1977 to 2002

It is very good to see the familiar and some of the older faces again. It is with great pride that we are today celebrating 25 years of the existence of the Woodbridge Chess Club. Please note 7 of the original ten players are here today, Most of you were at our 20th anniversary, so I don’t intend repeating what I said about the first 20 years.

Since 1997 we have bumbled along at the bottom of Division 2 of the London League, apart from 1999/2000 when we played and won Division 3. After flattering to deceive last year, we are again last and expect to be relegated this year.

Our tours have continued, in March 1998 we flew to Poland (this was the first flight for some team members) for a look behind the iron curtain. We must thank Jorge Boden for all his help in organising a wonderful trip. We were shown around an army camp and had the opportunity to use their firing range, we were taught how to drink vodka and had a sumptuous feast followed by many many toasts. We also won the chess match.

In May 1999 we were back in Ieper, Belgium, where a late change of hotel left some of us with memories of bunk beds, breakfast rationing and old Belgian currency. We were looked after extremely well by the chess club who arranged a guide to help us with the historical sites, food and drink. I think we were very rude to beat them at chess.

In September 2001 we flew to Munich, where we played Bayern Munich at chess, we did win the first round but, when the beer ran out so did our luck. We were surprised to find out that a little beer festival was taking place on the following day, we thought it rude not to try it out. Some of us enjoyed it more than others, the twenty minute walk to the festival became a 90 minute return journey for one nameless player and another was still not well the following evening. Everyone who attended wants to return sooner rather than later.

Just a couple of months ago we were challenged by the Golden Lane Club (where we play the majority of our London League matches) to a sporting evening where we played snooker, darts, dominoes, shut the box and cribbage. For some reason the results were incomplete but I am sure we did very well, breaking the club’s bar takings record on a mid week evening.

Despite “anno domini” the club is continuing to bring joy and suffering to wherever we visit and I hope this continues for as long as possible.

Richard Manning 20/07/2002