USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive

hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Melbourne Chess Club celebrates more than a century of chess joy

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Here is your lovely chess story and video of the day.

Melbourne Chess Club's 145 years of checks and mates

IN 1866 Vegemite didn’t exist and Melbourne Town Hall hadn’t been built. But Melburnians were so keen on a checkered board game they formed a club.

In Leicester St, Fitzroy, the Melbourne Chess Club is the oldest continually operating chess club in the southern hemisphere and has been open every day - including Christmas - for 145 years. With well over 100 members, some people call the Melbourne Chess Club home and have been playing there most nights for the past 30 years.

The current home is thanks to the generosity of a former member, who bequeathed his house to the club when he died in the 1980s.
The club sold the property and used the proceeds to buy its Fitzroy premises - a gift that will ensure it will be around for many years to come.

Technology has changed the game’s dynamic and resulted in new rules for clubhouses. In a role similar to a football umpire, 15-year-old Melbourne High School student Jack Hughes is an arbiter at the club, responsible for ensuring the rules and laws of chess are adhered to.

There is to be no noise at all during games and if your phone goes off it is an instant forfeit. The degree of caution is warranted - these days there are iPhone chess applications that can beat any human player.

“You can go to the toilet and for all we know they could be using an engine (internet program),” Jack said. Boys and girls as young as eight can be found at the Melbourne clubhouse on Saturday mornings. The juniors play for two hours, improving their patience, strategic thinking and concentration.

Tournaments for adults usually involve a small entry fee, driving players to be even more competitive to take home the winnings. “If your opponent is ‘not trying to win through normal means’, you may claim a draw,” Jack explained.

“That is a very controversial rule.
“But half the time (players are arguing about) stuff like he grunted and was distracting me while I was moving.
“Chess players manage to make a huge deal out of anything really.”

Jack also happened to win a recent Victorian Youth championship in a “rapid” competition, where games last for an hour.
“It (the honour) is not as impressive as it sounds,” he said.
“But I did beat one player who I didn’t expect to.”

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home