DeKALB - Bill Feldman studied the move of his chess opponent, Don Willrett.
“What are you doing? Normally, he doesn’t play this way,” Feldman said. “Don is one of those players who doesn’t cooperate. I ask him to tell me his strategy, and he doesn’t say anything.”
Feldman and Willrett, both of DeKalb, are members of the DeKalb Chess Club, which meets on Monday and Wednesday evenings at Borders in DeKalb. The chess club hosts several tournaments each month, which are sanctioned by the United States Chess Federation (USCF.) The group also participates in competitions throughout the state.
Feldman said more people have joined the chess club during the past year. He said the group attracts people of all ages.
“We've got a nice core group, always looking for more,” Feldman said. “There’s no cost except for tournament play. We’ve had younger people come. We’ve decided to go gentle on them and teach them some of the basics.”
Feldman said the group has received a lot of support from the employees at Borders, where games and tournaments are held.
“We appreciate their hospitality in putting up with us,” he said.
Feldman said chess has become a more popular activity during the past few years.
“With computers, there has been some additional interest in chess,” he said. “Several players who have come here have described how different it is to play over the board.”
Willrett said he has been playing chess since his childhood and was once captain of the DeKalb High School chess team. Willrett said he would like to see more youth become involved with the game.
“The last I checked, (DeKalb High School) didn’t have a chess team, which was a disappointment to me,” Willrett said. “So I’m hoping to revitalize chess in the schools.”
John Schaeffer of DeKalb has been a member of the chess club for several years. He said playing chess allows him to develop his thinking skills.
“It seemed like we came here to play chess and talked about 9/11,” Schaeffer said. “I like it because it’s thinking exercise without words or numbers.”
Schaeffer said he also would like to see more youth join the chess club.
“It’s terrific discipline for children,” Schaeffer said. “It allows them to sit still and think.”
Don Reyes of Sycamore has been playing chess since 1999. He said being involved with the chess club gives him an opportunity to test his skills against other players.
“We have a regular gang that comes here and tries to beat each other,” Reyes said. “I like the idea that you have competition. We play hard, but we’re all friendly when it’s over. Of course it keeps your brain going.”
Larry Brown of DeKalb joined the club a few weeks ago. Brown said he enjoys interacting with the other members.
“It’s a good time. Everybody is cool,” Brown said. “We’re all learning from each other, so you really can’t beat it.”
DeKalb Chess Club
Chess players of all skill levels are welcome to attend chess club meetings
3:30-5:30 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays
Borders, 2520 Sycamore Road in DeKalb
For information, log onto www.dekalbchess.com.