I'd heard about this some weeks ago, but only managed to actually get it confirmed, completely by accident, last night. The sad news from Sydney is that one of our beloved chess venues, The Spanish Club, has closed.
It was inevitable. By the time I left for Japan in January, the club was already down to its knees. In an effort to trim expenses, the club was forced to scale back - closing off the restaurant, then the small games room where we used to play chess - but also ramping up the number of pokie machines. Pokie machines actually occupied nearly as much space as seating. It was hardly the most inviting atmosphere for after-work drinks. The only patrons were us chess fanatics, the usual old timers and a bunch of cashless foreign students on dodgy visas. There was no way the joint was going to last.
There you have it, then, kaput for what was once one of the genuinely coolest venues in Sydney.
Interested readers should note, though, that the Town Hall remains the unofficial centre of chess in the Sydney CBD. As I understand it, there's still action there daily. The good news is that the boys look like they've quickly found an alternative to the Spanish Club. No clear idea of exactly where it is, but I understand that it's in some sort of pub. Will find out more about that one.