Chess club open to all comers

Yes, chess is good for strategic thinking and improves concentration and problem-solving skills, but it should also be fun, says Vickey Diedericks.

She is spending her lunchbreaks teaching primary school students how to play, including at Irongate School, and has started up a public chess club at the Flaxmere Community Centre.

She is calling all comers, regardless of age and stage, to head along to the club at 5pm on Wednesdays. More than 20 have turned up to the first two sessions.

Ms Diedericks started learning to play at age five, and became a regional level player and coach in her home country of South Africa. Now living in Hastings, she is keen to raise the profile of the game.

“The club is for any age and any stage,” says Ms Diedericks. “From primary and college students with basic skills, right through to adults who might be interested in improving their skills to regional and national level.”

Ms Diedericks said chess could take people a long way, literally. “From starting to play at a local club level, you can move on to playing in local tournaments, to regional, national and overseas.”

But overall it should be fun, she says. “A chess club where you can talk through the game, rather than one where everyone is silent, is more fun. Apart from anything else, asking youngsters to sit poker-faced and silent through a chess game is not realistic, and might put them off.”

For Irongate student Devyn Hale-Lloyd it is all about “thinking before you do something. And it’s fun and it trains your brain”.


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