I’m a huge fan of joining local chess clubs and I attend game nights in several clubs in my city. I think every chess hobbyists should consider joining a club, no matter the age or skill level. Most chess clubs get together once or more times a week and play a friendly match, some organise tournaments and some even organise coaching sessions by the more experienced players in the club. You should in any case find out about the opportunities in your area. I’ve found active chess clubs even in the smallest of villages and I hope you find one in your area as well. Here are what I think the 6 best reasons for joining a local chess club.
I think this should always be a reason to attend a chess club. One of the great things about chess is that it can be played by people of any age and background. You don’t even have to speak the same language to be able to play a game. And this is exactly why you normally meet so many interesting people in chess clubs, and you already have something to talk about! I have made most of my best friends through chess tournaments and most of them don’t even play chess anymore. I’ve met lawyers that have become my family lawyers, I’ve met people studying in the same school as me but whom I never talked with, I’ve met older gentlemen who were more than happy to share their interesting life stories.
If you are new to chess and have mostly been playing online, it’s a good idea to attend a local chess club in order to get more used to playing chess in a tournament setting. Using the clock, not being able to take back moves and learning about the correct chess etiquette will be very helpful for you for when you attend your first tournament. You will be much more relaxed.
Chess clubs are usually invited to all the tournaments happening in the near area. Attending the club will help you stay up-to-date on all the events happening in your home area and you will get invited to tournaments. Knowing other players attending these tournaments makes going easier and you might even get to car-pool!
You can get lucky and meet some really high-level players in your local clubs. And nothing is more valuable than playing against higher ranked player who can share a tip or two afterwards. Some players are even happy to offer coaching.
Most countries and areas have their own chess league. By joining your local chess club you can also attend these matches that can be a great gateway for taking part in official chess tournaments. You also usually get your first chess rating! And playing chess in a team match is also a really fun experience.
Most chess clubs I’ve been to have a small library in addition to their chess sets and clocks. Often they are very open to lending material, including books, boards and clocks for their members so you could most definitely find some great new training material to improve your game!
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