Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This week we have a special interview conducted by Chase Watters, member of the Texas Tech Knight Raiders nationally ranked chess team, and former president of the Texas Tech Knight Raiders Chess Club. His guest is Sam Houchin, founder of the new Lubbock Chess Club.

1. How did you revive the Lubbock Chess Club into existence?

I was invited to a game night at a friend’s house. We played several group-oriented games and as the evening began to wind down my friend, and host for the night, Chris expressed an interest in playing chess. He brought out the board and the rest just followed suit. Soon, several of us were playing weekly and we started searching for a local club to join. We were surprised to find that the previous Lubbock Chess Club had disbanded several years ago. In our online search we found a newsletter generated by the TTU Knight Raiders that led us to a “chess game night” at Barnes & Noble on a Friday night. There, we met several members of the Knight Raiders and the idea of reviving the Lubbock Chess Club was born.

2. What is the relationship of the Lubbock Chess Club with SPICE and/or the TTU Knight Raider Chess Club?

Once we began playing routinely several nights a week with members of the Knight Raiders, it was brought to Susan Polgar’s attention that we were interested in starting Lubbock Chess Club. She immediately jumped in and helped us to initially organize our efforts and to locate a weekly meeting place. Combined with the ongoing support and participation of the Knight Raiders, we have had very successful club attendance to date.

3. Who is welcome to come and play with the Lubbock Chess Club? Are novice chess players and kids welcome to play?

All are welcome. Male or female, any age or skill level. Chess is a game for people of all ages and you can learn to play at any time. So come play even if you have never seen a chess board or if you are a highly advanced player.

4. How many players typically come and play at the Lubbock Chess Club, and what is the typical strength of those players?

It varies. We have an average of 18 to 20 regular players. Some nights we have as many as 30 plus players and 12 to 14 on others.

5. Is there a fee to join the Lubbock Chess Club?

At this time there is not a fee to join the club. However, in order to provide for the membership in the future we are in the process of formalizing the club with officers, by-laws, constitution and, of course, fees. Preliminary discussion on fees has been $20 per year for an adult membership, $15 per year for college students, and $10 per year for persons younger than 18.

6. What are some upcoming events that the Lubbock Chess Club is planning?

Since we are still getting off the ground we don’t have any events on the current schedule. We plan on sponsoring tournaments, leagues, chess ladders, and blitz tournaments in the future.

7. Why do you like playing chess?

In my opinion, chess is the ultimate game having a positive effect on a player’s attitude toward learning and cognitive achievement.
Chess play engages the human brain and employs new ways of thinking, imaginative processes, and creativity. Chess also develops your critical and analytical thinking ability and contributes to the increase of intelligence, problem solving skills, memorization and concentration. A little competition is also great for mental alertness, patience, sportsmanship, as well as challenging your sense of accomplishment.

8. How do you like playing chess at Lin’s Buffet on Mondays?

Lin’s provides us with a large, open, comfortable area to meet and play along with a wide variety of delicious food items to choose from. They offer a 10 percent discount to all members and, while we encourage dining, it is completely optional.

9. Where do you see the Lubbock Chess Club six months from now, and one year from now?

The current version of the Lubbock Chess Club is in its infancy. In the future we hope to offer chess instruction for any age and a comprehensive chess library available to all members. Our primary purpose is to have fun and to promote the popularity of chess. We hope to eventually conduct tournaments and other forms of chess competition.
I feel that our membership will increase with time and advertising. As for the community, we hope to reach out to the school districts in the Lubbock area and promote the subject of chess and hopefully integrate it into their scholastic curriculum.

Local chess activities:
-Lubbock Open Chess Championship: March 27 at Monterey High School. More information can be found at www.sice.ttu.edu. This is the biggest and most important chess tournament of the year in Lubbock.
-Texas Tech Chess Summer Camp 2010: June 20-25 and July 18-23. To register please contact spice@ttu.edu or call 742-7742.
-Super Saturday SPICE Fun Chess: April 3 to May 1. Two levels: Novice and Intermediate. Class dates: April 3, 10, 17, 24 and May 1 (five sessions). Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays at Texas Tech Administration building.
Instruction will be provided by members of the nationally ranked Texas Tech Knight Raider Chess Team, based on my popular and highly effective chess curriculum and direct guidance.
Registration fee: $99 by March 27, after then, add $20 late fee. Please send registration form to: Texas Tech, SPICE, Box 45080, Lubbock, TX 79409. For information, please go to: www.spice.ttu.edu or e-mail spice@ttu.edu.
-Chess clubs: The newly formed Lubbock Chess Club meets on Mondays from 5 to 9 p.m. at Lin’s Buffet (5608 Slide Road near South Plains Mall).
Another challenging night of chess fun takes place on Friday nights starting at 5:30 p.m. at J&B Coffee, 2701 26th St., just off Boston Avenue.
There is no cost to play at either location. Members of SPICE/Texas Tech Knight Raiders will be on hand to give you a mental workout. You can get more information at www.texastechchess.blogspot.com or www.lubbockchessclub.wordpress.com.
-After school/after work chess club at Science Spectrum: Thursdays, 4:30-6 p.m.; Science Spectrum Atrium, 2579 S. Loop 289; 745-2525 ext. 234; www.sciencespectrum.org. The club is free and all ages and levels are welcome.
-Springboard Chess Nights: Mondays and Wednesdays 5-7 p.m., 4204 Boston Ave. The event is free and all ages and levels are welcome.
-Polgar Chess University: My online chess training program where students of all levels have an opportunity to learn chess from some of the best instructors in the game. Visit www.polgarchessuniversity.com for more information.
Here is the solution for last week’s puzzle. There are two ways to checkmate in 2 moves: 1. Rf8 check Nxf8 4. Qxf8 check Rf7 5. Qxd6 checkmate.
The puzzle (pictured) this week is aimed to improve your knowledge of important checkmate patterns. It is White to move and checkmate in three moves. Can you find the checkmate for White?

SUSAN POLGAR is a professional chess player, champion and founder of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (www.spice.ttu.edu) at Texas Tech, susan.polgar@ttu.edu.com,

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