‘Chess has a beauty’: putting ‘mate’ back in ‘checkmate’ with historic Preston Chess Club
These 650m players include the twenty or so members of the Preston Chess Club, which meet at Jalgos on Rose Street every Wednesday at 7.30pm for friendly and competitive matches as well as running teams in the Blackpool & Fylde League and the Central Lancashire League.
“People always ask me when I started playing!” said Malcolm Peacock, 59, a member of the club since 1985. “My father taught me when I was seven, that was 52 years ago, but we have someone else at the club who has been playing for 65 years.
“I guess I fell in love with chess early on – I’ve always played checkers too, so if you have a mind for those things you enjoy them,” adds Malcolm, who lives in Penwortham. “It was also the competitive angle mixed with the problem-solving element. And chess has a beauty to it as well.
“I don’t think I really thought about what it was specifically about chess that appealed to me at that age, but I knew I liked it so I just played. I was fascinated by it and wanted to improve. If I was wrong, I wanted to know why and how I was wrong.
A good social outlet for members, the Preston Chess Club also organizes the Preston Chess Congress every November and before the pandemic even sent players to a tournament in Utrecht in the Netherlands as well as other national tournaments such as the Northern Counties Chess Union. Lancashire Club Knockout and Knockout.
“It’s hard to say exactly how long the club has been around, but we have a trophy that had names going back to the 1450s – we don’t know who these people are or what the trophy was used for, but it’s always been there. Malcolm explains, “Chess has such a long history.
“During lockdown I did a weekly Zoom call and we played chess online together as the virtual Preston Chess Club,” he adds. “It just gave us a chance to play the game and discuss everything that was going on. It was an important outlet for people.
“Some people who were members before Covid didn’t come back, but we also had new members because they started playing chess in lockdown,” continues Malcolm, with the club meeting in person again since last July. year.
“Winning new people is great – it was weird playing chess on a real board again after lockdown! These days there’s also a strong social aspect – I’ve known some people at the club since I arrived, so we have known each other for a very long time and we have become very good friends.