Mountain Statesman | Learn to strategize and expand your mind through the game of chess

TAYLOR COUNTY—Chess is more than just a game. It is a way for players to expand their minds, learn strategy and meet new people.

With a desire to share his love of the game and instill that same adoration in the youths of the county, one local chess enthusiast will be offering up his knowledge through classes at the Taylor County Public Library.

“You will find that chess teaches kids a lot of lessons,” said explained John Taylor, former Taylor County educator and current Taylor County Board of Education member. “Chess teaches kids to sit down, be quiet and be patient. It teaches strategy and planning.”

And not only that, but Taylor also believes that chess encourages participants to learn sportsmanship and how to take a loss with grace and a good attitude.

“Chess is a mental game, and it expands the minds of the those who take part. Being on the board of education, I really want to get a chess club or team established at each of our schools,” voiced Taylor. “Many years ago, Dave Bruner and I had started a chess team at the high school, and I felt like it was a very worthwhile thing for the kids.”

He said that in order to see that hope come to fruition, he purchased chess boards and decided to begin teaching youths the ins and outs of the game.

“I have been offering an afterschool learning experience for students at Anna Jarvis Elementary School, and so far, we have 16-20 kids playing chess with us,” Taylor revealed. “The principal has purchased some chess sets for the children to continue learning the game at that school.”

As a way to help get parents of the children already involved, as well as others within the community, Taylor decided to host classes at the library, lending his knowledge of the strategic game to others.

“I talked to Library Director Alesha Tocco, and came up with a game plan, so to speak,” he disclosed.

Through the classes, Taylor will work to first teach participants the basics of chess, including the pieces and their movement patterns.

“Then I’m going to talk a little bit about chess opening, how to write down a chess game and read a chess game and then, from there, how to checkmate and avoid a stalemate,” he explained. “I want to show participants all of those kinds of things concerning the game.”

He shared that while there are some amazing resources, such as books, out there for students of the game, there is nothing quite like the hands-on training that comes from someone who already loves chess.

“While I’m not the top chess player around, I know all of the moves and rules, and that’s just as well,” Taylor noted. “However, I am hoping to have Ben Goode, the West Virginia Co-Champion, come by to one of our classes to impart his knowledge.”

The classes will begin on Monday, March 7 and will continue each subsequent Monday until the end of the month. Class will begin promptly at 5:30 pm, during the two-hour time slot, participants will gain useful knowledge and even some insight on strategies to take down their competitors.

“Chess sets will be made available to those taking part, but if anyone would like to bring along their own set, they are more than welcome,” Taylor noted. “This is a great way for families to come together. And while parents don’t have to take part, they are certainly encouraged to.”

The chess classes are being provided free of charge to all who would like to learn more about this sometimes-challenging game.

For more information, please call the Taylor County Public Library at 304-265-6121.

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