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On Chess: Stuck At Home? Give Chess A Try

Whether it's a pandemic, or just an excuse to stay home, chess provides a great outlet for developing friendships and building family relationships.
Austin Fuller
St. Louis Chess Club
Whether it's a pandemic, or just an excuse to stay home, chess provides a great outlet for developing friendships and building family relationships.

Social distancing and quarantine practices are still in place in Missouri. And with March’s cold, rainy weather keeping us indoors, there has never been a better time to consider taking up chess. It’s a fantastic pastime that is great for the entire family – adults who want to learn a new hobby and kids who are desperately searching for new ways to pass the time.

Chess, a game once considered to be reserved for elite players or an older demographic, has seen a resurgence in the past several decades. The historic game has seen a rising level of involvement among a youth audience – but the attraction to the game casts a wide net and is a great option no matter someone’s age.

If you’re interested in taking up the game, here are some tips to get started.

Practice is the best master. When it comes to a game like chess, you can never have too much of it. Start by getting familiar with the chess board and pieces, as well as the rules and game strategies. Practicing at home with friends and family can build a foundation for learning more complex game play down the road.

Chess provides a unique dynamic for a pair of players to converse and bond over the love of the game while developing a mutual respect for each other. Encourage your young player to invite friends to play and to develop peer relationships through a shared interest in chess. Evening family chess matches are a great way to spend time together and to continue sharpening everyone’s skills. For those who may not have a chess board at home, not to worry! Online chess is also a great option. Sites like chess.com or lichess.org are great for online chess learning and playing.

Interaction with players of all levels is not only a fun way to build relationships with those who share a love of chess, it’s a great opportunity to meet fellow players who are eager to trade tips or simply pull up a chair and enjoy a game. Many clubs offer other resources, as well. For example, the St. Louis Chess Club hosts dozens of international, national and open tournaments, in addition to weekly classes and lectures. Learn more at saintlouischessclub.org. Most chess clubs have instituted new safety measures and guest guidelines, so always call ahead to ensure your local club is open.

A true chess player never stops learning, studying and observing match play. As new and beginner chess players, one of the best ways to learn more about the game is to tune in to see top players face off. For those interested in watching some of the world’s best chess players face off against each other, you can view commentary, lessons, lectures and more through the St. Louis Chess Club’s YouTube or Twitch.tv channels.

There are so many advantages connected to chess, from cognitive to social, so pull up a seat and start learning about chess today.

The St. Louis Chess Club is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons, and special lectures. Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the St. Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

St. Louis Chess Club