Madison City Chess League to celebrate 10th anniversary

MADISON – Ten years ago, a group of 14 young students met to play the game of chess . . . even though they didn’t have chess boards. Those charter members soon welcomed more and more people and formed Madison City Chess League or MCCL.

The organization will celebrate with the MCCL 10th Anniversary Dinner on Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Jackson Center. A respected chess advocate will speak at the dinner.

That first meeting of MCCL was held on July 22, 2013, at Rainbow Landing Clubhouse, just east of Rainbow Elementary School. The chess players quickly outgrew the clubhouse’s space and moved to Hogan Family YMCA and then to Dublin Park before landing at Madison Public Library.

“We’ve come a long way as a chess organization and have been instrumental in growing chess in the State of Alabama. Now it’s time to celebrate our tenth anniversary,” MCCL President Ranae Bartlett said.

For its anniversary, MCCL has created a new logo that commemorates their ten years. “The layout for the tenth anniversary logo is based on Game 6 for the Vishy Anand versus Magnus Carlsen match in the 2013 World Chess Championship, the year MCCL was created,” Bartlett said. “Carlsen went on to win and has been the reigning world champ for the past 10 years until Grand Master Ding Liren was crowned champion in the spring of 2023.”

Scott Newberry and Lisa Solvason, who are parents of students at Rainbow Elementary, designed the logo.

MCCL soon will produce new shirts and merchandise to mark their ten years.

For the anniversary dinner, MCCL is pleased to have FIDE Master or FM Mike Klein as keynote speaker. (FIDE represents International Chess Federation, which grants official titles like Klein’s.) For his alias, Klein is known as FunMasterMike on

FunMasterMike will sign autographs, sit for photographs and have a photo booth for chess friends.

“Kids across the globe watch FunMasterMike’s videos on He visited Madison in 2017 to teach at a fall chess camp, and we are thrilled to have him back to meet more chess kids in our area,” Bartlett said.

Signalink Inc. is sponsoring FunMasterMike’s appearance.

Beginning in July, MCCL will host a monthly special event for their anniversary, ending with National Chess Day in October:

* Online Rapid Tournament on ChessKid — July 22 at 2 p.m. Students met for MCCL’s first gathering on that date in 2013. Game: 15 minutes; 4 rounds.

* Back-to-School Bughouse – Sept. 10 at 2 p.m. Madison Public Library. MCCL members only. Game 5 minutes, no delay.

* National Chess Day Blitz – Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. Madison Public Library. MCCL will celebrate the day with a Blitz tournament. USCF and ACF membership is required.

To sponsor a tenth anniversary event, email Bartlett at For more information, visit


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