Chess club lets players polish skills

By Laura McFarland
Rocky Mount Telegram
Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sarah Davenport was tired of her younger brother beating her at chess.

Actually, she was tired of everyone she played beating her. So when she heard about a chess club starting up at Church on the Rise in Rocky Mount, she decided to give it a try.

“I wanted to learn how to be able to play chess without getting my butt kicked all the time,” said Davenport of the Battleboro community.

The club, which started in May, offers free instruction and practice at 7 p.m. every Thursday at the church, said Evan Whittington, its founder. Though the club meets at the church, membership is open to the community.

“If you are the kind of person that enjoys a challenge and enjoys solving problems and just having fun with people, then (chess) is a game that would be good to learn,” said Whittington of Whitakers.

During the class, Whittington offers about 30 minutes of instruction and then lets the students play to put concepts into practice.

Last week, Whittington taught the students about pawn placement, which didn’t sound like a big deal to Davenport until it came time to play.

“I played Evan, and he pointed out … why pawn placement was important, because he took up a quarter of the board just with pawns, just with the way he had his pawns defending and attacking. I couldn’t get onto that side of the board whatsoever,” Davenport said.

Davenport has been attending the class with her younger brother, Traevonne Pride, and once with her godmother, Janette Dresser of the Battleboro community. Dresser liked the idea of an activity that allowed them to spend quality time together.

“If you go to the movies and stuff like that, you are not really interacting with each other. I like finding stuff to do with the kids where we are actually communicating and spending time together, not just sitting near each other staring at a screen,” Dresser said.

Dresser had little experience of chess before she attended one of the chess club meetings, but she was hooked right away. It was a game she always had wanted to learn, but brief lessons from her children proved unfruitful.

Here is the full article.

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