Est. 1961
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In a well researched article on Chess Automatons published in 2018 in a magazine called Crystal Palace Matters, Martin Smith of Streatham Chess Club, mentions the formation of the first Crystal Palace Chess Club.  It came into existence around1860 at the instigation of the great Howard Staunton. He suggested that boards and sets be provided in the reading room of the famous Crystal Palace, and subsequently a club was formed. The glass palace had been the venue for major tournaments since 1851 and a number were held there over the years including the British Championship of 1907.  The present day club was formed in 1961 by Jim Ballantyne and Oliver Stallybrass, members of the Crystal Palace Triangle Association as part of a drive to encouraging local activities. The club met in a long-since demolished church in the centre of Crystal Palace that was so cold in the winter members has to play in overcoats and gloves. Today it operates as an independent club and now meets in St Philips Church Hall in Wells Park Road, a pleasant, well-lit, modern, centrally heated church hall in Sydenham. The current British Ladies Chess Champion, WGM Jovanka Houska, was a member as a child and learned the basics at the club.   


Many people learn to play chess at school or were taught as a child the basic moves of the game and now wish to get better. The best way whatever your age is to join a chess club and Crystal Palace Chess Club offers the chance for everyone to do this at a relatively low cost. New club members will find they are are free to play either friendly games, or in organised internal club tournaments and in team matches against other clubs. Experienced club players are also welcomed. In particular players graded 140 - 170 ECF are needed for the new season

 Chairman: John M Bennett

Treasurer: Dr Mark O'Neill

Secretary: David Hodgson

The club is registered with the English Chess Federation, the Surrey County Chess Association and the Croydon & District Chess League.  


The membership includes players of all standards.  The chess played ranges from friendly games to organised internal tournaments and matches in the Surrey and Croydon Leagues against teams from other clubs. The club is registered with the English Chess Federation and the Surrey County Chess Association.

GRADING:  All league and most club tournament games are sent to the ECF for grading.  This service is free to ECF members. New ungraded  players will receive an official ECF grade after playing a minimum of 10 games. Currently ECF Bronze membership costs £18 a year.   However, currently all non ECF members will be charged £10.50 per event sent for grading.This could mount up substantially, so it is clearly much cheaper to join the ECF and is why all club members must do so. Details are on:t


League chess is organised in teams and runs throughout the autumn, winter and spring. The club enters teams in the Surrey Chess League and Croydon & District Chess League. The club runs teams for players of all standards in the different leagues. 


THE CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP:  (Held annually and sent for grading) runs from May to August.  It is a six round, long play Swiss System Tournament with rounds roughly every two weeks.   

RAPIDPLAY TOURNAMENTS: (graded)  Four Rounds Swiss System, 15-20 mins each.. These tournaments are held in the Spring, Summer and Autumn when time permits. 

RAPID PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP: (graded) A six round Swiss system tournament, 25 mins each, run over two successive Mondays in September. 

FIVE MINUTE & HANDICAPPED LIGHTNING: (ungraded) In September, at Christmas and at New Year.   

THE TROST TROPHY (ungraded) In June and is the annual Croydon League Invidual Handicap Lightning Tournament.



From September 1 2019 - August 31 2020

£40 the first year for new members  

£60 a year thereafter for full members. -  (close family members free).  

£40 a year -  unemployed.

£20 a year -  (Children & Students)

Non members £2 an evening