Arts & Entertainment

Chess Club Set to Make Return to Scotch Plains Library in January

Alfonse Akins' son, Matthew (left) plays a game of chess against a young opponent. Credits: Photo provided by Alfonse Akins

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Chess is a game a wit, endurance and intellectual skill. But it is also a game that has been neglected in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood community for quite some time, according to Alfonse Akins, a member of the Scotch Plains Recreation Commission.

For years, parents and children were forced to travel to neighboring towns including Westfield, Cranford, Clark, Rahway and even Plainfield to participate in organized chess matches.

That is all about to change on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. as the Chess Club will officially launch its inaugural 90-minute bi-weekly meeting at the Scotch Plains Public Library. Children between nine- to 16-years-old are invited to participate in the free program with registration now open. Chessmaster Errol Singh of Chatham Day School and ChessmatesNJ will lead the instruction.

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“I asked myself, ‘why do all of these surrounding towns offer the intellectual game of chess, but we don’t?’” wondered Akins, who played an integral part in the resurrection of the chess club. “That motivated me to launch this program at the Scotch Plains Library.”

“I think chess is very important to the intellectual development of our youth in Scotch Plains,” added Akins, whose 10-year-old son, Matthew, is an avid chess player.

Akins was especially thankful for the efforts of Michelle Willis, Director of the Scotch Plains Public Library, who helped get the program off the ground and even helped raise the funding needed for chess sets. He also acknowledged the assistance of Matt Mercurio, Scotch Plains Recreation Director, Evan Murray, Chairman of the Scotch Plains Library Board, Councilman Llewellyn Jones, and Mike Walsh, Chair of the Recreation Commission.

Sessions are limited to Scotch Plains and Fanwood cardholders only. For more information, contact the Scotch Plains Public Library at 908-322-5007. is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP.

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