HuaraChess is the clever name given to the multi-cultural children’s chess club that draws a crowd of eager young players and adult coaches to the Lake Chapala Society gazebo every Saturday, from noon to 1 p.m.
The program’s popularity prompted the recent launch of Sunday sessions held at the Ajijic Plaza, 1 p.m., in the shaded area between the Rosario Chapel and the Centro Cultural. Chess boards, game pieces and instruction are provided free of charge.
The club was founded by bilingual Ajijic businessman Roberto Serrano, with the aim of introducing the game to children and building a diverse community of chess enthusiasts at lakeside. He is assisted by a group of mostly English-speaking grown-ups who volunteer to teach kids the basics of the game, mentor as they master moves and strategies, and supervise matches between beginner and advanced players.
Playing chess has multiple benefits for young minds. It helps boost concentration, memory and reading abilities, increase attention span, and develop strategic thinking and problem solving skills. The game stimulates both sides of the brain, raising the IQ and increasing creativity.
Bringing together children as young as five and senior expats, HuaraChess has evolved into a congenial circle of sharp-minded friends, bridging generational, language and nationality gaps. New players, their parents and adult tutors are welcome to join the club.