Northern Ireland Chess History
The first chess tournament was held in Belfast in 1886 under the Irish Chess Association which was founded in 1885. It was replaced by the Hibernian Chess Association [HCA], established in 1891. The 1892 North of Ireland Congress included the first Ulster Championship and a group of club secretaries remained in existence to organise the annual Ulster Championship and Silver King league (which started in the 1893-4 season).
The HCA subsequently evolved into the Irish Chess Union [ICU], which was established in 1912. The ICU has operated continuously for the past 105 years and has been a member of FIDE since 1933 (World Chess Federation). The role of the ICU was to govern chess throughout the entire island of Ireland and act as the parent body for the 4 regional chess bodies in the provinces of Munster, Connacht, Leinster and Ulster.
The Ulster Chess Union [UCU] was established on 1st February 1932. It was born out of a desire to revive the Ulster Championship, not held since 1902, and the revived championship began the following year in 1933.
Key Roles of the Ulster Chess Union (UCU)
(1) The UCU organises the annual Belfast & District Chess League which runs from October to April every season, attracting 18 teams and over 150 competition class players.
(2) The UCU organises monthly chess tournaments throughout Belfast and further afield in Bangor, Omagh and Derry/Londonderry.
(3) The UCU operates a proactive education programme of free coaching in schools and a monthly tournament for children’s chess.
(4) The UCU holds an annual Grandmaster Simultaneous event in Belfast.
(5) The UCU holds an annual outdoor chess event every September in the Cathedral Quarter as a highlight of Belfast Culture Night.
(6) The UCU operates a rating system for all tournaments and league divisions.
Above information correct as at February 14, 2017
Constitution of the Ulster Chess Union
a) The name of the Union shall be, “The Ulster Chess Union”
b) The Union and its property will be administered and managed in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
The Objects for which the Union is established are:-
a) to encourage the study and practice of chess in Northern Ireland;
b) to administer and develop the playing of chess in Northern Ireland
c) to arrange for the participation of Northern Ireland chess players in British and Irish chess meetings and contests
d) to act as the supreme governing body for chess in Northern Ireland,
e) to affiliate to other chess organisations, and in particular the World Chess Federation (FIDE), in its role as the supreme governing body for chess in Northern Ireland,
f) to be responsible for the representation of Northern Ireland in International chess contests and meetings.
a) Membership of the Union is open to any individual and a member of the Union may attend and participate in any general meeting of the Union.
b) Any notice required by this Constitution to be given to or by any member must be in writing
c) The Union may give any notice to a member either:
ii. by sending it by post or by leaving it at the address of the member;
iii. by sending an electronic communication to the e-mail address of the member;
iv. by publishing it on the official web-site of the Union
d) A member who does not register a postal or e-mail address with the Union or who registers only a postal address that is not within Northern Ireland shall not be entitled to receive any notice from the Union.
e) A member present in person at any meeting of the Union shall be deemed to have received notice of the meeting and of the purposes for which it was called.
f) A notice shall be deemed to be given 48 hours after the envelope containing it was posted or the e-mail was sent or of being published on the official web-site of the
a) The Union and its property shall be managed and administered by a committee comprising the Officers and other members elected in accordance with this Constitution. The Officers and other members of the committee shall be together called the “Executive Board”
b) The Union shall have the following Officers:
i. A Chair,
ii. An Honorary Secretary,
iii. An Honorary Treasurer.
c) A member of the Executive Board must be a member of the Union.
d) The number of members of the Executive Board shall be not less than five but (unless otherwise determined by a resolution of the Union in general meeting) shall not be subject to any maximum.
a) Any question, other than a vote on an amendment to this Constitution, arising at any meeting of the Union shall be decided by majority vote.
b) Any member of the Union shall be entitled to a single vote at any division but if there is an equality of votes the person who is chairing the general meeting shall have a casting vote in addition to any other vote he or she may have.
The fees and subscriptions due to the Union shall be those sums which the Annual General Meeting shall from time to time determine.
a) The Annual General Meeting of the Union shall be held each year not later than the month of October, and shall be convened by the Executive Board.
b) A statement of accounts shall be presented to this meeting by the Honorary Treasurer.
c) The agenda of the meeting shall be drawn up by the Executive Board, but may be altered by the meeting itself.
d) All general meetings other than the Annual General Meeting shall be called Special General Meetings.
e) The Executive Board may call a special general meeting at any time.
f) The Executive Board must call a special general meeting if requested to do so in writing by at least ten members or one tenth of the membership, which ever is the greater. The request must state the nature of the business that is to be discussed. If the Executive Board fails to hold the meeting within twenty-eight days of the request, the members may proceed to call a special general meeting but in doing so they must comply with the provisions of this Constitution.
a) General meetings shall be chaired by the Chair of the Executive Board.
b) If he or she is not present within fifteen minutes of the time appointed for the meeting a member of the Executive Board nominated by the Board shall chair the
c) If there is only one Executive board member present and willing to act, he or she shall chair the meeting.
