The Chess Club at the Hastings Public Library continues to gather every week for its 15th year.
Chess Club experienced a brief hiatus due to the pandemic but has since returned to its weekly Tuesday meetings. The meetings begin at 6 p.m. and usually end around 7 p.m.
The events began as a way to get teenagers interested in chess, said Barbara Haywood, marketing and adult programs coordinator for the library.
With such a long history of bringing Hastings chess players together, has the atmosphere ever skewed competitive? While there has been one tournament since the beginning of the club, “for the most part the members get together and play without using the timer or regulated competition,” Haywood said.
Chess, though, is known to be complicated, and even intimidating due to its skill level. It seems that even if you cannot point out one piece on a chess board, there is no reason to worry.
“We have everyone from beginners to people who have been playing most of their lives,” Haywood said.
She estimates the average turnout at around eight players per week since returning from the pandemic.
For those who are not Chess Club regulars, discovery of the club can come about several ways. Lauren Poll, a Hastings teenager with no background in chess, was inspired by the Netflix hit “The Queen’s Gambit” to look into her town’s local chess scene.
“I was looking at events in the community and after watching ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and thought it was interesting that we had a Chess Club in Hastings,” said Poll, who is considering attending in the future.
While the high-stakes story told in “The Queen’s Gambit” seems to be a far cry from Haywood’s description of the club, there is only one way to find out. Chess Club meets in the Hastings Public Library from 6 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday and is open to chess players of every skill level.
For more information, visit hastingsmi.org/events/event/adults-chess-club.