The Winton Capital British Chess Solving Championship (WCBCSC) is run annually by the British Chess Problem Society (BCPS). It is sponsored by Winton Capital Management. As well as a cash prize and a trophy, the winner receives a guaranteed place in the British team for the next World Chess Solving Championship (WCSC). Currently, the competition is only open to solvers resident in Great Britain.
The competition is in three rounds - The Starter Round, The Postal Round and The Final.
The Starter Round
The Starter Round consists of one two-move chess problem for solution and is sent for publication to as many British chess magazines and chess columns as we know about. They publish the starter problem during June and July and competitors must post their entries (just White's first move) by the end of July. The starter problem is also published on this website. Competitors are asked to enclose their entry fee (£3.00) and a stamped addressed envelope. They are also asked to indicate where they saw the starter problem published. This last piece of information is used to decide the winners of the annual Editors' Competition. In this, the three editors encouraging the most entries are presented with a small cash prize.
Those competitors who get the starter problem correct are sent the Postal Round. All competitors are sent a full solution to the starter problem. Those competitors who are not members of the BCPS are also sent a back issue of one of that society's magazines. The Postal Round is also sent to seeded competitors. They are solvers who have won a first, second or third prize in any previous Final or who are British and have won the Open section (previously called the 'Casual') at any previous Final.
The Postal Round
The Postal Round normally consists of 8 diagrams for solution. It is normally made up of directmates, endgame studies, selfmates and helpmates. Competitors have until the end of November to post or email their solutions to me. Postal entrants are asked to enclose a stamped addressed envelope with their entries.
There is no preset pass mark for the Postal Round; it is redefined every year based on the accommodation available at the Final venue and the points scored by the competitors. Currently, I try to invite about 40 solvers to the Final. This number includes the defending champion, who is the only person who gets free entry to the Final.
Only the qualifiers from the postal round, along with any British Solving Champion (including the defending champion) are eligible to take part in the 'Closed' championship at the final. Finalists may claim back (at the final) a proportion of their travelling expenses to and from the final. For any junior solvers this also includes the travelling expenses of one supervising adult.
To enable the event to be international, so that ratings and norms are available, foreign solvers are also invited to compete. They compete, at their own expense, in the 'Open' competition for a separate prize fund and trophy.
The Final, which starts at 12:30 pm., is rather like a written exam, but chess boards and sets are provided and you are allowed to move the pieces! Solvers have to participate in six timed rounds as follows:-
There is a short rest period between each round.
At 17:15 solving ends and a buffet is served. During this the marking is completed. The prize-giving occurs as soon after 18:00 as it can be organised.