Enthusiastic chatter punctuated the air in the library Thursday as students waited to begin their second meeting of the newly-formed Chess Club at Resurrection Catholic School.
Students arrived early obviously anxious to get started, so Mark Wood set out the portable chess boards and let students warm up before the 3 p.m. start.
Wood owns Wood Enrichment Services. His company provides two instructors for each of six sessions at a cost of $30 for each student.
Victoria, one of three girls among the 16 members, joined because she wants to play with her uncle.
“He tried to teach me but it wasn’t really working well,” she said. Her partner Payton had learned chess from her classmate Sarah Hernandez who isn’t in the club.
Many students were already familiar with the game and had learned from someone they know.
“It’s really stressful. After a while, you have to think strategically,” said Noel who plays sometimes on weekends with friends and family.
“I never saw such motivated kids in my whole life,” Mark Wood said. His ultimate objective is teaching “love of the game.”
The business is a retirement job for him and for his assistant Joe Weber, a former high school chess coach “who can remember every single move in a game after it’s over,” Wood said.
Wood is licensed by the U.S. Chess Federation. He is a former school administrator and educator who taught enrichment classes. He runs seminars, workshops and clubs in the Lancaster area for students and senior citizens.
The Resurrection Chess Club is open to students in grades 3-8. The session runs through Oct. 27 and meets Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m.