There are so many ways to get into the game of chess and we strive to help make that as easy as possible for as many people as we can. We also look for opportunities to educate people about what chess is and how it can enrich lives.
Therefore, this page is a cornerstone of our organization.
On this page of our site, we include information about the game itself and how it is played.
There will also be ongoing updates about opportunities to participate in events designed to teach the game, improve skills, and how to bring the game to more places such as schools and general communities.
The Randy Richardson Memorial Chess Camp was held on October 14 in celebration of National Chess Day. The Camp offered children in grades two to 12 an opportunity to learn the game and play in a tournament-style setting.
"We had 21 children and youth to pre-register and 15 were able to attend and participate. That's a great deal for our first time out for this program.," said Chris Allen Baker who directed the camp and provided instruction on the game. “We are proud of the partnership we have enjoyed with the library the past five years since starting the club. This camp is an example of the growth and success enjoyed in bringing the opportunity of chess to Scott County in a big way."
The Camp was held at the Forest Public Library, 210 S. Raleigh St., Forest. The Camp was free to all participants and is named in memory of Randy Richardson, a 1960 Forest High School graduate, who taught chess to classmates and enjoyed playing. A donation of $1,000 was made to the library in his memory and proceeds are funding the Camp.
“We are so excited to bring a new event for our community’s children to the library in partnership with the chess club that meets here each month,” said Dianne McLaurin, branch manager. “We believe this camp will be the start of a new tradition for the library and offers a unique activity for our kids.”
The Camp included three sections of students divided by school grades 2-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Home schooled children were also welcome.
The morning session included instruction on the basic details on how the game is played. The afternoon session was a tournament where the players matched wits using what they learned in the morning. At about lunch time, participants took a break to go outside to view the partial solar eclipse.
"We had a great mix of boys and girls and a cross section of the community. We also had some players who have experience with the game as well as newcomers. The players can now take what they learned and build on that. We look forward to seeing them at our future meetings of the Scott County Chess Club," Baker said. "It is hour hope to make the camp an annual event"
First place winners in each grade section received a trophy while second and third place winners received a medal. All participants received a certificate and souvenirs. The medals were supplied by Mississippi Trophy, LLC in Brandon and the trophies were made by Larchwood Designs in Madison.
The Chess Camp was made possible by a donation of $1,000 to the library for chess development in the memory of Randy Richardson, Forest High School Class of 1960. The donor, Michael Hawkins, honored the memory of his classmate who taught him how to play chess while in high school. Half of the donation was used to purchase chess books for the library to make available to patrons and the other half funded the Chess Camp.
* In 1976, President Gerald Ford declared October 9 as National Chess Day. He considered chess a kings' game and was an avid follower. This annual celebration has taken place on the second Saturday of October since 1979, with millions of beginners and experts delving into the unique world of chess.
The Scott County Chess Club began five years ago as an activity hosted at the Forest Public Library and grew into the Scott County Chess Club. The library which was recently gifted a $1,000 donation to support chess and activities promoting chess education.
Former Forest resident and native retired Lt. Col. Michael Hawkins donated the funds in memory of a former classmate who taught him how to play chess. Hawkins said he wished for the funds to be used to obtain whatever materials the library needed to educate and promote chess in the community, particularly among children.
The classmate Hawkins referred to is the late Randy Richardson who, with Hawkins, was a 1960 graduate of Forest High school. Chess was among many activities they were involved in during their school years. Hawkins said he also played with other friends when possible.
“He taught me the game and I just became hooked. I love it so much. We played 24 straight games with him winning all of them before I was able to beat him on the 25th try,” Hawkins said. “It was a great experience. I appreciated the opportunity Randy gave me to learn the game and I still play it whenever I can. When I learned that a chess club was started in Forest, I wanted to help the library any way I could to keep the game going.”
In addition to the funds, Hawkins also sent a set of chess lesson books and a traditional analog game clock.
“This is an incredible gift that Lt. Col. Hawkins has provided, and we are humbled by his support of the game. The funds will enable the library to acquire items that will be tremendously valuable in our efforts to promote the game and teach more people how to play it,” said Scott County Chess Club Founder and Coordinator Chris Allen Baker. “(Library Manager) Dianne McLaurin and I have mapped out a strategy to take the donation as far as we can.”
Baker said part of the funds will be used to purchase books and other materials that the public can check out and learn the game. Some funds will also be used to purchase additional chess sets to join the five boards originally donated by the Friends of the Library group. The funds will also help support a chess event planned for October 14 to introduce the game to children in the community.
Hawkins, who now lives in Gautier, Miss., said life has been good for him and he wanted to use some of his resources to support the game he learned in school.
