The chess club looks to the future while maintaining a friendly atmosphere – The Lafayette
During the pandemic, many have sought hobbies to occupy themselves during times of isolation. For sophomore Sam Anthony, that hobby was chess. Anthony is now president of the chess club, which is looking to grow in numbers after recently electing a new board.
Anthony explained that as a child he grew up playing chess with his brothers. While her passion died out after primary school, her interest was renewed during Covid.
“I could play online, and I had nothing else to do, so I got back to it. They have a club [at Lafayette]so I just play with the guys there,” Anthony said.
While Covid brought Anthony’s interest in chess back, it was difficult to interact with the club from home.
“I was in GroupMe, but it was so hard to pitch games because we didn’t have real meetings,” Anthony said.
The club now meets once a week on Fridays from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Pardee, room 102.
When it comes to choosing who to play with during meetings, the club doesn’t have a strict setup.
“With a cohesive small group, you know where each of us ranks. You just look for the players around you,” Anthony said.
The board is younger, which gives them time to consider the future of the club. Freshman Charlie Mann is currently Vice President, Sophomore Remi Wesnofske is Secretary, and Freshman Will Denton is Treasurer.
“There are a lot of jokes because we know each other quite well. A lot of people think chess is very intellectual, but it’s very visible,” Anthony said. “If someone makes a mistake, you’ll blame them, but you know it’ll be you in about two minutes. You just go back and forth, and it’s a lot of fun.
For now, the club does not participate in any inter-collegiate competition.
“Chess is just one of those things where it’s pretty easy to set things up, unlike other sports where you have to travel and stuff. You can just text your friends at Lehigh or whatever , and tell them, ‘Hey, do you want to throw a game?’” Anthony said.
Competitions are something Anthony wants to work on planning for the future.
“I think running unofficial matches would be a lot easier, but ultimately I want to run a more official style tournament,” Anthony said.
While they spend meetings playing chess, the club also holds group discussions.
“Once in a while we will discuss a tournament or whatever is going on. We talked a lot about the World Chess Championship,” he said.
Anthony explained that there are different styles and time controls you can choose from when playing the game.
“’Bullet is the fastest. You can have one minute each and then the game is over in two minutes,” Anthony said.
Anthony said another example is the classic, which is used in most official tournaments and can last for hours.
“We usually do blitz or rapid, so between three minutes each, maybe ten minutes each,” Anthony said.
Looking to the future, Anthony aims to welcome new people interested in the game, including his friends.
“I will probably involve other friends,” he said. “Sometimes you just want to get them to share some of your hobbies.”
Those unfamiliar with chess are welcome to attend the meetings.
“As one of the best players you want to take on new players and just talk to them,” Anthony said. “If someone new wanted to join and didn’t know anything, I would probably take them aside and go over the general elements and tactics.”
Anthony is confident he could help a new player settle in quickly with the club.
“I think an hour and a half is more than enough to get the basics down,” Anthony said. “You can throw them in a game because at some point you want to expose them to some level of competition.”
Anyone interested in joining the chess club can contact Anthony at [email protected]