KCU hosts chess tournament Organizers plan to expand to include wider community KCU hosts chess tournament

By Charles Romans

Carter County Times

The Young Library at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Kentucky hosted a collegiate chess tournament on Sunday, April 28. Nine participants, comprised of KCU students and faculty, competed, said assistant librarian Josh Blevins.

“It was something fun for the students,” Blevins said. “Most of them regularly participate in our chess club.”

Blevins said KCU has many clubs that revolve around hobbies and other activities on campus.

“We call them ‘life groups,’” Blevins said. “And they all have a Christian theme. With chess club, we begin with a devotional of the Word and try to incorporate chess into the lesson. I have a really cool devotional book on chess that I also use from time to time,” he added.

“Then we open up in prayer and then have friendly matches with each other and we even swap opponents,” Blevins said of the club’s regular activities. “This particular life group was born out of a need we saw at the library. And of course, libraries always strive to provide useful activities.

Blevins said the library noticed many students were interested in board games as well as chess and checkers. Unfortunately, many fun activities began to cause disruption due to noise levels, which were not ideal for a study environment.

But rather than stopping the piece altogether, Blevins chose to intensify and organize the piece so that there is a more structured environment that enhances, rather than detracts from, the study. Along the way, he was able to connect it to KCU’s mission to help support the Christ, character, and careers of all Young Library patrons.

The chess club has been an organized “life group” for three semesters now, and this is its third tournament, Blevins said.

The KCU Young Library serves the greater Carter County community, Blevins said. And if enough community interest is generated, then perhaps in the future non-students can participate.

Blevins said currently the Young Library is working with the Carter County Public Library on several projects, which could even open up the possibility of creating a sister club through the Carter County Library.

“That would be pretty cool to consider,” Blevins said.

Chess is a game that can be enjoyed as a simple friendly competition between family and friends, or of course taken much more seriously with competition extending to the professional level. Blevins said most KCU Chess Club members fall into the category of highly skilled amateurs and most participate for the simple enjoyment of the game, although some have participated in other chess clubs at their former schools.

“Some of them may have had a little formal training, but most of us play on,” Blevins said. “It is the most popular chess app and the most mainstream platform.”

The winner of the first tournament was Jesse Heiser, the winner of the second was Yuriel Carrero, and the winner of the most recent tournament was Alaska Jones. All three participated in the April tournament. Blevins said everyone in the chess club is looking forward to next semester’s tournament.
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