WEST LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Obstacles are downright annoying: they get in our way, slow us down and they come in many forms, like a major obstacle west of 9th St. in Louisville.

It's called perception and it's not always positive.

"A lot of people have a negative view of Louisville being violent; " one resident said of generalized and often unfair perceptions of Louisville's West End, "It's not true for all of Louisville."

It is certainly not true for one group near 15th St. and Broadway where this is plenty of learning about obstacles and how to get around them. The building, which is operated by the Louisville Urban League, houses meetings for the West Louisville Chess Club.

The popular game is an avenue for beginners and veterans alike to learn a lot about themselves and about life.

"You have to plan ahead, you also have to plan for certain obstacles that come and in life you have to do the same thing," Hailey, a club member said.

Hailey learned the game a few years ago from a man who watches her gameplay intently from a few feet away. The man is Robert Mize. But to Hailey, he's just grandpa.

"He's a grandfather and a teacher at the same time,"

To him, she's a fast learner.

"My daughter dropped [Hailey] off one day and I think she sat there and she beat me three straight games and I could not figure out how she [did] that," Mize said, "So I called my daughter and told her, 'Come get her!'" he laughed.

"Enough is enough!"

"It was like beating your teacher and your grandfather, so it was like, I get to gloat to my grandfather, but I know my teacher is proud as well," Hailey smiled.

It seemed the lessons in the game and everyday life were sticking. The proof is in how Hailey pays it forward as the Middle School Team Captain.

"Not only do I get to play, I get to help others who don't know how to play," she noted, ""Living in the West End, you don't get as many opportunities to play chess...you're automatically, like, stereotyped, so coming down here to play is helping this community."

"Most of our youth, nowadays, they've got their heads down, they're looking at video games, but [chess] is something you can actually put your hands on," Mize counseled, "I say it's better."

So, yes, chess is one small piece to move West Louisville into a perfect position.


On August 31, the Louisville Urban League hosted an open house to announce its fall lineup of programs for students. To learn more about the programs you or someone you know can participate in, just click here.

Derrick Rose is an investigative reporter who also loves to find uplifting and unique stories to tell. If you know of a person or group with a special story to share, or if you know of a story Derrick should investigate, you can contact him at 502-582-7232 as well as by email at dnrose@whas11.com and find him on social media @WHAS11DRose.