Richmond to host chess festival, designate October ‘Chess Month’

Annual Black History Celebration set for Richmond Memorial Auditorium on Feb. 3

The Richmond community is holding a chess festival on Saturday, Oct. 21 in honor of National Chess Day, which is celebrated a week earlier on Oct. 14.

At tonight’s meeting, Richmond City Council is scheduled to designate October as Chess Month as a way to engage more youth and families in the brain-stimulating game., according to TC Ball, who heads the West Coast Chess Alliance.

The free Chess Festival is set to run from noon to 3 p.m. at Richmond Memorial Auditorium’s Bermuda Room, 403 Civic Center Plaza.

You’ll get a chance to play chess against local police and fire officials, civic leaders and participate in a number of chess-related activities.

The first-annual Chess Festival is a collaboration involving the city of Richmond’s Community Service Department, The Berkeley Chess School, and West Coast Chess Alliance. It is a fiscal project of the Richmond Ed Fund, according to Ball.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford and Congress established “National Chess Day” in an effort to promote and raise awareness about chess, and to encourage both young people and adults to participate.

“Chess is known to enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” Ball says.

The game’s origins date back to 600 AD, and medical institutions have used chess as therapy for patients with Alzheimer and schizophrenia, as well as to help youth build focus, according to city documents.
Recently, the West Contra Costa Chess Alliance launched the “Richmond Chess Initiative” to increase chess games in local parks, libraries, and
community centers.

Pre-registration is encouraged, as space is limited. Register online at For information, contact TC Ball at (510) 439-6311 or The Berkeley Chess School at (510) 843-0150.