Gawler Chess Club ready to Rook ‘n’ roll

Gawler Chess Club co-ordinator Ryen Archer said participation numbers increase each week. PHOTO: Jack Hudson

Brendan Simpkins

THERE’S a new club in town, with the establishment of the Gawler Chess Club at TableTop Warfare.

Following the release of miniseries The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix in October, chess has seen a surge in popularity.

Google searches for chess in Australia spiked following the series’ release and has maintained its level of popularity in the months since, reaching a 15-year high.

As a result, a chess club was launched in December 2020, 155 years after the first chess club in Gawler was established on November 19, 1866.

Club co-ordinator Ryen Archer said the establishment of a chess club had been a long time coming.

“I think Gawler has needed a club for a while, and there hasn’t been anything mainstream,” he said.

By chance, Mr Archer’s chess board broke late last year and he purchased a new one from TableTop Warfare.

Later that night, Mr Archer had the idea of forming the Gawler Chess Club off the back of a conversation with staff at the store.

A chess club had been an idea on the table for staff but someone to facilitate the club was required.

Up stepped Mr Archer to fill the void.

The club meets on Tuesday nights at TableTop Warfare and is open to participants of all ages.

Commencing at 4pm, the first hour consists of a teaching session which is followed by beginner games.

Mr Archer said that the response to the club had been great, with participation numbers growing every week.

The ages of participants ranged from as young as five years old all the way up to players in their 60s.

Member for Light Tony Piccolo donated some chess boards to help the club get off the ground.

The Gawler Youth Advisory Committee also purchased and donated a board to the club.

Mr Archer paid tribute to the staff at TableTop Warfare for allowing the club to operate out of their premises and for their support.

Those interested in joining the club can do so by joining in at any of the Tuesday night sessions and anyone with any questions can contact Mr Archer on 0434 027 964.

Information can be found on TableTop Warfare’s Facebook page.