Here is your chance to participate in your first chess tournament – Post Bulletin
You’ve probably watched — or at least heard of — “The Queen’s Gambit,” the “1960s period coming-of-age drama centered around chess tournaments.”
And now you can experience the thrill of the real thing.
Although probably without the “coming of age” part. And with less flared jeans and mini skirts.
On July 9 and 10, the Rochester Chess Club will host the 2022 Rochester Chess Open at the Mayo Civic Center.
While the two-day tournament will attract some of the best players in the Midwest competing in various sections, we will also be hosting a one-day novice section on Saturday July 9th.
So now there is no more excuse. If you know how to play chess and if you’ve always wanted to play in a real chess tournament, you can.
In the one-day novice tournament, you will play four matches on Saturday. We’ll provide chess sets, chess clocks, a basic introduction to get you started and help you through the process.
I say “we” above because full disclosure/nerd alert: I am an active member of the Rochester Chess Club.
If you stop by Mayo’s Harwick Building most Tuesday nights, you’ll find – and consider this a wild invitation for new revelers – around 20 members of the Rochester Chess Club.
The weekly club meetings consist of quick tournaments or discussions of the best opening moves or endgames. Everyone is welcome, from Novices to National Masters (and we have a few). From 7 to 97 years old. A lot of clubs throw numbers like that. Actually we have 7 year olds.
Edwin Albrecht, who still plays regularly, is 97 years old.
Six years ago my son Henry, then 14, became obsessed with chess and took me for a ride. We played almost every day. We read books about chess openings. We watched ChessTV, where PROFESSIONAL ANNOUNCER ANNOUNCES GAME OF CHESS IN REAL TIME.
And we joined the Rochester Chess Club.
Henry, after an outstanding high school chess career, moved on for college. But I stayed with the chess club.
And it’s not just Tuesday nights.
Here’s something: I’m also a member of ChessGoals, an online group coached by National Master Matt Jensen, arguably the best chess player in town. ChessGoals, in addition to an online coaching platform, also offers online hangouts for chess players to post things like chess memes.
Here’s a fun example that everyone will enjoy: In a meme, Matt posts a picture of someone unable to escape from behind prison bars. Matt photoshopped the image though, so the prison bars are now pawns. And this person has a mad chess piece instead of a head and they’re screaming “Let me out!”
And now imagine that under the picture, Matt wrote the following caption: “The light squared bishop is usually the worst minor piece for black in the French defense. In the advanced variation, he gets stuck behind the pawns for a while For people who don’t play the Rubinstein variant, they have a bad light squared bishop in a lot of lines.”
We laughed and laughed at that one.
In any event.
This novice section is your chance. Your chance to check “play in a live chess tournament” off your to-do list. Your chance to spend a few hours on a Saturday meeting people in the same chess boat as you. Your chance, perhaps, to realize that you want to join the Rochester Chess Club.
Maybe even your chance to join ChessGoals and laugh and laugh at our chess memes. See above.
You are never too old to start playing chess.
Edwin, the Rochester Chess Club member I mentioned above, played his first tournament in 2011. He was 86 years old.
Register now at
(click on the ‘Calendar’ drop-down menu). For more information, contact Dennis Mays (
Steve Lange is the editor of Rochester Magazine. His column appears every Tuesday.