I have been involved with a local chess club since around 2002. For several years, I tried to never miss a night. I have since moved to a new town and found a local chess club here that meets on Wednesday night. I love every minute of it.
The first club I was involved with met Thursday nights. The chess there was primarily five-minute games, but one could occasionally find longer if one wanted. I lost every single game at that club for a solid year, but I kept going back. Then I began playing in USCF rated tournaments and got much stronger.
That club still meets Thursday nights, but it’s a tad far away now with gas the way it is, so I play Wednesday at the local Queen Bean and have fun. They play primarily with no clocks, although fifteen-minute games can be had if one is in the mood. To be honest, I sometimes miss the five-minute stuff; a little blitz is good for the chess soul.
But I digress. This article is to inform the reader that being involved in a local chess club is a blast and can help your chess immensely. I know it helped mine. I’m very fortunate to have been so heavily involved over the years.
But what about those of you who don’t have a hot local chess scene? What if there are no clubs in your area? Are you limited to internet chess and maybe the occasional OTB tournament? Well, why not create your own club? You might be surprised how many in your area also wish there was a chess club nearby.
There are multiple avenues to creating your own chess club and getting the word out so that folks know. Let’s look at a few of them.
- Craigslist ads are free. Put an ad out that states you’d like to meet with local chess players for casual games or training. Keep renewing it each time it expires.
- Ask local coffee houses if you can start a chess night and advertise at their establishment. That’s how my local club was started. All-night restaurants like Denny's are also a good idea.
- Make threads on chess forums. I’ve found several local players by putting feelers out on places like Chess.com. Just make an account and express your wishes to find local players. On other internet chess sites, put a note in your profile that you are in X Location and looking for opponents in the area.
- Find a chess club that’s not so local and visit it one night. You may find that others make quite a drive to get there, as well, and wish there was a chess club closer to them. Also, chess players tend to know a lot of other chess players, so you might get good leads on local talent. Google is a great place to start. Type in ‘chess club Location X’ (your area) and see what pops up.
If you really want a local chess club, get creative! Get those mental gears turning and put feelers out all over the place. If you want it badly enough, you’ll find some local chess. Other players are out there, just waiting for your bat signal, so to speak.