Club History

A History of Broadland Chess Club

Broadland Junior Chess Club was founded in January 1994 and was based at Broadland High School. The founders, Sue and Paul Badger, hoped that the number of children attending on the first night would reach double figures. In fact, 55 enthusiastic juniors turned up, which led to a rather chaotic evening! However, the chaos did not seem to have a detrimental effect, as all 55 returned the following week.

The main club evolved from the junior club and came into existence in September 1994 with The Horse and Groom in Tunstead as its home venue. The first match was played on 26th September with a team of Jo Badger, Paul Cox, Craig Wright and Colin Anderson. A ½ - 3½ loss to Griffin Dons E was the result. Undeterred, the club battled back to win division 3 with the Dons E team in second.

Given the origins of the club, it is not surprising that in the early years of the club's existence, the majority of players were juniors.

The club won its first major title in 1998/9 - the Norfolk Rapidplay Handicap Cup. Seven years were to pass before Broadland finally won the league title. However, just as the club was celebrating this success, The Horse and Groom was closed down. The club moved to The Goat in Skeyton, which would have won the prize for the most obscure location in the county league! Perhaps this was to the club's advantage as three more league titles and a first Williamson Cup (the Norfolk K.O. cup) were secured during the next four seasons.

Broadland were on the move again in September 2010, with the new venue being The King's Head in Hoveton. However, the venue did not prove to be conducive to league chess and the club moved again in November 2011 from The King's Head to The King's Head! (From Hoveton to Coltishall).

The 2011/2 season saw the club venture over the county boundary for the first time to play in the EACU Clubs' Championship. In May 2012 the club ventured even further afield touring southern Spain, where matches were played in Granada province against Santa Fe, La Zubia and Caja Granada and in Cordoba province against Ruy Lopez de Baena.

As the club grew in numbers there was a flurry of new ventures. The first junior tournament was held in Aylsham in February 2013, the club entered 4 NCL for the 2013/4 season and the Aylsham Wide Sky Festival tournament was founded in May 2014. Also, the club expanded to two club nights (Wednesday was added to the original Monday)in September 2013 to accommodate the increased number of teams.

Broadland celebrated twenty years with a repeat of the original match; this time the final score was 2 - 2. There was also a twentieth anniversary lunch followed by a match between present members and past members.

The 2015/6 season saw a new venture as the club entered the National Club Championship.

A further increase in the number of players, and hence in the number of teams, meant that the club needed to incorporate a third club night (Thursday) from October 2016.

Over the years, a number of Broadland's members have gained international honours. The following were all selected to be junior internationals (for England, unless otherwise stated):

Jo Badger

Conrad Westmoreland

Alex Mace

James Heppell (captain of England u-11)

Henry Duncanson

Tom Robinson (captain of England u-11)

Karthik Saravanan

Ieysaa bin-Suhayl (England and Italy!)

One member has gained full international honours:

Richard Polaczek (Belgium).

Thank you to Paul Badger for this.