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Borders Chess Stories Print E-mail
By Dr. WIM Alexey Root   
February 22, 2011
Sarah and Jonathan Chiang and Keith Hayward, Photo courtesy courtesy Keith Hayward
When most Borders stores close their doors for the last time in April, some chess clubs will lose their longtime homes. I asked three Borders stalwarts to share their thoughts.

Rick Smouse of the Mesa (Arizona) Chess Club, which meets at the Mesa Fiesta Borders, emailed that it would be business as usual until the Alma School Road location closes. "We have weekly four-round Swiss tournaments at the Mesa Fiesta Borders. The tournaments at Borders are continuing to be quite successful! I usually sign up quite a few new USCF members every month. We'll just move on to another location. But we'll certainly miss our familiar and sentimental Borders location when we move."

For the past decade, Chess Life editor Daniel Lucas has played chess at Borders at the Mall of Georgia (Buford, GA). Lucas likes that the tables at Borders are "large enough for the sets and allow for plenty of elbow room around us. Having the general public wandering around, occasionally asking us a question or two about chess, was always encouraging and fun." When Lucas first moved to the Atlanta area, the club met at the previous Borders store at the Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth. There Lucas met Steve Schneider, then a board member for the Georgia Chess Association. That meeting led to Lucas becoming editor of Georgia Chess when the previous editor, Gary Southerland, retired. Lucas emailed, "It was my work on Georgia Chess that brought me to the attention of Don Schultz, then on the USCF executive board, who then recommended me for the Director of Publications position here at the USCF."

FM Keith Hayward has run a Thursday chess night at the Borders next to the Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville, Texas for 14 years and 2 months. The Lewisville Borders club has regulars and also "a constant flow of new players from the general public." The club is entirely casual chess. Hayward refers those players seeking tournament action to the Dallas Chess Club. Both present and future chess stars have spent time at Borders. Hayward shared, "Australian IM Alex Wohl has relatives in Lewisville and visited the club on a vacation trip. I meet with my chess students, such as former students and rising chess stars Sarah and Jonathan Chiang, at Borders." Hayward plans to relocate the club to the nearby Barnes & Noble bookstore.

In the Comments Area, please share your own Borders story. Is there chess at your local Borders? If that Borders is scheduled to close in April, where will chess relocate?

See details on Dr. Alexey Root's books on her author page, http://lu.com/authors/AlexeyRoot.pdf