“Chess isn’t always competitive. Chess can also be beautiful.” – Walter Tevis, The
Queen’s Gambit

Whether you are competitive or have a deep appreciation for beauty, the timeless
game of chess can satisfy. This is apparent by both chess’s lifespan and consistent
popularity worldwide. Though at first intimidating to those who don’t know how to play,
chess and its countless possibilities is a know-how that can inspire, encourage,
challenge, and teach for the duration of a life.

With the emergence of COVID-19 in recent years, increasing society’s
experience of isolation and solitude, compounded by popular media and shows such as
the Netflix Original, The Queen’s Gambit, chess has again seen an explosion of
popularity. This isn’t surprising. Chess offers its players – and its spectators – a
marvelous array of opportunities and strategies to be explored and executed, over and
over again. Chess also allows for a nearly tangible hope and anticipatory excitement
that victory – or at least an enjoyment in play – is always at hand.

Take, for example, the Billings Chess Club. Operating for a number of successful
years now, the Billings Chess Club and its growing number of members are responsible
for managing and stoking the great and ongoing benefits of chess for those wishing to
engage with others on the sixty-four squares. The club meets and organizes chess
matches in the form of casual gatherings at Mazevo coffee shop and Thirsty Street
Brewery, as well as of formal tournaments such as the St. Patrick Open which was
hosted at the Double Tree hotel and featured fifty-two players, ten of which were local to

Online, in-person, or by yourself, playing chess is an experience available to all
with an intrigue and desire for learning. The most beautiful part: the learning can be