Chess Mania: How social chess is raising money for Sheffield cancer charity

A social chess event is being organised to raise money for Sheffield cancer charity, Cavendish Cancer Care.

The event, called Chess Mania, is happening at Factory Floor in Kelham Island on 26 March.

Social chess already happens at Factory Floor every Sunday as part of Chess and Tunes, a weekly event where sets are provided for people to get to know one another over a game.

Tom Bayliss, who organises the events, said: “Everyone comes from different walks of life, we’ve got all ages and abilities, but when you sit down at a chess board it becomes this grounding thing where you can get to know each other.”

Tom’s interest in hosting chess events began when he realised many people learn to play chess when they are young and retain the skillset to share a game with each other.

He said: “I just about knew how to move the pieces, but that’s enough to have a game with someone.”

Tom’s main focus is the community around chess that is being fostered at these events.

“Chess has brought them together but some people come and don’t play at all some weeks. The connections made over the chess board become the reason for being there.”

Chess Mania will feature a ‘chess dressed’ dress code, a variety of DJs performing and a ‘best chess set’ competition, with people encouraged to bring their own interesting or unique chess sets from home and share them with the community.

Chess exploded in popularity during the pandemic thanks to the release of the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit and the use of online chess to play games with separated friends and family.

However, Chess has also seen significant growth in recent months, with popular online platform Chess.com releasing that a record one billion games were played by it’s users in February.

Social events like Chess Mania and Chess and Tunes are a way for people to take that interest forward and practise casual chess in a vibrant social community.

All proceeds from Chess Mania are going to support Cavendish Cancer Care, a Sheffield based cancer charity that runs specialist services for children and young people.

For more information on Chess and Tunes you can find them on Instagram @chess_and_tunes and find the Facebook event for chess mania here. More information on Cavendish Cancer Care can be found here.

Written by Samuel Martin

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