Shields-Reid Community Center to play home to chess tournament

Photo credit: Kathy Chouteau

By Kathy Chouteau

The 9th McKinley Williams/John Easterling Community Chess Tournament, an event honoring the efforts of two men who promoted the Royal Game of Chess in Richmond, will make its move into the city’s Shields-Reid Community Center Sat., May 7.

Sponsored by the West Coast Chess Alliance and the City of Richmond Community Services Department Mini-Grant Program, the tournament is offered free of charge and will feature a Quad format. Registration will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., while rounds will occur at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

According to organizers, the tournament honors the legacy of two men—McKinley Williams and the late John Easterling—who were integral in promoting chess playing in the local community. Williams, president emeritus of Contra Costa College, “believed in the educational impact and benefits of the game on young minds,” and as such, created the concept of a community chess tournament that brought multigenerational people together.

For his part, Easterling mentored youth in Richmond and beyond who were eager to learn how to play chess, teaching it on Wednesdays at the Richmond’s Children’s Library for numerous years, per event organizers. “His legacy lives on in the many chess players who were first exposed to the game by him.”

Shields-Reid Community Center is located at 1410 Kelsey St. in Richmond and tournament space is limited to the first 48 registered players. To register for the chess tournament, click here. For more info, or as another option to register, contact TC Ball at (510) 439-6311 or [email protected].