Silence filled the air March 20 as about 10 chess players of varying ages concentrated hard on kings and pawns, horses and rooks. The silence was broken only by the occasional “check” or “checkmate.”
Thursday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. are Carver Chess Club nights at the Carver Center in Purcellville. As many as 20 members, from children to senior citizens, vie against each other for the first hour and forty-five minutes, and then host and instructor Raymond Duchesne often gives a lesson.
At the meeting March 20, Duchesne, of Airmont, played four members at once – and beat all of them. He said being able to play multiple games at once is a question of experience. “Once you're at a certain level,” he said, “you recognize things.”
Before he came to America, Duchesne taught high school chess in Belgium. “I like competition and I like abstract thinking,” he said. Duchesne, who works as a software engineer, has run the club since the Carver Center opened last year.
The club is open to players of all ages and skill levels. It also meets Saturdays from 3 to 6 p.m. for a session that is play only – no instruction. Some members also play with the Chess Club of Leesburg, which meets Tuesday nights from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Starbucks on Market Street.
Raymond Duchesne, host and instructor of the chess club at the Carver Center, plays (from front to back) Richard Busch, of Leesburg, Joshua Carr, of Hamilton, Anthony Frayne, of Round Hill, and Morgan Overman, 17 of Hamilton, all at the same time on March 20 at the Carver Center. Duchesne won all four games.
Richard Busch, of Leesburg, shakes the hand of Raymond Duchesne, of Airmont, after Duchesne won the game on March 20.
Charles Nolan Poneroy (right), 12 of Purcellville, listens to music in between games of chess during the chess club meeting.
Richard Busch, of Leesburg moves his king during a game at the chess club.