RED BANK — On a quiet Sunday afternoon, Mike Koblentz, an accomplished chess player, guided chess pieces along several boards while a group of students watched.
“The king can’t take the queen because his bishop is guarding it,” Koblentz said, while two young boys watched his moves and fiddled with chess pieces during his “Novice I” class.
Every Sunday, Koblentz, director of the Monmouth Chess School and Club, teaches group lessons to beginners and two levels of novice players from 11 a.m. to noon, and hosts open play from noon to 6 p.m. at the YMCA Children’s Cultural Center on Monmouth Street.
Group lessons cost between $48 and $60 for a series of four classes, and open play costs $5 a day for members. Club membership ranges from $50 for six months to $185 for two years, with discounts for families with multiple members.
Koblentz of Colts Neck said the club used to meet on Thursdays at the Little Silver Public Library. But due to a schedule that proved inconvenient for many young members, Koblentz sought out a new location and day to host the club, which is affiliated with the United States Chess Federation.
“This building is wonderful for this activity,” he said, gesturing to the spacious, light-filled rooms of the center, filled with tables holding chess boards and pieces, and a handful of players.
Koblentz said that chess crowds can often be found within large cities.
“New York is a chess stronghold. L.A., San Francisco (and) Dallas are very active,” he said.
In order to be a good chess player, a player should have a good memory and good abstract reasoning skills. The game will strengthen those existing skills, Koblentz said.
The club draws people of all ages.
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