Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chess in Walmgate

As I wrote from York at the start of my holiday, I found myself becoming increasingly interested in the Walmgate area of the city. So much so that I asked in a bookshop if anything had been published on the history of the area.

I was told that a book had been published, but was now out of print. However, it has sold so well that there were plans for a reprint and, if I left my name and address with the shop, I could be contacted as soon as the new edition was available.

Once I would have jumped at this chance, but this time I backed away politely. Because I knew that when I got back to my hotel room and its free wifi I would almost certainly be able to find a secondhand copy of the book for sale and buy it there and then.

That is exactly how things turned out, and the book was waiting for me when I arrived home from Shropshire this afternoon.

My reason for writing about it here goes back to an article on chess in schools that I wrote for the Guardian website in February. There I quoted the view of Malcolm Pein (backed up with my own observations) that it is a mistake to think that chess was confined to a social elite in the past.

Because The Walmgate Story talks about area's Roman Catholic school St George's has having a "reputation for toughness". One former teacher is quoted as saying:
"If you'd been at St George's, you either turned out a villain or a policeman. The school supplied lots of rugby league players, the best in the area."
But what do we see in one of the photographs of the school chosen to illustrate The Walmgate Story? A meeting of its chess club.

1 comment:

Old Crow said...

as an international chess player myself. I think this is a great idea.
Not only is it a great game, but I helps with academic and sporting side of school life.
Maths especially benefits.
It helps in sporting as it give you a tactical advantage.