The South Suburban Chess Club of Greater Chicago

A recent SSCC club meeting at Oak View Community Center.The South Suburban Chess Club (SSCC) was formed in 1994 on the efforts of Fred Gruenberg and others in the wake of the closing of the Orland Park Chess Club, which in turn was formed in 1983 after the closing of the Homewood Flossmoor Chess Club. The SSCC is permeated in south suburban chess history!

The SSCCs first home was a community center in Palos Heights, and this was followed by a move to a church in Alsip, and later to its current home at the Oak View Community Center at 110th & Kilpatrick, in Oak Lawn, where the club has met every Friday night from 7PM to 1030PM excepting holidays since 1999. During all these years the club has been guided by the dedicated leadership of Joe Bannon, who, though largely inactive now, continues to stop by from time to time to make sure everyone is playing chess and having a good time. There will be no slacking on Joe's watch!

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Midway Chess Club Sunday Golf Challenge

This weekend was the first of what we hope to be start of a monthly chess event at the University Golf Club in University Park, IL (just south of Park Forest). As usual it had its first tournament issues, late start on the second round, forgotten powercord, confusion on the food and such but overall it went pretty smooth. Some of the things that went right were the pairings up on a big screen so that they were easy to see. In the future board one games and results will be broadcast live on the internet. The food was ordered after round one and was ready on time after round two. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and beverages. I know that my Shrimp Po-Boy was fantastic!

Once we got underway everything settled down and the match ended up with Douglas Middleton with a score of 3.0 and a four-way tie for 2nd with Cima, Reed, Jackson and Armistead all having 2 points each.

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Affiliate Develops Tournament Registration Software

Bloomington Normal Area Scholastic Chess (BNASC), and ICA affiliate, is sharing its tournament registration software with any interested chess club or tournament organizer who would like to use it. A copy of the software is available for your review and use at BNASC has been using the tournament registration software to help run weekly winter tournaments for several years and it is a great time saver for the organizer of the tournament. The software enables online registration for team and individual events and produces a text file which can easily be imported into WinTD software. For the organizer, it means usually creating a set of tournament files for events of 200+ players in less than an hour which used to take the organizer several hours to make individual entries in WinTD.

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Finegold Sweeps Winter Open in St. Louis

The Winter Open, January 16

Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

After finishing 2009 with two strong tournaments, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis was geared up for 2010. The newest addition to the CCSCSL staff, Grandmaster Ben Finegold, was slated to participate in the inaugural event to kick off the 2010 tournament schedule. The Winter Open brought other changes as well, as annual members were required to pre-register to receive the typical discount. This change had an immediate impact with 26 players registered before the day of the event. One might have expected another 10-15 players, which would have been considered a successful Winter event, but what happened on the morning of January 16 was pretty spectacular. Despite the cold Saint Louis weather, 31 more players came out to compete and meet the newest chess celebrity in Saint Louis! The 57-player field represented the second largest ever for the CCSCSL and continued the successful trend of 40-plus player tournaments the club has been enjoying.

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Midway Chess Club Now Going Strong

Many people have asked me how the club got started. When I look back I wonder that too. Just like a river it started very small and as tributaries joined in (people, ideas and opportunities) we have become much larger. But, the club is not at the ocean yet.

Let me back track a bit. I started chess as a child and was soundly beaten by my cousin many times. It was very discouraging to me. But, I was given many chess sets from my grandmother from her travels and was exposed to college level players and saw that there was something there that I could enjoy. But, at that time my love was soccer. I ate, slept and breathed it! Until I was injured in the Army I continued to play competitively. After that I was too busy trying to keep a job and deal with life.

About 10 years ago I ended up in Naperville working in Lombard as an engineer, with lots of travel and on-site work. It was at this time that I could no longer continue working through the pain that I was suffering, both mentally and physically. I was fortunate enough to meet my darling wife Renee, and move to Chicago, who supported me in pursuing my disability compensation from the Veterans Administration. The company I worked for had long-term disability insurance so we had income and... Well, 5 years later I am still fighting the VA, but Social Security came through in six months. During this time I returned to school on the VocRehab program from the VA and attended Saint Xavier University. I loved going to school and really enjoyed the professors. One day, three years ago, I got an email about the SXU Chess Club and decided to join.

Our first event was a ladder tournament. This was my first ever tournament and I ended up tied for second. I started playing chess online and taking lessons. I was going to class and my appointments at the VA every day but chess was somehow eating up more of the day all the time. I was going to the VA for help with chronic pain and help with my PTSD and had been going to biofeedback and other therapies to help with this and none of them helped but I noticed that when playing chess I was calmer and less stressed. I discussed this with my MD and she felt that perhaps I could use my time better studying chess as therapy instead of the ones they were using as the were not working for me. So my chess life began in earnest.

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