Check mate.


For many years there was a coterie of chess players in Hampstead who could be seen huddled over their boards through the steamy windows of a café in South End Green. Sadly the old café closed down and the chess players moved away.

And now they’re back!  A revival of interest in chess over the last 4 years has put Hampstead firmly back on the map in world of chess. 

The Hampstead Summer Festival is proud to once again include a programme of chess tournaments and opportunities for all to learn the sport under the guidance of international players and champions. 

Internationally-rated Blitz Chess Competition Thursday 25 June 7.30pm, Henderson Court.  A first prize of £100 and anyone is welcome to play.  See for details.


Saturday 4 July is the kick off for two special events lasting all weekend

Hampstead International Chess Congress, Saturday 4 July, 10.30am to 8.00pm at Henderson Court, alongside an art exhibition by Yelena Went, a Russian artist and whose husband is a well-know chess organiser.

Sunday 5th July - Big Fair Day - we have a Chess Cafe where you can stop and relax and play a few games of chess.  

The Big Fair’s Chess Café towards the top of Heath Street - hosted by the University of the Third Age and Hendon Chess Club – offers coaching for players young and old from beginners to experienced players.

From 12noon- 2.00pm you can Challenge the Master with 5-minute blitz chess against International Master John-Paul Wallace from Australia.  It’s £1.00 to play - all proceeds go the festival charities - and if you win or draw you'll win a prize!  

There are two giant chess sets (always popular with the kids) thanks to Chess & Bridge of Baker Street (they sell them too!) and UCS Junior School, and volunteers at our chess stall can give you information on chess clubs in your area, coaching for juniors, adults and seniors.

If you catch the chess bug then you can test your skills the very next weekend at the 3rd Annual Kings Place Chess Festival on Saturday 11th July. There will be 200 players of all ages and abilities competing for £2000 in prize money over 5 sections - with a special new section for beginners!  See for details.