Chess is the most widely played board game in the world and for pensioners in particular, it provides invaluable benefits in terms of mental stimulation, social interaction and manual dexterity in handling items the size of an asthma inhaler, salt cellar or novelty pencil sharpener.

Although a little more complex than games such as prick-the-garter, span-farthing and lanterloo, learning how to play is relatively straightforward – especially if you aren’t sidetracked by wondering why bishops only move diagonally, why the queen has a mince pie on her head and why Russians are so good at the game when they’re usually preoccupied with poisoning people.

Having mastered the basics, you can further develop your skills by joining one of the numerous clubs around the country or by accessing the myriad of chess sites on the internet – though a degree of caution should be exercised when logging on to such forums as, and, since these can often act as portals to the dark web.

Eventually, you may be able to qualify as a Granmaster or Grampsmaster (depending on the age and gender with which you self-identify) and have a move or strategy named in your honour, as was the case with the Sicilian defence (named after the British actress Sicily Courtneidge who completed 75 years on the stage in 1976), the Nimzo-Indian defence (named after Derek Nimzo who played the Punjabi cleric, Mervyn Noote, in All Gas and Gaiters) and the Rohingya Refugee opening sacrifice (inspired by Aung San Suu Kyi)