South River Library chess club keeps patrons sharp

SOUTH RIVER–Recognizing its patrons growing interest in the game of bishops and kings, the South River Public Library started the Adult Chess Club.

“We had a steady interest from older students. There were a good number of people who missed out on learning the game when they were younger … [and] needed to find a way to learn the game with a patient, calm friendly teacher,” Adult Librarian Larry Lane said of the club that started in June. “It’s hard to explain to people you don’t know how to play. It makes people ask too many questions and may bring derision. Here, we accept everyone. In fact, I try to dissuade seasoned players from coming.”

Teaching members the rules of the game, Lane said he always starts the club off by giving a brief overview of the history of the game, the widespread interest in the game, how many styles of boards are available, how it is a game without an issue of language, how people who want to become competitive gain rank, and how there is never a game someone loses.

“Most importantly, at the end of every game, you always shake hands with your opponent and say ‘good game,'” Lane said.

The club meets at 2 p.m. every Wednesday at the library, located at 55 Appleby Ave.

Lane said any residents can join the club by simply showing up to a meeting.  

“[Chess is] a game of strategy, of concentration, of making a sacrifice to fulfill a bigger plan and of order. Many successful business leaders credit chess with giving them the skills they needed to work out problems,” Lane said. “Chess is the same if it’s played on a cheap plastic set or a Neiman-Marcus $20,000 gold and ivory set.”

Lane said chess is a game of international interest and bridges every language.

“It’s a game that needs your brain, not your brawn. Many people like to compete but just do not have the time or body to take on lots of training. I tell my students chess is relatively easy to learn and it takes a lifetime to master it completely and at the end of every game, it is compulsory to be a gentleman and shake hands,” Lane said.

For more information, visit or call 732-254-2488.

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