Published: Friday, December 10, 2010, 8:30 AM

Kathy Fuller, The Hillsboro Argus

Kathy Fuller, The Hillsboro Argus

Larry Dickinson wanted his kids to learn and enjoy chess. His first thought was logical: Have them join the school’s chess club.

But after checking last year, Brookwood Elementary School staff told him they had the equipment, but no one to lead a chess club.

Although a novice to teaching chess and chess tournaments, Dickinson jumped in headfirst — and a whole bunch of children followed him.

This year, Brookwood’s chess club meets twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays before school. And Dickinson has about 52 eager charges, kindergarten- through sixth-graders, beginners through advanced players. That’s doubled from about 25 players last year.

Dickinson’s high energy approach is absolutely necessary for the early morning hour and the number of children asking for his help.

He begins the morning with a poll. “Who is here because they like chess? Who is here because their friends are here?” Dickinson asks, acknowledging that the social part is important, too.

Then the big question:

“Who is here cuz they’re crazy and like to get up early?”

About three dozen children played a human or computer opponent Thursday morning.

“It’s fun. I enjoy it,” Dickinson said, in between a short lesson on how to corner the king using two bishops and explaining how a chess clock is used during tournaments.

Beginners meet Tuesday mornings. “I’ve had my first grader teaching other kids how to play,” Dickinson said. He’s joined by his brother, Peter Dickinson, who brings his children, and several other adult volunteers.

Several seventh graders from South Meadows Middle School, who were part of last year’s Brookwood club, also come back to help Dickinson.

Brookwood’s club started meeting just a few weeks ago. Dickinson also coaches water polo at HilHi and had to wait until after playoffs to begin the chess club.

The first tournament of the season is 9 a.m. Saturday at Lincoln Street Elementary School, 801 NE Lincoln St.