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Chess Club

By Michele RoberrtsonIt may not be an Olympic game, but chess has a following all its own! People of all ages can enjoy this game of strategy and skill and each game is unique and unlike any other game. If you’ve ever wanted to play, but weren't sure where to start, luck would have it there is a chess club here in town!Michael Davidson, Associate Pastor of Students and Singles with First Baptist Church hosts weekly opportunities for playing chess at the church. The club began meeting in April of 2021on Friday nights from 6-8 pm. Once there, you will find an eclectic and welcoming group of individuals ranging from 5th grade through adult, playing chess in the activities center at the chruch. “Players of all skill levels are welcome, and if you don’t know how to play, we’d be happy to teach you!” Davidson shared. “There is no luck, no referees, no element of chance or accident. It’s a game of pure skill, one mind against another. Winning or losing rests on your shoulders,” he added. “I love everything that it teaches kids: problem solving, creativeness, critical thinking, risk and reward, memory, strategy, calmness under pressure, concentration, and foresight,” Davidson said. Davidson has played chess for 22 years, “I played regularly at a chess club from about 10-14 years old and got back into it in college. I also ran a chess club at the high school where I lived previously, and of course I love playing here every week,” said Davidson.“My mom taught me when I was about ten years old and I was instantly hooked. I’ve always loved strategy and chess is the pinnacle of strategy games,” he added. Wandering into the activities center one Friday night, an evening of learning awaited. About a dozen people were playing chess. More are usually there butit was game day (in the football stadium down the road) and not just any game, it was the Eddy County War!Observations showed a beginner’s game in process, a few standard games, and a chaotic round of Bunkhouse (four player chess) happening simultaneously. Encouraged by one of the youngest players, I edged closer to the action and watched the games unfold. Chaotic was a good way to describe some of the games, you’ve got to think fast when playing rounds like these. Matteo, a student at Alta Vista shared “I have siblings that play (chess), but we don’t play well together. Chess Club was good for me to get to play with other people.” There are people available to play games at all skill levels, and the pace of each game varies. If you are hesitant to give it a try, Davidson offers this advice: “Jump right in! Chess can seem overwhelming, but so can football if you don't know the objective or rules. But once you watch a couple of games, and someone explains the mechanics of it, it's instantly easier, thesame is true with chess. And it really isn’t as intimidating as it seems, start with learning the names and movements of the pieces and you’re off to a great start!”

“Fun fact: I read somewhere that “After both players move, 400 possible board setups exist. After the second pair of turns, there are 197,742 possible games, and after three moves, 121 million. At every turn, players chart a progressively more distinctive path, and each game evolves into one that has probably never been played before..” Talk about options!” Davidson shared. “It's truly a beautiful game that anyone can enjoy but it takes a lifetime to master. You can play chess for 50 years and not be a grandmaster so start playing now and enjoy the journey of learning to play,” shared Davidson. “With every move, a world of possibilities opens

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