ST HELENS Chess Club, based at St Anne’s in Sutton, is experiencing something of a boom with a diverse membership and a plummeting average age.

The current club, which meets every Wednesday at 7.30pm, was founded in 1975 and has played in the Warrington and District Chess League for many years.

It has had many successes in its cup competitions and various league divisions over the years and was the English Chess Federation Small Club of the Year for both 2009 and 2010.

Interest in chess and the club is often dictated by big events or even films.

A club spokesman said: “Pre-Covid, small was an accurate adjective as we very rarely managed to have over 20 members.

“The club's age group was reflective of the 1970s Fischer Chess Boom, and to a smaller extent the publicity the game received due to Nigel Short's World Championship challenge in 1993.

“The club re-activated itself after Covid in April 2022, and at its first meeting there were seven people there with no other publicity than our Twitter account @Sthelens_Chess.

“Thanks to the chess boom caused by The Queen's Gambit we've now got a thriving club again.

“It's not unusual to have over 20 people attending, from beginners to players who have competed in international opens and against grandmasters.

"Demographically the club is more diverse and the average age has plummeted.”

Chess is credited with bringing many benefits, including increasing creativity, focus, planning skills and self-reliance, but the club offers another important aspect of meeting people with a similar interest and making new friends.

The club meets at St Anne’s Social Club in Sutton on Wednesday nights at 7:30pm and is welcoming and friendly.