International Chess Master James Sherwin, who once played Grand Master Bobby Fischer, shared his skills at the launch of a new chess club in Winsley.

Mr Sherwin, 80, met and played against the new members of Bradford & Avon Valley Youth Chess Club on their opening night at St Nicholas Hall on Tuesday.

The club is open to children from West Wiltshire and Bath, aged six to 18, and will meet every Tuesday from 6 to 7pm for beginners and 6.30 to 7.45pm for intermediate level and above.

American Mr Sherwin, who now lives in Winsley, said: “It was wonderful. They are all talented and there are some promising players. I started playing chess when I was five, when I had nothing to do in the summer, so this is a good place for them to start.

“Chess is good for teaching rigorous thinking, flexibility, perseverance and sportsmanship. It can be a tough game.”

Mr Sherwin, a former president of the American Chess Foundation, earned the Internat-ional Master title in 1958, and played against the likes of Fischer, Mikhail Tal and Tigran Petrosian.

He added: “Bobby was a friend but I lost touch with him after competing (at around the age of 30). He used to come to my house and we would play blitz.”

Roy Ludlow, secretary of Wiltshire County Chess Associa-tion and member of Trowbridge Chess Club, gave a financial donation and clocks to help launch the new club. Kingston Estate Agents also donated clocks.

Chairman of Bradford & Avon Valley Youth Chess, Richard Seymour, said: “Schools are a good place for beginners but we can bring them on to a higher standard here.”

To join the club email avon.youth.chess