Formed on the eve of the first world championship in 1996, the Circular Chess Society is a non-profit making organisation.

It depends on the sales of the attractive Lincoln boards (and sponsorship for tournaments) to survive and to expand.

The society has organised open contests at venues around the Roman city of Lincoln.

These include Lincoln Castle, St Mary’s Guildhall (used by King Henry VIII as a wine store) in the High Street, Bishop Edward King House, next to the Cathedral, and the Tap and Spile pub in Hungate (right).

Whilst it is a serious international event with a significant first prize (traditionally £200 for the winner), events are open to intermediate and novice players and the atmosphere is relaxed.

The annual world championship is complemented by a popular Chrimbo Challenge tournament which is held in the New Year at the Tap and Spile, the home of the Circular Chess Society for the last 10 years.

The first world championship was a knock-out tournament staged at the Tap and Spile in 1996.

The final, between local government officers, Rob Stevens, from Lincoln (below), and Mark Spink, from Nottinghamshire, was filmed for a video release by an independent TV producer.

The society received a further boost to its profile a few weeks before the contest, when journalist Stephen Jarvis penned a feature for the Daily Telegraph.

The publicity from the 20-minute film, from local radio and various press articles, triggered a flood of requests for the attractive and distinctive Lincoln boards.

In the months that followed more than 100 boards were sold around the world.

The boards went to South Africa, Europe, Singapore, Ireland and Canada, and the society took a stall at the world-famous Lincoln Christmas Market in 1996 – generating further interest in the pastime.

In 2001, the society’s president David Reynolds presented the Rt Worshipful Mayor of Lincoln, Councillor Patricia McGinlay, with a commemorative Lincoln board, to go on show with other civic trophies in the city’s Guildhall.

The treasure trove, which is open to guided tours every Friday and Saturday, includes a sword presented to the city by King Richard II on a visit sometime during 1386-7.

Membership of the society is open to all – whether experts, intermediates or novices.


Regular players meet every second Thursday evening at the Tap and Spile, Hungate, Lincoln, and extend invitations to anyone to enjoy a game over a drink and a chat.