The Menlo Park Chess Club

A couple of my friends have spoken very highly about the Menlo Park Chess Club which has been steadily growing since its launch in the Fall of 2021. On Wednesday evening I visited the club for the first time to see what all the excitement was about.

Upon arriving, you will notice the serenity surrounding the club which is located at the beautiful Arrillaga Family Recreation Center. Visiting this location brought back fond memories of The Sojourner Truth Chess Tournaments for girls and women which I had the pleasure of organizing at the same location a couple decades ago. Just like old times, I was greeted by the fresh scent of trees, lots of friendly squirrels and even the ducks seemed to be enjoying the sunset.

The Menlo Park Chess Club meets Wednesday evenings from 6:00-9:45pm and offers “casual instruction, lectures, informal play, rated tournaments and other chess activities, striving to appeal to players of all ages, interests and skill levels, from complete beginners to strong masters.” Their webpage has an event section that is worth checking out so you know what to expect on any given Wednesday.

This evening there was a formal tournament occurring in the Cypress Room and an area across the hall for skittles games. I first entered the skittles room where a friendly stranger welcomed me in and invited me to sit down for a game of chess. Across the hall there was a rated tournament occurring with a time control of G/45 d/5. The tournament seemed to have a wide spectrum of skill levels and ages so players of all different strengths should feel confident in finding suitable competition. The room was also kept very quiet with players quickly moving to the aforementioned skittles room as soon as their games finished. Regardless of which room you were in, the players were comfortably spread out with plenty of space to spare.

All in all, I give the Menlo Park Chess Club straight “A’s” for location, organization, friendliness, skill level variety and fun. Even if you need to commute from outside the Peninsula to the club, the overall experience there is definitely worth the time on the road. Hats off to the Club Director Mark Drury for organizing such a wonderful chess club!

Click below to find out more about the

Menlo Park Chess Club

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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