The Scott County Chess Club is playing again and has plans for new activities after rebounding from the pandemic shutdown.
The chess club’s next meeting is set for Oct. 2 from 9 until 11:30 a.m. at the Forest Public Library. The club’s regular meetings are held at that time and location on the first Saturday of each month.
Chris Allen Baker of Forest, club founder and coordinator, said the club is rebuilding to offer as many opportunities as possible for the game of chess to grow in Scott County.
“It is really great to be back. Because the shutdown was so long for us, we are faced with basically starting over. We are excited about new participants who have joined us,” Baker said. “If you participated before the pandemic, we would love to have you back. If you are interested in starting as a new member and interested in learning chess, you are most welcome. It is never too late to start.”
Baker noted the club’s appreciates support that comes from the Forest Public Library. “We are very grateful to the Forest Library for giving us a place to play. They have been an incredible partner from the very beginning,” Baker said. “We are also grateful to the Central Mississippi Regional Library System for all their support since day one.”
Chess is a two-player game played on a checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid with alternating colors. The strategy game, using 16 pieces moving in a variety of ways, is played by millions of people worldwide including a strong presence in Mississippi.
Chess can help people improve their health in many ways as the game has a variety of benefits.
“There are many advantages to playing chess. Some include learning and strengthening strategic thinking skills, stimulating brain activity, raising IQ level, sparking creativity, increasing problem-solving skills, improving reading skills, and optimizing memory improvement,” Baker said. “The benefits can overlap into other areas of a person’s life. Most of all, it is fun!”
Support began early as the Friends of the Library organization donated funds to purchase five chess sets. The standard regulation sets can be checked out and played during library visits. People may also bring their own chess sets to participate in club activities.
After participating in the Library’s Back to School Bash on Aug. 10, the club restarted its regular meetings on Sept. 4. People of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate. While there is no membership fee required to join the club, donations are welcome for supporting future activities.
Planning is underway for a significant boost in activities in the coming weeks and months as the club welcomes past and new members.
“We have big plans to boost the presence and opportunities for chess in Scott County through increasing the game’s profile in this area of our state. Forest and Scott County are uniquely positioned in a prime location in East Central Mississippi and there are resources right here that make special opportunities available for the game to grow,” Baker said. “We also have the potential to attract visitors from other areas of the state to Scott County, therefore boosting our community’s profile beyond our borders.”
One example of that opportunity is a regional chess tournament that is planned for early November.
“We are working with friends in the chess community across the state to host a chess tournament that has great potential to bring in visitors while also showing our own residents how big chess is on a larger scale,” Baker said. “We will have more details to announce in the very near future, but the potential is great to possibly establish an annual event that we can all be proud to claim.”
Baker said there are other ideas on the drawing board that are being explored and will hopefully be implemented as the club grows. “This is just the beginning in what chess can be in this area of Mississippi and Scott County can claim it as home base. This is also just the beginning of what chess can do for the people of our community.”
For more information, the club can be found on Facebook and requests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.