Ellington/Vernon chess clubs mingle to challenge each other, inspire more participation

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Ellington/Vernon - posted Fri., Feb. 14, 2014
Paul Bartha, a member of the Park Place Chess Club, carefully makes his move against an opponent from Ellington. Photos by Steve Smith.
Paul Bartha, a member of the Park Place Chess Club, carefully makes his move against an opponent from Ellington. Photos by Steve Smith.

The Park Place Chess Club has been playing in Rockville for almost 13 years, and the Ellington Chess Mates are celebrating their recent move to the new Ellington Senior Center. The two clubs met at the Vernon Senior Center (Park Place's usual Tuesday morning setting) in order to spread some awareness and shake up the status quo.

Charles Wright runs the Vernon group, while Alex Cardoni coordinates the Ellington squad. The two said that while the groups aren't competing against each other as teams (although that may be a possibility in the future), it livens up the competition for individual players. Ellington brought five members to visit a group of six in Vernon.

“My main thing is to let people know that these two clubs exist, and that all people are welcome,” Wright said, adding that he hopes more players come to both groups.

“You can lose on Monday [in Ellington], figure out what you did wrong, and then come over here on Tuesday and take it out on us,” he said. “There are different styles of playing – some are aggressive, some are more defensive. There's always something new, something different.”

“We have a relationship between the two towns,” Cardoni said, adding that some players do frequent both clubs.

Both groups have seen recent growth. Cardoni said that is largely due to his group's new confines. The hope is to invite groups from other towns, which will further vary the player pool as well as create a wider social network. It may also inspire other towns' senior centers to form a chess club, if they don't already have one.

“We could have a league,” Cardoni said, “like corporate chess leagues that are popular in larger metropolitan centers.”

“You don't have to be senior to come down and play,” Wright said. “It's called the senior center, but it's open to anyone.”

The ultimate goal of both groups is to have even more fun than they are already having.

The Ellington Chess Mates meet on Mondays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Ellington Senior Center. The Park Place Chess Club meets Tuesdays, beginning at 9:30 a.m., at the Vernon Senior Center.

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