NEW CLUB: Chess for Vets makes its opening transfer | Group | Savannah Information, Occasions, Eating places, Music

Phillip Williams is the founding father of Chess for Vets, a chess membership that meets each Wednesday on the American Legion Publish 135 on 1108 Bull St from 5 – 7 p.m. The membership is free and open to anybody who desires to play on a Wednesday night.

Initially from Kentucky, Williams spent 13 years within the US Military as a fight tanker. In 1986 he arrived in Savannah out of lively responsibility and commenced serving within the Nationwide Guard as a draftsman, till being promoted to a building inspector.

He began the membership after taking part in chess together with his pal Kiettisak “Fan” Bennett, who served as a drill sergeant within the Military.

Each males are members of the American Legion and are part of The Society of 40 Males and eight Horses, generally often called “The Forty and Eight.”

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Phillip Williams performs Mike Ball in a sport of chess at Chess for Vets. Photograph by Alex Arango

The society is a non-profit group and honor society for American Veterans that was based in 1923 after World Warfare I. It helps a number of charitable causes, together with little one welfare and offering scholarships for nurses.

It was by way of becoming a member of The Forty and Eight that Bennett and Williams met.

Being a realtor, Williams was helping Bennett in promoting his residence in March. On the time Bennett was struggling with PTSD.

“He [Bennett] knew me, so I helped him promote his home, and he had gone by way of a tough patch in his life,” defined Williams.

Troopers that Bennett had been in control of had been killed in Afghanistan. Whereas within the strategy of serving to Bennett promote his home, Williams started taking part in chess with him. One thing that helped Bennett work by way of a tough time.

“We began taking part in chess whereas I used to be promoting his home, after which in the future he texted me saying these video games actually helped get his thoughts off of issues,” mentioned Williams.

Not lengthy after, Williams realized that if taking part in chess may assist Bennett, it may assist different Veterans battling PTSD.

“With chess you may plan and you’ll strategize the whole lot with that board. On the identical time, you may focus extra on what you might be doing in that second,” defined Bennet.

In keeping with Bennett taking part in chess supplies a manner for him to really feel grounded, and permits him to reside within the current.

After pitching the concept to The American Legion at Publish 135, Williams was in a position to safe a spot and time for the membership.

“I had a venue and a willingness so I made a decision to go for it, and see if I may do one thing good,” mentioned Williams.

The membership has solely been round for a month, however has already begun to draw gamers who’re veterans and non-veterans.

Though the membership’s objective is to assist veterans with PTSD, it is usually open to anybody who simply desires to return out and play.

“I wish to assist veterans with PTSD. That interplay with them, not solely helps to maintain their thoughts off of what they went by way of, however possibly a relationship or two is developed and so they really feel like they’ve any individual to speak to in the event that they really feel like they are going off the sting.”

This sentiment is shared by Bennett who encourages anybody to return out to Publish 135 on Wednesdays, particularly veterans battling PTSD.


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