d) If no Executive board member is present and willing to chair the meeting within fifteen minutes after the time appointed for holding it, the members present and entitled to vote must choose one of their number to chair the meeting.
a) The Union may amend any provision contained in this Constitution provided that any resolution to amend a provision of this Constitution is passed by not less than two thirds of the members present and voting at a general meeting.
b) No amendment to this Constitution may be passed at a general meeting unless notice has been given to all the members of the proposed amendment.
a) The minimum period of notice required to hold any general meeting of the Union is fourteen clear days from the date on which the notice is deemed to have been given.
b) The notice must specify the date, time and place of the meeting and the general nature of the business to be transacted. If the meeting is to be an Annual General Meeting, the notice must say so. If an amendment to this Constitution is proposed the wording of the amendment must be specified in the notice.
c) The notice must be given to all the members. Publishing the notice on the official web-site of the Union shall be deemed notice to all members.
a) No business shall be transacted at any general meeting unless a quorum is present.
b) A quorum is 10 members entitled to vote upon the business to be conducted at the meeting.
i. a quorum is not present within half an hour from the time appointed for the meeting; or
ii. during a meeting a quorum ceases to be present,
the meeting shall be adjourned to such time and place as the Honorary Secretary shall determine.
d) The Honorary Secretary must re-convene the meeting and must give at least seven clear days notice of the re-convened meeting, stating the date, time and place of the meeting.
e) If no quorum is present at the re-convened meeting within fifteen minutes of the time specified for the start of the meeting the members present at that time shall constitute the quorum for that meeting.
f) The members present at a meeting may resolve that the meeting shall be adjourned.
g) The person who is chairing the meeting must decide the date time and place at which meeting is to be re-convened unless those details are specified in the resolution.
h) No business shall be conducted at an adjourned meeting unless it could properly have been conducted at the meeting had the adjournment not taken place.
a) The Union may be dissolved at any General Meeting by a two-thirds majority vote of those present and entitled to vote.
b) In the event of 3 consecutive General Meetings failing to be quorate, the Union shall be dissolved.
c) If the members resolve to dissolve the Union or the circumstance in sub-paragraph (b) occurs, the Executive Board will remain in office and be responsible for winding up the affairs of the Union in accordance with this clause.
d) The Executive Board must collect in all the assets of the Union and must pay or make provision for all the liabilities of the Union.
e) The Executive Board must apply any remaining property or money:
i. directly for the Objects; or
ii. by giving it to one or more organisations with similar aims and objectives as the Union.
f) The members may, before or at the same time as the resolution to dissolve the Union, pass a resolution specifying the manner in which the Executive Board is to apply the remaining property or assets of the Union and the Executive Board must comply with the resolution if it is consistent with clauses (i-ii) of sub-paragraph (e) above.
g) In no circumstances shall the net assets of the Union be paid to or distributed among the members of the Union
a) The Union at general meeting shall elect the Officers and the other members of the Executive Board.
b) In the event of a member of the Executive Board ceasing to hold office, the Executive Board may appoint a replacement member, who shall retire with effect from the conclusion of the next general meeting. but shall be eligible for re-election at that meeting.
c) Each of the members of the Executive Board shall retire with effect from the conclusion of the annual general meeting next after his or her election or appointment but shall be eligible for re-election at that annual general meeting.
a) The Union at general meeting may elect such other Office Bearers (to be known as Administrators) to carry out specific tasks or duties as it deems necessary for the carrying on of the business of the Union.
b) A member of the Executive Board may also act as an Administrator.
c) Administrators are not members of the Executive Board but may be appointed to its sub-committees.
d) Administrators will act in accordance with any instructions given to them by the Union in general meeting,
e) Administrators will act in accordance with any instructions given to them by the Executive Board, provided those instructions are not in conflict with any instructions given to them by the Union in general meeting,
f) In the event of an Administrator ceasing to hold office, the Executive Board may appoint a replacement Administrator, who shall vacate his post with effect from the conclusion of the next general meeting but he or she shall be eligible for re-election at that meeting.
A member of the Executive Board or an Administrator shall cease to hold office if he or she:
a) ceases to be a member of the Union;
b) resigns; or
c) in the case of member of the Executive Board, is absent without the permission of the Executive Board from all their meetings held within a period of six consecutive months and the Executive Board resolves that his or her office be vacated.
d) in the case of an Administrator, fails or ceases to carry out his duties and the Executive Board resolves that his or her post be vacated.
