Chess in Bloomington

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by Cristian Medina. Originally posted in Spanish in Boletín Comunitario. Translated by Elise Dorn.


Chess is art and calculation (M. Botvinnik)


Although the origin of chess is uncertain, the consensus is that it originated in India approximately 2500 years ago, although some historians place its origins in China. From Asia, the game expanded to Persia and this is how Muslims spread it to Europe. It was recent, during the 15th century, when the game evolved to the form its known today.

The benefits that chess brings to all ages is well known, including the development of cognitive and mental abilities in general, and improves aspects associated with concentration, memory, abstraction, and reasoning. In addition, it creates spaces to socialize and create community.

Chess in Bloomington is practiced in many different spaces. If you are interested in playing or being a part of this exciting community, here we offer several options:

The Bloomington Chess Club meets regularly every Tuesday at 7 at the Buffa Louie’s restaurant located on Indiana Street (114 South Indiana, next to Starbucks). All ages and levels are welcome and the boards and pieces are provided by the restaurant.

The Indiana University Chess Club meets on Wednesdays between 7-9pm in the Indiana Memorial Union, in the area close to Baja Fresh and the bowling lanes. More information is on Facebook @chessclubatindiana.

The public school students from the Monroe County District (MCCSC) have different opportunities to learn and practice chess. For example, the schools like Roger-Binford, Childs Elementary, University Elementary and Marlin Elementary have clubs where the students practice this ancient game during extracurricular programs. The Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington also has a chess club.

The Bloomington Indiana Scholastic Chess Club (BISCC) is a nonprofit organization that meets in the public library (MCPL) twice a month on Sundays. During these meetings, the kids receive instruction and have the opportunity to play and improve their game. All school-aged children are welcome and parents can stay in the meeting room or leave their kids with personnel. More information is available on Facebook @BISCC.

There are several opportunities to compete in Bloomington. The “Ben Harris” tournament takes place during spring (April-May) and includes various categories according to the age of the participants, including an open section for all ages. The most important school tournament takes place at the beginning of December and is organized by BISCC and its branch in University Elementary.

United States chess has a worldwide reputation and has generated various world champions, including the controversial, brilliant, and unique Bobby Fischer, who became an international grandmaster at the young age of 15 years old and the first American to be the world champion in 1972. The website on the chess federation for the United States is

For players who wish to explore options to learn and play online (Internet), there are countless options to create an online account and start to improve in the game. The sites used the most include:

As they say, Let’s play!

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