Celebrating Chess at the 2011 Festival in the Park
NM Russell Potter gets stung for a draw

Roanoke Valley Chess Club's activities at the 2011 FESTIVAL IN THE PARK CELEBRATION were once again, a big success this year. This year, Festival was held over the Memorial Day weekend. As always, the Chess Club was featured at the top of the picturesque hill in historic Elmwood Park. Elmwood Park is at the corner of Jefferson Strreet and Elm Ave. in downtown Roanoke.

The weather this year was probably the BEST that we have had for Festival in YEARS. The sun wasn't too hot, the shade tree was cool and leafy, there were no bees, there was no big wind and there was NO RAIN !!

Attendees arrived to find a well-organized presentation with tables, chairs, chess equipment and information brochures all ready for action.

On Saturday, May 28th, three-time Virginia State Champion NM Russell Potter held two simultaneous exhibitions to see if anyone out there would "Beat the Master". "Rusty" has been doing these at the Park for about 30 years ! He did NOT win ALL of his games this year however. He claims to have been "dead lost" against both Lynell Franklin as well as Club V.P. Eric Diaz. Rusty says that he "lucked out" a win against Lynell. However, Eric nipped the Master for a draw in his game. This was the only game that Rusty failed to win in his two formal exhibitions. Congratulations Eric !

On Sunday, May 29th, the club held a Chess All Day exhibition, with veteran club members playing newcomers at the Park. Many tips on game improvement were passed out to several hundred Festival passers-by who saw the chess sets and boards. Many visitors stopped by for more information about the club, and local chess in the area. Lots of club cards with contact information were handed out. In all, more than a dozen new people were added to the club's e-mail contact list as a result of the club's weekend chess festival !

Over 100 people stopped by and participated in our Saturday festival and over 30 in our Sunday exhibition.

We want to thank all of the volunteers who made this possible : President Richard White, V.P. Eric Diaz, V.P. Mike Huff, Treasurer Josh Lilly and Board Chairman Rusty Potter all chipped in and did lots of work. This work included the picking up and returning of chess equipment to the club, setting up, then breaking down, 6 tables, all of the folding chairs, 12 sets and boards, markers, chess clocks, publicity brochures, a table easel. ribbons & medals, the club banner and laminated signs !!

Special thanks to NM Russell Potter for publicizing and playing in, the two Beat The Master contests.

Thanks a bunch fellas; you were terrific !!

We all enjoyed the food, the music and watching all of the pretty girls that walked by.

Oh yeah, we also really liked the all day, non-stop CHESS !!

We know that the playing of chess fosters improvements in memory, calculation and visualization skills, and planning.

We love chess and we really believe in its benefits for people in the Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas !

This event is part of the Roanoke Valley Chess Club's ongoing commitment to promote chess in the region, and as always, is 100% FREEE to the general public.

( Report submitted by Richard White with assistance from Russell Potter. )