Chess often gets portrayed in film and media as a solitary activity, but there is a huge social component to the game that is rarely seen by the world at large. While millions take to places like lichess.org and Chess.com to get their fix, there are still countless others who play over-the-board (OTB) chess in clubs, restaurants, bars, homes, and an endless list of other places around the world. I admit that media had shaped some of my ideas of chess players and clubs, but I was pleased to see most of those ideas shattered when I gathered up the nerve to visit my local club for the first time in 2016. They were very welcoming and shared just as much of a passion for the game as I did. I found that being around such great players who were committed to the game and its principles was inspiring; it made me want to get better although I felt like I was only getting worse.
Wednesday night chess at Methodist Hospital (Credit: Campfire Chess)
Since then, I have been blessed to play with some amazing players in and around the San Antonio area including chances to play in simultaneous exhibition games against GM Boris Avrukh and IM Paz Medina.
With that in mind, there are many exciting ways for players in the South Texas area to get involved in local clubs as well as ways to find players who are willing to play and coach. NM Jesse Lozano is a local chess celebrity who is the reigning city champion. He runs the San Antonio Scholastic Chess website and regularly hosts tournaments at Trinity University and other places throughout the city. In addition, Rackspace hosts chess tournaments at its Headquarters (known as The Castle) just off of Interstate 35 near SAMMC. The next Rackspace event is scheduled for April 1st.
If you live in the area and are looking for a good place to play, check out the club’s official Facebook page. The group is regularly filled with lively discussions, brilliant chess, and information on the latest events in the city along with registration information.
The San Antonio Chess Club’s official website is currently down for maintenance but will (hopefully) be available for access at www.sanantoniochess.com.