The Lowell Chess Club is on the move

LOWELL – Normally, a chess club is not particularly worthy of attention. But the Lowell Chess Club has earned the right to be shouted at. Just one year after its inception, the LCC gained official recognition from US Chess, the governing body of American chess players and leagues.

The certification allows many privileges between enthusiasts; most importantly, sanctioning official tournaments. Although still not part of the US chess ranking metrics, the 105 members will soon be incorporated into the national database where statistics are calculated and rankings are assigned. But each member must also apply for membership in order to be part of the calculation.

The club’s founder, Ginny Burnham, encourages American chess membership and is always recruiting new members for her local club. They meet twice a week to push the pieces and coach each other. There’s often a suggestion of “you should have done this” or “are you sure you want to move that”, but it’s all done in the spirit of improvement.

Ranging from ages 5 to 81, the club is as ethnically diverse as the city itself. “We want the club to look like the city,” said member DJ Seco. ” And that’s the case. We all have different ethnicities, ages and backgrounds in our chess community.

Chess is the blind equalizer, as global as football, and requires no physical prowess.

Every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Coffee and Cotton in Factory No. 5 and every Tuesday at the Lowell Public Library, the burgeoning group of coin pushers meet to battle it out on a field of 64 seater game. Originating in India over 1,500 years ago, chess has become one of the most popular games in the world. Its genius lies in the paradox that it is so simple while being so complex.

“I first thought of forming a club after my husband encouraged me to play against my neighbour,” Burnham said. “I wasn’t very good but I enjoyed the interaction.” Interaction and socialization are the subliminal foundation of chess clubs.

“After a while I thought, why not bring more people into the fold,” Burnham said. She was surprised at how many people in the living sphere enjoy the game. She was further surprised to learn that there was no chess club in Lowell. The surrounding towns have long-standing clubs with many loyal members. But Lowell had a thirst for it, and Burnham built this fountain.

There is no cost to join the club and no expectation of participation. “Just come when you feel like it and play along. All skill levels are welcome.

Burnham plans to start hosting tournaments and has approval from some venues, but she has no firm dates or venues, saying only: “By summer next year we hope to have an event .”

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