The Immortal Game Resurges in Winchester
The Immortal Game of Chess Resurges in Winchester VA
Do you enjoy the game of chess but need someone to play with? Are you stuck inside this winter with little to do and nothing new on television? We have good news.
On Mondays, twice a month, The Shenandoah Valley Chess Club meets for chess games at The Bright Center, located in the heart of Old Town Winchester. We warmly invite all ages and skill levels to join us for an evening of chess.
Chess is one of the oldest and most respected games in the world. Benjamin Franklin and Beethoven were admirers of the game. Notes about chess games were found in diaries of troops during the American Civil War.
As an avid chess fan I loved the game but found few opportunities to play. I played chess online but it wasn’t the same. I missed the experience of playing and talking with real people.
One sunny afternoon on the Old Town Walking Mall in Winchester, I met Chessmaster Cliff Campbell. Mr. Campbell, who played and coached chess all over the world, set up tables and chairs along the promenade, and invited me to an afternoon of games.
What I saw inspired me. Citizens from different walks of life and all ages were having a great time together around several chessboards. The scene reminded me of gatherings parks of New York City, or the famous movie Searching for Bobby Fischer. I marked my calendar and attended all of Mr. Campbell’s chess events. He eventually helped me create an official club in Winchester -- The Shenandoah Valley Chess Club.
On Monday nights, we play friendly games in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. First-graders rub shoulders with university students; expert tournament players share knowledge with beginners.
Whether a player is brand-new or seasoned veteran, the enthusiasm is high. At the end of the night, everyone asks, "When is the next chess meeting?"
Chess once played an important civic and educational role in Winchester. Local high schools fielded powerful chess clubs that defeated championship teams from Maryland and Pennsylvania. Dozens of kids played regularly at the local Boys & Girls Club. Our vision is to revive education and growth through the game of chess in the city.
The rewards of chess are very numerous, but here are a few:
+ Chess boosts memory and creativity.
+ Chess develops discipline, foresight, and problem-solving skills.
+ Chess encourages stronger study habits in young students.
+ Traveling abroad? Bring a chess set. With millions of players worldwide, you will be sure to make some friends.
Chess as An International Language
Carl Palameeter, resident of White Post, shared with me why he loves the game. He said,
“Chess is a sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe”. Anyone, no matter the skill level, can enjoy the game. I've played, and lost to, US Champions. How many amateurs can claim they've been struck out by Verlander, been dunked on by LeBron, or out shot by Tiger? No other sport offers this level of enjoyment and access.”
Carl is currently playing in the ICCF 20th World Cup.
As the Chess Club develops we plan to seek an affiliation with the United States Chess Federation. We hope to host official tournaments in Winchester that could attract players from across the Mid-Atlantic region.
For now, we are happy to play the game we love while making new friends.
We meet again Monday, January 6th and 20th at the Bright Center, 9 N. Loudon Street in Old Town Winchester.
We look forward playing with you.