Celebrating Chess at the 2014 Festival in the Park

National Master Russell Potter retires after conducting 35-years of BEAT THE MASTER contests at this year's Festival In The Park.

Roanoke Valley Chess Club's activities at the 2014 FESTIVAL IN THE PARK CELEBRATION were once again, a big success this year. Once again, Festival was held over the Memorial Day weekend on May 25th & 26th. This year, the Chess Club was featured at the bottom of the hill at street level in historic Elmwood Park. Elmwood Park is at the corner of Jefferson Strreet and Elm Ave. in downtown Roanoke.

The weather this year was probably the BEST that we have had for Festival in YEARS. The sun wasn't too hot, the shade trees were leafy, there were no bees, there was no big wind and there was NO RAIN !!

Attendees arrived to find a well-organized presentation with tables, chairs, chess equipment and information brochures all ready for action. All of this was due to the Herculean efforts of club President Mike Huff. Mike was ably assisted by club stalwart Sam Kennedy.

In between the Beat The Master simultaneous exhibitions, veteran club members played newcomers to our chess festival. A number of tips on game improvement were passed out to several hundred Festival passers-by who saw the chess sets and boards. Many visitors stopped by for more information about the club, and local chess in the area. Lots of club cards with contact information were handed out. Eleven new people were added to the club's e-mail contact list !

Three-time Virginia State Champion NM Russell Potter held two simultaneous exhibitions on Saturday and two on Saturday, to see if anyone out there would "Beat the Master". "Rusty" has been doing these outdoors at the Park for 35 years ! Somewhat sadly, this year was Rusty's "Swan Song" as he will be discontinuing his popular Beat The Master simuls for Festival.

Rusty WILL however, do an occasional INDOOR simul to help raise $$ for the club.

However, good news. Beginning in 2015, President Mike Huff and the other members of the club will return to our former "Chess Festival" format at Elmwood Park. There will be free lessons, tips about chess computers, online sites, chess sets, clocks and books. There will also be speed games, free prizes for those that beat RVCC members in individual games, chess equipment exhibitions, free chess magazines, and ETC !

Rusty finished this year's exhibitions by going undefeated. However, he did NOT win all of his games, but was tagged for THREE draws ! The prize winners are listed below.

Winners for our "Beat The Master" Competition:

2:00 PM - SATURDAY
Toughest to Beat Josh Lewis
2nd Toughest to Beat Tim Wilson
3rd Toughest to Beat (tie) Sam Kennedy
3rd Toughest to Beat (tie) Frank Myers
I DREW THE MASTER ! Wally Lewis
I DREW THE MASTER ! Richard White


2:00 PM - SUNDAY
Toughest to Beat Randy Davis
2nd Toughest to Beat Donny Doyle
3rd Toughest to Beat Nikolai Smith
I DREW THE MASTER ! Richard White


5:00 PM - SUNDAY
Toughest to Beat Richard White
2nd Toughest to Beat Frank Myers
3rd Toughest to Beat Jason Le


We want to thank all of the volunteers who did volunteer work that made this possible: Richard White, Sam Kennedy, Wally Lewis, Frank Myers, President Mike Huff and Rusty Potter. We also appreciate chess magazine donations made to the club from Bob Montague and from Dr. Randy Davis. Over 100 free magazines were passed out to lots of eager fingers at Festival !

Mike made the arrangements, wrangled most of the equipment for TWO days, negotiated with the city and worked until 9:00 pm putting equipment away at our headquarters after everything else was done.

Outstanding job Mike !!

Special thanks to NM Russell Potter for publicizing and playing in, the two Beat The Master contests both for this year and the previous 34 years. As always, Rusty never charges for these exhibitions, but donates his time to help promote both the club as well as chess in the Valley in general.

Well done Chess Master, well done.

We all enjoyed the food, the music and the watching of all of the pretty girls that walked by. Oh yeah, we also really liked the all day, non-stop CHESS !!

This event is part of the Roanoke Valley Chess Club's ongoing commitment to promote chess in the region, and as always, is 100% FREEE to the general public.

( Submitted by the Officers, with special details supplied by Mike Huff and Rusty Potter. )