It seems like yesterday when Dominique Myers and I were eating at Panera Bread drawing up our "big plan" to open up a Chess Center on a recycled napkin. (Circa 2010) Many chess players dream of opening a Center for chess, but for few it actually becomes a reality.
Fast forward to 2013: Gary Newsom and I were 7 years into a great new chess initiative in Charlotte called the Queen City Chess Association. The QCCA met at the Asian Herald Library once a week and was the home to chess players of all age, gender, ethnicity and skill. During that time we had built the strongest bonds with the most honorable members of the chess community. These bonds allowed us to raise enough funds to start Charlotte's very own Chess Center.
In December of 2013, with one semester left in undergrad at UNCC, I really began to think that a Chess Center could become a serious reality. I asked a few of our most loyal members what they thought about the vision of a dedicated place to play chess with an emphasis on growing all areas of the game (scholastic -adults, beginner - advanced). They greatly supported the idea!
Our initial fundraising goal was $10,000 to start a very basic Chess Center. There was so much support that that number ended up tripling to $30,000!! Absolutely amazing!
I am forever thankful to the following "original" donors who helped start what will be the absolute future of chess in Charlotte for decades to come!
You can read more about our story on our website...
Now let's get on to how chess has evolved since then!
Our Unique Accomplishments Since Opening
- Organized a GM/IM Norm Invitational where players vied for their Grandmaster and International Master titles.
- MEGA Master Summer Camps Featuring the Nations Top Instructors (Grandmasters and International Masters) as well as our top local instructors (FM Peter Giannatos and NM Dominique Myers).
- Southeastern FIDE Championship - A Unique Event that features the Southeast's top players, held right here at the CCCSA.
- Our students and adults had the opportunity to work with GM Ben Finegold for 2 quarters in 2015 and 2016 when he served as our Grandmaster-in-Residence.
What We Are All About
Other chess clubs promote ideas such as "adult only" or restrictive rules against players under a certain age. Here at the CCCSA we include everyone in the mix. All ages, genders, ethnicities, and skill levels are always welcome to join us at the Charlotte Chess Center!
Do not forget that the CCCSA offers the most professional environment for tournament play. A quiet playing hall (made specifically for chess) with padded chairs and wood tables. Clocks, sets, score-sheets, and pens always provided. We take our job seriously, therefore we always have a non-playing tournament director present to handle any disputes that should arise.
Let's not forget our open library of over 700 chess books and DVD's.
It is no surprise that our weeknight and weekend tournaments greatly exceed the other options!
Contrary to rumor, our club offers great age diversity. Come by anytime and see for yourself!
World Under 10 Girls Champion Rochelle Wu (2136) v Life Master Klaus Pohl (2200)
So you think a higher number of tournaments would dilute the attendance? Think again! I will let the numbers do the talking!
Open Events (adults and youth allowed to participate) Attendance in 2014:
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Open Events (adults and youth allowed to participate) Attendance in 2015:
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Open Events (adults and youth allowed to participate) Attendance in 2016:
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Scholastic Events (Youth Only) Attendance in 2015:
Scholastic Events (Youth Only) Attendance in 2016:
I greatly appreciate our most loyal members and supporters. Without you the dream of a more professional, inclusive environment for chess would not have been possible.
Cheers to another great year of growth,
FM Peter Giannatos