This week most of our attention has been focussed on Gibraltar – and I must confess to spending too much time scouring Facebook for updates on our top players and how many might be getting through each round, when I should be writing posts for you! It’s easy to write headline-grabbing things about the best players in the country bringing home prizes. But the UKBGF’s mandate to grow the game spreads to all levels of the game. And today I’m putting out another appeal!
The UK Open attracts overseas players as well as our best. The UK Tour for national-level players, and we offer plenty of support for our steadily growing club scene (I’ve added the Cedar Manor in Windemere recently, and watch out for news in Salisbury soon). But there’s an even more informal level where we can share our love of the game – the local Games Night.
I spotted a post on Twitter about a games night at a pub in Longburton, Dorset – pretty much an evening where you could bring along your favourite game and enjoy a couple of drinks as well – and didn’t do much about it. Then on Friday night, another:
which is just round the corner from me. And although it was too short notice this time, it appears it’s a monthly do. So I’m going to be paying a visit in March. This is the real grass-roots – where people pick up a basic set, have a friendly knock-about over a pint and hopefully have a bit of fun. It’s a world away from Gibraltar – where baffle boxes and clocks are alien technology, where people glaze over at talk of “equity” and “backgames”, where the basic rules might not even be understood correctly. And playing for money is strictly out of bounds. So it’s understandable that it won’t necessarily appeal to you, my readers! But I’d strongly encourage you all to have a go from time to time. Accept that you’ll have a really casual game and the result may be a foregone conclusion. Consider it a repayment to the game for all the pleasure it’s given you – this is one place where the next generation of club players will come from, and we need to enthuse them. Before they go off and start playing Chess!
I’m also appealing for you to keep your eyes peeled on my behalf – I’m going to start adding such events to an expanded Clubs section in due course, and I need you to tell me about them! I suspect most will only be visible to you if you’re in the immediate area.
I’ll report back in a month’s time – and if you do take up the challenge and join me, we’d like to hear your experiences too.