Top chess players from across West Virginia are hoping to have “all the right moves” when arriving in Ripley.
They will be gathering the weekend of Saturday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept. 9 at the Ripley Senior Citizens Center, 121 North Court Street. That is the site for the 80th annual state chess championships.
West Virginia Chess Association was founded in 1941 “to foster and promote” the game. Secretary/treasurer Ben Good says the current membership is diverse in terms of age and occupation.
“We come from all walks of life,” said Good, who has an information technology job with the government. “You may see an attorney playing against an electrician.”
Good, 41, is a three-time state champion from the Taylor County town of Farmington. Previous state champs included senior citizens and a pre-teen. The 1989 state champion was Alex Chang, a young prodigy from Richwood who also was a national third grade co-champion.
A few players have dominated the state chess scene. Siegfried Werthammer of Huntington was a remarkable early force.
The pathologist and native of Austria won 13 state titles between 1943 and 1965. More recently, attorney John Roush of Ripley has won or tied for nine state championships since 1978.
Registration on Sept. 8 is from 9 until 9:45 a.m. Matches get underway at 10 a.m.
Membership in the association is required in order to participate. Annual dues are $10 for adults and $5 for students.
Tournament registration is $50 in the 5-round, time-controlled event.
Good says chess interest piqued following the 1972 match between grandmasters Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.
Most of the larger cities in the state still have active chess organizations. Ripley Chess Club meets monthly from 4-8 p.m. on the second Thursday in the Jackson County Library.
See WVChess.org for information.