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!