The Lenoir Chess Club invites players of all ages

July 20—LENOIR—Every Tuesday evening, the Lenoir Chess Club meets at St. James’s Episcopal Church in downtown Lenoir to play friendly competitive chess games and hone their skills.

As the opponents sat across from each other and studied the chessboard and considered their strategic moves on Tuesday, July 19, moments of silence and stillness were intermittently interrupted by informal conversations about game strategy. game and life.

Linda LaRose took on Leo Martin.

“He’s up to something for me,” LaRose said, as she studied the board and her opponent.

LaRose carefully examined the board for possible moves against Martin.

“How many hits do you think it will take to beat me?” LaRose asked.

Larose was Martin’s first opponent in Tuesday’s games.

At 13, Martin is a tough competitor and puts his opponent on defense before the game starts. He says he already knows the move he is going to make before his opponent reaches a piece.

Across the room, at a separate table, sat players Maggie Martin and Liza Plaster.

Martin is the organizer of the Lenoir Chess Club.

Plaster is well known in the community. She formerly owned and operated the Ripshin Goat Dairy and was a board member of the Patterson School Foundation.

“You have to lose to learn,” Plaster said, referring to failure as an important aspect of the game and adding that every defeat provides a valuable lesson.

At the end of the same table sat Cliff and his wife Marty Anderson playing. The Andersons came to enjoy the friendly games at the invitation of their neighbor and family friend, Linda LaRose.

Marty Anderson said she learned from Norm Thabit’s philosophy that chess can answer many of life’s questions.

After a few games, the players changed opponents and Leo Martin positioned himself against Cliff Anderson.

“He’s a very good player, very good,” Anderson said. “He makes me squirm,” he added, just before Martin took his turn.

Martin didn’t take his eyes off the painting.

“I like to develop my parts so I can get my tricks out,” Martin said.

A few chairs away, Eris Allen was facing a formidable player. Allen said he had been playing chess for nearly 40 years.

“I borrowed a book from the library on chess, and I’ve fallen in love with it ever since,” Allen said.

Allen had already put his opponent on defense.

“That’s why I love chess – it’s a battle of ideas,” Allen said, as his opponent considered his next move.

Allen picked up a win in three games.

The Lenoir Chess Club is made possible through the coordinated efforts of Maggie Martin and Norm Thabit’s drive to educate anyone willing and willing to learn how to play chess.

Thabit provides lessons and instruction to the class, carrying on his father’s legacy of fun in the game. His father taught him to play chess from an early age, giving him an enduring gift he could share with the others.

“My father taught me to play when I was 5 in 1957. He died suddenly when I was 7 in January 1969,” Thabit said.

Thabit said playing chess can teach the virtues and values ​​of life, including the consequences of actions, awareness, the need for continuous self-improvement, self-discipline, perseverance and the ability to think.

In chess, the opponent is watching the other’s every move, which forces the player to be aware and watch the entire board, so they can see the big picture and make intentional efforts to achieve victory. . Thabit said that unlike other games, chess is not a game of chance.

Playing chess also leads to improvement. Chess players are aware that no matter how strong a player is, there is always someone a little better. Expert chess players know the value of self-discipline and how restraint can help avoid mistakes that can cost them a game.

Developing chess skills also reinforces the importance of perseverance and not giving up at any point in the game.

“I would love to see more people come. It’s a great game that teaches discipline. It teaches you to stop and think and that there are consequences to moving,” LaRose said.

For LaRose, the game is also about building relationships.

“There’s a certain kindness to the game — at the end, you shake your opponent’s hand. There’s a camaraderie,” LaRose said, speaking of feeling grateful to God for being part of the group.

The Lenoir Chess Club meets at St. James’s Episcopal Church, located at 806 College Avenue in downtown Lenoir, on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Players of all ages and skill levels are welcome to join. Play sets are provided; however, guests may bring their own shatterproof sets. Games are not timed, but follow all United States Chess Federation (USCF) rules of play.

Thabit will be offering chess lessons through the Lenoir Chess Club for those who are interested, but a minimum of six participants is required to run the course. Through six one-hour lessons, Thabit teaches players what they need to know, in the order in which they need to know it.

Those interested in participating in the Lenoir Chess Club can contact Maggie Martin at [email protected] to reserve a spot.

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