By Victor Shahov ’17 and Zachary ChanMin ’17
The pawn advances, the knight gallops across, the bishop zooms diagonally, and the queen dominates the board as she emerges into the center of the 64 black and white checkered squares. After four moves from both players, there are more than 288 billion possible positions. A game of logic and strategy, chess is one of the oldest board games that are still played today.
The chess club dives into the countless tactics and strategies that give them the upper edge. Through practice and teamwork, they hope to master the game so many have played before.
The chess club meets Mondays and Thursdays, period 10, in the Annex room 320. Under the supervision of Mr. Josh Haberman, Language Arts, World History and Geography teacher, they play against one another, working to checkmate the opposing king.
Mr.Haberman has been playing on and off since he was seven years old.
“With the chess club, I can come back into the world of chess,” he said.
Although games like basketball and soccer call for social skills like team chemistry and camaraderie, chess involves a completely different set of obstacles. During official chess matches, players are isolated and do not receive assistance from any teammates or coaches. The players can only rely on their own minds and instincts, and the pressure is on them to make the right move.
“I think that it’s relatively easy to learn the basic rules and movement of the pieces, but there’s so much more to learn afterwards” said Abbosbek Adxamov ’16. He learned the hard way, he added. “I always lose to seven and eight year olds when I take my brother to his chess tournaments.”
Gabriel Slobodyansky ’17 said, “Chess is a very strenuous workout for the brain, and I have a lot of respect for the members of the chess club.”
Anyone of any physical condition can play, as it is solely a mental workout rather than a physical one.
“Chess is something that I can beat people at without physically doing anything,” said John Li ‘16, who has been playing since freshman year.
Once the basic moves are learned, the player becomes an artist, creating innovative designs and formations with the pieces. Each game brings a different player, and each player brings a different skill set.
This plethora of chess abilities drives the many national and international tournaments organized all over the world by chess federations such as FIDE: World Chess Federation and US Chess: The United States Chess Federation. Competing and winning in these tournaments grants the player a rating. A rating is typically between the low 100s to mid 2000s, and any player with a rating above a 2500 is declared a grandmaster. Currently, the highest rating belongs to the world champion, Magnus Carlsen, whose rating is fluctuating around the 2870 mark as of March 2016.
The Chess club is open to all students who want to learn and play with their peers, regardless of previous knowledge.
“I’m able to hang out with my friends and challenge my mind, all while being in a relaxing and fun environment,” said Raymond Li ’16.