Your move

Public library now offers chess club



The Salvation Army in Marshalltown used to have a chess club as part of its youth program. But once that program was cut, participants started to dwindle and the club was disbanded.

One of the regulars there was Jaleb Jay, a math major from Iowa State University and an avid chess player. He participated in the club for the past 10 years, hoping it would continue even after it was officially disbanded.

“I wanted to try and bring the club to the library,” Jay said. “I knew people in town still liked to play and they’d get involved.”

And so now, the Marshalltown Public Library has established a new club and interested participants are being encouraged to join in the fun.

Jay said that most people who play chess tend to do so online, but he wanted to get people out playing against each other in person.

During his time at ISU, he was also part of that chess club. He also taught elementary students how to play.

“The game is starting to die out but I want to make sure it stays relevant,” Jay said.

The club at the library is open to all ages and all experience levels. The first meeting took place June 11. Ten chess sets are available for use, donated by Hank Anzis of the Salvation Army.

The next meeting is scheduled for this Sunday, June 25 with sign-ups at the door. The plan is to operate the club every other Sunday at the library from 1-3 p.m.

Joa LaVille, head of Youth Services at the library, helped to coordinate the club.

“We’ve known Jaleb for a few years, he grew up here and was also part of the Volunteen program,” she said.

The club has had a positive impact on participants since its days back with Salvation Army.

“One of our other volunteer coordinators used to be part of it,” LaVille said. “It’s also nice to see an inter-generational program where people can share their interests.”

Jay knows chess goes beyond the moving pieces and logic behind it.

“Chess is something that can help people with various things in their life,” he said. “Some people use it to keep them focused, others to calm themselves.”

To find out more information, visit the Marshalltown Public Library’s Facebook page.


Contact Mike Burvee at (641) 753-6611 or