Chess Club members learn strategy, compete

Stephanie Nelson, Reporter

When stepping into the Pasque Room in the Student Union on any given Thursday night, one might think there’s just a handful of people playing board games. But at a closer look, there’s a lot more going on.

Pairs of students peer over a board covered with 64 black and white squares. Their faces are filled with concentration and frustration. Their eyes constantly scan the board in front of them looking for options. Finally, one of the players makes their move, slowly sliding a game piece across the board to capture their opponent’s.

The Chess Club meets at 7 p.m. on Thursdays, and they do exactly what the title entails: play chess.

While the club focuses on chess, it’s really about creating a comfortable environment where people can make friends and have fun, according to Kaveen Jayamanna, junior electrical engineering major and club member.

“I made my best two friends by walking into Chess Club, and they still are my besties,” he said.

The meetings involve three parts, kind of like the opening, middle and endgame of chess. The first part is playing the game, the second is an interactive lesson to help the players learn more and find better techniques  and strategies they can use to improve. The third part resolves back to playing the game, but also allowing the players to practice what they just learned in the lesson.

The club is open to all levels of chess players from beginner to advanced. It’s been around for five to six years, according to Jayamanna. The club members welcome advice any chess player may need.

Freshman leadership management in nonprofit organizations major Korey Schuld also talked about her first experience with the chess club.

“I started playing checkers in here, and then they taught me to play chess,” Schuld said.

Elizabeth Braley, freshman mathematics major, said the club has a relaxed nature.

“I was worried you’d have to come in and know a bunch of stuff, but I came in not knowing anything, and it was really fun,” she said.

Ethan Bell, sophomore electrical engineering major, said the club helped him take a break from his intense class schedule by having “fun in a brain-puzzling way.”

“What I enjoy most about chess club is allowing myself to switch my concentration energy from powering out problems in my classes to doing something that is still challenging and stimulating, but it is in a more casual environment,” Bell said.

Bell said one of the challenges with chess is finding the time each day to practice and play a few games, and if he doesn’t get that practice in, he feels that he loses past information about the game he once had.

The Chess Club invites anyone interested in the club to come to check it out. The club has both a Facebook and Instagram page (@sdsuchess). Those interested should contact Jayamanna at [email protected].

“If you want to feel a little smarter than you were last week, this is a club you should consider joining,” Jayamanna said.