Maywood Chess Club Teaches Youths That ‘Life Is About Making the Right Move’


Gordon Hanson, founder of the Maywood Chess Club, teaches students moves on the ches board. Carter Dawson, far left, is among the club’s most accomplished players. | Courtesy Maywood Public Library 

Thursday, July 21, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || @village_free

Once a week, each Wednesday afternoon, around 15 kids descend on the Maywood Public Library for at least two hours and play a game that longtime Maywood resident Gordon Hanson, their coach, says teaches them about life.

“We learn that life is about making the right move,” Hanson said in a recent interview. “If you make a good move, you have a good consequence. The thing is, you have to know how to strategize and think several moves ahead in order to get the outcome you want.”

Hanson, a former library trustee, started the weekly Maywood Chess Club this year at the urging of library executive director Stan Huntington. It’s a move that Hanson now celebrates, noting that around 15 participants a week attend the club.

Carter Dawson, 11, is one of the club’s most accomplished players, having placed 18th in a statewide tournament that included 175 kids, according to Dawson’s count.

“Gordon always tells me chess can help you in the game of life,” said the young Maywood resident. “It’s a great exercise for school purposes, too.”

Hanson said the participants come from Maywood and the surrounding suburbs, such as Melrose Park. One kid, he said, is from North Dakota. He’s here visiting relatives for the summer, Hanson noted.

“We are fully cross-pollinated with other kids from other places,” Hanson said, adding that, in addition to attracting youth from other areas, he’s hoping to make alliances with chess clubs in the city like one started recently by the DuSable Museum of African American History.

“The museum’s community director and I have been talking and we’ll do a collaborative event in the future,” Hanson said. “In the meantime, we’ve invited them to come and play with us.” VFP

The chess club meets each Wednesday, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. through Aug. 31. For more info, contact Gordon Hanson at (773) 600-2187 or You can also click here.

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