Waterville Chess Club Flyer

About the Waterville Chess Club & Frequently Asked Questions

How to Join the Waterville Chess Club

Becoming a Waterville Chess Club member is easy: just ask! Contact: Don Smallidge.

The only requirement of membership in the club is a desire to play (or learn to play) chess. We try to offer many different ways to particpate (in person over the board chess, online chess games, ad hoc chess games, chess instruction, contacts with other chess organizations, and a lending library of chess books). We are all volunteers and for the time being there are no out-of-pocket costs to be a member. Chess tournaments do require a modest financial commitment (which varies, depending on the tournament). Our club is focused more on playing games, not so much on tournament play, but we will help you find ways to participate in local tournaments if that is your interest. We have a limited number of chessboards and pieces, and no chess clocks at the moment. We encourage use of a clock and recording games, but we are not "religious" about them [definitely not a requirement]. Feel free to attend a meeting and ask questions to find your comfort level with our approach.

REM Community Initiative

After many years at the First Baptist Church in Waterville under Mark McPheters' leadership, the Waterville Chess Club became a REM Community Initiative. A "Dream" is an idea fueled by passion. REM welcomes and supports citizens who join hands to build dreams into realities. We call these projects "Community Initiatives."

We had been meeting every Monday night (since November 11th, 2019) at 31 Temple Street, Waterville (the REM Center, across the street from the Lebanese Cuisine restaurant) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. until the COVID-19 crisis. Be advised that the club is still officially hunkering down. We had been playing online (March 2020 to June 2021) from 6 pm to 8 pm (with an optional Zoom session to facilitate communication among the players). Conditions improved significantly at the beginning of summer (partly due to the good vaccination rate in Maine). As a result, we started meeting in person again in Pittsfield or Oakland or Waterville (but when and where to hold the meetings varies from week to week, so be sure to consult the latest email for specifics); we have no plans to start meeting again at the Waterville REM space at this time.

Maine Chess Association [MECA]

The Waterville Chess Club is also affiliated with the Maine Chess Association. The Maine Chess Association (MECA) is a statewide, incorporated, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes various chess related activities in Maine such as United States Chess Federation rated tournaments, match play between local chess clubs and scholastic events.


Governor Mills ended the State of Civil Emergency on June 30th. We began to play in person again (cautiously and with masks in the presence of unvaccinated players and younger players). For now we are limiting the length of the meetings to just under 3 hours. We are keeping an eye on the latest news about the Delta variant and 'breakthrough' cases in Maine.

Let us know about your comfort level to help us decide how best to accommodate all club members; we can offer in-person live chess games, online chess games (including Zoom meetings).

Click on the Flourish map below for a Bangor Daily News article updated daily with the latest statistics [the map shown is from November 14th, 2021]. The trend is not good, so I might have to return to online meetings at some point. Each one of us will need to decide whether they are comfortable playing in person. If you wish to return to playing online games, speak up.
COVID-19 community transmission levels in Maine

In Person Chess

Several members of the Waterville Chess Club expressed a desire to get back to playing over the board in-person chess games. New reported cases of COVID-19 had diminished recently to the point that we felt it was safe to play in person in small groups (and especially if you are vaccinated).

We continue to have weekly club meetings in person in the greater Waterville area, but schedule online meetings whenever in-person meetings are not possible (but when and where to hold the meetings varies from week to week, so be sure to consult the landing page for specifics).

Note: I send an email to our regular mailing list shortly before the day of the meetings with information about where and how we will meet.

Online Chess

We had been meeting online since March 30th of 2020. Evan Annis (Camden Chess Club) has set up his club online at lichess.org; I set up a team on chess.com for those who cannot play on Lichess. For the time being, we encourage you to join either the Camden Online Chess Club [if you are more comfortable with the lichess.org user interface] or the Waterville Online Chess Club [if you are more comfortable with the chess.com user interface] (or both). Feel free to join us on lichess.org at the "Camden Chess Club" Community Chess Team [Evan has graciously invited us to share his online space]. We send out an email invitation to meet online (optionally using Zoom, which allows us to talk to each other while we play). If you are on our mailing list, a link to join the online club meetings will be sent in the club email. Note: We plan to continue sending out a weekly email announcing our plans to play either online or in person, depending on availability of a location to play in person. If you need help joining either online club (or if you have questions about our plans), just drop us an email. We are actively exploring the possibility of having a tournament with the Camden Chess Club on lichess.org at some point; for now, just contact Evan to join our Friday Rapid Arena mini non-rated tournaments.

Camden Chess Club Online Waterville Chess Club Online

Ad Hoc Chess

We also occasionally play informally at these locations by appointment during the day or in the early evening (check websites for details): MOST ARE NOW OPEN (SOME WITH RESTRICTIONS: FACE MASKS, SOCIAL DISTANCING)

Chess and Coffee at the Warehouse

I have a list of club members who wish to arrange to play in-person games outside of our regular meetings. If you want to be on that list, provide me with your phone number and optionally, a list of days you are available to play; I will provide your contact information to those who wish to play live games. Reminder: Our rule at the club is to keep email addresses and phone numbers confidential unless you give me permission to share that with other members.

Once you are added to the list, I will send the updated list to all participants. It will then be up to you to make arrangements with the other players directly. You are welcome to do any combination of the options suggested above (or you can suggest new opportunities for us to consider).

We don't record all our games, but we encourage recording games and playing with a chess clock [which is not required for casual games]. We welcome players of all strengths. Currently we have several chessboards, but feel free to bring your own chessboard, pieces and chess clock if you have them [we are very short on chess clocks at the moment].

Where to find resources about chess?

Maybe a better question would be "Is there any place that I cannot find resources about chess?" The short answer is: Google is your friend. Our site has links to various chess sites: (if you want to play chess on the internet, click on the Chess Sites menu above), the Maine Chess Association (MECA), the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF), and International Chess Federation (FIDE), all accessible from the menus at the top of this web site.

More recently, many people are taking advantage of YouTube for videos about famous games, and tutorials about various aspects of the game. The Info tab on this web site has a selection of links to various informational videos and tutorials about chess. Finally, we have our own library of books donated by members (some of which are even for sale) on the Library tab.

If you are looking for a good reason to play more chess, check out what Ben Franklin had to say about chess!

Cat and Mouse Playing Chess
Cat and Mouse Playing Chess. Coffee cups and shower curtains available.

According to an article on Chess.com, there are an enormous number of books and articles about chess:

From Oxford Companion: "In 1949, B.H. Wood suggested in the ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS that the total number was about 20,000. Since then there has been a steady anual increase in the number of chess publications."
I suspect now the number is closer to 100,000.
[edit: in 1913 the number was estimated at 5,000]
If you change "Chess Books" to "Chess Literature" the number probably goes into the millions, with daily newspaper columns etc.