Paul's Story

Oxford meets Cambridge over a game of 5asideCHESS.

5asideCHESS is proving to be the perfect lockdown companion for Paul. As someone who is currently shielding as a vulnerable person, he has found his daily chess calls with Ross have proven invaluable for keeping a connection with the outside world and giving him something to ponder each day.

Paul and Ross play 5asideCHESS via daily phone calls and for Paul, this is a lifeline. They play each game over a number of days, a couple of moves a day. Considering his next move gives Paul a purpose for each day, giving him something positive to think about and enabling him to look after and maintain his mental health and keep connected with friends and his family.

Paul is a peer support worker at a local mental health centre where he regularly uses 5asideCHESS to connect with others at the centre and has found it invaluable in giving people an opportunity to talk and connect with others easily. As he shields, he has first-hand experience of how valuable this human contact is and is asking us all to #CheckOnYaMate. Not only is Paul talking daily with Ross, but he is also regularly using the 5asideCHESS board to stay connected with his grandson, aged nine.

As he says: “5asideCHESS gives us a talking point, and it allows me to play with my friends and family easily and simply every day. This contact is never more important than it is now, particularly for those shielding or isolating when it is all too easy to spend hours just watching the news and getting more and more anxious. It can be played over a phone line as I do, or if you are using the internet, you can easily play a visual game. It gives me a reason to connect every day, a reason to ponder my next move, and a reason to learn something new. Being a shorter, less complex game than the original, it is perfect for beginners and experienced players alike – and as I have found out with my grandson, children grasp it very quickly.”

Paul's #CheckOnYaMate story in the time of Covid-19