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Hub Staff

Chess players of varying skill levels are invited to check out the newly established Lake Huron Chess Club that meets every Tuesday at the Port Elgin Library. The Chess Club is open to anyone, said organizer Jeremy Clark in an email to Saugeen Shores Hub.

Clark has played in the game spurts throughout his life and is currently teaching students how to play at Northport Elementary School.

Clark said that serious games could be played at any of the Tuesday night meets, however "there’s nothing attached to it beyond having a good time," he said.

“In the future, the goal is definitely to get a stable group of people that would allow us to run some competitive games if there's enough interest," said Clark. "This would be a sort of long-running tournament, over a couple of months, where people could play a game each week, and at the end of the period the results are submitted to the Chess Federation as a tournament," he explained.

Clark said he learned to play chess as a child in school and two years ago got back into it after watching the 2016 World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin. “We were living in Guelph at the time and I took a shot at going out to the local club which was hosted at the University. Despite knowing next to nothing, I had a great time. Like a lot of hobbies, the initial increase in skill is pretty fast, and I got up to playing competitive games very quickly," Clark said. "With enough members, there are people at a broad range of skills, and always a good game to be had," he said.

Clark said when he is able he attends tournaments held in Guelph that attracts chess players from Windsor to Kingston with roughly half of the competitors being under the age of 13. Clark said that youth take to the game “very quickly" and said that chess brings with it a lot mental skills, like spatial awareness, pattern recognition, focus, and the ability to prioritize ideas and problems. “It's a pretty natural fit for many kids,” he said, adding that he would encourage more youth to get into the game.

Anyone interested in playing a few matches with the Lake Huron Chess Club are welcome to drop into the Rotary Room at the Port Elgin Branch Library between 6 and 9 p.m. Participants are asked to bring a $5 drop in fee towards rental of the space, and future Club purchases such as score sheets, clocks, and boards. Those interested in a membership can purchase one for $15 a month, $45 for 6 months, or $70 for a year.

Clark added that participants don't need to stay for the full three hours nor do they need to be there by 6 p.m. "Folks can come and go as they please during the 6 to 9 window," he said.

“For now we're just having people who come out play each other regardless of skill or age. With more people coming out, we'd try to arrange it so that everyone there gets some games appropriate to their skill level, and some games against better players as learning experiences," Clark explained, adding that playing in person is better than playing online as it affords players an opportunity to discuss the game after they've played.

You can find the Lake Huron Chess Club on Facebook at facebook.com/lakehuronchessclub or email lakehuronchess@gmail.com for more information.