Oldham chess stalwart Steve receives prestigious award from the Prime Minister

Reporter: Simon Smedley
Date published: 12 December 2023

The founder of the Oldham-based 3Cs Chess Club, Steve Rigby, has been personally honoured by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with a prestigious "Points of Light" award.

The PM personally selected individual volunteers who have made a significant difference to their community.

Steve, who is from Oldham but now lives in Welshpool, Powys in Wales, is a retired teacher and passionate chess player who has encouraged hundreds of children to play chess through his chess club - ‘3Cs’.

Steve wanted to set up a central point for young players to meet and receive coaching, while also promoting and developing chess in Oldham primary schools and the surrounding districts.

He founded ‘3Cs’ in 1978 when a teacher at the Christ Church CofE primary school in Chadderton, and the club has since expanded, now attracting up to 50 young people to the weekly coaching nights.

Any young person is welcome, and the club also has adult members who help support the young players.

In addition, ‘3Cs’ have two online clubs that can be accessed through 'chess.com' and 'lichess.org'.

This year, Steve, who went on to become the headteacher at Christ Church, is celebrating the 45th anniversary of the club, which has been recognised multiple times by the English Chess Federation as club of the year and also won the National Club Championships earlier this year.

Steve is pictured (front left) in 2015 when 3Cs Chess Club became the first in the country to be English Chess Federation Club of the Year for the second time

He has also established a new chess club in Welshpool for people of all ages to learn and play chess socially, and is working with the local ‘u3a’ (University of the Third Age) to encourage retired people to become involved in learning chess.

Steve, who appeared on the BBC's 'One Show' talking about chess recently, said: “I am flattered to receive this award on behalf of the ‘3Cs chess club’ and everyone who has been so supportive over the many years.

"As with all such award winners, any individual can only be as good as the team behind them and I have been very fortunate to have such equally-dedicated people to assist me.

"I am also very grateful to the Prime Minister in showing his support for the game of chess and acknowledging it with such a prestigious national award.”

Find out more about ‘3Cs Chess Club’ by clicking here

Meetings take place every Thursday, from 7pm.

The club recently won the National Club Championship (i.e. the 'Premier League' of chess).

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