THE best rule to follow when playing chess is to learn when to break the rules and only ever plan one move ahead.

You just never know what your opposition’s next move might be.

Ken Macgillivray, 79, of Cambridge Park, has played chess for 60 years. He is a member of Rooty Hill Chess Club.

He started at 19, surrounded by co-workers who spent their lunchbreak playing.

“There were only so many times I could get beaten,” he said.

“I was walking past a book shop in Queen St, Melbourne, one day when I saw a book in the front window, simply titled Chess.

“I bought it and my game improved,” he said.

“It was just after World War II. It really is a universal game – all the migrants used to play and spoke little English.”

Mr Macgillivray said chess clubs used to be dens filled with smoke and lots of scraps of paper.

That has changed – smoking is banned indoors and all scores are put through a computer program.

A game can be over very quickly but a normal game goes for two to three hours.

There are quicker versions available – lightning (five minutes), allegro (15 minutes) and rapid (30 minutes).

“I’m not fond of the short games but don’t mind the rapid,” he said.

“You really do need to be playing your style of game, always keeping in mind what your opponent is capable of.

“Get your pieces developed and off the back rank so you are a fighting force.”

Mr Macgillivray said at most a player could only really plan two or three moves ahead at best.

“If you touch a piece you must move it. Funnily enough, that’s where most of the controversy lies,” he said.