After graduation, Hawkins earned a doctorate in education psychology and pursued a career in the U.S. Army until retirement. Hawkins said he also plans to participate in chess activities in his current community.
“I never forgot where I came from. I have many fond memories of life in the Moore Tower Road area of Scott County. I just wanted to give something back,” Hawkins said.
Forest High School - Class of 1960
The St. Louis Chess Club introduced the badge in 2011. It became one of the most popular badges in the Scouts BSA merit badge catalog, with over 250,000 scouts earning the badge.
Scouts do not have to go to St. Louis to earn the badge. The Scott County Chess Club wants to help any Scout add it to their elective collection on their sash.
We held our first clinic in 2022 and will offer another one in the near future. For more information CLICK HERE.
You may have been intimidated by its perceived complexities and considered it too difficult to learn. It is easier than you think. Let us help you get to know the game and open a new world.
We are proud partners of the Forest Public Library which is expanding its collection of books about chess. This was made possible through a generous donation to the library of $1,000 - part of which will be used toward acquiring books and materials to enhance opportunities for library patrons to learn and play chess.
The following titles are available in the Forest library's inventory.
* Be advised that books may be shared among libraries in the Central Mississippi Regional Library System. If a particular book is not on the shelf at the time of your visit, but is on loan at another branch, it can be requested for transfer back and placed on hold for you.
Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club
Baby Plays Chess
Behind Deep Blue
Black and White
Chess With My Grandfather
How to Play and Win at Chess
How to Win at Chess
Kings, Queens, & Rookies
La tactica en el ajedrez (Revolutionize Your Chess)
The Last Checkmate
My Name is Tani and I believe in Miracles
Not an Easy Win
Play Like a Girl
The Queen of Chess
The Right Move
Chess Camp Series
Move, Attack, Capture
Checkmates With Many Pieces
Tactics in Attack and Defense
Chess: From First Moves to Checkmate
Chess for Kids
Winning Chess Piece by Piece
Chess for Children
Complete Chess Strategy
Become a Chess Master: Beginners Guide into the Ancient Game of Chess
Birth of the Chess Queen: A History
A Primer of Chess
Chess for Beginners: Know the Rules, Choose Your Strategy, and Start Winning
Click below to access more information about the materials available at the Forest Public Library and other libraries in Scott County associated with the CMRLS
The following titles are part of our founder's personal collection. They are not available for loan, but are presented here as recommendations for obtaining them through commercial services. The highlighted titles are recommended first purchases although all titles are worthy investments.
Bobby Fischer: Complete Games, 1995 ed.
The Queen’s Gambit (Tevis)
How to Play and Win at Chess
Chess Course (Nunn)
*Modern Chess Openings, 15th ed.
Chess Tactics and Strategies for Champions (Susan Polgar)
Spanish Exchange Variation
Basic Endgame Strategy: Queens Rooks (Robbie)
100 Awesome Chess Moves (Schiller)
Complete Defense to Queen Pawn Openings (Schiller)
*Chess Basics (Levens)
The Four Knights (Pinski)
The Full English Opening (Hansen)
*The Official Rules of Chess, 7th ed. USCF
The Official Rules of Chess, 6th ed. USCF
The Last Checkmate (Saab)
The Chess Players Bible (Eade and Lawrence)
Chess Tactics and Strategy (Graham Burgess)
Chess Fundamentals (Capablanca)
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess (Marguiles and Mosenfelder)
Searching for Bobby Fischer (Waitzkin)
100 Easy Checkmates (Evans)
Simple Checkmates (Gillam)
Logical Chess Move by Move (Chernev)
Chess Queens (Shahade)
Play Like a Girl (Shahade)
Chess Improvement: It’s All in the Mindset (Hymer and Wells)
The Psychology of Chess
Great Courses: How to play Chess: Lessons from an International Master (book/video)
One of the best ways to learn the game is to attend a meeting of a local chess club where members can show you the ropes.
International Master Dave Ross of Mississippi occasionally provides simultaneous game nights and lessons.
This course was last held on Nov. 11, 2022, and approached the subject of chess improvement from a growth mindset. Participants from across the state engaged in activities designed to push themselves and their students to take on difficult challenges that require the development of new skills. Topics included tactics, practical endgame play, and fostering a growth mindset in the chess classroom.
More courses are often held so check back here for dates and times.
FREE US Chess Education Webinar
Sunday, April 30, 2023
US Chess' Chess in Education Committee hosted a Webinar, "Large or Small, Your School Chess Program Can be Successful and Celebrate the Players Too!"
Despite differences in their surroundings, Ursula and Christina both have careers as classroom teachers and a passion for chess. In this webinar, they explained how they came to lead their respective chess programs, the structure, and how they have learned to make sure each student is thriving.
