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Neil Graham
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:36 pm


Post by Neil Graham » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:03 am

I'm on a mailing list for Wiltshire and see that the Brown Jack Chess Club have been told to vacate the premises by the end of August. In the past my own chess club was actually interrupted in the middle of a vital League match by the landlord of our meeting place to advise (in no uncertain terms) that we would be leaving at the end of the evening. I've several other horror stories both from my club and others in the locality; however the main thrust of this thread is to see if this has happened elsewhere and to note the difficulty nowadays in actually finding a suitable venue to play in.

Alex Holowczak
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire

Re: Venues

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:05 am

I've turned up to my club venue for a match only to see the venue boarded up.

If the question is about "the difficulty in finding a suitable venue", you need to first define what a suitable venue is. I think I would only describe a maximum of 10% of club venues that I've ever been to as "suitable".

Reg Clucas
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 3:45 pm

Re: Venues

Post by Reg Clucas » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:12 pm

A couple of years ago a club in our league had to move at short notice because their landlord hadn't paid the electricity bill, so the power was cut off.

Roger Lancaster
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: Venues

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:11 pm

Imho, there are two separate situations. The first is where the landlord/owner of the premises has money problems with the result that the venue is taken over above his head, the utilities are cut off, or something similar happens. There's very little a chess club, or anyone else in that position, can do about it - even if they have a formal lease (and most clubs haven't) from the landlord, that will be of little or no assistance.

The second situation is where the landlord decides he has had enough of the chess club or its members. There are steps one can take, starting with maintaining an ongoing dialogue with the landlord to identify issues in advance, to minimise this risk. Assuming the members are reasonably well-behaved, money is likely to be a significant factor. If the wider membership of a club wants to pay as little as possible in subscriptions, and then expects the landlord cheerfully to accept a lower-than-market rent, it's likely to be only a matter of time until the club receives its marching orders.

Let's put the money issue into perspective. £45 appears to be the lowest going rate for a day at the imminent world championship match. Yet there are rumoured to be chess players who consider this extortionate for a full year's club membership. I'll make an obvious exception for those in unfortunate financial circumstances but - as to the rest - seriously, what else do they think 90p a week would buy?

Nick Grey
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Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:16 am

Re: Venues

Post by Nick Grey » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:11 am

One litre of milk a week. Or one pint organic milk a week.

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David Shepherd
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Re: Venues

Post by David Shepherd » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:33 am

Homebase after a week if someone has a spare 10p.

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Jon Mahony
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Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:47 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: Venues

Post by Jon Mahony » Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:19 am

This happened to Leeds Chess Club in the final couple of years. After our base, the North Leeds WMC closed down (that was less than ideal to start with, it has since been knocked down and is now a giant Heron Foods) We bounced around to a multitude of crap pubs and clubs, sometimes several times in a season, all with embarrassingly bad playing conditions - ranging from poor lighting, loud music and hostile locals.

It’s just not as easy as you think to secure a decent venue, especially as our club consisted of a lot of older Yorkshire men who were not easily separated from their money, but still expected a standard when it came to conditions.

The bad venues put the final nails in the coffin of a club that was, in truth, already failing, and we folded a couple of seasons after the closure of the NLWMC.
"When you see a good move, look for a better one!" - Lasker

Kevin Thurlow
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Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Venues

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:26 pm

Redhill's previous venue was the Meadvale Methodist Church (Meadvale is a suburb of Redhill). It wasn't great, really cold, and creaky floorboards. We were there for some years, but then relations became strained. The Church suggested we have a written agreement about hiring the hall, so we agreed. Then they started ringing up, saying that they wanted to use the Hall for their events on our club night. I said that we couldn't change a night if we had a home match, as knowing Surrey, we would be defaulted for trying to rearrange the match. The Church said, "It's our venue, we'll do what we like." I pointed out that even without the written agreement, they had a moral duty to stick to the agreement they had insisted on... They persisted, so I pointed out that this didn't seem to be a very Christian attitude. That went down well. So I said if you don't want the regular booking, just say so and we'll go elsewhere, as they had already taken 5 of our 30 meetings in the season. They backtracked and said they did want us (hardly anybody else ever booked the hall).

Peace broke out just about, then one evening I went in the kitchen area and found a shelf with lots of toys for their children's group, plus an enormous container of sodium chlorate. This is a weedkiller, harmful if swallowed, and explosive with combustible solids, and toxic to aquatic organisms, causing long term damage to the environment. It also looks like sugar, so any child encountering it might decide to taste it. Also, as there was cooking equipment, there were sources of ignition. I told the Church, and sure enough, a month later, they moved it.

Shortly afterwards, a member said the floor creaked in one part of the hall when he walked on it. I don't want to be stoutist, but he was a big unit, but once we had a look, we noticed the floor was riddled with woodworm. I reported this to the Church. They weren't interested, but a few months later they rang up to say the hall was closed with immediate effect as they had found woodworm. The interior of the building was gutted and made into two flats. It was tempting to buy one and call it "The Old Chess Club".

Happily, we spoke to Redhill Methodist Church (one of our members attended it) and they welcomed us with open arms, to a warm, carpeted venue, with good light, comfortable chairs, easy car parking, and near to the station. Crucially, relations have been cordial with them and other users for over 15 years. We wished we had gone there years before!

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