Every Friday afternoon, the Queens Public Library at Woodside goes from a quiet place to study to the home of friendly competition.

For the parents who bring their kids, it is a simple move.

“Not all families are able to pay for great chess lessons,” Alda Arias, whose child participates in the club, commented. “So for us, this is a way to expose our kids to chess without having an extra expense.”

What You Need To Know

  • John Leonard pairs with New York Cares and the New York Public Library to put together this chess club every Friday afternoon

  • The club is for all ages and helps teach confidence and a game that can be played for the rest of participants’ lives

  • More than just playing chess, the club brings the community together

John Leonard has been leading the charge for the last six years. He supplies the chess boards and instruction for anyone who wants to learn, while the children bring the competition.

“There’s always been a demand and a need and a hunger for this type of activity,” said Leonard.

Partnering with New York Cares and the public library, Leonard is doing more than teaching these kids a game they can play for the rest of their lives.

He is bringing the community together. Giving the children who come an extra level of confidence.

“It feels good and makes you really proud and it motivates me to play more,” said Shiika Huang.

From 4 years old to over 60 years old, everyone is invited to participate.

“We also are very appreciative to John because he’s been doing this for a long time and he manages to bring in a diverse group of volunteers every week so for us the benefit is that the kids get to play with people of different skill levels and different walks of life,” said Arias.

For providing the playing board for confidence, John Leonard is our New Yorker of the week.