Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 5.59.59 PMBy William Kinbacher

My first chess games were against my father and brothers but I can’t recall actually learning the movements of pieces or strategy. Chess is a game that once learned becomes a part of your life and something you return to ever determined to develop your ability and overcome an opponent. Like many things in life it is something you can devote hours to the study of. Unlike many games there is no luck or chance in chess. It is a game built on a defined set of rules and ability comes through hard work developing your skill in the multitude of strategies of the game. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what level your game is at. From beginner to grand master everyone can find a partner to play against who is at your level. To improve though, one must find better players to play against so that your game can develop.

Tournaments The first tournament I organized in this region was at “Beth’s Café” Shambhala, Zipolite Beach in 2001. Since then there has been a steady flow of tournaments in Zipolite, the last was in 2010 at Peter’s Pan. At the time of writing this article I am organizing the 7th Zipolite Beach 2012 Chess tournament. Each tournament has a theme name and we build an atmosphere around it. Beth’s Café tournament was followed by “The Ice Queen”, “The Lady in the Moon”, “The House on the Hill”, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and lastly “Hasta la Victoria Siempre”. This year’s tournament will be named “Such is Life” or “Asi es la Vida”.

It has been fortunate over the history of tournaments in Zipolite that a local business has supported us by providing a venue. We try and make the tournaments fun so a range of people can enter into the spirit of the event. Ultimately, the most serious players make their way to the top but we have a variety of players at different levels; complete beginners, those in it for fun to the hard edge aficionados. We want people to have fun and enjoy the tournaments and we leave the serious side take care of itself. In the last few years Pochutla and Santa Cruz Huatulco have hosted tournaments as well.

The Future We hope in the long term to establish a regional tournament structure to provide an avenue for local amateur players throughout the region to compete. We have Chess groups at various stages of evolution in Santa Cruz Huatulco, Pochutla and Zipolite. Puerto Escondido has players but we have yet to formalize a relationship. We will continue to build relations with other Chess groups as we work towards a regional program. A greater effort is required to work with young people and to encourage their involvement. Chess offers a pathway into the wider world and global community. Chess groups working at grass roots level offering such avenues will prove to be a valuable community asset.

Chess is a positive way for young people to direct their energy. The more communities on the coastal region that offer young people chances to develop positively, the more may take up such opportunities to explore the world outside their local community. Chess teaches mental discipline, concentration and strategy development, it also teaches sportsmanship in its many facets. Learning how to win and lose, to be competitive while controlling aggression, respect, are to name just a few. Most importantly one develops interpersonal skills as Chess is a social game. It provides an avenue to reach out and bridge the gap between people.

Chess is a great leveler. Outcast to King, everything comes down to the game and things that separate dissolve around respect for the Chess itself. If you are interested in being involved contact William Kinbacher at