SCV chess group to hold benefit for Woolsey fire victims

Structure burns in Woolsey Fire in Malibu. photo for The Signal by Jeff Zimmerman.

Local chess players moved by the destruction of the Woolsey Fire are organizing a chess benefit to help those affected by the deadly fire.

The chess benefit has now been scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Stevenson Ranch Library, 25950 The Old Road, in Stevenson Ranch.

“We have been so moved by the devastating fires in our community that we had to do something — even something small for our neighbors that are suffering,” said Angie Nelson, program director of Sean’s Fund.

The Woolsey fire, which began Nov. 8, burned nearly 97,000 acres, including thousands of acres of Santa Monica Mountains open space, and destroyed or damaged more than 2,000 structures, according to a press release issued Wednesday by Jeff L. Reeb, director of the Los Angeles Office of Emergency management.

Three people are believed to have been killed, and three firefighters were injured in the worst wildfire to hit Los Angeles County in modern history, Reeb noted.

The devastation struck a chord with members of a Santa Clarita Valley charity set up in honor of a young Valencia chess hero who lost his life to cancer 12 years ago.

The Sean’s Fund Dinner and Auction is an annual fundraising event hosted by the Valencia-based nonprofit, California Youth Chess League, which raises money to bring magnetic chess boards to young hospitalized cancer patients.

Last month, the 12th annual fundraiser took place at the Trinity Classical Academy in Valencia. Its success motivated Sean’s Fund organizers to try to raise money for Woolsey Fire victims.

The chess benefit features chess games, lessons on chess and a special visit by OffDaRook blog writer Jennifer Vallens.

“We hope for a $20 or larger donation,” Nelson said Monday, noting that all donations raised at the benefit go to help those affected by the Woolsey Fire.

Anyone wishing to donate but unable to attend the event is invited to contact Nelson at [email protected].

Sean Reader attended first grade at Meadows Elementary School and was excited at the chance to join the chess team there. Three years later, he won the title of Southern California State Third Grade Champion.

He was 12 years old when he died of leukemia Aug. 14, 2006.

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