Portland Chess Club Update

Notes of the organizational meeting for the Portland Chess Club on April 22, 2006
Moderated by Lee Doucette with thanks to Jon Malev for recording notes.

A meeting of area chess players was held on Saturday, April 22 at Acoustic Coffee in downtown Portland to discuss reestablishing a club structure and playing location for the Portland Chess Club. Seventeen people attended, and an additional 6-8 people expressed interest through email responses. The PCC has been without a permanent location since the spring of 2003. Club play had continued until last spring at temporary locations, and several members have played informally at various ’Äòcoffee house’Äô locations in Portland, including Arabica Coffee on Sunday mornings and Acoustic Coffee on Saturday mornings. While such locations are fine for ’Äòskittles’Äô or blitz type games, they’Äôre generally not acceptable for more focused games or for tournament play typical of a chess club setting.

The aims of the meeting were to 1) consider potential meeting locations, 2) determine the time and frequency of meetings, and 3) discuss member interests and directions for the club. A brief summary for each of the points follows.

1. Playing locations
Jon Malev presented the possible use of a room on the University of Southern Maine (USM) Portland campus in connection with a chess class he teaches for the adult education group there. He will speak with his contacts at USM this week and determine the availability/feasibility of such an arrangement. This may be free of charge.

Pete Johanssen presented use of the Swedenborgian Church located on Stevens Avenue in Portland near Deering High School. He is a member of the church and said they would make it available with a low fee for evening play. He said Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights are available and will check for Friday night as well, and get a commitment about cost.

Lee Doucette will check with the City of Portland for community centers, although such facilities generally entail fees of some sort and may not be available for the desired evening. Anyone with additional ideas for meeting locations should contact Lee Doucette with any information.

Discussions with the owner of Acoustic Coffee led to a short-term solution of meeting at Acoustic Coffee on Saturday mornings between 9AM and Noon beginning Saturday, April 29 until a permanent location is found. Bring boards and sets if you have them. The goal is to find a location by the end of May, as the summer tourist season may affect the availability and suitability of the coffee house as a playing location. Also, there is live music beginning at noon. A summary of potential meeting locations will be presented at Acoustic Coffee on Saturday, May 27.

2. Time and frequency of meetings
The group consensus was to resume meeting Friday evenings on a weekly basis. Being able to play later into the evening without having to be concerned about work or school on Saturday, while leaving weekend days open, was the common theme. Additionally, members from other clubs often come to play at the Portland club because of the same considerations. As soon as a permanent location is found, meetings will change from Saturday mornings to Friday evenings on a weekly basis.

3. Interests and activities
The PCC will obviously continue to offer all flavors of chess to members including skittles, blitz, ladder games, club championships, Maine Chess League play, and USCF rated tournaments. One very important activity we should emphasize is reaching out to scholastic players and beginners of all ages to increase membership. This requires the willingness of players to participate as instructors and mentors for beginning level players. There are already several members involved as chess coaches at various levels in scholastic chess as well as the previously mentioned USM program run by Jon Malev. Peter Daly of Cape Elizabeth has contacted me and expressed an interest in connections between the PCC and plans to build a southern Maine scholastic chess club for the greater Portland area.

These are all opportunities for us to enjoy and expand chess activity around Portland. The critical issue is committed member participation and a minimal level of administrative overhead. Until definitive administrative assignments are in place, I’Äôll do my best to act as a central point for information exchange. Please don’Äôt hesitate to contact me (preferably by email) with questions, information, or suggestions.

Lee Doucette lfdoucet@maine.rr.com 797-4215 (evenings only)
Treasurer, Portland Chess Club


Marvelous presentations

Post a comment

  • Navigation: