FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ -Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine hosted a "Chess Simultaneous Exhibition" against children from the community at the township library, March 12.
"What you are doing is a wonderful thing," Head of Youth Services Anne Lemay said to the children before the exhibition games. "It takes a lot of patience to play chess and a lot of knowledge."
The players, aged 7 to 12, belong to the chess club, one of the many free programs offered by the library. Ismael Cartagena "Ishy" is the club's coach and he volunteers his time every first Monday of the month to teach children the fundamentals of chess.
The exhibition was set up in one of the library's private rooms, with tables arranged in a square with the youth on the outside and Levine and Cartagena in the middle.
"For moms and dads I think this is really good, the video games are great and entertainment and they are good hand-eye coordination," Levine said to the youth. "However, when you play chess you are sitting your thinking, moving pieces in your mind, I think it is a great exercise its good intellectually and academically too."
Levine's father taught him how to play chess when he was seven, and he eventually became a high school conference league champion. He is in the top 20 percent of chess players ranked in tournament play.
Levine has played community children in an exhibition like this in the past, but this was the first time he has done so since 2014.
In addition to the chess club, the library offers many other activities to the youth of Franklin, and people from other towns can also participate in the many activities available as long as they register.
"In this community, we have a lot of dual working parents, and therefore we run a lot of our programs in the evening and they are well attended," Lemay said. "Saturday we found out is not a good day for programs because kids have sports and parents have errands, and Sunday is family day."
Youth programs for the township library can be found below:
Levine is also hosting a panel next Thursday, and the public is invited to come. Details can be found below:
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