Fairborn to host first statewide chess tournament

The chess club in Fairborn is aiming to make the city a “chess community,” and is one step closer by hosting the city’s first statewide scholastic chess tournament today.

Kids from kindergarten through high school will participate.

Tony Mumford, director of the program, said kids are coming from as far as the Columbus area and as close as Centerville. The tournament will start at 10 a.m. at Fairborn United Methodist Church, 100 N. Broad St.

Jackie Moore has two children in the chess club, Xander Moore, a fifth grader, and Owen Myers, a sophomore. Xander is competing in the tournament.

“Xander is just becoming this chess monster. He loves it,” Moore said.

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The Fairborn chess club started about four years ago, and the majority of people who lead the club are volunteers.

Mumford said the game helps kids develop critical thinking and decision-making skills. Ernie Sheeler, school social worker and another leader of the chess program, said chess also teaches kids to think about their actions and the consequences of their actions.

Moore said she didn’t even know her children knew how to play chess until Xander came home from school one day wanting to go to the Fairborn chess club.

“It’s good to see how they’ve grown,” Moore said. “Xander used to have behavioral problems… and soon after he joined the chess club, the phone calls from the school stopped.”

Sheeler and Mumford said the club fills a gap. Chess hadn’t been offered to children or adults in Fairborn since the 1970s, they said.

“They keep saying they want to make Fairborn a chess city, and I am totally fine with that,” Moore said. “I am so appreciative of what the club has done for my kids.”

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