Checkmate on the Bellarine

St Leonards Space Chess Group facilitator Hugh Peters.

The Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, which follows the life of an orphan chess prodigy during her quest to become the world’s greatest chess player, has inspired viewers to dust off their old chess boards and play a game or two with family, friends, or, even better, to join their local chess group.

Stan Rusiniak, who is actively involved with all three chess groups on the Bellarine, including being the facilitator at Portarlington, said the show has reinvigorated interest in the game.

Friends have contacted him, or his fellow chess mates, with a newfound enthusiasm and questions about chess and the chess group’s activities.

He said the TV show has also seen an increase in the number of women joining the local chess groups.

“They have enjoyed playing their first game online or have recently bought a new chess board and are keen to learn more about the game,” he said.

“Even expressing an interest in the game can be beneficial to people young and old,” Hugh Peters of the St Leonards chess group said.

“Chess is a wonderful way to improve your concentration, patience, memory, and creativity.”

“We have all been delighted by the show’s success,” Ralph Wright of the Ocean Grove Chess group said.

“And the best thing is, win, lose or draw – chess is tremendous fun. So, come in and give it a go.”

All Bellarine chess clubs are open and active once again and are welcoming new members.

Ocean Grove Chess Group

Ocean Grove Senior Citizens Club

101 The Terrace, Ocean Grove

Phone: 5255 2996

Tuesdays 1.30pm

Facilitator: Ralph Wright

Portarlington Neighbourhood Chess Group

Portarlington Neighbourhood House Bay View Room, Parks Hall, 87 Newcombe Street, Portarlington

Phone: 5259 2290 Email:

Mondays 10am

Facilitator: Stan Rusiniak

St Leonards Space Chess Group

St Leonards Community Space, 3/1377 Murradoc Road St, St Leonards

Phone: 5216 9255

Thursdays 9.30am

Facilitator: Hugh Peters