Arizona Cardinals have a competitive crop of chess players
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray makes a move to the right side.
He places himself behind a line of defense and is in a privileged position to achieve victory. The defense tries to stop him, but Murray’s experience and expertise are too much to handle. He scores.
However, not in the way you probably think. Murray wins a checkmate with the trapped opposing king, doomed to be captured by a knight or a rook. The locker room chess champion wins.
Murray has a history with the game dating back to elementary school, and that knowledge obviously stayed with him. Earlier in training camp, he beat Cardinals 17-year-old Larry Fitzgerald and took to Twitter to gloat.
Chess has made its way through the entire team at this training camp.
Wide receiver Trent Sherfield said Wednesday that Fitzgerald taught him how to play this summer.
Back at camp, Sherfield said their chess club so to speak consists of several players like tight end Dan Arnold, half-backs DJ Foster, Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds, wide receiver Christian Kirk, l defensive end Zach Allen, Fitzgerald and Murray.
Scroll to continue
And they know their failures.
“Everyone uses strategic moves,” Sherfield said. “Nobody really pilots it. I would say the guys who just picked it up this camp are struggling because it’s a game you have to learn, you have to grow, you have to play for a while. You’ve got to get beat multiple times to figure out how to move on to the next game. Lots of guys really know how to play.
What the team’s fascination with chess has provided is a way to bond and focus on something other than football in an abnormal year.
It’s an outlet that keeps the juices of the competition flowing.
Kirk spoke on Thursday about the competitive nature of the team and how his teammates bring it to the board.
“Everyone is so competitive, you have to have confidence in this dressing room,” Kirk said. “Everyone has a little bit of chatter. Some of the loudest guys, I have to put Chase and Trent on there just because I’m all around them. [Fitzgerald] too, especially when you start playing chess. Kyler is also very good at chess. Everyone is competing at something different every time I look up, whether it’s in the locker room, the dining room, or out here playing video games. It brings great team continuity with each other and it’s a fun atmosphere.”
Several team members have discussed this camp that they stayed connected to this summer by playing video games when they couldn’t be together. Now that they’re back, chess is a new activity the Cardinals can focus on to escape the grill together for a little while each day.