The Community Chess Club based in west Swindon is a club which is thriving.

Set up only three years ago, there are now over 120 children and adults currently registered as members.

“We’re a fun, friendly place for everyone who wants to play chess,” said Ramnik Mehta, founder of the club.

Each week roughly six to eight adults, and four to five children meet together and compete in fierce chess battles against each other.

“You do not need to be a particular standard, you just need to want to play the game,” said Ramnik.

Funded and supported by Swindon Borough Council, the cub is completely free and open to anyone who wants to play.

“We’re a group for the benefit of the general public, and especially retired people and children, who wish to play and improve their chess skills.”

Members meet every Tuesday at the West Swindon Library in the Link Centre between 3.45pm – 5.45pm.

“We provide a nice opportunity for retired people to learn to play chess or improve their skills, as well as somewhere to go and mix with other people,” added Ramnik.

“Our youngest member is four years old and our oldest is 93. So you can see we really are open to everyone. We’re very cosmopolitan too.”

Ramnik grew up playing chess in India from the age of six. He came to this country in 1961, and tried to continue playing.

After moving to Swindon he decided to set up the group to encourage more people to play chess and spend time with each other.

“I’m not brilliant at chess or anything. I’m just an ordinary guy who can play the game.

“But it’s a great thing for everyone to get involved in,” he added.

Participants only have to bring themselves each week, as the chess sets are already provided by the club.

Ramnik added: “Being part of a club like this and playing chess is a great way to keep your mind sharp, especially as you get older.”

“And we also offer the social side of spending time with others and making friends, which is a great benefit,” he said.

Members can also arrange to play each other elsewhere if they wish.