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posted: 6/24/2014 11:56 AM

Teen's idea sparks chess club at Lisle Library

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  • Michael Ding suggested starting a chess club at Lisle Public Library -- and library leaders jumped on the idea.

    Michael Ding suggested starting a chess club at Lisle Public Library -- and library leaders jumped on the idea.
    Courtesy of Nicole Mueller

By Nicole Mueller
Lisle Public Library

When Michael Ding, a 16-year-old who will be a senior at Naperville North High School in the fall, approached Jen Ohzourk about the possibility of starting a chess club at the Lisle Public Library, he wasn't expecting his program idea would be launching only a couple months later.

"I was actually really surprised when Jen said 'yes' so quickly instead of saying she would think about it," Ding said. "She was just as enthusiastic about it as me, which made me confident that this program would be a success."

Ohzourk, the library's assistant director of adult services, said there was no reason to hesitate.

"This is exactly what our library is here for," she said. "One of our goals is to continue to evolve with the changing needs of our patrons. Michael saw the need for a chess club, and I was committed to help him create one."

Thanks to Ding's suggestion, the library is offering "Chess Mondays" from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 14, July 21, July 28 and Aug. 11.

Both teen and adult players of all experience levels are welcome. The format will be "open play" and the library will provide chessboards, tournament-sized pieces and light refreshments.

Ding, who is also helping promote "Chess Mondays" by talking to friends and putting up fliers in the community, says his idea was about more than just wanting something else to do at the library.

"I think Chess Club can be a really important program for the library. It offers an activity that can bring everyone together," Ding said. "I thought this was a great opportunity to show how much chess meant to me and how I could share it with everyone."

Building on Ding's goal of bringing chess to a wider audience, the library also is offering a program that will teach basic chess moves from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 10.

For details about "Chess Mondays," write to, call (630) 971-1675 or visit