Charlotte Chess Center Celebrates Grand Opening
By Gary Newsom   
March 12, 2014
Chess Center---Chess fans watch ongoing games in the library (1).jpgThe Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy celebrated its grand opening on the weekend of March 7-8.

Approximately 150 enthusiastic chess supporters from as far away as Georgia and Virginia converged upon the center Friday night for the Grand Opening reception. Tours were conducted and snacks were served. Of course it didn't take long for the chess sets to come out. Blitz games were played well into the evening.

The Charlotte Chess Center is the brainchild of founder NM Peter Giannatos, who along with co-founder Gary Newsom have been promoting local chess in the Charlotte area together for several years. Peter will head up the center's instructional activities. The roster of instructors who will work in the center include FM Mike Klein, NM's Chris Mabe and Matt Noble, and soon to be NM Dominique Myers.

 After school classes, Friday night “Parents' Night Out” and an evening adult lecture series are on the early agenda, as well as USCF rated events most evenings (regular, quick and blitz) Saturdays the center will host the popular Reverse Angle tournament series,  as well as a monthly G/30. Sundays will feature an unrated blitz tournament.

In addition, Giannatos will host the second year of his popular “Master Tour” camp series during the summer. This year's featured instructors will be GM's Magesh Panchanathan, Alex Shabalov and John  Fedorowicz along with WFM Anuprita Patil. Details on all of the above can be found at the center's website: www.charlottechesscenter.org

The Center, situated in the trendy, historic South End area of Charlotte,  is situated in a 2000 square foot segment of the North Carolina Design Center. The space was upfitted and decorated for chess. A quick walk through:
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Entering through the front door you find a lobby  with a greeting station. There is a small retail space where a chess set or a Charlotte Chess Center t shirt can be purchased. Comfortable furniture provides a place for parents to wait for their children when classes or tournaments are in progress. A large television screen over the couch projects slide shows, chess movies, or the featured games from the tournament in progress. Chess tables are stationed in the windows, inviting off hand games which can be viewed by passersby, hopefully drawing more attention to the facility.

Walking past the greeting station you enter the lounge/library. This is the place to hang out and analyze after your game. More living room style chairs provide opportunities to relax. A wall of bookshelves boasts one of the most prolific chess libraries you will ever see. Another large TV screen is positioned amongst the bookshelves to allow kibitzers the opportunity to check out the featured games. Library style tables with chess sets are available for game analysis and chess book reading.

Upstairs you will find the classroom/competition area. The competition area is well lighted with comfortable furniture and a thickly padded carpet to stifle noise. The main wall is adorned with the center's logo and two portrait exhibits featuring top GM's of present and past. Another large TV screen is featured on the opposite wall. A separate enclosed classroom connects to the playing space, which can be used as extra competition space on tournament days.

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On Saturday, March 8, the first official chess tournament was held in the Center. A chess- appropriate number totaling 64 players turned up for the 35th edition of Reverse Angle. The tournament, which featured 4 sections and players of all ages and playing strengths, featured two perfect scores in the top section, turned in by recent addition to Charlotte, NM Edward Liu (2311) in addition to up and coming young Expert Dominique Myers (2147) Here is a game from each of the winners:





Other section winners were: 
U1800 Eugene Davenport and Suraj Madiraju
                                              
U1400 Sudhakar Avirneni, Troy Fletcher, Neil Deshpande and Sean Thien Huynh