Chess Shetland

21 April 2011

The recent exhibition of the Lewis Chessmen at the Shetland Museum sparked renewed interest in the game of chess in Shetland.  Three past Shetland Champions, Jan Riise, Derek Hughson and Ken Beer helped the Shetland Amenity Trust stage a Junior Competition, sponsored by Inksters Solicitors, and a Senior Competition, sponsored by The Kildrummy Corporation Limited.

At both tournaments the organisers were gratified by the demand for more such competitions. Thus Chess Shetland was formed on 23rd March 2011 with Jan Riise, Derek Hughson, Ken Beer and Emma Miller as a caretaker executive.

Kildrummy has provisionally agreed to sponsor the Shetland Championship for the next three years and Brian Inkster (1982 Scottish under-17 champion) has agreed provisionally that Inksters will sponsor the Shetland Junior Championship for three years.

There is considerable demand for a Lerwick Chess Club catering to all ages, and organisers are aware of schools which have or would like to have active chess clubs.  A useful by-product of the two Amenity Trust events was the sponsored procurement of fifteen sets, boards and clocks, though it has not thus far been possible to trace the thirty sets, boards and clocks which the Shetland Chess Association owned in the 1980s.

In the 1970s and 1980s Shetland had a very successful chess team.  Local players won numerous national and even international events, created the pioneering Inter-Island competition with sponsorship from Lloyds Bank International, and played for Scotland in correspondence events.  The chess scene is very different in 2011, however the current caretaker group retains the goodwill of the masters and grandmasters, who trained and encouraged them in the past, and the internet has made matches with distant schools, clubs, counties and islands considerably more affordable.  Chess Shetland foresees an active and successful future.

Chess Shetland will be holding a public meeting to adopt a constitution, elect an executive and lay plans for the coming season.

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