Sad news that Drunken Knights, one of London’s strongest and most sociable chess clubs, have withdrawn their teams from the London League. This season they had two teams in Division 1 and another team in Division 2.
The reason is that they’ve lost their venue. They’ve been meeeting at the Plough, in Bloomsbury, for 29 years, but, after a recent refurbishment, the manager is no longer prepared to let the chess club use the function room.
Unlike most leagues, the London League doesn’t run on a home and away basis. Most matches take place at a central London venue, currently a hotel in Holborn, a short walk from the Plough, which doesn’t have any spare capacity for the rest of the season. Some clubs based within the Circle Line, such as Athenaeum, Cavendish and Metropolitan, also host home matches. Battersea have generously offered their venue, near Clapham Junction station, and Hammersmith have also offered to help out, but, as their venues are just outside central London, their offers were turned down.
Venues, as we know only too well at Richmond, are always a problem. Commercial rates are not viable for most clubs, and special relationships, which give many clubs an affordable venue, can be terminated at short notice.
We wish our friends at Drunken Knights all the best for the future and hope they can find a new venue and re-enter the league next season.