NEW TIMES: How long has the SLO Chess Club been around, and how did it get started?
MCCALEB: On and off over the years, there have been different SLO Chess Clubs, but when I retired from Cal Poly in 1991, my pastor gave me permission to form one at the Church Of The Nazarene around 1992. The popularity grew and we started hosting tournaments around 1994. Our president, Mark Keller, started a website to keep all chess enthusiasts informed and together throughout the community.
NEW TIMES: What does chess offer?
MCCALEB: Studies have shown the game helps develop strategy about how to make everyday decisions. It’s very effective for students who are involved with mathematics, reasoning, and logic.
NEW TIMES: Do you need to join as a member in order to play?
MCCALEB: No, we meet every Thursday night around 6:30 p.m. until about 9 p.m. There’s an abundance of players young and old. People are free to stop by and join us for lessons or a couple of games. There’s no fee to play; however, if you’d like to become a member, there’s a $10 yearly fee that helps fund tournaments.
NEW TIMES: How many people play when you meet?
MCCALEB: On Thursday we have anywhere from 10 to 20 people playing, and tournaments involve about 30 people playing at any given time.
NEW TIMES: How long does the typical tournament last?
MCCALEB: Each game has a maximum of one hour, with two games per match. Typically there are four matches, so a tournament can take six to eight hours on average. Usually weaker players take less time than stronger players.
NEW TIMES: Where does the SLO Chess Club meet?
MCCALEB: We meet at the Carl’s, Jr. Restaurant at 195 North Santa Rosa Street. Feel free to join us on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the “Big Board” located on the Embarcadero at the west end of Morro Bay Blvd. For more information check our website: sanluisobispochess.com.