The rise of chess club


Chess club members playing match. Photo by Pow Silva ’23.

Starting off at the long, brown table in the commons sits a small group of students playing chess after school. Chess club, run by Dr. Jeffrey Doles, is filled with dedicated students, playing and improving their chess skills for their upcoming tournaments.

Senior Jimmy Zhang started playing chess in first grade and has continued his passion throughout his high school career.

“I’ve played chess all my life and started back in first grade. I just knew a lot of the members that were on the chess team and saw we did really well the year before so I thought it was a good idea to join and help out the team, also to find something to be a part of,” Zhang said.

The chess community has brought many students together over their love for the game and has made them great memories. Their dedication to this sport has brought them many achievements and realizations on what can be improved.

“The past two years it’s been really fun to go down into state and be so successful in the tournaments, we got second place 2 years in a row. It was just a great experience overall. Getting second place for the past 2 years, we could’ve done better. We were expecting to win, we had chances to win, but second place isn’t bad,” Zhang said.

A big portion of being part of the chess team is going to tournaments and competing with other schools, which can get pretty intense. The chess team meets once or twice a week to practice and challenge each other to better their skill set. They use notebooks to write down each of their chess moves to look over their mistakes and learn from them.

“We have one practice a week and one match every Thursday. Every Thursday we go to another school or another school will come to ours and then have 8 boards with 8 players from our team play against the other players and have individual matches. Each board is worth a certain amount of points, so the total points added up determines which team wins,” Zhang said.

Chess is a game for everyone and everyone is welcome to play for fun or if they truly have a passion, they are able to join the team and compete with them. Within the school community, the team allows flexibility for participants and encourages strategic thinking.

“There’s a lot of people I’ve seen in class who just play chess for fun and if they just want to play for fun during the club meetings. Like if you’re more serious and wanna do well, we meet pretty often,” Zhang said.