In The Media

Greater Govanhill Magazine

Queens Park Chess Club is the focus of an item in Issue 12 of Greater Govanhill Magazine, which explores arts, culture and subcultures in the local area.

Staff journalist Devon McCole and photographer Alexander Hoyles visited the Club in September and interviewed Club President Caitlin McCulloch, Glasgow Chess League Division 4 Team Captain Ronnie Martin, and Camila Fanizza, a new visitor originally from Argentina.

Caitlin (top left), Camila (middle left) and Ronnie were interviewed & photographed

The article, appearing in the Oct/Nov 2023 edition, covers the Club’s history, its appeal to players both experienced and new, our Feb 2023 simultaneous exhibition with International Master Andrew Greet – which will be repeated in May 2024 – and even our supposed missing apostrophe.

The free hard copy magazine is available from selected shops, pubs, cafes, cultural venues and community/service centres in Govanhill and the wider Queens Park area. Some issues were made available at the Chess Club night of Tuesday 17 October.

Click here to read the feature online.

The article was published in October 2023
In The Media

Guesting on Radio Scotland

Queens Park Chess Club President Caitlin McCulloch today contributed to a live discussion on making chess more accessible to people under 30, on Radio Scotland’s Mornings with Stephen Jardine.

The radio discussion follows a formal UK Government announcement this week on a funding package of just under £1m to develop chess in England, which will be shared by the English Chess Federation, local authorities, and primary schools in disadvantaged areas. Culture Secretary Liz Frazer said the investment is focused on young people, and designed to help give them, “someone to talk to, something to do and somewhere to go.” She also stated chess teaches young people important skills, including critical thinking and patience.

Caitlin invited Harry Marron, who manages junior club Lenzie Chess Academy, to join her for the discussion on providing young people in Scotland with greater exposure to over-the-board chess. The conversation featured the following points:  

Caitlin: “We’re quite a new Club, we had to take a break during the pandemic, then we came roaring back in 2022. We have 45, 46 members now, last year we had seven, there’s been an absolute boom in popularity. We have quite a wide range of people, all different backgrounds. The main reason I got back into chess was over lockdown… I had a revenge arc to learn and beat a friend! What’s nice about chess is, you don’t need anything fancy, whether you are new or a Grandmaster, you always have the same board, the same pieces.”

Harry: “Chess is more popular to young people than it has been for a long time. It’s thriving in Scotland – during Covid young people started playing online… Queen’s Gambit was very entertaining and the chess part was done particularly well. Parents watched and they encouraged their children [to play].”

Caitlin: “We have tennis courts, outdoor gyms, basketball courts – outdoor chess tables isn’t anything different. We go to random picnic benches at the moment and bring some chess boards along. What you find is, people come walking past and go, “Oh – chess!”. It’s almost always that they play chess as a child and haven’t played in a while and come back. Being physically visible is really important, and promoting chess to young people is really important.”

Harry: “I had a five year old visit Lenzie, who is now the number 2 ranked under 9 player in the world. Although he knew how the pieces move, I taught him. He has sight, determination and a tremendous work ethic. At the top it’s 1% talent and 99% hard work. But there’s a lot of creativity in chess too.”

Caitlin: “We play in pubs and cafes around the southside, we currently play in the downstairs area of a pub! People think of chess as being in a big silent hall, and you’re not allowed to talk or do anything, but times are changing, it’s in parks, pubs, cafes. There’s more than sitting silently for three hours. I like the chess side – the focus, the patience – and also the social aspect. It helps with social connections, people have said they came to the Chess Club when they had their schooling disrupted and they were a bit isolated, it was really helpful to have a shared common interest.”

Listen to the full broadcast here. The chess discussion took place on the 24 August show with Stephen, and started at 10:50am (1h:50m into the 9am-noon broadcast). It will be available for one month following broadcast on the BBC Sounds app and website.

The Radio Scotland item follows a special Herald Magazine feature on Queens Park earlier this year, in addition to a Spotify podcast, Evening Times article and ITV News at Ten appearance.

Meanwhile, following our recent letter to Alison Thewliss MP, Alison has helpfully written to the Prime Minister to ask for clarity on whether there are plans to extend, or proportionally match, the UK Government chess funding package in Scotland. We will share further developments when a response has been received.

In The Media

Spotify Podcast

Queens Park Chess Club – and the game of chess – is the focus of episode 12 of Hobbysitive, a Spotify podcast series that delves into the culture and appeal of different types of hobbies.  

Club Members Ash Angappan (above, centre) and Ryan McGill (right), along with Club Secretary Derek Rankine (left), were interviewed by freelance Hungarian journalist Flora Csizmadia.

The interview, which went out live via the Hospital Broadcasting Service on the evening of 27 February, is available on Spotify. It covers Ash’s, Ryan’s and Derek’s journey towards Queens Park Chess Club, the activities we provide and competitions we take part in, and the welcoming ethos of the Club. It also explores the different styles and formats of chess, discusses whether the game’s gender imbalance may be changing, and highlights the wider social and health benefits that can be accrued by regularly playing chess.

Chess joins other Hobbysitive episode topics include bodybuilding, Scottish Gaelic, pottery, birdwatching and songwriting. Our gratitude to Flora for an enjoyable interview. You can follow Hobbysitive on Instagram.

In The Media

Herald Magazine Feature

Queens Park Chess Club and our local Thursday Chess Group partner are the focus of a special feature in today’s (Sat 4 Feb) Saturday Magazine of the Herald Newspaper.

Journalist Catriona Stewart and photographer Colin Mearns spent several hours at the Chess Club in the Autumn, getting to know Committee Members Graeme, Derek, Caitlin and Alex L., plus Thursday Group founder Marianne Burns, and Club Member/Thursday regular Ryan McGill.

The article focuses on the history and formation of the Chess Club, and the recent growth of interest in casual and competitive chess around Queens Park. It provides insight into how the Chess Club and Thursday Group work together, and the valuable social connections that can develop over regular chess meetups, as bonds develop and friendships form.

Read the article here:

The feature was trailed at the top of the front page

Our thanks to Cat and Colin for taking the time to get to know us – and to the Herald for highlighting the feature on the front page, and allocating so much space in the magazine.

The Herald feature comes on the back of items in the Evening Times and ITV News at Ten, and a Chess Scotland overview on the local scene. The Queens Park area is fast developing a strong national profile as a hotbed of chess. With the Chess Club now operating with 46 Members, six competitive teams, and a casual chess group, plus record attendances on Thursdays, all indications are that local popularity of the game will rise even further in 2023.

Main image created with artificial intelligence using DALL-E

In The Media

Feature on ITV News at Ten

Govanhill Chess Club featured in several news items on ITV on Tuesday 28 June 2022.

Rhys, Giuseppe, Caitlin, Derek and Graeme met with ITN Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith in Queens Park. They were filmed playing games and also contributed interviews.

The footage accompanied a report on the launch of a new campaign for a second referendum on Scottish independence, with chess serving as a metaphor for strategic planning.

The report featured in the UK-wide news broadcasts at 6:30pm and 10pm, and in the lead story on the ITV News website. It can be viewed here.

Rhys (top left), Caitlin & Giuseppe in a sunny Queens Park

The filming location, the picnic benches at the Queens Park boating pond, is the same place we meet on Sundays from 10-12 for casual outdoor chess, through to the end of August 2022. Non-members and beginners are very welcome – details here