Bunbury Chess Club returns with upcoming tournament in August

Ben Colman has revived the Bunbury Chess Club.
Ben Colman has revived the Bunbury Chess Club.

I think we have unfortunately written chess off as a nerdy thing and not given it a good go. But anyone can learn chess and anyone can play.

Ben Colman

THE BUNBURY Chess Club has returned more determined than ever to re-write the stigma around the game not being considered a sport.

After more than a decade in the shadows due to a lack of numbers, the club was recently revived by passionate chess player and Bunbury Chess Club President, Ben Colman.

Mr Colman arrived in Bunbury just over a year ago and said he decided to get the Bunbury Chess Club going again after originally searching for a club to join within the region.

"Around 25 of us meet once a month at the Bunbury Library for a 15 minute lesson and then a casual game. It's been pretty unofficial but we're gathering momentum now as we continue to promote the Club," Mr Colman said.

With Vice President Michael Molenaar by his side, Mr Colman successfully brought the club back in order to service players throughout the South West.

"It's been great. There's definitely a full spectrum of ages and both men and women players. Sometimes a challenge with chess clubs is that people play one game, lose and then conclude that they're no good at it. But the reality is if you have someone show you a different strategy you could use, you can improve very quickly," Mr Colman said.

According to the International Olympic Committee, chess requires both physical power and mental concentration and uses an internationally recognised set of rules and etiquette.

Chess therefore is considered to be a sport.

Mr Colman recalls feeling confusion when he heard someone actually refer to chess as a sport when he was younger.

"I thought, that's crazy, I don't understand, how can chess be a sport? But recently I finally understood. Chess isn't a physical sport but you still do drills, you study puzzles, you can improve by looking at particular positions and try to figure out the best move in that position. The best chess players in the world have trained just like an athlete."

"There's a difference of chess not including luck like your average game of sport. Every chess game you play you can't chalk it up to luck through the roll of the dice or some outside factor, because it was you who chose to put those pieces there."

"Look at the top levels, Magnus Carlsen the Norwegian chess Grandmaster. And professional, online full-time streamers of chess. They all refer to themselves as 'athlete' as their occupation."

Mr Colman has been playing chess since he was seven-years-old and hopes to change the somewhat resistant outlook people can have on the sport.

"I would love to see more people learn chess, it's really all about your mindset. I think we have unfortunately written chess off as a nerdy thing and not given it a good go. If you play one game and lose, you may write yourself off as not very good. But really you just haven't learned the strategy. Anyone can learn chess and anyone can play."

"You learn about yourself playing chess. It's a great game that you can keep on with forever. I'm going to continue and improve until I'm 90-years-old."

The Bunbury Chess Club will hold a one day, Rapid Chess Open Tournament on August 21 at South Bunbury Primary School.

With free entry, players can compete in a rapid swiss format competition with 15 minutes on the clock.

Mr Colman invites anyone to join but recommends new players to attend a library session or two prior.

"Play a few games first if you're going to play in a tournament because this tournament in particular is a fairly fast paced version of chess. It's an unrated tournament though so you don't have to be a particular level."

First prize for the open category is a $100 gift voucher.