Inspired by the many casual games of chess enjoyed around campus, the recently founded Chess Club plans on taking the popular “sport” to a more advanced level.
Though few in numbers, club members meets every week to practice their skills in the Taylor Lounge.
Freshman and club president Srichandra Masabathula started the club fall term after noticing students playing the game casually in places such as the Gizmo.
“Chess is a very popular sport on campus,” Masabathula said. “We just want to take it to a much more professional level. So, we started to get together as a club and take this sport ahead.”
The club plans on holding tournaments in the near future for students of all skill levels to participate in. One event in particular is the soon-to-be annual “Game in Fifteen” or “G15” Tournament, where games have a time limit of 15 minutes.
During a meeting, Masabathula played a similar variant of speed, or “Blitz,” chess with sophomore and club secretary Erik Gustafson. The match carried on like any normal chess game, but upon closer inspection, the two showed hints of intense concentration and nervousness. The pair played not only for strategy, but for speed as well.
Positioned at the end of the chessboard was a timer with five minutes for each player to start with. During a turn, the timer would count down until the player makes their move. The countdown resumes at the start of the player’s next turn. Similar to G15 games, Blitz matches are characterized by the use of a time limit to add more pressure to the players.
Masabathula plans on holding Blitz tournaments next year. He hopes these events will increase awareness of the club.
“On a regular basis, we get about six people, but we hope to increase our attendance pretty soon,” he said. According to Gustafson, the club’s numbers have been dwindling ever since the first meeting, but he hopes that increased advertising will help.
Apart from tournaments for students to compete in, the club plans on holding regular coaching sessions for students who want to learn the basics or hone their skills to more advanced levels.
Treasurer and sophomore Payton Rose, whose father coaches chess, is often at meetings lending advice to those who need it.
According to Masabathula, “It’s not a club just for people who already know how to play chess. It’s even for beginners or people who want to learn. It’s a club for all skill levels.”