Searcy, AR. – Community can mean something different for different people. For Paul Hill, the host of the White County Chess Community, it’s an opportunity each week to bring together those interested in one of the world’s oldest games and enjoy a cup coffee with them.
The White County Chess Community (WCCC) meets every Saturday morning inside Savor + Sip in downtown Searcy. The WCCC moved to Searcy from Beebe in August for a bigger space and more membership potential, and they meet whether two or ten people show up. The group is open to anyone interested and has members of every age and background.
“All are welcome to attend no matter their skill level or experience,” said Hill.
While learning to play chess may seem like the organization’s primary goal, Hill says the group’s focus is teaching children and young adults about life’s problems.
“I love to play the game, but I like to teach it because it helps people to learn to think better,” Hill said. “I teach them how to have fun and play well, but I also teach them how to sit on their hands and look at something before they make a decision. I teach them how to analyze the present in consideration of the future.”
Hill, who has been playing chess for over thirty years, first started running chess clubs and organizations when he moved to Arkansas. He saw the growing need in people’s lives for a community. However, he believes his chess clubs are not about community outreach but building relationships.
“If you don’t know your neighbor and times get hard, what are you going to do?” said Hill. “If you’ve got community, you come together. There needs to be places where people can gather in community.”
Hill also stresses the fact that the White County Chess community is more than a chess club and believes there is a big difference between the two.
“I don’t want to be a club. I don’t need a president, I don’t need to pay dues, or earn money” said Hill. “We’re a community of people that like to play chess, converse, and enjoy each other’s company. It’s why places and things like this are so vital to the community.”
The WCCC meets Saturdays from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. at Savor + Sip, 110 N Spring St. Those interested in becoming a part of the WCCC can find more information on their Facebook page.