We're Casual Chess, started because female players (and men!) wanted to be able to play the beautiful game purely for fun, rather than in tournaments. Unlike almost every other city in the world, London didn't have it's own chess cafe, where people could just drop in, borrow a chess set/clock and play.
As female players, we found it a little off putting to walk into a cold church hall packed with up to a hundred men, as the only woman, in complete silence.
So, Casual Chess was born! We've been open now for about six months and were an instant success. We sometimes have more female chess players than men - unheard of! Most chess clubs attract older, white, middle class men - everyone comes to Casual Chess, of all ages, ethnicities, sexual orientation, people with disabilities, from all faiths and backgrounds. True diversity. We already have more women coming to play chess regularly during than all of the established London chess clubs put together!
Everyone is made very welcome, and a real sense of community is already starting to build. That's fantastic in what can be cold and lonely London. It's in the foyer of a Central London charity office building, which has a restaurant attached. So people can buy food and drinks (which helps support that charity), but there's absolutely no pressure to - it's completely free to play.
Thanks to your kind donations, we've recouped our start up costs. Now we've been so successful, we need to buy some more chess clocks. It would also be a lovely bonus to cover some volunteer expenses. If we get a rush of cash, we'll pay for some coaching sessions.
We can show our gratitude by putting your name on a chess board or clock, via Twitter or our website. Just let us know if you'd like public as well as private thanks.
Thank you for reading! If you can't donate, don't worry, we appreciate you taking the time to read this. Either way, you can contribute by sharing on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you!
- Vikram Patel
- Oliver Lewis
- Leon Watson
- Alex Lewis
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