Beth Thrasher hosted a summer chess camp and tournament June 12-June 15,
Dogmud Tavern, 681 S. Pear Orchard Rd., Ridgeland.
Beginners - learned to play chess in a fun and engaging manner; arts and crafts!
U1000 Players grouped by ability and taught: Opening Theory, Tactics, Endgame Technique & Strategy Planning; received personalized plans for improvement!
We have a program set up to help introduce chess in communities where there is not already an organized opportunity for people to learn and play. More details below, following headline story
The Scott County Chess Club was recently requested to help another county start a chess program as we continue to push the game into more areas for people to enjoy.
Chris and Aaron Baker traveled to Noxubee County on March 11 to lead an instructional clinic introducing the basics of the game to the community. The event was held at Noxubee County High School where children and adults participated. The event was sponsored by the Brooksville
Beautification and Resource Committee.
Merrie M. Felder, committee president, said introducing chess to children of all ages will give them a chance to have fun learning a game that also improves their learning skills in other
areas of life.
“I believe that learning and playing chess will offer a pathway to analytical skills and thinking of all ages but, in particular to our youth,” Felder said.
The committee invited the Bakers to lead the program due to their experience in starting a chess club in 2018 and promoting the game in Scott County.
“The game of chess is growing in Mississippi among people of all ages, especially our youth. With recent media focus on the game, we are seeing a resurgence in its popularity as more people
realize how much fun it is and how it can benefit people in many ways,” said Chris Baker, who is also vice-president of the Mississippi Chess Association. “I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to help expand the game into Noxubee County.”
Saturday’s event featured two parts with Chris Baker leading the instruction in the morning session that focused on how the game is played. Aaron Baker led the afternoon part focusing on
strategies and participants playing games.
There was diverse mix of participants from different areas of the community which bodes well for spreading word about the game into different segments of Noxubee County.
“Our children can learn the game quickly and it can become a fun activity for their whole family,” Baker said, noting that his son taught him the game five years ago while in the second grade.
Felder said the Committee may have the same instructional program again in the fall since this one was held at the beginning of spring break and there were other events happening on the same day.
The best way to keep our game growing is to invite everyone to participate. Our founders started the Scott County Chess Club because they wanted to share the joy and experience of the game. We have kept chess education efforts going with teaching the game to Boy Scouts to help them earn the chess merit badge. Using that experience as a teaching framework, we have taught the game in other communities when invited.
We will be constantly refining our technique and adding resources here on our site so please keep checking for more information. If you want to develop a chess presence in your community, let us know and we will offer whatever assistance we can provide.
First, you need a group of committed people in your community who is interested in developing a chess program. This would be essential to success because you will be the ones to keep it going after we provide our assistance.
First, we will offer advice and direction on what you can do and the ways to get started. This may include meetings between us and your group over the phone on conference call or online. Depending on your location and travel expense, we may be able to meet with you in person.
The best way to get started is to plan an event where people can attend and receive information about the game of chess. This would be a primary topic of discussion during meetings as mentioned above. You would need to secure a location and set a date and time. If schedules permit, we can visit to lead the chess introduction event.
** For us to lead your event, it would have to be one day held on a Saturday. **
Our event framework is in two parts. During a morning session, typically starting at 9 a.m., we would give participants the details about what chess is and how it works. The afternoon session would include playing chess games and wrap up around 3 p.m.
A group that invites us to lead an event would be responsible for securing the venue, any refreshments/lunch, and copying printed handout materials which we would provide. You would also need to provide tables and chairs - long rectangular tables are preferred.
After all the details are set for an event, we would work together on drafting a news release to local media in your area. You would need to advise of what media services your community and we would write the release and send it to them. You may also use other means to spread the word in your community.
We would work with you on chess sets that would be used. We are limited on the number of chess sets that we can bring because we have to borrow from other sources. You may have to provide what you can purchase or borrow. Participants can also be encouraged to bring their own if they have one.
In an ideal situation, we would love to do everything for free in the noble cause of promoting chess. Unfortunately, the reality we live in comes with expenses. Our fee is $250. This would include compensation for labor and gas. Depending on the distance, an overnight stay may be necessary on the Friday night prior to the event. We would appreciate that the organizing hosting group provide these accommodations in addition to the fee.
Our purpose is to provide the introduction of the game to your community or group. After we complete our presentation, it is up to you to carry on, promote and grow your chess activity. However, we will help support in any way we can by proving advice when asked. Also, a copy of our teaching material is below for people to refer to after your event. While there are many books and other resources, our manual provides the basic ideas in one location to get you started.