The Executive Board must manage the business of the Union subject to this Constitution and any resolution of the Union at general meeting and has the following powers in order to further the Objects:
a) to raise funds.
b) to buy, take on lease or in exchange, hire or otherwise acquire any property or equipment;
c) to sell, lease or otherwise dispose of all or any part of the property belonging to the Union.
d) to co-operate with other chess organisations and statutory authorities and to exchange information and advice with them;
e) to establish or support any associations or institutions formed for any of the purposes included in the Objects;
f) to obtain and pay for such goods and services as are necessary for carrying out the work of the Union;
g) to open and operate such bank and other accounts as the Executive Board consider necessary and to invest funds;
h) to maintain an official web-site;
i) to do all such other lawful things as are necessary for the achievement of the Objects.
a) The Executive Board may regulate its proceedings as it thinks fit, subject to the provisions of this Constitution.
b) Any member of the Executive Board may call a meeting of the Executive Board.
c) Questions arising at a meeting of the Executive Board shall be decided by a majority of votes.
d) In the case of an equality of votes, the person who chairs the meeting shall have a second or casting vote.
e) No decision may be made by a meeting of the Executive Board unless a quorum is present at the time the decision is purported to be made.
f) The quorum shall be two or the number nearest to one third of the total number of the Executive Board, whichever is the greater or such larger number as may be decided from time to time by the Executive Board.
g) If the number of members of the Executive Board is less than the number fixed as the quorum, the continuing member or members may act only for the purpose of filling vacancies or of calling a general meeting.
h) The person elected as the Chair shall chair meetings of the Executive Board.
i) If the Chair is unwilling to preside or is not present within ten minutes after the time appointed for the meeting, the members present may appoint one of their number to chair that meeting.
j) The person appointed to chair meetings of the Executive Board shall have no functions or powers except those conferred by this Constitution or delegated to him by the Executive Board.
a) The Executive Board may delegate any of its powers or functions to a sub-committee consisting or an Administrator and at least one member of the Executive Board but the terms of any such delegation must be recorded in the minute book.
b) The Executive Board may impose conditions when delegating.
c) The Executive Board may revoke or alter a delegation.
d) All acts and proceedings of any sub-committees must be fully and promptly reported to the Executive Board.
The Executive Board must keep minutes of all:
a) appointments of Officers and Administrators made by the Executive Board;
b) proceedings at meetings of the Union;
c) meetings of the Executive Board and its sub-committees including:
i. the names of the members of the Executive Board, and where appropriate Administrators, present at the meeting;
ii. the decisions made at the meetings; and
iii. where appropriate, the reasons for the decisions.
a) The Executive Board may from time to time make rules or bye-laws as it deems necessary for the conduct of the business of the Union and to ensure the Objects of the Union are met.
b) The rules or bye-laws may regulate the following matters but are not restricted to them:
i. the matters referred to in the Objects of the Union;
ii. the admission of members of the Union and the rights and privileges of such members,
iii. the powers and responsibilities of Administrators;
iv. the conduct of members of the Union in relation to one another,
v. the procedure at general meeting and meetings of the Executive Board in so far as such procedure is not regulated by this Constitution;
vi. the keeping of records
vii. generally, all such matters as are commonly the subject matter of the rules of an unincorporated association.
c) The Union in general meeting has the power to alter, add to or repeal the rules or bye-laws.
d) The Executive Board must adopt such means as they think sufficient to bring the rules and bye-laws to the notice of the members of the Union.
e) The rules or bye-laws shall be binding on all members of the Union. No rule or bye-law shall be inconsistent with, or shall affect or repeal anything contained in this Constitution.
a) The Annual General Meeting and Special General Meetings shall be the highest authority within the Ulster Chess Union, except for powers and bodies reserved in this Constitution.
b) The function of the Executive Board is to conduct the aims of the Ulster Chess Union between Annual General Meetings.
c) Before the commencement of any Annual General Meeting the Treasurer shall en
sure all those in attendance are members in good standing. A list of members shall be made available to the meeting.
d) The membership of the Annual General Meeting shall have the power to approve, reverse or change any decision of the Executive Board and to approve, reverse or change the Standing Rules of the Ulster Chess Union, the Playing Conditions of tournaments and others matters that affect the Union and its aims.
e) The Hon Secretary, or an alternative person appointed by the Annual General Meeting or Executive Board, shall keep, publish and make available a document entitled Standing Rules of the Ulster Chess Union. These rules shall contain decisions and resolutions made by the annual meeting and by the Executive Board including, when such resolutions and decisions were made or passed and whether they were made by the Executive Board or Annual General Meeting.
Playing Conditions and Disputes
a) In order to ensure fairness, compliance with the rules of the game, an opportunity to be heard, and finality of results every tournament shall have an arbiter and players’ panel to govern disputed games of chess.
b) The arbiter and players’ panel shall be independent and competent to deal with disputes arising from competitive games of chess. The tournament controller or tournament organiser may also be the arbiter or a member of the players’ panel.
c) An arbiter whose decision is challenged may not also be a member of the players’ panel.
d) Each tournament shall have its own rules to deal with disputes setting out procedure, who shall function as arbiter and as a member of the players’ panel.
e) The Executive Board shall be responsible for maintaining and publishing these rules.
f) The Annual General Meeting may approve, reverse or change these rules, but such a decision shall not have retrospective effect.