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Passionate Long Sutton chess player who was inspired to play by Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, hopes to share his enthusiasm with the younger generation at Spalding Chess Club





A passionate chess player – who was inspired to learn the game after watching a popular television series - is now hoping to encourage younger people to get involved.

Craig Robinson, 32, of Long Sutton, took a shine to the board game during lockdown, following the release of The Queen’s Gambit series on streaming service Netflix.

The 2020 drama follows orphan Beth Harmon (played by actress, Anya Taylor-Joy) during the Cold War era, as she struggled with addiction in a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world.

Spalding Chess Club
Spalding Chess Club
Craig Robinson has been part of the Spalding Chess Club for more than a year.
Craig Robinson has been part of the Spalding Chess Club for more than a year.
Anyone is welcome to join the group, under 18 year olds need to be accompanied by an adult
Anyone is welcome to join the group, under 18 year olds need to be accompanied by an adult

Craig, who has been part of the Spalding Chess Club for more than a year, said: “I have never played chess before in my life, after The Queen’s Gambit was released I massively got into it.

“I really love it and it is my fulltime hobby. It helps me when I’m feeling stressed from work to switch off in the evenings and it has also helped me make new friends.

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“We have between 15 and 17 members at the moment, ranging from ten to 60 years old. We all get the opportunity to travel around and play competitively in league and tournament games at weekends- it’s definitely my main hobby and passion.

Craig has had the opportunity to play competitively at tournaments in the UK
Craig has had the opportunity to play competitively at tournaments in the UK
The Spalding Chess Club meets up every Tuesday at 7pm
The Spalding Chess Club meets up every Tuesday at 7pm

“Playing chess has so many benefits, it teaches problem solving skills and competitiveness, but it can also be really good for your mental health. I find that it keeps your brain active and after a game has finished, it does make you feel quite tired because you’re spending so much time concentrating. I think this would help anyone who has a busy brain as it can help switch it off. “

In August 2023, the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, invested £1 million to support schools and chess groups in disadvantaged areas across England.

The scheme was created to help promote the hobby to younger children and inspire the next generation to get involved. The investment also aimed to provide funding for new equipment for different chess groups and clubs.

Playing chess can have a positive impact for your mental health
Playing chess can have a positive impact for your mental health
The Spalding Chess Club logo
The Spalding Chess Club logo

Craig said: “The investment hasn't really made an impact to us but I’d really like to see it being pushed more in schools around Lincolnshire. I am looking to study and become a tutor, which will hopefully lead to more promotions of chess in schools around the area.

“For us to be able to go into schools and encourage younger people, we will need more tutors to get involved.”

Spalding Chess Club is held every Tuesday from 7pm at the Spalding Social Club on High Street. Evenings include casual games, puzzle solving, team games, improvement and advice and game analysis – everyone is welcome to attend regardless of experience level.

For more information visit the Spalding Chess Club Facebook page or call 01775 723955.

What do you think? Are you a fan of chess? Tell us your views in the comments below...



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