Club chess
Tournament chess
Team chess

Chess grades
Using chess grades to measure how well you play
How they give you your first chess grade
How they use your match results to update your chess grades

Player’s grade
Players regularly involved in competitive chess will eventually receive a grade. The grade you are given will be based on your results last season. The better the player, the higher the grade.
Board number
In team chess, the boards are numbered. Teams will play in order of strength, with the strongest players from both teams on board 1, second strongest on board 2 etc down to the weakest players for both teams on the last board.
Top board
By convention, the board with the strongest player (board 1) is normally referred to as the “top board”, and the board with the least skillful players is referred to as the “bottom board”.

Chess as a team game

These pages are here to help chess players understand what is available. This page explores Team chess.

Basics of team chess

Although chess is a game where you play alone against one opponent, it can also played as a team event. Depending on the tournament, a team can allow you to represent your school, your chess club, or even the County.

In team chess you still play one game against one opponent, but your result counts towards your team’s result. Normally, your team gets 1 point if you win, ½ point if you draw, and 0 if you lose.

To make sure everything is fair, each team has their strongest player on the top board, second strongest on the next board etc down to the weakest players for both teams on the last board. For some events a team may have just 4 players, for others there may be as many as 20.

Events up to age 11 are usually run by EPSCA (English Primary Schools Chess Association). They run many individual, schools and county competitions. For older children, events are organised by NYCA (National Youth Chess Association).

County Chess

It may seem odd to start talking about team chess at the county level, but County chess has the advantage that it is usually played in the afternoon at weekends. Matches are usually played between September and April.

Junior teams are normally identified by the age that players must be under to take part — e.g. Under 9, Under 11, Under 13, Under 15 or Under 18.

Local team selection trials are run regularly, so that players can show their skills under match conditions.

There are also county teams with no age restriction — including grown ups. Here, a player may need to have a grade below a certain value to be able to take part — e.g. For the Under 100 team, a player must have a grade under 100. Ungraded players may be given an estimated grade based on recent results.

League Chess

For most clubs, League chess is played on a weekday evening.

Not all clubs take part in league chess, but like most other sports, Chess does have a league season. League chess gives players a chance to represent their club and test their skills against similar players from other clubs. Most club members will be encouraged to play League chess at some point. If you play one game, it does not mean you have to play every game that season. It is your choice.

The season usually runs from September to March, with most teams playing between 7 and 12 games during the season, against similar teams from other local clubs. About half the games will be played where your club meets, the remainder will be played where the opposing club meets.

Club and Tournament chess

This site has similar guides to:
Chess clubs
Tournament Chess.

In Control

The person who looks after young chessplayers in Staffordshire is

Traci Whitfield

Email: Traci Whitfield
Tel: 01782 623361
(Before 9 pm please.)

Junior players welcome

Mrs Traci Whitfield,
Staffs Junior Chess,
21 Bankfield Grove,
Scot Hay,

Chess logo


Please contact:

Andrew Davies  and  Traci Whitfield


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