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How the Pandemic and Netflix created a perfect storm for a chess club to blossom

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - There are few things we can thank the global pandemic for.

If anything, perhaps we can give thanks for more time to spend at home developing new hobbies.

That's exactly how Purdue Fort Wayne student Eli Paulk stumbled upon chess.

He got laid off from his job and needed something to occupy his time.

Chess is what he turned to.

Once he found a small group of people who often played at the downtown Allen County Public Library, he helped the group form a social media presence to grow its ranks.

The group also saw an influx of new members thanks to the popularity of the hit Netflix show The Queen's Gambit.

Through social media, he met community advocate Cornelia Schulz who was able to connect the group with the owner of the Wunderkammer Company.

They played at the art gallery until the event space began hosting events again.

The Fort Wayne Chess club now hosts a casual meetup each Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. at Start Fort Wayne (111 W. Berry Street).

It's a free event for anyone who wants to join, and you'll find them on the second floor.

The club also holds games during the week on Purdue Fort Wayne's campus.

You can follow the Fort Wayne Chess Club on FacebookInstagram or YouTube to get notified about new events.

If you don't have a board at home, many players use game apps on their phones to stay sharp and to train.

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