The MVRHS building trades class and MVRHS chess club have recently joined forces, devising a plan to install wooden chess tables at the Oak Bluffs Harbor at some point in late June.
According to T.J. Reap, high school physical education teacher and coach of the MVRHS chess team, the goal is to make three picnic benches with two boards each, made of pressure-treated mahogany.
The tables will be built from scratch by Bill Seabourne and his carpentry students. “It’s an educational process,” Seabourne said. “We work on projects like these throughout the year; the goal is to have tools in my kids’ hands as much as possible.”
His class tried out a few different prototypes before ultimately deciding to emboss the mahogany with a computer numerical control machine, known as a CNC. “This way [the squares] won’t blow apart when the moisture gets in there,” he said. Once the tabletops are cut out, his students will attach them to the frames they’ve built.
The plan has been in the works since the winter, and is the most recent development involving the up-and-coming chess scene on the Vineyard.
Back on February 21, the MVRHS chess club played an exhibition match with Falmouth Academy on the Woods Hole Ferry, then disembarked in Vineyard Haven to challenge top players from the Island’s adult chess club as well.
Reap, the primary spokesperson for the growing chess community on-Island, stated, “The project will be an excellent addition to the Oak Bluffs Harbor landscape… The culture of outdoor chess is a fascinating story; [now we can] bring that culture to Oak Bluffs.”
The target installation date for Seabourne, Reap, and co. is Tuesday, June 20th. They’re going to be installed along the sidewalk on Lake Ave., between Our Market and Nancy’s. All are invited to come play the tables’ first games.