Charles Ferraro opens a new game with King’s pawn to e4, takes a sip of wine and looks out over his opponent’s shoulder as the setting sun illuminates the church spire across the street in Moore Park. It’s nice when a plan comes together.
For Ferraro, his plan to create the Westfield Chess Club has come together beautifully. Now thirty members strong, the club meets every Wednesday evening from 5 to 8 pm at Sapore Restaurant and Wine Bar in Westfield.
Ferraro, a resident of Westfield for over 20 years and long-time member of the Erie Chess Club, had wanted to start a club in Westfield for some time, but waited until his retirement to put his plan in action.
Chess is a game of strategy. So when Ferraro decided to move forward with the club, he mapped out an ingenious strategy to get the word out. In addition to printing posters to attract members, Ferraro printed bookmarks with information on the club and, with some help, went around to local libraries to insert the bookmarks in books about the game of chess. “It just made sense,” says Ferraro. “So we figured it would work.”
Demographically, the members of the club represent a true cross-section of the Westfield area population. From retirees like Ferraro to 8-year-old Josh, who sometimes has to leave early to get to soccer practice, the club is proof positive that the game of chess has broad appeal.
Bound by a love of the game and an enthusiasm for the club, members of all abilities and skill levels meet week after week to learn and share.
But it’s not all about chess. Ferraro believes Sapore’s relaxed atmosphere and picturesque location are part of the club’s appeal as well. “I really believe that’s a big part of why we’ve done so well,” he says, adding that Sapore owner Tony Pisicoli showed an enthusiasm for the club from the very beginning. “Tony’s been wonderful and you can’t beat the ambience,” says Ferraro.
Some Wednesdays there are several boards going, while other weeks there are only a few members present. Ferraro says the casual nature of the club suits its members well. “We’re here to play and enjoy ourselves. We don’t take things as seriously as some clubs, and that’s fine with us. It’s just a great night of entertainment.”
For information on the Westfield Chess Club, contact Charles Ferraro at email@example.com or 716-326-2815.
Sara F. Herrmann is a freelance writer and editor of www.westfieldny.com. She lives in Westfield with her husband Alan.