First Visit to South Shields Chess Club

Going along to any club or meeting  in any aspect of life can be daunting for most  people  , but this is not an unusual feeling. Most people  experience those feelings ,I know I do ,but just thinking of it as jumping into a swimming pool  , once you have done it then you are going to be OK . I have written this blog because I have asked a few times by email so it made sense to post it on to the website .

Those of you new to chess, or simply coming back after many years may want some further help and advice.  Here are the answers to a few basic questions:

Q1) What is the format of the club. ?

The club meets on a Thursday Night  at the New Ship Inn  ( in back room ) usually between the hours of 7 pm  and 10 pm . Out of the  Competitive Chess Season, which tends to run between  October to April , the numbers of people attending can vary between a few to 12 or more .This can depend on the weather  , on real sunny days some people don’t want to be stuck inside pubs.  Generally speaking there is always someone around.

During the Competitive season the club has 4 teams and often you might see one or two of the teams playing against other clubs in the back room .  These games are  more serious so it is good manners to keep the talking down .Players not involved in the team tend to play in other areas of the pub .

Q2) Can I just turn up on any club night ?

Absolutely , but if you did want to pre warn us then we would look out for you . Just send an email .

Q3 . When I turn up they all seem to know each other and are deep in thought and I don’t know who to disturb ?

Don’t worry , they are usually playing social chess and not the world championship , someone will talk to you and point out someone who is a member and will give you a game .  You can usually tell if it a serious game if they are writing  down the moves .  You can always ask the bar Staff and they will point out a chess regular.

Q4   Does it cost anything to play ?

For your first few visits no , we will give you a chance to settle in and see in you enjoy the experience . If you enjoy and want to become a regular member then we have asked our members to contribute £6 per year  .  This goes towards new equipment and association fees.

We are playing  in the pub so it would be  nice to buy the odd drink  or bag of crisps to support the pub .

Q5  I would like to play more than Social Chess … I want to join one of the teams  and play competitive  Chess ?

Fantastic , we are always on the look out for new regular members that want to join one of the teams . Express you interest to us and one of the team captains will give you some idea of the level of commitment and involvement you will need to be aware of .

Q6) I have heard that you need to be registered with the English Chess Federation (ECF ) to play in the Local Chess Leagues, is that true?

The answer is ultimately is yes, especially if you want to pick up a nationally recognized Grade. Stan Johnson, our club secretary can give advice on this matter as he is the Regional Grader for the ECF. If you simply want to play social chess within the club this is not as important.  Information on grading can also be found on the ECF website, found on our links page.

Q7) I have heard that playing chess is good for you – is it?

Undoubtedly. The Internet is full of resources that will explain why, it’s full of psychological analysis and theories, much too much to go into here. Simply put it will help children develop skills in visualization, problem solving, tactics, planning and social skills. It can also help with maths skills because it improves your memorization ability and pattern recognition. Many developing countries have adopted chess into their school curriculum .

Q8) I play Online Chess and Video games, would I be good at Over the Board Chess?

Give it a go and try it at our club. Online chess is very two dimensional and is a different sensation to playing a real person “over the board”. You would certainly have a head start, but you may be surprised at the difference.

If you have any chess related questions – please let us know!

Q9  Can children come to the club  ?

Yes but strictly under the supervision of their parents or guardian . We would like to encourage more kids to take up the game . Chess develops many skills that helps in all aspects of life .