Ballarat and Geelong battle in out in chess challenge

CHESS players stepped back into history as the fourth annual Fletcher-Morrow Chess Challenge got under way on Sunday.

Players in intense concentration for the historic competition between the Ballarat and Geelong Chess Clubs.

Players in intense concentration for the historic competition between the Ballarat and Geelong Chess Clubs.

In 1925 a match between Ballarat and Geelong chess clubs took place at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute, and yesterday the two clubs again locked in battle in the historic room.

President of the Ballarat Chess Club Patrick Cook said chess had become a popular game around the world, with many challenge matches played in Australia since the rise of chess in the mid-1850s.

It was in 2011 that an idea to revive the 10-board matches like those played in 1925 was raised by Geelong Chess Club president Ben Kersten and since then, the two teams have played in annual competitive matches. 

Kings were cornered and pawns knocked out as the 20 competitors battled it out for the 2014 Fletcher-Morrow Chess Challenge shield.

Cook, who has been playing chess since he was 11 years old, said the game of chess has changed slightly since the introduction of the computer, but nevertheless, it’s still one of the world’s biggest competitions.

“The good players don’t have a particular style, they’re flexible,’’ he said. “It’s way past physical fitness, it’s the gymnastics of the mind.

“It’s a game of logic and imagination.”

Coincidentally, the Chess Olympiad 2014 is currently being played in Norway.

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