Stirling Chess Club turned Tesco superstore into a "pawn shop" in mid August, thanks to the "fearless four" schoolboy members of the Club. Putting their reputations on the line they issued a challenge to any Tesco shopper to a 5-minute game of chess in the foyer. Youngest, 9-year-old Christopher Macdonald, teamed up with Colin Thomson, aged 10 and 12-year-olds, Kenneth Anderson and Kenny McGeoch, nonchalantly taking on all-comers from octogenarians to 8 year-olds; and beating most in the 20 games played.
One onlooker, a teacher, put a pound in the plate saying, "I like what your club is doing for young people". Club officers, wearing their badges of office, handed out leaflets and invited shoppers to join in or just look on - and many did. Tesco management were impressed and donated a £5 voucher, and said "come again"; the club most certainly will.
All entrants received a copy of Scottish Chess and a a sheaf of leaflets for their 50p entrance fee which, incidentally brought in £11 - although fund-raising was not our aim. The chess stall, an old pasting table tastefully decorated with a yellow plastic sheet and overhead, a 6ft x 18ins banner with Stirling Chess Club in 6 inch deep red lettering, topped by colourful helium-filled balloons, made for an eye-catching appeal to shoppers.
We made the front page and page five of the Stirling Observer weekly with two professional photographs. That can't be bad for a two-hour recruitment drive. Chess is shown to be alive and well in Stirling thanks to the efforts of their young club members, Cristopher, Colin, Kenneth and Kenny. The challenge for the club: can we raise the membership from 35 last year, to half a century before the third millenium?
George A Clarke Publicity Officer, Stirling C.C. 30 August 1999.