Posted by Sam DiStefano on Aug 07, 2017

Chess and community: a winning combination!

WEEK BEGINNING:  august 7, 2017

PRESIDING TODAY IS:  sam Di stefano

bellDing! We’re now in session.

Welcome all – Visitors, fellow Rotarians and guests alike to the E-Club meeting for the week of August 7, 2017!

Remember the smiling pot. Donations to our E-Club help support our service projects.

We’d like to respectfully remind all visitors that if they would like to contribute the normal cost of a meal for your makeup, we would be grateful. These funds go directly to our many and varied service projects around the world. You can make a contribution in the Donation box on the homepage. Or you can write a check to:  Rotary E-Club of District 7530 and mail it to Treasurer MSRE, 115 Hoffman Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26505.

Four-Way Test

At the beginning of each meeting we remind ourselves of the The Four-Way Test.  Therefore, please remember to ask yourself always . . .

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

A Reflective Moment

Chess helps you to concentrate, improve your logic. It teaches you to play by the rules and take responsibility for your actions, how to problem solve in an uncertain environment."
                                                                      --Garry Kasparov
Light Moment
"A computer once beat me at chess but it was no match for me at kickboxing."
                                                              --Emo Phillips

This Week’s Program:  

In March of this year the Morgantown Public Library was kind enough to work with me to create a new local chess club. This is a cause near and dear to my heart. I grew up in Huttonsville, Randolph County. The upper Tygart Valley didn't have a great deal of sporting prowess to brag of: a couple baseball state championships in the late 1970s and several short runs at the state basketball tournament. That changed in the 1980s. 
My father and a neighbor started volunteering their time to coach chess at TVHS and George Ward Elementary. In short order both schools had individual and team championship trophies in the case. Students had even competed at the national level and met World Champion Garry Kasparov. They'd also developed rivalries and friendships with students from Lewis County, Elkins, Fairmont, Morgantown, Charleston, Parkersburg and Huntington.
This camaraderie and natural enjoyment of a great game inspired me to maintain chess as part of my life. I've been fortunate in my wanderings for school and work to benefit from existing chess organizations. So when I arrived in Morgantown for a new job I was disappointed to get no response from the club listed on the internet. Empowered by the tales of Rotary success, I chose to offer my talents to the cause of spreading chess to my corner of the world.
With the library's marketing know-how we got a better response than we had any right to expect. An average of 16 people a meeting from primary schoolers to retirees have attended since then. Here's the best part: those kids are experiencing the joy I did from playing the game. Older club members enjoy mentoring the young people and making new friends, same as anyone. The library has been pleased to offer another service and attract new patrons. Some club members report having never set foot in the library before. 
In two days, we will host our first-ever camp chess for young people 2nd-8th grade. The program will focus on the basics required for managing defense and building winning attacks. Some extra fun will be thrown in with pizza provided by the library, speed chess and a bughouse (two-person teamchess) round. I'm confident the campers will learn the taught lessons but it's the fringe benefits I most want for them -- friendship, fun and a method of developing their logic and critical thinking skills that will help them in school and life. 
Future goals include hosting a local tournament and taking on sponsorships to insure the young ones go to scholastic tournaments to further their own abilities, develop both hemispheres of their brains, make friends and have fun. 
To delight the kid in you or in your life, enjoy an enriching experience and maybe find a new hobby, you're welcome to join us at the next club meeting--or start a club in your own community! Our meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month in the basement of the Morgantown, WV, Spruce Street library from 6-8 pm.
Thank you for attending our Mountain State Rotary E-Club meeting this week! Please feel free to comment or share your own chess memories/experiences via our Discussion board!
Sam DiStefano
Thank you for participating in this week's meeting!  Please comment below!