Tell Alfredo "Bruce" Garcia that domino is a game for kids, and get ready for a look like you just came from Mars.
"There is a lot of thinking involved," the Elgin resident said. "There is a lot of numbers, a lot of math. It's a really serious game."
Contact information ( * required )
Garcia is president of the newly created La Nueva Generacion Elgin Domino Club (The New Generation Elgin Domino Club), which consists of about 40 players, all from Elgin and mostly Puerto Rican.
Many of them have been playing together for decades, participating in tournaments across the suburbs, Garcia said.
"People that really established the club are the old-timers, about eight of them are the pioneers. We are now trying to establish it as something bigger to keep the tradition alive," he said.
The club's first major regional tournament is 2 p.m. June 7 at Rumbas Mexican Restaurant, 1101 N. La Fox St., in South Elgin. Registration will take place on-site at 1 p.m. the day of the tournament.
Domino is a game commonly -- and competitively -- played throughout Puerto Rico, a tradition that has been kept alive in Elgin over the decades, said Garcia's sister, Yessenia.
"I am a player, my mom is a player. We don't have too many ladies, though," she pointed out.
"In Chicago you'll have more ladies play because they've been around for a long time and they have four domino leagues."
Among the pioneers are Garcia's father, Alfredo "Cuco" Garcia, and Celestino Hernandez, who have been playing as a team most weekends for about 20 years.
Both started playing while growing up in their native Puerto Rico and finally won their first tournament last year.
"We understand each other very well, but when we play, we don't say a word to each other," Cuco Garcia said.
Hernandez said games can get extremely intense. "I get really mad. I don't want to lose," he said.
Club Vice President Jose Villanueva said his vision is to incorporate a youth initiative, perhaps consisting of weekly domino classes for kids.
"I would like to teach the smaller kids so they can follow the spirit of the game," he said. "It's a sport. It's educational, they learn how to count -- there is a lot involved."
Villanueva's domino partner is his uncle, Carmelo Villanueva. The two boast they've won four tournaments in their seven years as a team.
"There are three strategies: repeat, block and match," Jose Villanueva said. "That's what you need to know."
Still, it's all for naught if one doesn't concentrate, his uncle said.
"You've got to be focused," Carmelo Villanueva said. "If you're not focused on your game, you might as well hang it up."
La Nueva Generacion has a Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/La-Nueva-Generacion-Elgin-Domino-Club/755777237767704.