Chess king Tom is knight in shining armour to young players

Rotary president Steven Henderson (on right) presents Tom Lawson with a cheque for �500 for Balmoral Primary School, which is becoming the Centre for Hard of Hearing and Visually Impaired Pupils
Rotary president Steven Henderson (on right) presents Tom Lawson with a cheque for �500 for Balmoral Primary School, which is becoming the Centre for Hard of Hearing and Visually Impaired Pupils
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Tom Lawson spoke to Gala Rotary Club on the Galashiels and District Primary Schools Chess Competition.

Tom has long been a chess enthusiast and a member of Galashiels Chess Club, but his interest was ,and still is, teaching young people to play chess.

Tom set up his magnetic chessboard with a challenge for Rotary members.

1984 saw the centenary of the Scottish Chess Association and this resulted in the foundation of the Galashiels & District Primary Schools Chess Competition, which has been run by Tom and a few others for 30 years, the last 20 of them on a voluntary basis. He believes in chess in schools as it improves young people’s powers of thinking, concentration, behaviour, etiquette and sense of sportsmanship.

A new sponsor or sponsors for the competition are currently sought.

While there are chess clubs in Galashiels, Selkirk, Kelso and Dunbar, they are only intended for adult players. The after-school club meets at the Focus Centre, but again this relies on a group of volunteers.

Tom explained that his request for funding from the Rotary Club of Galashiels for a Braille chess board is to encourage a primary school pupil who has poor vision to be able to continue his interest in chess as his sight deteriorates.

He was granted £500 by the Rotarians following his talk – in the above picture president Steven Henderson (right) presents Tom with the cheque.

Tom closed his talk by revealing the fact that China has taken over from Russia as world-class chess players.

Two Rotarians, Bill Zawadeckjy and William Windram, solved the chess challenge set up for the evening.

The vote of thanks was given by John Millar, who said in closing: “A man had dinner with Garry Kasporov.

“Unfortunately they had a chequered tablecloth and it took Garry two hours to pass the salt.”