Bay View Mom Is Starting a DIY Chess Club

Bay View’s Olga Thomas grew up in Romania and playing chess with her father is one of her fondest childhood memories. After moving to the United States 18 years ago and having children of her own, she carried on the tradition by teaching the timeless board game to her two sons.

“Chess is my passion and reminds me of a very special time with my father,” says Thomas. “So it was important for me to teach my sons, but after a while we thought it would be exciting to play with other people.”

Thomas, a photographer by profession, looked for a community chess club, but couldn’t find one. A few weeks ago, she posted on the Bay View Town Hall page asking if anyone might want to meet her and her 14-year-old son to play chess. (His other son is 18 and currently studying in Europe.)

The response was overwhelming. The post garnered over 1,200 likes and tons of comments. Because there was so much interest, Thomas decided to create a chess event in his Bay View backyard. She bought tables, chairs and cushions and over 50 people showed up.


Within a week, the club had a name, Bay View Knights Chess Club, and a logo. She has since scheduled two more chess events, “Chess with Neighbors” for Sunday May 16 and another called “Chess By Candlelight” for Friday May 21.

Chess events are free and although RSVPs are recommended, they are not required. Thomas has a few extra boards, but encourages participants to bring their own if possible.

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For more information and/or to RSVP visit the Bay View Knights Chess Club Facebook page.

“We welcome anyone between the ages of 7 and 100,” says Thomas.

Thomas says his next plan is to work with Milwaukee County Parks to provide chess tables in parks.

“It’s very nostalgic for me and something I love to share with my family and neighbors,” says Thomas.

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