Thursday 6 September 2007

The Workplace Chess Club

I assumed the Workplace Chess Club went out with the disappearance of the cloth cap and the 40 hour week (thank you Workchoices). So I was pleasantly surprised when an email came around where I work (College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University) asking for players for a lunchtime chess group. It would meet once a week on Wednesdays and players were requested to bring their own sets (if possible).
So I trundled along, sandwich in one hand, bag of chess pieces in another to check it out. There were about 8 to 10 players who turned up. Some of the boards were the cheap and cheerful sets you get from Big W for $10 and someone had even brought a chess clock so ancient it appeared to pre-date the invention of the sundial. But the important thing was that it was fun, as people were happy to chat during the games, mistakes were met with an "oh well", and the winners were often more embarrassed than the losers.
I was even able to pull the old "I play a little bit" gambit, at least until a non playing friend of mine insisted I fess up to what I was going to do later in the day (Chess Coaching).
Why the idea seems to work is that rather than assuming that chess is both the common interest and the common activity, the common interest is the fact we work for the same organisation, but chess is an activity we can share.
For me, I've now penciled in Wednesday lunchtimes as a regular slot for an enjoyable hour playing chess.


Phil Willis said...

Playing chess at work is a real joy.

I'm just in the process of setting up a blitz tournament at my work.

Honeywell seems to hire the most competitive people they can find, so it doesn't matter whether it's poker or rock-paper-scissors, everyone wants a chance to win something.

The Closet Grandmaster said...

I play email chess with another bloke. While the Tech guys play community chess.


Anonymous said...

My impression is that Shaun is not referring to winning at chess but just playing in order to chill out. Mind you I like the gambit of "I play a little bit."