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Meet Karen Boyd of Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Boyd.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was a regular tournament player in the local chess community — my son Archer had gotten me interested in playing chess — and we noticed the lack of a chess center in the Atlanta area. Most large cities have at least one chess center. When I married GM Ben Finegold in December 2016, he relocated to Georgia and needed to find work for himself.

Of course, he gives private lessons as part of his work, but we both felt like he needed to find more than that to occupy himself. So, the idea of starting a chess center was born.

We knew early on that it would take both of us to do it. The licensing process was a bit daunting, but once we got past a few issues we were full steam ahead!

Has it been a smooth road?
As I mentioned, the licensing/permitting process was difficult. When you change the use of a commercial space, you are then forced to hire an architect to re-evaluate the building and fire codes for a new use. This resulted in a more extensive build out than we had anticipated. We got lucky that the shopping center owner absorbed a good portion of the cost.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta story. Tell us more about the business.
Our Chess Center is known for well-run tournaments, classes, and camps, and is a lovely space for just playing casually. I’m very proud of the environment we have created — it’s a great place for families to hang out and play chess. Adults and kids participate in our events. We serve coffee and doughnuts and a camaraderie has developed among many of the members and regulars. We are the only Chess Center in Atlanta!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
We see so much chess online now, so we hope to utilize technology to stream some of our classes and also stream the top boards in our tournaments. We already have a very strong presence with our YouTube channel and my husband, GM Ben Finegold, streams on Twitch. But, there’s nothing like playing “Over the Board” (in person), so we want to combine that with current technology.

Pricing:

  • Tournaments range from $15-$65, depending on the time control
  • Classes range from $10-$20
  • CCSCATL membership prices: $80 (child), $120 (adult), $200 (family). Memberships provide discounts and other perks but are not required to do any of our events.

Contact Info:

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