CHESS: Events to celebrate 140 years of Rugby Chess Club

Rugby Chess Club's Jamie Kearney ( pictured on the right) playing Grand Master Mark Hebden at the Coventry & District Centenary Rapidplay at the Massey Ferguson Club in Coventry
Rugby Chess Club's Jamie Kearney ( pictured on the right) playing Grand Master Mark Hebden at the Coventry & District Centenary Rapidplay at the Massey Ferguson Club in Coventry

Exhibition and invitation to play against club members

Rugby has a long and interesting association with chess and there has been a chess club in Rugby for 140 years, maybe longer.

Chris Badley (RCC) sets the clock at start of a match against University of Warwick player Shkirskiy Viacheslav. Team mates Petar Dimitrov, Steve Walley (Captain) and Dave Riley are also ready to make their moves

Chris Badley (RCC) sets the clock at start of a match against University of Warwick player Shkirskiy Viacheslav. Team mates Petar Dimitrov, Steve Walley (Captain) and Dave Riley are also ready to make their moves

Put another way Rugby’s Chess Club pre-dates the town’s Victorian Railway Station by around five years and is one of the oldest chess clubs in the country, writes Chris Pegler.

The club possesses artefacts from 1877 onwards and will be displaying some of these, alongside more recent records of the club at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum (2nd floor Education Room) on the first three Saturday afternoons in February (2nd, 9th and 16th from 1-4pm).

The club specially welcomes those with past connections to chess in the town to come along and add to the club’s records, helping fill in gaps in the club’s history.

Currently club secretary Chris Pegler is working with longest serving members Bob Wildig (President) and Martin Wilson (Treasurer) to create a publishable account of the club. So if you have photographs, cuttings, programmes or other items please come along and show them or contact rugbychessclub@gmail.com.

Alongside this historical display current Rugby Chess Club players will also be playing chess and the club invites members of the public to come and join them in a game.

So if you know the right moves but have not tested your skill recently, or have so far only tried playing against a computer come along and find out the difference there is in playing a human opponent.

For those who saw the club at Rugby Festival of Culture last year this is an opportunity to once again challenge our players.

Several of the new players recruited at that event already play for our teams. Chris Badley (pictured) is shown starting the clock against a Warwick University student in a recent Coventry and District Chess League (CDCL) match, with Rugby C teammates Steve Walley (captain), Dave Riley and Petar Dimitrov also waiting to start.

These four, one of our junior players (Jonathan Male) and six established RCC players (Simon Turner, John Hall, Patrick Reid, Paul Colburn and James Kearney competed in Sunday’s CDCL Centenary Rapidplay tournament in Coventry. James is shown deep in concentration while playing against chess Grand Master Mark Hebden.

Find out more about that event, club meetings and matches at http://rugbychessclub.blogspot.com.

Giving a different dimension to the event’s chess theme, the Rugby Operatic Society is adding a display alongside Rugby Chess Club. This will show what is happening behind the scenes of their current production Chess The Musical.

This runs from Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th February. Find out more at http://www.rugbyoperaticsociety.co.uk/wp/2018/12/19/chess/

In an interesting twist that show uses not only a chess plot but specifically 1980s music and a theme of USA vs Russia chess conflicts - reflecting a time when Rugby Chess Club sent a team beyond the Berlin Wall to play against Russian chess players.