Student starts community chess club

Published 1:54 pm Monday, April 24, 2023

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Chess enthusiasts in Chilton County now have a new place to meet with those who share a similar interest through the Chilton-Clanton Public Library’s chess club.

Luke Smitherman, who is 11 years old, started the club as a way to share his enjoyment of chess with others.

“I just walked in one day with a chess board and asked,” Luke said of how he approached library leadership with his idea.

He said the club gives an opportunity that the community did not have previously.

The number of people who like chess and wanted to come out has been “surprising.”

“It is a real common interest that is often looked over,” Luke said.

The club meets each week on Tuesday from 3-5 p.m.

“I think it has gone pretty great,” Luke said, commenting that attendance has been consistent.

Some bring their own chess sets. Others use the ones provided. The setup is casual with everyone staying for however long they want to within the scheduled time.

He said he has enjoyed seeing the community come together.

As the chess club continues, he would like to see more people participate and to see each attendee increase their skill.

Luke said he can also discuss tips and strategy pointers to attendees who are interested.

“I am considered either a really strong intermediate player or a light advanced player,” Luke said.

He said beginners often think just about the next move, rather than thinking about moving their pieces to where they will be most beneficial long-term in the game.

He became interested in chess after a family friend taught him how to play at age 4.

“I’ve just liked it ever since,” Luke said.

He said he tends to analyze things and like logic, and chess provides a good outlet for that.