Checking chess club


Scout Spencer (bottom left) and Blessing Zambu (far bottom right) play a match at the Club Fair surrounded by an enthusiastic audience. (Photo by Hayes Hopper)

Luke McLendon, Editor

Chess Club drew an impressively large crowd at the 2022 club fair, gathering over a hundred potential players and hosting the most hyped-up chess match the school has ever seen.

 A widely held expectation was that the club would be a time to hang out and not focus on the game. This is far from the truth, evident by the club’s first meeting. 

Dozens of students littered the floor of the English pod Aug. 29 playing chess on boards donated by Douglas Welle. Very few were talking; members who weren’t actively playing sat quietly and watched various games play out.

Chess Club members play at its first meeting on the English pod floor. (Photo by Hayes Hopper)

Club president Hayes Hopper instructed several members on Welle’s oversized chessboard, showing them basic rules and strategy. 

All players had different backgrounds in the game coming into the first meeting. Hopper said he first learned to play in elementary school and had been trying to get a club started since last year. Some students started playing earlier in life, casually playing now and then, but many came to the first meeting with little to no knowledge of the game, eager to learn.

Member Julian Taylor learning the basics on an exaggerated board. (Photo by Hayes Hopper)

“I’ve wanted to learn for a while,” sophomore Haines Durkin said. “My brother is pretty good, so I joined to learn how to play with him.” 

Others joined simply to have lighthearted competition. 

Members have varying skills and interests, from beginners to novices, but everyone found a good match.

Hopper, along with many members, hopes to see the club progress to playing in a more serious, tournament style. “I think that would increase the level of engagement and excitement,” senior Nathan Jones said.