Richmond Chess Club returns after 120 years

The Richmond and Twickenham Chess Club has returned to the Adelaide Inn on Park Road, Teddington, after 120 years.

The club, formerly known as Twickenham Chess Club, reopened on January 4, after decades of moving and two months without a venue.

Just over 120 years ago, in October 1901, the Surrey Comet announced that the Richmond Chess Club would play at the Adelaide Inn, then known as the Clarence Hotel. The club described the venue as a “popular, friendly pub” and invited members to weekly social and test matches.

Daniel O’Shaughnessy, 58, of Atbara Road, Teddington, is a local chess coach and has been with the club since the 1980s.

He said: “I have been involved with the club for years and we have encountered obstacles along the way, but we are happy to be back in our place of origin.”

According to Richmond Council, chess club membership has doubled since 2020 due to renewed interest in chess during national shutdowns, and the Queen’s Gambit series on Netflix.

The period drama, written by Scott Frank and starring Anya Taylor-Joy, depicts the story of a young girl learning to play chess while dealing with drug addiction and the loss of her parents.

Following the show’s release in 2020, eBay reported a 216% increase in sales of chess-related products.

Maria Prescott, 33, is an administrative assistant and lives on King Street, Twickenham. She joined the Richmond and Twickenham Chess Club in 2020.

She said: “The sport is very mentally demanding, but I feel like I’m getting better every time I play.”

Prescott was inspired by her friend to start acting.

She said: “There are hardly any girls playing chess, so when my friend became interested in the sport, I thought it would be nice to try it with her. We really appreciate it so far”.

The weekly tournaments will take place every Tuesday evening from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

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