Belmont Vision – The Belmont Chess Club moves on campus

Just 16 pawns, four rooks, four knights, four bishops, two queens, two kings and a checkerboard – all the new Belmont University chess club needs.

The Belmont Chess Club, which held its first meeting on Thursday, is a new face in the growing list of student organizations on campus.

As its vision statement states, the club strives to be “a place where players of all levels can come to learn and play chess” and this was highlighted at the first official meeting, where 23 students came to enjoy a friendly tournament.

Even beginners got a share of the action, learning the rules of the game and the moves of the chess pieces from the club’s experts. On the other hand, advanced players got through the final rounds of the tournament in seconds.

“We are proud of our environment, of welcoming everyone, including all levels of players. We are not for anyone who is extremely experienced or brand new to the game. We are open to everyone,” said Hank Keller, co-founder and chairman of the club.

A trio of sophomores, Keller and his friends Johnson Phung and Witt Trantum, came up with the idea for the Belmont Chess Club as a space for people to clear their heads and play chess together.

Keller, a sophomore in biology, felt that kind of niche was missing on the Belmont campus.

Launching the club was not easy due, in part, to the clubs’ somewhat lengthy approval process. But primarily, the delay came from wanting to be as prepared as possible.

“Johnson started working on the club probably around December of last semester and then finally got it approved and all at the very end of last semester,” Keller said.

“Honestly, we could have met earlier, but we didn’t. We thought if we didn’t have boards and we didn’t have funds or anything like that, we’d probably have to wait.

Now, with freshly purchased boards and great ideas, the club is looking to grow and get involved with other universities in the area.

“We are very excited about some potential upcoming tournaments. But in the future, we actually hope to have doubles chess matches with other schools, maybe Vanderbilt,” Keller said.

“Also beyond chess, we hope to build a community that just wants to spend time together. We want it to go beyond our years.

Follow @belmontchess on Instagram to find out when they meet next.

PHOTO: From left, Witt Trantum, Paul Hanson, who won the inaugural Clubs Tournament, and Hank Keller. Belmont Chess Club/Instagram

This article was written by Braden Simmons.

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