Checkmate! How a married Norwich couple met over the chessboard

Heather and Martin Walker recently got married after meeting over the chessboard. Picture: Danielle

Heather and Martin Walker recently got married after meeting over the chessboard. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Two Norwich chess players have found their checkmates having met through their shared passion for the game.

It all started when Heather Walker invited World Chess Federation 'master' Martin to visit her Aylsham chess club to give an expert lesson in April. 

This led to several emails being exchanged during lockdown between the couple, who now live happily together in Sprowston Road. 

Heather and Martin Walker recently got married after meeting over the chessboard. Picture: Danielle

Heather and Martin Walker recently got married after meeting over the chessboard. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mrs Walker said: "The emails became longer and longer, and more and more frequent. The lockdowns meant we did not meet in person. 

"In April we both had feelings this was a person we wanted to know better. When it got to the summer we both thought this is not silly, this is real." 

Norwich couple Heather and Martin Walker marry after meeting over the chessboard. Picture: Danielle

Norwich couple Heather and Martin Walker marry after meeting over the chessboard. - Credit: Danielle Booden

After initially being invited to a socially distanced tea with Mr Walker's family, the pair tied the knot on August 31 at the Stoke Holy Cross church, much to the surprise of the chess community. 

Mr Walker said: "It was a great surprise to many people. Chess events have not been happening so we were not seen together.

Most Read

"A lot of people were totally unaware but the response has been very positive. Everyone is very happy for us."

Martin Walker playing his wife in a game of chess. Picture: Danielle Booden

Martin Walker playing his wife in a game of chess. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The couple are now looking forward to the resumption of the Norfolk chess season in October. 

Mrs Walker has become a regular player at Broadland and Aylsham chess clubs over the last few years, while Mr Walker is an internationally qualified chess tutor with his own chess consultancy.

Mrs Walker said: "When we have got a bit more time, he will help me with my chess.

"Me against him would be like trying to run against Usain Bolt in the 100 metres." 

Heather Martin playing her husband in a game of chess. Picture: Danielle Booden

Heather Martin playing her husband in a game of chess. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mr Walker learnt to play draughts and chess with his dad from the age of seven when he was at Cringleford Infant School.

Heather and Martin Walker got married at Stoke Holy Cross

Heather and Martin Walker got married at Stoke Holy Cross - Credit: Contributed

John Wickham, Norfolk County Chess Association chairman, said: “I have known the happy couple for many years and believe they are a ‘perfect match’.

"Heather and Martin getting married has brought a great deal of joy to the whole Norfolk chess community.

Norwich couple Heather and Martin Walker marry after meeting over the chessboard. Picture: Danielle

Norwich couple Heather and Martin Walker were married at the Church of the Holy Cross in Stoke Holy Cross in August - Credit: Danielle Booden

"We wish them well for a long and happy marriage and for continued success at the chessboard.”

Heather and Martin Walker pictured during their wedding at Stoke Holy Cross in August 

Heather and Martin Walker pictured during their wedding at Stoke Holy Cross in August - Credit: Contributed


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter