4 members of Chess Club smiling for photo. Two are sitting beside the chess table.

Have you heard the good news? The Greater Palm Harbor YMCA has started a Chess Club led by Alex Cerqueira. Alex is a Personal Trainer at the Greater Palm Harbor YMCA and a seasoned chess enthusiast with over a decade of experience. His curiosity and passion for the game have only deepened over the years.  

Recognizing the numerous benefits chess offers and seeing an opportunity to bring a club to his Y, Alex submitted a proposal to his Wellness Department, which was approved, and thus, the Chess Club was created! The club officially launched in November of 2023, and there are currently five members.

Merv Goldbas is one of the Chess Club members and shares: 

"I joined the Chess Club because Alex is the instructor. He is my personal trainer, I trust him to improve or keep my body strong and functional, and at 81, I need that. I also trust him to help improve my mental function."  

"I haven't played chess since 6th grade; I enjoyed it and wanted to see if I could still play. It's fun! Today, I'll attend my 4th club lesson, and my wife her third. We are excited about it and are playing each other at home. It's surprising how much we've improved. Alex started his classes from the beginning, so I didn't feel like an idiot. He has taught me to see the board more clearly, anticipate, think ahead and strategize. So I'm getting better at chess, enjoying this additional activity as part of my life, and meeting new people with a common interest. I'm glad the Y has added a chess club to their offerings," Merv continued. 

The club is committed to fostering the growth of chess players, promoting strategic thinking and building a community among enthusiasts. Beginners, intermediate and advanced players are welcome to enjoy games, learn new strategies and improve their skills in a supportive environment.  

Players ages 12 and up are encouraged to join the club, which meets twice weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 - 4 pm.  

The Tuesday meeting is focused on casual and competitive games. It allows players to practice, experiment and engage in club tournaments. The Thursday weekly meeting is comprised of instructional sessions and strategies for success. During this session, players will participate in various aspects of chess led by experienced players or guest instructors. 

We encourage you to join us at one of our upcoming Chess Club meetings and enhance your chess abilities while finding a connected community. Please contact Alex with any questions: adecerqueirasantos@suncoastymca.org.  

Published: December 19, 2023

Category: Blog