The Farmington Chess Club meets weekly at the Farmington Community Center on Thursday mornings. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Chess Club, founded by chess enthusiast Glenn Miller has quickly become a cornerstone of the community for players of all ages and skill levels to enjoy the game of chess. Miller, who has been passionate about chess since childhood, shared insights into the club’s journey, its impact on the community, and its plans.

“I am a chess enthusiast and have been for a very long time. It has been a passion of mine since I have been a kid. And my wife plays too,” said Miller, reflecting on his lifelong love for the game. “My wife and I moved to Farmington about two and half years ago and there was not a chess club. We have always been in a town with a chess club.” Miller said he started a chess club at a charter school he founded when he was in Colorado.

The club’s success is evident in its weekly meetings, which attract an average of a dozen participants, ranging from adults to homeschool students as young as 10. Miller emphasized the inclusive nature of chess, describing it as a “game across generations.” Miller said, “I think it is a fantastic representation of the connections the game can make for people.”

“It’s been really quite a success,” Miller said. “The club meets weekly now and has for a year and a half since we formed and we, on average throughout the year probably have a dozen people that show up each time. It is more popular in summer and less popular in winter.”

“Serious chess players really enjoy getting together for official sanctioned rated tournaments,” Miller said. “They also love casual games, like the weekly games at the Farmington Community Center.

The club’s crowning achievement thus far has been its annual tournament held on National Chess Day, celebrated the second Saturday in October. Last year’s tournament drew an impressive turnout of 42 participants, making it one of the biggest tournaments in the state. Miller expressed pride in the event’s success and highlighted its role in promoting chess in the region.


“We got a giant turnout. Which was among the biggest tournaments in the state and we had the biggest prize fund in the state for the year,” Miller stated. “We will do it again this year.”

Charlie Creswell claimed the championship with a crucial draw against former Maine state champion Aaron Spencer. Loki Drisko won the overall cash prize of $220 with a perfect 4-0 record in the “Puffin” section, while An “Alfie” Nguyen triumphed in the “Lobster” section, earning $200.

The tournament, held at the Farmington Community Center, offers prizes for various categories, including trophies for winners and additional awards for women, unrated players, and those who promote the game online. Miller emphasized the club’s commitment to inclusivity and its efforts to boost participation among all segments of the community.

“I want to make chess in Maine a booming success,” Miller declared. “There is a state chess association, MECA and I am on the board of that. We are doing all we can to promote chess.” Miller said promoting chess in an innate community often starts with kids.

“It’s a fantastic way for kids to get legitimate self-esteem,” Miller said. “You can imagine a 10-year-old for the first time beating their parents at something, something meaningful, like a chess game where their parent didn’t give them the win, but they earned it. That kind of honest, real earned self-esteem is something that you can’t get in any other way.”

Miller said chess is a great tool for gaining some maturity as a kid and changing the worldview they are in.


“It’s a fantastic game to learn resiliency. It’s a tough lesson to learn,” Miller said. “They see they can get back up again.”

In addition to organizing tournaments and weekly meetings, the Farmington Chess Club engages with the community through events like Summerfest, where it sets up a booth to introduce chess to attendees and provide interactive experiences, such as simultaneous chess matches with Miller himself.

“We try to get the word out to people of all ages to come join us weekly,” Miller said.  He said they set up chess boards and Miller plays three people at once. Miller said they all play simultaneously, ganging up trying to beat the local champion [Miller].

The Farmington Chess Club had a booth at the Summerfest last year. Pictured at right is Glenn Miller playing multiple games of chess at once. Submitted photo

They gave a little trophy to each winner. “We gave out nine trophies that day, and we had chess puzzles set up and my wife was also a chess player was coordinating the puzzles and handing out prizes and keychains and the booth was busy all day. It was a delight,” Miller said.

“It is a club, it is open to everybody, all ages, no appointment, just show up. If you are a new beginner, we will teach you,” Miller said, highlighting the club’s inclusivity.

“I was a director for the State Women’s Championship and the state Girls High School Championship in Dover Foxcroft a few weeks ago,” Miller said. “It was really touching and lovely to see that the rooms were filled with girls and women playing chess. Sometimes it’s not inclusive enough when girls and women play chess, because it can seem like a male dominated activity.”


Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, chess has experienced a resurgence, with online platforms and events like the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” sparking renewed interest in the game. Miller acknowledged the impact of these developments and emphasized the club’s commitment to adapting and growing alongside the evolving landscape of chess.

“That was extraordinary. It more than tripled the online activity,” Miller said. “It turned it into effectively a spectator sport online. And so right now, even if players can’t show up on our weekly meetings in the morning, we have an online Farmington chess club. And that’s available all the time.”

As the Farmington Chess Club continues to thrive, Miller said he and his fellow members remain dedicated to their mission of promoting chess, fostering community connections, and providing a welcoming space for enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the game.

The Farmington Chess Club meets Thursday mornings, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For more details, check out the club’s website.

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