The Christchurch Chess Club

The Christchurch Chess Club was founded in 1866 for a telegraph match against the Nelson Chess Club. Club activity then reduced until 1877, when the club prepared to host the 1879 NZ Chess Championships. Following the Championships, some disgruntled members left the club, and the Canterbury Chess Club was born, on the 18th of October, 1879. As for the Christchurch Chess Club, nearly the whole membership had gone to the Canterbury Chess Club by the end of 1879.

Although there is a date for the formation of the Canterbury Chess Club as a theoretically separate entity, the club centenary and sesquicentenary were celebrated in 1966 and 2016 respectively as the history is closer to a name change than two rival clubs.

The Canterbury Chess Club

The Christchurch and Canterbury Chess Clubs between them have provided chess equipment and a place to play for over 150 years. Throughout that time, many tournaments have been run by the club, including the New Zealand championships, or Congress as it is known - as noted above, we hosted the first Congress. The Canterbury Chess Club was also instrumental in founding what was then called the NZ Chess Association (now called the NZ Chess Federation) - the NZCA (now NZCF) was originally based in Christchurch. The South Island Championships have been run by the Canterbury Chess Club, whether at our clubrooms or at other venues, on many occasions as well.

June 2009 saw a new chapter as the club sold its clubrooms at 227 Bealey Avenue and set up the Canterbury Chess Trust as a charitable trust to foster chess and look after the clubrooms and finances. The Canterbury Chess Trust bought an office in a small block at 27 Tyne Street, and the club's first night at the new premises was July 1, 2009.

The Bealey Avenue property was significantly damaged in the major earthquake of September 4, 2010, and further damaged in the subsequent earthquake of February 22, 2011, which saw the old clubrooms receive a red sticker. It has since been repaired and refurbished.


Who we are

We organise tournaments and social chess, all equipment and refreshments provided. Anyone can come to our social nights on Thursdays, and beginners can be shown how to play.

Wednesday tournaments use chess clocks and are rated by NZ Chess, and players must be members of the club to enter.



President: Matthew McNabb

Vice-President: Cory Broad

Secretary: Craig Hall

Treasurer: Steven Hartwell

Committee: Alex McNabb, Clinton Rains, Edward Rains, Ross Black, Tony Carpinter

Life Members

Chris Benson

Craig Hall

Club documents

Canterbury Chess Club Constitution 2023.pdf
Canterbury Chess Club Tournament Regulations.pdf