Nailsea & Congresbury

by K Brown and M Poolake

A history of the chess club, published in the 75th League anniversary issue of the Bristol Chesstimes in 1982.

The club was founded in 1978 by the merger of Nailsea and Congresbury. Congresbury at the time was a small club, which was nevertheless able to maintain a team in Division 2. The Nailsea club had been formed in 1977 by Max Poolake and had grown quickly, with two teams in Divisions 4 and 6 respectively in the 1977/78 season, winning the 4th. It must be mentioned that the speed of growth was largely due to the efforts of its founder, both in the hard work of undertaking the organization, and in exercising his influence, as a leading player in the West of England of long standing, in the role of attracting (some might say poaching) players to the club.

Since the merger, the new club has competed with as many as five teams in the Bristol League. The A team obtained promotion in its first year to Division 1, where it found life difficult for two seasons, after which it was relegated to Division 2. However, promotion (winning Division 2) has been won again and it is hoped that the team has reached sufficient strength to hold its place in Division 1 in the forthcoming season. The number of teams has been reduced to three (Divisions 1, 3 and 4), partly to avoid defaults and partly as an experiment to reduce the burdens of captaincy and selection by making a pool of eight players or so available for each team.

The club now consists of 35 members and enjoys the comfortable accommodation of the Mizzymead Recreation Centre, Nailsea - which many visiting teams may well envy.

1997 postscript: Nailsea's A team continues to hold a second division spot, while the attractions of Mizzymead have been swapped for those of the Nailsea Members' Club. - JR