Knight Moves Chess Club
The Knight Moves Chess Club (KMCC) is located at the Rudy Lozano branch of the Chicago Public Library, the largest Spanish-language library in the city located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. The club was formed in September, 1989 with a $100 contribution from a local businessman which was used to purchase 12 chess sets. The club has been run ever since by Hector Hernandez, the library’s branch manager, a former president of ICA, and an award-winning leader in Chicago’s adult and youth chess scene for more than 30 years. (See Hector’s profile in the “ICA Youth Committee” section of this website.)
The club began running tournaments in 1991, and now hosts four Saturday tournaments a year including the Chicago Latino Chess Championship and the Dia de la Raza/ Columbus Day Open. Club members have earned top honors in city, state, regional and national events, including winning 14 state and national titles. Two members played in Mexico’s Junior Olympics a few years ago, and others have won college scholarships through the Chicago Public Schools’ “MVP” tournament held every spring. In 1997 KMCC was named one of the nation’s top 50 library programs for young adults by the American Library Association.
In 1995, the Lozano library received a grant from the Chicago Community Trust through the Chicago Public Library Foundation. Some of the funds were used to build the chess club. A local artist, Guillermo Delgado, was commissioned to create artwork for the club, and his designs have been used ever since on the club’s tables and T-shirts. Another club highlight took place on March 5, 2000, when the Chicago Tribune ran a nine-page article on the club in its Sunday Magazine.
The club has hosted activities with Mexican champions IM Roberto Martín del Campo and WIM Yadira Hernández. It’s also hosted simultaneous exhibitions with GM’s Dmitry Gurevich, Gilberto Hernandez, Andrés Rodríguez, Gildardo García, IM Alfonso Almeida, and FM Ricardo Szmetan.
The club meets every Thursday from 6-8 p.m., with average attendance of approximately 20 players. Tournaments and simultaneous exhibitions attract much larger groups. It offers lessons running 30-45 minutes which typically cover game reviews, middle game combinations, and classic endgames. The remainder of club sessions is devoted to play, but the instructor spends additional time with those wanting or needing extra help. The club is open to adults as well as kids, and it’s not unusual to see very young children playing against octogenarians.