2023 was an exciting year!
I participated in Mr. G's Simultaneous Chess Exhibition in Santa Clara, CA, in January. Playing against Lauren Goodkind (Class A USCF player, Chess Author, Chess Coach, Tournament Director, and Chess Streamer) and seeing her brilliantly move from game to game, was such a treat. If you're a local and you or your child(ren) are interested in simuls, this is a fun event.
Then, I played in my first live USCF OTB (over-the-board live games) tournament in February. It was a great experience, so I played in a few more and even won money in two tournaments (which I didn't expect). I learned something new about chess etiquette, USCF rules, and the fantastic chess community in each tournament!
By March, I was delighted to discover that chess.com (affiliate link) had a new program to help grow chess clubs worldwide through a partnership with Meetup.com. They accepted my application, and I hosted Lathrop Chess Group's first chess meetup on April 15th.
There were a few hiccups along the way when I fell ill and suffered from long Covid, in addition to recovering from a minor car accident. It was disappointing that I couldn't commit to a schedule. Thankfully, I'm doing much better, so I can focus on inviting new members to grow the club.
I'm so grateful to all who supported the growth of Lathrop Chess Group, and I aim to facilitate more growth this year!
Beginning in the Summer of 2022, it was an exciting time to transition from online-only chess games to in-person games.
Living in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, I couldn't find casual chess meetups in the local area for adults, so I was ecstatic when a welcoming chess group formed in the South Bay.
Based on conversations with chess players worldwide (whom I met on chess.com and through Twitch), it was not uncommon for others living outside of metropolitan areas to travel over 1 hour for chess meetups. So, I accepted that driving over an hour for OTB (over-the-board) was the norm.
Fast-forward to 2023, and fortunately, the face-to-face chess scene is blossoming. Chess clubs are returning to coffee shops, libraries, and their former haunts. Los Angeles chess clubs and the South Bay Chess Club (San Jose) are thriving. New clubs like Lathrop Chess Group and The Modesto Chess Club are growing!
Even more exciting, the chess scene has had an influx of "new-to-chess" and novice players. If you've been considering learning to play chess or want to pick it up again, it's just a matter of finding the right meetup (links to Chess.com's Global Chess Community on Meetup.com).
All of this has been very encouraging, and it has been a delight to share the love of chess and play OTB games in casual settings with chill chess players. I hope you will join the OTB chess boom too!