He says the game helps children think strategically.
MOUNT VICTORY, Ohio (AP) -- Darrell Bodine hopes that children throughout this northwest Ohio city and the surrounding county will soon be moving pawns, rooks and knights with ease while trying to checkmate their opponent's king.
To achieve his goal, the Mount Victory man last month donated 234 chess sets -- enough for every elementary classroom, high school library and public library in Hardin County. He wants all of the county's children to learn the game that has become a tradition in his family.
Bodine, 42, believes chess challenges children's minds and helps them think strategically.
"My long-term goal is to have a tournament every year and have it evolve into a college scholarship fund," he said.
Bodine began playing chess with his grandfather and uncles and carried on the tradition by teaching his son and daughter to play when they were in kindergarten. He began offering free chess lessons this month at the Mary Lou Johnson-Hardin County District Library in nearby Kenton, and the first countywide chess tournament is scheduled next month.
Sue Petty, library director, said the library has set up stations where young patrons can play on the donated boards. She hopes children catch Bodine's affection for the game.
"It gets them away from the computer," Petty said. "It's a good, one-on-one interaction."
Bodine believes any child can learn to play chess.
"It is a hard game. But if you don't approach it as something impossible and if someone works with you who doesn't scold you for doing something wrong or works with you after a move and says, 'What if we do it this way?' you'll do fine," he said.