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Four Corners Chess Club will host tournament

San Juan College Community Learning Center
At left, Stephen Marquez, a member of the Four Corners Chess Club, plays chess on Sept. 15 at San Juan College in Farmington.

For months, Dr. Preston Herrington and the Rev. Stephen Marquez have had a standing appointment marked on their calendar.

At 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, they can both be found at San Juan College intently concentrating on their strategy over a chess board. These two gentlemen form the nucleus of the Four Corners Chess Club, which has met at San Juan College and other locations for many years. Now, the group is affiliated with the Encore program at San Juan College.

"Encore’s goal is to encourage lifelong vitality, and one of the ways we do that is by keeping minds active," said Community Learning Center Director Liesl Dees. "Because of the strategy involved, chess offers an opportunity for critical thinking skills. Learning — whether it’s a new skill or fresh ways to play a familiar game — is at the heart of our Encore program. We also encourage vitality through relationships, and this group provides an opportunity to play chess, not just against the computer, but with real people."

Marquez said what he enjoys about chess is "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."

"But I especially enjoy the camaraderie and long-term friendships that are developed throughout the years of playing," he said.

Marquez has traveled to tournaments throughout both New Mexico and the nation, where hundreds of chess players from all over the world will vie and compete for a chance to win prizes and titles.

The Four Corners Chess Club meets from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in room 1908 at San Juan College in Farmington.

On March 5 and 6, the Four Corners Chess Club will host a state tournament called "The Four Corners Chess Open" at San Juan College.

"What’s different about this tournament is that in addition to the tournament play for members affiliated with the U.S. Chess Federation, we’ll have an open play, so that anyone who wants to play competitive chess can give it a try," Marquez said.

The Four Corners Chess Club and the Encore program welcomes players from beginners to experts and all ages to join the weekly group.

"Chess can be a great intergenerational activity," Dees said. "Children are welcome to participate when accompanied by an adult relative. It’s a great opportunity for grandparents and grandchildren to engage together. Whether you miss playing chess or you’ve always wanted to learn to play the game, the group will accommodate your skill level, and group leaders enjoy sharing the game with novices."

The group meets from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in room 1908 at San Juan College, 4601 College Blvd. For more information on the weekly meetings or the tournament, contact the Encore program at 566-3293.

Four Corners Chess Club member Preston Herrington, right, plays chess on Sept. 15 at San Juan College in Farmington.