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Port Townsend Chess Club

The Last Exit on Kearney, 305 Kearney, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Corner of Hwy 20 and Kearney, across from the Food Coop
Contacts Dennis McGuire,
Phone 360-301-4348
Meeting Times ?

Club News (January 2013)


Club News (March 2009)

The Port Townsend Open Chess tournament was an experiment. We tried to create playing conditions which would attract as many local players as possible. We opted for flexible conditions where players would not have to devote an entire weekend to chess as in a normal six round Swiss. And it worked. The majority of players in this tournament have never been rated nor had tournament experience.

We also decided to have some decent prizes ($100 for first, $75 for second, $50 for third, $25 for fourth, $10 for fifth thru tenth) with no entry fee! This didn't cost us much as most of the bigger prize winners donated their prizes back to the club for long-term membership! And we didn't have to spring for anything extra for tournament accommodations.

We posted the pairings on Thursday and gave the opponents a full week to arrange and play the game and report back. They could negotiate time control, or decide to play without clocks. If they couldn't agree, the tournament default was 2 hours for 40 moves, 1 hour for 20 secondary. They could even opt to play a match and we'd count the result as a single game! They could play the game at the location of their choice, with the default being at the club.

With an entire week to arrange individual games, and with flexibility on time controls, the tournament moved along at a comfortable small town pace. This flexibility allowed for players from Port Angeles and Sequim to find convenient time slots and locations as well. Of course, one of the major goals of the tournament was to introduce players around the Peninsula to each other and encourage competition by setting up a pecking order of sorts. A further goal is to introduce players to the USCF and WCF.

Mike Murray, the tournament winner, put together an informative and entertaining website at This has been an invaluable tool for communication within the club, and allowed people from afar to follow the event as well. Check out the “standings” pawn for the results, and the “games” pawn for a sampling of the action! To maintain interest, we tried to keep the website constantly updated, with games being published soon after they were played. We plan to keep this site operational for the life of the club, orienting it to games and activities by local players. The tournament was very successful in jump-starting chess on the Northern Olympic Peninsula. The club saw a marked rise in activity, with players referencing the club's library and many using it as a playing site. The club also served as the management office for the tournament.

The tournament generated an amazing amount of press in Port Angeles' Peninsula Daily News and in the Port Townsend Leader. These publications must be given credit as well for helping to add to Peninsula chess enthusiasm.

The trick now is to maintain momentum. Pastor Jack Andersen of Sequim has contributed by challenging Port Townsend, on behalf of a combined Port Angeles/Sequim team, to a match in March, and has offered to host the competition in a comfortable space at his Lutheran Church in Sequim. We will work hard to make this match become a reality. With perseverance, we will be able to develop a team to challenge other clubs on the Peninsula and across the Pond.

Port Townsend is a great day / weekend trip from Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellingham etc. Any clubs that wish to send some players over for a friendly match would be welcome. In coming for a chess visit, your participation would do much to further chess on the Peninsula and encourage reciprocating match play.

– Dennis McGuire.