking skills by playing over the board with students, staff, and established club members. In the Library, we offer nights for friendly games,  league matches in the Bedfordshire Chess League, and simuls by established local players also. It’s a great way to meet fellow students and town folk with a shared love of our beautiful game -so what have you got to lose? All welcome: no one unwelcome. A typical evening might look something like this.

Recently, Andrew Perkins, a fine gentleman and Luton’s strongest player performed a simul at the club.

For those of us who have been around a while, can confirm Andrew is well known as a former county champion.

                                                               Sept.12th 1968

Beginner or expert, improve your chess and thinking skills by playing over the board with students and staff. We offer nights for friendly games, simuls by established local players and league matches in the Bedfordshire Chess League. It’s a great way to meet fellow students and town folk too -so what have you got to lose? All welcome: no one unwelcome.

This season’s fixture list stands as follows if you fancy some league chess.


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