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The Octagon

Chess Club teaches basic skills, tactics, love of the game

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Keshav Anand
Sophomore Garrett Shonkwiler and freshman Carter Joost play a recreational chess match against one another during a chess club meeting.

Sophomore Spencer Scott and freshman Avinash Krishna have started a weekly chess club with Latin teacher Jane Batarseh as faculty adviser.

On Mondays between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., some club members play chess while others survey the room and give advice on tactics and techniques.

Scott said that four students have been taught the basics of chess.

The Chess Club was created when Scott and sophomore John Snyder were at sophomore Garrett Shonkwiler’s house for a pool party. After running out of things to do, they played chess, a hobby of theirs.

As they played, they realized that they wanted to share their common love of the game with others, Scott said.

“(We wanted to) try to get more people interested in chess because we all agreed that this was an interesting sport,” he said.

“I enjoy (it) because of its complexity and unpredictability,” Krishna said.  

Krishna said that the club isn’t for members who are competitive but for members to enjoy and socialize with other chess lovers.

Scott and Shonkwiler agree that Krishna has the most exposure to the game.

Krishna, who has been playing chess for nine years, introduced the “tactic of the day” at the Sept. 25 meeting. This tactic was known as “discovered check and attack,” which taught how to defend effectively.

Keshav Anand
Freshman Avinash Krishna, center, explains the “tactic of the day” to the Chess Club.

“If you’re losing the game, you move a piece and attack without them noticing,” Krishna said. “(This can result in) a serious advantage for yourself,” Krishna added.

According to Krishna, the tactic of the day is effective and can lead to big advantages.

“People will see it (and) will slowly incorporate it into their play” Scott added.

Freshman Carter Joost said it’s important to be mindful of the tactic of the day in case another player decides to use it in a game.

Krishna said the tactic of the day was used effectively by a sophomore in a previous meeting, which was exciting for Krishna.

Many members said that they are enjoying the club a lot.  

The fact that the game is so intricate and (makes you) think about what to do (is why it is interesting),” said Krishna.

Joost said that he hopes to continue learning about and playing chess in this club all four years of high school.

According to Scott, the club plans on putting on chess tournaments in the future. He also wants to add more chess boards and host tournaments at lunch. Currently the turnout is about 10 students per week, he said.

By Keshav Anand

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