By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — In thanks to George Meister for his dedication to encouraging the game of chess at All Saints Catholic School, the chess club is now called the Chess Meisters.
Principal Jeanne VonFeldt said Meister formed the club seven years ago – before she arrived. “He even started a tournament here, which saw some pretty big schools come,” she noted. Club turnout has grown and the game is offered year-round. Numbers fluctuate due to sports and other extracurricular activities.
Meister said he found out through his connections that All Saints wanted to start a chess club. “They asked for a coach and I volunteered.”
When the club first started, he noted, it was mostly boys who participated. As the years passed, the club balanced out between boys and girls and now leans toward more girls.
He said he brought chess magazines and showed students different chess skills to get them engaged. Most are beginners when they join the club, but some have experience, he said.
Students in grades 2-8 are eligible to play.
All Saints teacher Eileen O’Brien said each week Meister encouraged and taught students that chess can be fun. “It’s good for your brain,” she said. But now he’s retiring from his role. “We will miss him,” O’Brien added. But the club will remember Meister’s dedication by naming the club in his honor.
Seventh-grader Alina Maca said Meister taught her chess moves and strategies. “Can you come help us?” she asked Meister. He said he will come back now and then.
Third-grader Inara Wiegand said Meister taught her chess moves to help her win. “I’m really sad that you are going,” she told him.
Fifth-grader Owen Herrman said, “I was kind of bad at chess. You improved me ten-fold.”
The Chess Meisters will continue under the leadership of O’Brien and others who have offered to help.