If you have never visited the U3A National Website. I suggest you do so; there is a wealth of information and help and it is well worth registering so that you can access the member’s section. I was looking for information the other day and this caught my eye, ‘chess by email’. I accessed it and found a list of U3A members from all over the country, including three from Australia and three from New Zealand, who wish to play chess with others by email. The players are graded with number 20 being the lowest and 150 the highest – I don’t know the significance of these grades or how you get graded. The members state how many moves they wish to make each day (they ranged from 1 or 2 to 3+) and they each have a profile extending from beginners to former county players; it is the latter who seem to have the highest grades. Presumably there is a demand for ‘chess by email’ as around 150 men and women have registered their names. Surely though it is better to watch your opponent as he ponders and makes his moves, and also to watch his body language – well, here in the Burnham U3A you can.
The late Paddy Booth originally ran the Chess Group and Derek Sutton, the present leader, took over from him many years ago. Although it is a small group it makes up for that in the enthusiasm and devotion of its members. The group is listed as meeting on Friday mornings but they also play regularly on Monday and Wednesday mornings. As I write the group consists entirely of men but just recently a lady has asked to join them and they are looking forward to that. All are competent players but do not profess to be high grade. They neither play by the clock nor record their games and have never played a formal match. Although mostly the games are played in silence speaking is not frowned upon. It depends on the number of members who arrive as to how many boards are set up and two games would normally be played with the same opponent during a morning session. Refreshments are served.
This group is not just about, ‘grumpy men playing chess’, (their words not mine; I found them to be amongst the nicest, friendliest, gentlemen I have met), as they often socialise over a lunch, as they were going to do on the day I met them – after a game or two of chess, of course.
Derek says the group could possibly take two more members, and they are willing to help those who need it, so if you would like to join them on Fridays or other days you would be made very welcome. If you are interested or want any further information call Derek on 01621 783599