Chess club forms in Sequim

It's a place young and old can challenge each other in combat.

It is the new Sequim Chess Club, which meets weekly in the Sequim Library.

"It's a new club and so far we have been seeing a pretty good range of skill levels," said organizer Jesse Van Hine of Sequim. "When there are different skill levels, everyone seems to learn a bit more together as a group."

Van Hine and others in the group love chess. They enjoy the challenge and the ability to learn new strategies in a friendly atmosphere.

"It is competitive but only because someone must win," he said. "Otherwise we are all helping each other out."

Van Hine described mastering chess as a never-ending endeavor.

"People starting out may be intimidated, but they are always the ones that learn the most the quickest," he said. "We all started out learning the basics, but it's the strategy that begins to develop after playing with a group."

Van Hine used to drive to Port Townsend to play with a chess club in that community but decided it was time to create something more local.

"There are a lot of people interested in Sequim that come from all age ranges, which is really great," said 12th grader Van Hine, indicating there are both high school seniors and senior citizens in the club. "There aren't many forums to interact and have a great time regardless of age in the area and the chess club provides that opportunity."

He said the game is played in a standard style or a much quicker, timed style called blitz chess.

"We play blitz chess, too, which can really speed things up and open up traps for checkmate much quicker," he said. "We also play a style of chess called bughouse, which really benefits the beginners because they get paired with more experienced players."

Bughouse chess is played with two boards and four players. The players are set into teams of two. Each time players capture a game piece from their opponent, it is handed over to their teammate to use on the separate board.

"It's a lot of fun and we all end up laughing at different scenarios that come from the game," Van Hine said.

Many of the club members bring boards and playing pieces, so newcomers can show up with nothing but the desire to play. However, Van Hine said more boards and pieces are welcome and encouraged those who could bring boards to do so.

The Sequim Chess Club meets from 4-6 p.m. every Thursday at the Sequim Library, 630 N. Sequim Ave, and is open to all ages and skill levels.

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