Mission to find chess club members for two of Harrogate's keenest and youngest players

Harrogate Youth Chess Club. Young players Zach Washbrook (11) and Max Collins (11) with founder of The Harrogate Youth Chess Club Andrew Zigmond. (1701096AM1)

Harrogate Youth Chess Club. Young players Zach Washbrook (11) and Max Collins (11) with founder of The Harrogate Youth Chess Club Andrew Zigmond. (1701096AM1)

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Zach Washbrook and Max Collins have a burning passion for chess, but they don't have anyone to share it with - except each other.

The 11-year olds love nothing more than sitting down to a game and sussing out what their opponents are going to do next, but as the only members of the Harrogate Youth Chess Club, the boys know each other's strategies very well by now and are desperate for new members to play against.

Max said: "I love chess because it is so relaxing, I started playing with my grandma and I've found that when I am stressed out, if I start playing chess I stop worrying.

"When you are sad and then you beat someone at chess, it makes you happy and you feel pride. But even if you lose it is not a big deal, you are still happy because it is about taking part, and if you always succeed in life you never learn from your mistakes.

"The chess club is really good, but more people would make it better. Even if you don't know what chess is, come along and see if you like it. Andrew who runs the club is really good, he's not strict at all and just says, 'this is what we're going to be learning about this week'."

Zach said: "I like chess because it is a battle of the brains, it's really strategic and it is the ultimate contest between smart and smart. It is about more than just how the pieces move.

"I learned to play chess at the club - I knew the moves before I started but I learned all of the strategies by going along. We just really want new members, and even if someone doesn't know anything about chess we can teach them at the club."

The chess club meets at St Robert's Social Club in Harrogate on Thursdays during term time, 6:30pm-8pm.

Zach's mum Julie said: "The more varied your interests are, the more interesting you are as a person. Chess is very good at stopping you worrying about things - you can worry or stress about growing up, tidying your room - there are lots of things you can stress about at this age, but the club is a great chance to have a good time and meet other people your age."

To join Zach and Max at the Harrogate Youth Chess Club, aimed at students aged 12-18, call 01423 538142 or email: harrogatechessclub@hotmail.co.uk