Hackney Chess Club’s fashionable opening

by Mark Rivlin

One of the advantages of being secretary of an inner city chess club is that you never know what may be lurking around the corner. Aside from Hackney Chess Club winning last year’s Club of the Year award, we take great pride in a flourishing membership which represents the diverse area in which we live (last season 83 different people played for our nine teams). We take our league chess very seriously which is why our now legendary Saturday night sessions at the Rochester Castle pub – the second oldest in the Wetherspoon empire – are immensely popular. It’s a chance to chill out, socialise with fellow chess addicts as the beer flows and the clocks take a severe pounding as the blitz descends on N16. The rules are simple, all games are five minutes per player, you play until you are beaten. Being a children-friendly pub, some of our youngsters come along with mums and dads until their chucking out time at 9pm. What’s really nice is when the local Stoke Newington hipsters, out on a cheap beer binge before a serious night of clubbing, come over and watch, and occasionally play. Some are pretty good too and we’ve played them in our lower graded teams. 

Around two months ago I got a message through our website from a Hackney-based fashion photographer Wendy Huynh who had an unusual request. She was directing fashion shoots for the Korean fashion label ChanceChance who had come up with the idea of chess players wearing the hoodies and jackets as they played. We agreed of course and despite our protestations that it might not make good marketing sense to to have a raft of older blokes to advertise a product to be worn by youngsters. Undeterred, Wendy came along with the designer of the range and did a great shoot, some of the images are here on the ChanceChance Instagram feed. 


We would be delighted to welcome players of all levels – from beginners to GMs – to our Saturday sessions. You never know which Hollywood agent will be lurking. 

Details here — http://hackneychess.org.uk/events/cat/regular-social-events/

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