First Moves

Hey, friends!

I’m really happy to share this website with you, and I  hope that you’ll find it useful and in some ways inspiring. I want to tell you a little bit about what’s happening with the Wichita Chess Cooperative, and what my vision is for chess in Wichita.

I started the Coop about two years ago, after spending some time getting to know the chess scene in Wichita. I had recently played the Missouri Open in 2014, and wanted to get something similar started in my own city.

In 2015, the Kansas Open came to Wichita, and I met a lot of local players there. After that tournament, I was inspired to get a little more serious about organizing regular meet ups, and while it was a little haphazard at first, I think we’ve done a good job of finding our rhythm over the past year. I’ve seen our meets  grow from one or two regular players to new players attending their first meet each time!

However, the Coop has always been more than a typical club to me. I’ve always intended to use chess as a lever to help improve the quality of life in our city. We can play games online against strangers if all we’re really interested in is ‘just chess’. I think we’re almost all interested in something else besides chess: other people. That’s why the (tentative) motto of the Coop is ‘Building bridges, playing games’.

We’ve only just begun to build in Wichita. Last spring, Adam and I facilitated a chess night with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I was a speaker at the Riverfest edition of Wichitalks (video here). I’m currently talking with two middle schools about starting chess programming for students.  The Coop became an affiliate of USCF. Adam and I are working on putting an open tournament together for the end of September. We got this website. And, the big fun news is that I’ve been working with the city to implement a plan to install chess tables in parks downtown.

All of these projects have started with me asking questions and talking to people, but I’m not going to be able to do them alone, and I’m going to be asking for help and volunteers and ideas and time in the near future. You can do as much or as little as you’d like. Come up with ideas, provide resources, or just show up and play games and share your knowledge and experiences with us. It’s all valuable and I’ve not yet met a single player who hasn’t expanded my chess horizons in some way.

A quick note about this website:

I’ll post bloggy-type stuff here fairly regularly–and I’ll link to them from the usual social networks—but the main things most will be interested in are the events calendar and the member games area. The events calendar is pretty basic, but the benefit over Facebook is that we can post a whole month or two worth of events at a time, so folks should be able to plan a little better than our current week in advance.

I’m really excited about the Member Games area (you can find it in the Blog tab, or on the left sidebar under ‘Categories’). Here you’ll be able to view other players’ games that they’ve annotated and sent to me. I hope that we’ll get enough games, eventually, that we can discover a Wichita Style–maybe we’ve even developed our own variations!

Games can be sent to the email address ‘games at wichitachess dot com’. For everyone’s benefit, they should be annotated already (preferably your own annotations and not those from a computer) and in pgn format. There are a lot of resources online about how to format games, and eventually I’ll put some instructions up here, but for now you’re on your own:)

For now, I’ll be messing around with things on the website, adding little features or cleaning up around the edges. Please send me any suggestions or ideas you have! You can reach me at ‘zack at wichitachess dot com’.

Thanks so much for everything you bring to chess in our city. It’s only going to get cooler from here.

Zack

Founder, Wichita Chess Cooperative

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