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Inter-Generational Chess Duo Discover Special Bond at Chartwell House

A heartening and intellectually stimulating friendship has blossomed between an 89-year-old Chartwell House resident Gerald Gold, and a 10-year-old local prodigy, Laurence Cross. United by the ancient game of chess, the duo has been engaged in captivating weekly battles since September 2023, forging a unique connection that defies age barriers.

Gerald Gold, who hadn’t touched a chess piece in decades, now finds himself immersed in the strategic dance of the legendary game, all thanks to his young counterpart, Laurence Cross. In Gerald’s own words, “I’ve found it very enlightening. I hadn’t played chess for many, many years, and Laurence is a very bright lad. I don’t look on him as being a youngster; I look at him as being not even equal but superior to me in chess. I play chess for the enjoyment of it. He plays to win and therefore always wins.”

For Gerald, the experience goes beyond the chess board; it’s a mental exercise that rejuvenates his mind. “It was nice to play chess again. It’s something you get really involved in, and it keeps your mind alert. That is the main thing. It keeps that mental agility there,” he shares.

Reflecting on the benefits of the game, Gerald points out the unique bonding experience it offers. “I think you can communicate more easily when you’re playing chess. You have a common denominator, and you talk, which I think is very, very nice.”

Laurence Cross, the 10-year-old chess enthusiast, expresses his love for the game, highlighting concentration as his favourite aspect. “Probably the concentration and when I first started, I mainly play with dad and grandad,” he says. When asked about his favourite move, Laurence notes “en passant” which adds a layer of sophistication to his playing style. In chess, ‘en passant’ allows a pawn to capture an opponent’s pawn that has moved two squares forward from its starting position.

Laurence’s chess journey with Gerald began through a thoughtful introduction by Aunty Helen, a receptionist at Chartwell House. From this simple act, a bond fuelled by shared passion and strategic thinking developed, leading to weekly encounters that have become a cherished routine. “We come down nearly every week now,” Laurence mentions.

Helen Orry, witnessing the burgeoning friendship, remarks, “It’s heartening to see the joy on their faces when they engage in these matches. Chess is truly a universal language that bridges generations.”

As the two continue their weekly chess battles, the Chartwell House community celebrates the power of inter-generational connections and the positive impact of chess on mental agility and social bonds.

Diane Collins, Home Manager at Chartwell House, emphasises the significance of intergenerational activities, stating, “We believe in the enriching power of activities that transcend age barriers. The bond between Gerald and Laurence is a testament to the vibrant community spirit we cultivate at Chartwell House.”

For budding chess players, Gerald offers sage advice, “Be determined, have the courage of your convictions, and look the other person square in the eye when you call out, checkmate!”









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