Big day for chess buffs

Beefy bishops and king-sized castles were treading a giant sized board on Centenary Green in Wisbech to mark International Chess Day.

The outsized game of chess was staged by the adjoining Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House at 7 South Brink, the home of the social reformer and co-founder of the National Trust, to mark International Chess Day, which is celebrated annually on July 20, the day the International Chess Federation was founded.

Clive Donald, who runs a monthly chess drop-in at the museum, invited passers-by to try their skills on the giant set supplied by the Birthplace House’s voluntary partner, Tin Fish Creative Communications, as well as providing two normal-sized boards on the upper green for anyone who wanted to play or learn.

Participants were joining the 605 million regular chess players around the world, a list of the cerebral great and good that includes actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Julia Roberts, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and tennis player Boris Becker, as they celebrated the big day on the board.

Mr Peter Clayton, chairman of the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum Trust, explained that the event was a trial run and is now set to become an annual event.

He said:  “This was a pilot, which was enjoyed by all who participated, and it is expected to grow year by year.   It is part of our developing programme of events at the Birthplace House which take place inside the museum and on Centenary Green.”

Anyone wishing to join the monthly chess drop-in at the museum should telephone Clive Donald on 01945-474818.