“Check” out outdoor chess in NC

Let’s face it: we’ve all had to modify our lives since COVID’s arrival in early 2020. We’ve successfully moved many indoor activities outdoors, and chess is no exception. Here in North Carolina, the winters are mild enough for folks to play outdoor chess year-round, making it a safe and fun option for everyone. 

If you’re looking to get a game going on an outdoor board, here are some safe spaces from west to east in NC that you can “check” out:

Pritchard Park, Asheville – stone tables, bring your own pieces

Winston Square Park, Winston-Salem – metal table, bring your own pieces

NC Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill – giant chess set

Church Street Park, Morrisville – concrete chess tables, bring your own pieces

Playtime in the Park, Downtown Park, Cary – chess table, bring your own pieces

Fayetteville Street, Raleigh – stone chess tables, bring your own pieces

Moore Square Park, Raleigh – view the Moore Square Programs and Events Calendar and look for the regularly scheduled 10am – 5pm “Game On!” events which include giant and regular chess

Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh – giant chess inside museum, admission required 

Artsplosure, Raleigh – giant chess set provided by Moncure Chessworks

Sheppard Memorial Library, Greenville – keys to the giant chess set are available at the library front desk


There is also a chess park proposed for Mebane.

Please let us know about any other outdoor chess spaces in NC, and we’ll update this article.

Library Chess Resumes

One of our goals at the Indermaur Chess Foundation is to promote and support chess clubs in public libraries around North Carolina (see Libraries Up Their Game By Adding Chess).

When COVID arrived in 2020, the libraries took a hit like everything else, and chess was suspended.  We were excited to learn that the chess club at the Eden Public Library, in Rockingham County, has been up and running again since October with 10 children and 4 adults regularly participating.  Rachel, the coordinator, said that the children have had a blast getting to know one another across the board and are even enjoying their own inside jokes.  She’s planning on hosting a tournament in the spring, and we’re looking forward to hearing all about it!

If you’d like to start a chess club at your local NC library, please apply for our Game Changer Program.

Libraries Up Their Game By Adding Chess

It’s no secret that libraries have always been wonderful gathering places for folks of all ages within their communities. While everyone expects that they’ll offer not only the best books and, occasionally, even a few lectures or classes, did you know that some also host “Gaming Day” programs?  Many of the rural libraries that we’ve reached out to have already set aside a specific time of the week to provide board games for their patrons in order to foster a little friendly competition among both old and young, alike.  Now, they’re upping the ante by adding chess to the mix.

While plenty of games offer a brain boost, chess is different.  It’s an “activity that has been shown to improve cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence, and academic performance as well as being fun,” writes a 32-year veteran elementary school teacher and librarian in rural N.C.  “Playing chess gives your brain a workout and develops beneficial skills, such as problem solving, strategic thinking, and concentration that spill over into other intellectual pursuits,” says a librarian who is constantly on the look-out for personal enrichment activities for members of the community.  Even though some have admitted to being a bit intimidated by the game, they are willing to learn by going through the workbooks we provide in order to instruct their patrons.  After that, they can all continue learning together.

One of the most common reasons these librarians want to start a club is their desire to bring an intergenerational community together. The relationships that are sure to develop between players of different ages will strengthen community ties. While it can be a challenge to find activities that appeal to such a broad age range, chess can close that gap. It’s a game for the ages, because it’s a game for all ages. A few of the librarians who reached out to us have plans to contact their local high school chess clubs for ideas, instruction, and inspiration, while others will leverage the partnerships they have with the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and their local homeschool association.  As one woman wrote, “Libraries are well positioned to promote the Game Changer Program.”