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Chess tournaments commence at General Store

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Spearheaded by owner Glen McComb, the Bandera General Store began its monthly chess tournaments earlier this year. The event will continue the first Monday of every month and is open to the public, from beginners to virtuosos and all levels in between.

The January tournament had a fitting turnout of players, including a 12-year-old chess protégé who takes lessons from a master three days a week.

The February tournament had a low attendance of just one person, which may have been due to the cold snap that hit Bandera during that week. Regardless, McComb was dissatisfied with that number and is calling out to the community to join the Monday night event on the store’s Facebook page.

“Almost everything in Bandera is geared towards tourism, and we’ve had this store for 10 years. As the biggest store in Bandera, I want to do things to get more people involved,” said McComb. “That’s why we started the Gingerbread House Contest and the Children’s art Contest. We open up on Christmas day for people that have no place to go.”

In speaking with several people over a period of time, McComb found they had an interest in a chess club.

“We could do it here, I have the space.” said McComb.

So, on the first Monday of each month, he closes the store at 5 p.m. for the chess participants.

McComb plans to continue the chess tournaments for one year to see how it develops. Currently, the chess tournament runs in a casual manner, sans chess clocks and special scoring. As more people attend, the standard rules of a chess tournament can be introduced.

“Hopefully, more and more people will get involved. I think it just takes momentum,” shared McComb.

The General Store, located on Main Street, is over 100 years old and houses its own resident ghost, Henry. Among their vast array of Texas souvenirs, gifts, local jams and salsas, boots, hats, jewelry, candies, and ice cream, the General Store features an old-fashioned soda fountain, one of only 11 original soda fountains left in the state of Texas.

McComb quipped, “Golf & chess are very similar because you can learn both in about 20 minutes but it takes a lifetime to master.”

The next tournament is Monday, March 7. The General Store invites all young and old.

“Chess is a war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent’s mind.” - Bobby Fischer