Founded in 2007 by Ed Harris, the Knights Chess Club was created to provide chess players of all ages a place to meet, make friends, and enjoy playing chess.
My journey with chess began when my father first taught me to play at around the age of 5 years old. I grew to love chess and played often with my dad and friends. I was about 14 years old when Bobby Fisher was turning the chess world upside down, and it was then that I became especially passionate about playing chess.
I joined the USCF (United States Chess Federation) and began competing in rated chess tournaments. Though my first attempts at tournament play did not end well they kindled my desire to improve, which led to a love of chess books. As a growing teenager I absorbed dozens of chess books reading them over and over again in an effort to improve my game and learn from the great players of the past.
As my passion for chess continued to grow I became interested in tournament directing, which led me to pursue becoming a Local USCF Tournament Director. I first apprenticed under an existing tournament director, and then later passed a test provided by the US Chess Federation certifying that I possessed a thorough knowledge of the rules and regulations. After successfully meeting the criteria I was certified as a local USCF tournament director at the age of 17.
After obtaining my Local Directors license I continued to both participate in tournament play and to organize and directing many USCF rated chess tournaments.
Approximately 5 years after the Knights Chess Club began I, Ed Harris, found myself needing a break from chess. As a result the responsibility for continuing to run the club fell to the remaining three members of the KCC Planning Board. They were Tom Cassar, Vince Bradly, and Clay Bradly, each faithful and dedicated to chess and the Knights Chess Club. Unfortunately circumstances, responsibilities, and life's demands weighed heavily on the board at that time. It was then that Tom Cassar stepped up and took full leadership responsibilities upon himself in addition to many of the planning board tasks.
For approximately the next 4 years the Knights Chess Club continued mainly under Toms leadership, increasing in membership and prospering as a club. During his tenure Tom increased member interest by scheduling more and a larger variety of club events, entertained new members, and even provided coffee. It is fair to say that without his leadership the KCC would not only have failed to prosper, but most likely would not exist today.
Later during April of 2015 the Knights Chess Club learned that we needed to leave our host location at the Keene Elks Lodge and find a new meeting location. At that time the decision was made to re-boot the club with a new planing board, which still included Tom Cassar and also the return of Ed Harris back onto the board. The mission of the KCC continued as working to achieving the growth and prosperity of both the Knights Chess Club and chess locally.
In June of 2019 after exchanging many tender hearted goodbye's Ed Harris and wife Gail relocated from New Hampshire to South Carolina to begin a new chapter in life. No longer part of the KCC leadership Ed's roll is currently limited to maintaining the KCC website, event scheduling, and one of an advisory nature when consulted.
Leadership of the Knights Chess Club has been resumed by former club President Tom Cassar, and Dave Kochman who is also the clubs liason with our current host the Congregation Ahavas Achim. Following these changes the KCC has continued to meet in a positive way without any noticable difference, continuing to grow and thrive.
Moving along to the Spring of 2020 the Corona Virus pandemic affects the nation, and like so many other businesses and establishments has caused a temporary halt to KCC meetings as we await the pandemic's end. As of now, January 2021, we hope to resume weekly meetings by no later than Spring.
As I, Ed Harris, advanced through my teen years there was a strong positive influence on my life by the New Britain Chess Club. The former and now deceased NBCC president Mr. Arkadijs Strazdins, a truly great man of chess loved and respected by all, had dedicated over fifty years of his life to running the New Brittain Chess Club and promoting chess in Connecticut.
As a teenager I would look greatly forward to each weeks visit to the NBCC, and to seeing the many friends I had made there. Many of these friends would participate in countless tournaments with me. Isn't it always nicer to do things with friends!
Much more than that, the NBCC was directly responsible for providing us all with a place to go where we would stay out of trouble, and though the many chess principles that apply so well to life, learn to become better students, better able to cope with real life situations, and better human beings. Please take a moment to visit our "The Benefits of Chess" page for a little better perspective.
It was also Mr. Arkadijs Strazdins under whom I apprenticed to become a Local Tournament Director and obtain my license.
Using the New Britain Chess Club as a model, it is my desire to use the knowledge and experience I possess to grow a club that will benefit the young, the old, and chess players of all ages. To see the popularity of chess grow, and it's benefits be recognized within the school systems. To work with and support both the USCF and the New Hampshire Chess Association in advancing the healthy popularity of chess and the knowledge of its benefits. To have some fun!
Much as I love the game of chess there is a driving force behind my life that is far more important to me than anything else. I am providing the video below to share what I find most important in life, and gives me strength to endure through life's trials. Though I am a far from perfect person who never does any wrong I am thankful that trying my best will suffice and that perfection is not required.