“Looks like you drew the short straw,” several people told me, during the weekend. But they were wrong.

Every year my wife and I help to help run a big chess tournament that takes place over a weekend in Swindon each February.

Normally all of the work at the Wilts & West of England Congress takes place indoors, which is just as well, considering it’s February.

But this year we moved to a new venue, the impressive UTC in Bristol Street.

It’s the best junior competition in the country, and attracts Britain’s top young chess players, so we were expecting over 100 cars, and there was only room at the UTC for about ten, so we decided we needed somebody to man the gate.

All the parents bringing their kids had to park in a nearby pay-and-display, but human nature being what it is, we anticipated a few trying to sneak in and park inside the campus.

So who was going to volunteer to keep control?

“I’ve got a yellow jacket,” I said. “I’ll do it.”

My reckoning was that all I would have to do was rehearse one line and I would be OK.

It went something like: “Sorry, mate. It’s more than my job’s worth to let you in here. I can only let in committee members, game arbiters and cars with blue badges. Unless you are the Mayor, which you’re not. Sorry, but them’s the rules, and I don’t make ’em.”

In the event, I didn’t need to recite any of this, because it turns out that you don’t have to say much if you are wearing a jacket so visible that they can see you from the International Space Station.

For this reason, I normally only wear it for one reason, which is riding my bike, but I may wear it more often now. Now that I realise how much power it wields.

Nobody was going to argue with the yellow jacket.

In fact, nobody even questioned me. A few people tried their luck and asked nicely if they would be able to park inside the gate, but I could just tell that they knew the yellow jacket was King.

And this wasn’t the only perk.

For some reason, after parking their cars, just about everybody filing through the pedestrian gate was keen to wish the yellow jacket a good morning, and smile.

Some did this because they felt sorry for me.

They obviously reasoned that because I was wearing a big coat I must be freezing, poor thing, and although I was only there for just over an hour, I think they assumed I was doing it all day.

I didn’t like to tell anybody that it was actually pretty mild for the time of year, and I don’t feel the cold that much, anyway.

I used to think that the only reason for wearing a yellow jacket was to lengthen the odds on getting flattened, but I was wrong. In the right circumstances, yellow jackets equal pure power, so I am saving up for a hard hat and a clipboard, because if you have them too, you are not so much King as God.

Back at the chess, I was even getting special treatment from the attractive lady working on the tuck shop, who made sure I had a nice hot cup of tea in a Thermos.

By now the power was getting to me, so I was feeling cocky.

“Play your cards right and later on you could find out what’s under this yellow jacket,” I told her, but she wasn’t impressed.

Then again, we have been married for 30 years.