New chess club prepares students for competition
With over 30 members, the Rollins Chess Society has been gaining momentum since its inception in August 2020.
Jiya Manchanda (’25), president of the Rollins Chess Society, is a math and philosophy student specializing in behavioral decision science. She said that “creativity, critical thinking and collaboration are the principles that underpin successful ideation and innovation in all sectors, especially decision-making.”
“I’m interested in learning what motivates people – how they think,” Manchanda said.
Manchanda played chess competitively in high school and yearned to reconnect with the game and the community when she came to Rollins.
“It surprised me that Rollins hadn’t already [a chess club] given the number of people interested,” Manchanda said.
Dr. Allen H. Kupetz, former Rollins professor and resident entrepreneur, is the club’s advisor. Kupetz said he offered his services as an educational advisor because his mother taught him to play chess more than 50 years ago, and he has been playing ever since.
“My most important role is to support student leaders; the clubs aim to provide students with new leadership opportunities,” Kupetz said. “But I will also help raise funds – we have already found a donor for our first 10 chess games. Due to strong student leadership, we have already seen a lot of interest in coming to meetings and playing [with] each other. I hope the enthusiasm will spread to all students in all majors.
Kupetz is inspired by English chess grandmaster Simon Williams, who said “the beauty of chess is that it can be whatever you want it to be. It transcends language, age, race, religion, politics, gender, and socio-economic background.No matter what your circumstances, anyone can enjoy a good fight to the death on the chessboard.
“While chess is combative in nature — after all, you’re trying to capture your opponent’s king — it’s a social outlet for people of all ages,” Kupetz said. “I hope we can organize a teacher vs. student tournament and an annual Rollins Chess Championship open to students, teachers and staff.”
Manchanda said she is excited to train club members so they can begin competing in the spring semester.
John Reynoso (’25), vice-president of the club, said he was delighted that Rollins’ students could “finally have this chance to play chess in a suitable environment, [while also] initiate and teach new players the game of chess.
The Rollins Chess Society is hosting many events this year, including a student vs. faculty/staff tournament, a talk with a former Rollins chess champion, a movie night on Mills Lawn, and a collaboration with the Lucy Cross Center for workshops on the women. In chess.
The club’s first training and training session will take place on November 30. The time and place are to be determined.
Interested students can contact the Rollins Chess Society by visiting their Instagram page: @rollinschess.