Ten-year-old Seth Bergeron is looking for a few good kids.
The Thibodaux boy is an aspiring chess champ, and he hopes to recruit and teach others to play chess at his new club at The Foundry on the Bayou, 715 W. First St., Thibodaux.
The chess club will meet from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursdays beginning in July, and any adults and kids who like to play chess are invited. Children must be supervised by adults.
“Chess is the world’s favorite game,” Seth said. “A lot of people like to play it on the internet. I’m hoping to get more people together to play.”
You don’t have to be an expert at chess. Seth said he’s willing to teach beginners.
Seth started playing chess when he was 6-years-old, mom Amy Bergeron Good said, after she gave him a book on the classic game.
“From the moment I started playing it I fell in love with it,” Seth said. “It works your mind.”
Chess is a family game. His 6-year-old sister also plays.
He also has a 2-year-old sibling who “likes to pick up the pieces and move them around,” Seth said.
Seth began taking lessons from a local National Master of chess, Thibodaux resident Mike Papa Jr., owner of Mike Papa’s Haircrafters, who published a book on chess, “The Papa Gambit vs. the French Defense,” in 1991. National Master is a title given by the United States Chess Federation to expert chess players.
Seth has competed in as many as 10 chess tournaments since last year, and he has the medals and trophies to prove it. In April, he won first place in eLearning’s annual chess tournament. He is a student at the school.
Earlier this month, he competed in the Susan Polgar National Open Chess Tournament in New Orleans, where he played others from across the country in the kindergarten through fifth grade division.
Polgar, a Hungarian-born chess grandmaster who now runs chess programs across the United States, signed a shirt and chessboard for Seth.
Seth said he hopes to be a grandmaster one day himself.
It was at that tournament that Seth said he got the idea for the local chess club.
In New Orleans, there are lots of competitive chess clubs, but Seth said he only knows a few people from the Thibodaux area who play.
Seth said he hopes to meet enough kids who enjoy playing chess to put together a team that could travel to New Orleans to compete in chess tournaments.
Chess helps with your memory skills, logic, and problem-solving skills, Seth said. It also helps with your attention span because you have to pay close attention when playing a game.
You always have to think ahead while playing chess, helping with your reasoning and judgement.
You also have to be able to foresee consequences.
In some countries, Seth said, chess is actually taught as a class in school. It has been shown to help students with science and math, he added.
“If you’re a student, chess can help with your studies in school,” Seth said.
In addition to chess, Seth enjoys drawing and painting, singing, hip-hop dancing and acting in plays, mom Bergeron Good said.
He’ll be performing as the Cat in the Hat in the Thibodaux Playhouse’s “Seussical the Musical,” starting Wednesday.
He also won first place in the state social-studies fair in Lake Charles for his project, “Astronauts: Is This a Job Near Extinction.”
If any adults or kids interested in joining Seth’s chess club can stop by The Foundry on the Bayou on Thursdays or call Seth and his mom at 414-5324 or 446-2730.
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– GM Susan Polgar