How chess went from procrastination to a club.
How Chess Went from Procrastination to a Club
AKA Chess Club
By Karen Kitagawa
“To make your muscles big, you work out. To make your grades big, you study. But to make your brain big, you play chess.” Those words, spoken by our current Chess Club leader Taishi, came during a student assembly to promote the formation of a club that began as a tournament in 2021.
Taishi is a student in 11th grade who loves skateboarding and is an expert at learning history (according to Taishi). He won all the previous chess tournaments and went on to recreate a chess club this year. The Chess Club itself is held once every 2 weeks on Wednesdays in Mr. P’s room – 305.
In Chess Club, many students have fun through learning and socializing.
Taishi reestablished the club so that the “students can have a space to practice and improve their
chess skills before the tournament, and find appreciation for the game itself."
The story behind chess in this school is quite interesting. It originally started back in 2020, when chess was trending among students in high school. This was mainly a result of the overall spike in the popularity of chess online due to Covid. So much so that there was a huge problem of people playing chess during classes and during lunchtime.
This caught the attention of Mr. Cooke, who when asked for the inspiration for starting the Chess Tournament, said, “I noticed both Lucas and Taishi playing chess on their phones while coming to school.” Seeing the opportunity, Mr. Cooke thought to use this sudden popularity in chess to approach Lucas for the formation of the First HIS Chess Tournament. The process itself was a long few months of preparation. Not only did the school have to gather 32 students, but it also had to prepare the prizes and the format of how the tournament would actually be played.
At the tournament 3 years ago Taishi describes his feeling: “I was very nervous because everyone was watching us and I was worried about the timer running out.” With the event itself being recorded and projected onto a big screen, Taishi narrowly squeezed a win over Lucas, ultimately beating Lucas on time — in other words, he took too long to make his next move. The close match led to a follow-up tournament the next year, which has transformed into this year’s club.
Chess is valuable because it develops creativity and teaches you that, just like in life, you need to create your own opportunities — and to never wait too long to make a move, because the perfect time may never come or, if it does, it may already be too late.
This year the tournament will start right after winter break. Every year the finalist match is big, taking place during the 3rd block, with everyone skipping their classes to come down and see.
If this sounds like your kind of challenge, join the January 2023 tournament! But remember, make every move count, and don’t take too long to discover your next move.
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