Local resident Ben Eubanks has been on a mission to bring chess to our neighborhoods and introduce a new generation to the centuries-old game. And he has found success! Every Wednesday, from 4:15 – 5:15pm, Ben leads the Playa Vista Chess Club at the Playa Vista Library where dozens of young people learn the “Game of Kings” and sharpen their skills while having fun and making new friends.
According to Eubanks, “Chess is the art of fighting without fighting…it requires mental focus, decision-making, mathematical analysis, and intellectual skills, rather than luck or chance.” He reminds students that chess players are better in school in all subjects, not just math; and that chess playing can lead to a myriad of opportunities for college scholarships.
Eubanks first became motivated to start local chess clubs after the 2008 senseless killing of Los Angeles High School football star, Jamal Shaw, in a gang shooting. Eubanks revealed, “[the incident] inspired me to develop an after-school program for kids as a safe-haven and a constructive activity.” Soon thereafter, he started his first club at Holman United Methodist Church. Today, that number has grown to six chess clubs across Los Angeles. Locally, Eubanks started chess clubs at the Venice Boys & Girls Club, Venice Abbot-Kinney Public Library, and Playa Vista Public Library. He has also hosted a variety of chess tournaments that have attracted talent from all over the state. LMU has been a proud sponsor and host of one of these tournaments for the past three years.
Eubanks himself is a rated US Chess Federation Tournament Player. He is a mostly self-taught player who began playing at age 8. When he is not volunteering his time teaching chess to youth, he runs his own real estate brokerage firm, Royal Hawaiian Realty, Inc. in Marina Del Rey.
To learn more about the Playa Vista Chess Club, visit http://www.lapl.org/whats-on/events/playa-vista-chess-club.