End of era as chess congress leaves Oldway Mansion after 62 years
IT IS the end of an era for a chess congress after it left its home of Oldway Mansion for what could be the last time.
It is hoped Paignton Chess Congress will be able to return to the historic mansion where it has been held for 62 years after the building is redeveloped.
Meanwhile, the group is desperately looking for a new base for a couple of years.
After another successful congress this month, it hopes to return to the Bay next September and is hoping a hotel will be able to put the tournament and some of the 200 players up.
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Alan Crickmore, Paignton Chess Congress secretary, said: "We are one of the premiere chess tournaments in Britain apart from Hastings which has been going since 1895.
"This congress has been running since 1951 in same building and we are unrivalled.
"We have to move for the Akkeron development but we are looking for an alternative venue.
"We don't want to move but they have to redevelop the site and we can't have use of the building next September so we are hoping to be able to find a site in Torbay.
"We have 200 players at this congress so it brings a lot of revenue into the area. Nearly all have accommodation in the Bay in hotels and that helps the economy especially as we take place after the children go back to school.
"We estimate we have put millions of pounds into the economy since we started in 1951. With the current economic situation hotels may be finding it difficult and I thought they would welcome this type of business.
"We have an excellent relationship with Torbay Council and we love coming to Torbay.
"We could go elsewhere and go to Exeter or Plymouth but people enjoy the holiday in Torbay. They think it's a wonderful place to come and we hope we will be able to come back.
"Next year the British Championships will take place at the Riviera International Conference Centre in July and August but we will still attract several hundred players when we take place in September."
Oldway Mansion is earmarked for redevelopment as a hotel, with housing in the grounds.
Mr Crickmore said talks with Akkeron had been positive and he hoped the congress would be able to return to its 'home' in two years once the work is complete.
To contact the congress, call 01752 768206.