The Southeast Arkansas Chess Board will host its first City-Wide Chess Challenge from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Barraque Plaza Park at Barraque and Pine streets.


Youths between the ages of 6-18 are eligible to participate. The event is free and the group hopes to attract youth from around the city who have an interest in chess, according to a news release.


Pre-registration is required and registration ends Thursday, May 29. The Chess Challenge includes free food and beverages, a T-shirt and a chance to win prizes.


Laverne Tyler chairs the planning committee.


“This is planned as a fun event,” he said. “We call it a challenge and not a competition because we want kids to come out and enjoy themselves and not think they are automatically disqualified because of the level of their chess skills. It is a fact that playing chess helps young people’s math and science education. We welcome all skill levels at this event. Chess is a win-win.”


New chess players or those who need to hone their skills can take advantage of some of the training aids that will be available on site. For those who don’t want to participate in the challenge but want to play amongst themselves, the event planners will have extra chess boards available, according to the release.


Tony Davis, Chess Master, U.S. Federation Life Master, will participate in the “Simul” – a match-up of 20 top winners of the Challenge, in which Davis will play them simultaneously. This event will be the highlight and the final match of the day.


Chess experts will be on hand to provide chess instructions and strategies for anyone interested in learning the game as well as acting as chess coaches for participants.


“We have some fine volunteers as our coaches who are experienced with working with chess events like this one and working with young people who play chess,” Tyler said.


Coaches are Terry Tanner, Jovonda Bonton, Earl Smith and Terrell Daniels.


Pre-registration is required for participant. Sign-in begins at 8 a.m. June 1. No registration forms will be accepted on June 1. Chess team leaders should contact Tyler for registration instructions. All registrants under 18 must have parental consent. Registration forms are available at the group’s Facebook page, Southeast AR Chess Board or picked up at Indigo Blue Coffeehouse, 212 W. Barraque St., Monday through Saturday.


Registration ends Thursday, May 29. Registration forms can be emailed to: searchess@yahoo.com .


For details or to volunteer, call Laverne Tyler, 870-329-4398, or Terry Tanner, 870-374-0420.


The sponsors are: Super One Foods, Southeast Arkansas Medical Network Inc., Indigo Blue Coffeehouse, Southeast Arkansas Chess Board and Councilman Bruce Lockett.