I have recently been attending Lincoln chess club which meets on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 10:30 PM. The club used to be based in an inaccessible building for many years. Thankfully they have now moved to the Lincoln Labour club which has better wheelchair access.
Accessibility of the Labour club
The Labour Club, located a stone’s throw from the Brayford pool, is reasonably accessible. There is a concrete step at the front door, but thankfully this is not checkmate. There is an accessible entrance (a fire door) round the side of the building.
I have a portable metal ramp which I can use to get up the step at the main entrance. But if you don’t have a ramp, then the fire door is your only option.
The concrete ramp leading to the fire door is perpendicular to the door not straight on. Sometimes a car is parked immediately at the end of the ramp, and I have to get someone to move it. However, I have been told that they are planning to change the ramp to solve this problem.
The chess club plays in one of the function rooms of the Labour club on the ground floor. The room is located near the front entrance through a single door. The door tends to swing shut quite quickly so it can be a bit awkward for the person holding it open.
There is also an accessible toilet just outside the door to the function room. Although, there’s a tight corner to enter the toilet and little space inside for my PA to move around my chair.
A bar is open in the function room serving alcoholic and soft drinks, plus there were sandwiches and assorted nibbles provided.
Lincoln chess club
There are usually about 16 people in attendance at the meetings, so a decent number of players.
Everyone I’ve spoken to at the club is friendly. But while the games are going on, everyone speaks in hushed tones so as to not disturb anyone’s concentration. This may be good to help you focus but not so much for understanding what people are saying!
There are some outstanding players at the club and most of the games I’ve played so far I have lost, but I think I will learn a lot from watching others play over time.
The good thing about chess is that it doesn’t matter about your physical abilities. You play the game using your mind, and the only physical requirement is to move the pieces. My opponent is usually happy to move the pieces for me under my instructions, or my PA does.
The only bit that I find slightly difficult is getting a clear view of the board. Because I can’t get right under the table, I’m not viewing the board from above like the other player is. I’m looking at the board from a lower angle. It means that it’s sometimes difficult to see all the pieces because some may be hiding behind others.
For this reason, I sometimes find it easier to play online on chess.com because you can see the board in two dimensions and clearly see where all the pieces are.
The chess club takes part in the Lincolnshire chess league and plays matches against other clubs from around the county. I would like to take part in the league sometime, but for now, I think I need to build up my chess skills a bit more first.
The last time I played in a chess league match was when I was at University, and I never won a single game. I still need to improve, and I’m sure that by playing against the other people at the club I will be able to do so.
Visit the Lincoln chess club’s website for more information.