Checking out book mates

Author Peter Mortimer is on his bike to play strangers at chess.
Author Peter Mortimer is on his bike to play strangers at chess.

A Cullercoats author and playwright is on the move to piece together material for his next book.

Peter Mortimer set off from his North Tyneside home last week – on a bicycle and carrying a chess set.

His plan is to travel the highways and byways of the UK on a journey that he hopes will result in a book called The Chess Traveller - One Month’s Random Games.

At each destination he needs to find an opponent to play at chess, and once their game is complete, he or she will then choose the next destination of around 30 miles.

He will then make his way there and find a new opponent, from where the process will be repeated until he has played 16 games and travelled about 500 miles.

The chess set he is carrying was given to him as a 21st birthday present by his parents.

His first port of call was 301 miles north to Lossiemouth in Scotland, where he began a month-long quest to find strangers who will play him at chess.

Lossiemouth was chosen as the start point in an equally random fashion, with fellow Cullercoats writer Kitty Fitzgerland closing her eyes and throwing a dart at a wall map of Britain.

Peter said: “Where I go will be determined by other people.

“That creates a certain fear of the unknown, but that is also part of the attraction.

“In each town or village I will seek out someone to play me at chess.

“That same person will send me to another location and the process will be repeated.

“I shall be keeping a daily diary of the people, places and events, and will also notate each game.

“It will be a travel book, a chess book, a view of Britain and a celebration of the random.”

Peter plans that the book will be published next year by Northumberland-based Red Squirrel Press.