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Last Updated: 20th September 2017

Honorary Members scoop the first trophy of the new
season by winning the BP-Shell Cup for the fourth
sucessive year. It was a very close contest with all three
of the front runners in with a shout as the last round
started. HMC I clinched it with a 2½-1½ victory over
NALGO I, while NALGO II were held to a 2-2 draw
by bottom placed Ad Hocs. This left NALGO II just
half a game point behind their clubmates NALGO I.
The full table can be found here.


The London Commercial Chess League began its life in 1924, and within ten years was described in the London Evening News as "the largest organisation of its kind in the world". At that time 46 teams from 29 clubs were taking part. At the outbreak of the war it had grown to over 70 teams from over 40 clubs, and comprised 7 divisions.

Over the years no less than 176 different clubs have competed, entering a total of nearly 300 teams, although you would hardly believe it from the shrunken state the league is in today. For details of these Clubs and Teams, click here.

The record for entering the most teams is held jointly by Lensbury (1959-60) and Railways (1965-67) - both with 7. Railways could perhaps claim slight superiority as they managed this feat for two consecutive seasons, whereas Lensbury only managed one.

Of those 176 clubs, The League's Premier Competition, the "Morton Cup", or as it is now called, the "Morton Hall Cup" has been won by only 24 of them. These are;

Lensbury13
Eastern Knights10
Honorary Members Club7
King & King6
Railways6
Bowring5
Home Office4
North Thames Gas4
BP3
IBM3
Metropolitan Police3
NALGO (Met. District)3
John Lewis2
National Coal Board2
Railways Clearing House2
St Helen's Court2
WH Smith2
BBC1
Central Electricity1
Gas Light1
Motor Union1
Nestanglo1
Post Office1
Shell Mex1

The League reached its height in 1939, and never quite reached that height again, although it came pretty close in the early 1960s. As with most chess leagues, it received a boost following the Fischer-Spassky match in 1972, but sadly since the 1980s it has seen a steady decline in its membership, to the point where there are now fewer boards contested in the two current divisons than there was in the single division when the League started in 1924. But we soldier on while there are still players in London Commercial businesses that enjoy competitive chess, and hope for better times again in the future.

 

What Future for the LCCL?

The London Commercial Chess League is now back to a single division, a situation that has only existed once in its 93 year history - in the year that it began. But even then it consisted of ten clubs, running teams of nine boards, hence the shrinkage is even greater than it might at first appear. The question we must therefore face is, does the League have a future?

While many leagues have shrunk over the years, the Commercial League would seem to be shrinking at a greater rate. Are we just unlucky, or is there a more fundamental reason? Could it be that the League has run it's course, outlived its purpose? It was created at a time when businesses were more 'social' affairs and work forces less transient. When London was the place to run your business from, not the place to re-locate from. Businesses often boasted a wide range of sports and social activities, and chess was simply one of them. If you look back over the years you will find a bewildering array of company clubs that have taken part in the League, from quite small companies to huge multinationals.

While some of those companies have long since gone out of business, very few of these left host chess clubs today. It would be hard to imagine, for example, trying to recruit back to the League clubs from businesses such as Harrods, WH Smith or Thomas Cook. Just as it would the likes of Special Branch or New Scotland Yard. Any chess players among the staff of such enterprises no doubt belong to chess clubs where they live and would be unlikely to entertain the idea of a company club. And even if they did, the security implications for their venue would likely put them off.

If the League has indeed outlived its original purpose, what are our options for the future? It appears to me we could;

  • plod along until there are insufficient teams to run even one division, and then simply dissolve the League returning what funds that are left to the remaining clubs.
  • as above, but retain the League just running such events as the lightning tournaments, and entering a team in the Bronowski Trophy.
  • "open" the League to admit clubs of any description and embark on a recruitment campaign.

The latter option would, require a complete overhaul of the League Rules, including our name - perhaps to something like "The London Commercial and Open Chess League". You may have other options in mind, in which case the Executive Committee would be more than happy to hear them. In any event, it is necessary for all members of the League to think carefully about this, and to make your views, and suggestions known.

We have the coming season to decide the route we wish to take, but do not think that means we have plenty of time. Things have a way of overtaking us very quickly. An early decision is essential if we are to prepare for whatever future we decide.


The shape of the LCCL:



NOTE TO CAPTAINS

To help keep this web site up to date, captains are encouraged to copy their results to the email address below, as well as to the Match Secretary.

CONTACT US

Please feel free to pass any news, comments, feedback etc to the league website at lcclwebsite@btinternet.com.

ECF MEMBERSHIP and the GAME FEE

All club players are urged to become direct members of the ECF. Although membership of the ECF is not mandatory, clubs will be charged equivalent of ECF Bronze membership, currently 16 for the 2017/18 season, for each non-member who plays more than three games a season in the competition.

HIT COUNTER

August 2013 - January 2014 1267
February 2014 - August 2014 2084
August 2014 - January 2015 1322
February 2015 - August 2015 1193
August 2015 - March 2016 2021
From March 2016

DOWNLOADS

While most results are sent by email these days, the following forms are available if you need to keep a paper copy;

Match Result Form
Adjudication Form

INSTRUCTIONS - THE CHINESE WAY

We all know that chess is a game in which the moves are quite simple do define (although gaining mastery of those moves is incredibly difficult). However, no one could possibly learn the moves from the instructions that came with a children's chess set that, like so many things these days, was made in China. Check it out for yourself, and see how far you get - click here. Note that even the diagram defies convention by putting the white pieces at the top of the board, and has also transposed the King and Queen symbols so that it appears as though they are standing on the wrong squares. (Also note that no insult to the Chinese people is intended, it's just funny).