Friday, June 17, 2016

BEGINNINGS OF A CHESS RENAISSANCE?

The two reports in the Straits Times on chess in the community here did cause a stir among several dormant members, some of which I have not seen for years!


As I promised earlier, the Asia Square meetup was featured in the June 9 edition of the Straits Times. Playing chess for the last decade or so has been predominately a junior activity as most adults are busy with career and family to indulge in the game. However, it takes an enterprising Bradley to lug a few chess sets and doggedly lay the tables week after week to create the spectacle that we see below:


This spectacle has caused waves on social media and I've read many comments from once active tournament players and former school-team representatives who 're excited enough to come on down and have a few moves with the other like-minded executives around the CBD. There were not enough sets to go around so some have left but promised to return. What's even more encouraging - a few women too joined in (albeit they were former players for their schools).

Having mingled with most of the regulars, these are chess enthusiasts who do follow the happenings of the chess world and are keeping up with the latest trends in chess-play. Many have gone on to playing in SCF standard events as well. Hence the adult scene is now undergoing a buzz and hopefully we may soon see the makings of chess league  for executives. 

The school scene also received attention from the press, admittedly after several years of media-isolation even though the events that were to be covered were of larger scale that the one featured below. 


All it takes now is for the Ministry of Education to recognise Chess not just as a Club and Society activity but to elevate its status as a Think Sport and accord school colours for its participants. As more and more children are enrolling in chess classes and taking part in tournaments, Community Clubs such as Nanyang CC, Siglap South CC have started offering rooms for chess-playing sessions along with  the current ones like Thomson CC and Toa Payoh West. Just one more in the North and we should have good chess presence all around the island. More community projects are in the pipeline to bring the game to the masses so do watch this space. 

Are we soon witnessing the buildup of another chess renaissance since the last one from 1976-1984? That depends mainly on the driving force for change and the rallying from the community - it does take 2 to tango. More arbiters, volunteers and trainers are required in this journey. It's time to unite. Git'd up!

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