History

Bloomington, Indiana, has always had chess players either affiliated to the Indiana University Chess Club or meeting around town for chess games. At the beginning of the millenium, Steve Volan, a chess player and owner of The Cinemat video store, sponsored chess in town through the creation of Bloomington Indiana Community & Youth Chess League (BICYCLe). Players used to meet Tuesday evenings at The Cinemat to participate in seasonal League Games. After a few years, players moved to Tuesday meetings at Steffano's Cafe when The Cinemat was unable to keep hosting meetings. In 2007, Tuesday meetings moved to El Norteño Restaurant and on September 2008 meetings moved to The Irish Lion Restaurant & Pub, still in Bloomington's downtown area. On that same year, regular chess players attending Tuesday meetings decided to join the United States Chess Federation and registered as the Bloomington Chess Club. Three years later, on April 2012, Ed Schwartzman, owner of BuffaLouie's and a chess player, offered the club meeting space at his restaurant and the club moved its Tuesday meetings to the Gables building in Indiana Avenue.

During all those years the Indiana University Chess Club (Chess Club at IU) had become inactive although players still met regularly every Sunday evening at the Indiana Memorial Union. In 2008, the IU Chess Club was reactivated as an official student organization and hosted its first USCF-rated tournament in many years in November 2008. After a few years of inactivity, it was resurrected by Emily Tallo, Natasha Short and Gerry Roberts in 2014. The Chess Club at IU is now a very active organization, running rated and unrated tournaments around campus.

During the last few years Bloomington's scholastic chess has seen great strides with the creation of chess club programs in local schools coached by talented young adults and Sunday meetings of the Bloomington Indiana Scholastic Chess Club (BISCC) with Tiffany Tsui at the helm. This, together with the efforts of Joanne Audretsch at the University Elementary Chess Club, has promoted a recent chess revival in the Bloomington area and South-Central Indiana.

Chess is alive and well here. You just need to come out and play.