The new bikie legislation introduced by Premier Campbell Newman has sparked renewed interest in chess in Queensland.
Since the crackdown on bikie groups, many former motorcycle gang members have formed chess clubs instead.
Kev Spanner from fledgling club, The Black Knights, explains his bikie days are well and truly behind him.
“Me and the guys can’t hang out with our bikes any more so chess is a great social outlet.”
Mr Spanner says he particularly enjoys the camaraderie when 60 or more fellow Black Knights travel by motorcycle to chess tournaments.
“We’re still learning how to play so our matches are over pretty quick. But we hang out in the car park afterward and talk about chess as much as we can. It’s great to catch up. And it’s completely lawful.”
Other ex-bikie clubs such as Chairmen of the Board, Hard Core Pawn and Mate or Die have also caught the chess bug.
Chess Queensland President Merv Astle has confirmed that membership has risen by almost 900% in the last month.
“Chess is a sport. A very sexy sport,” says Mr Astle. “Chess is now the fastest growing sport in Queensland. Hopefully the mainstream media will finally give our sport the sports coverage it deserves. In the sport section.”
But not everyone is pleased by recent events.
State Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has called on the Premier to tighten Queensland bikie laws to crack down on what she labels “the looming chess menace”.
“There is a gap in the new bikie legislation that has created an opening for chess clubs. And I don’t mean a Catalan Opening or a Ruy Lopez. Unfortunately for Mr Newman, these so-called chess players are already several moves ahead of him.”
For more on Campbell Newman’s campaign against bikies, CLICK HERE.