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The chess club has started competitively playing this October and will continue until February. In the past two years, they have lost 13 seniors and are actively looking for new members to take their places.
Coach Dave Monti feels that playing chess can improve the ability of quickly addressing situations and coming up with solutions. They have implemented chess-related puzzles at the beginning of meetings to instill the ability to look ahead.
“You have made a move and now I’m sitting there going, ‘Wow, I wasn’t expecting you to make that move, why did you make that move, what are you going to do with that move?,’” Monti said, addressing the thinking process. “As a chess coach, I try to teach the kids that they are constantly questioning why,”
Last year, the team took first place as a school based on size, and as a team won 21st place out of 146 schools.
Sophomore player Megan Sroka agrees that it has positively impacted her logic and reasoning skills outside of the club.
“I think a lot of it is just problem solving and thinking on your feet. Once you start playing chess, it is kind of natural,” Sroka said.
The confidence of students has noticeably increased after garnering success while playing in tournaments and being supported by the team.
“I’ve had some freshmen who are very quiet, very introspective, a little shy. Once they start getting some success playing, you can see their confidence in their own abilities increase,” Monti said. “Once you start having confidence in yourself and what you can do, it opens up a lot of doors,”
Senior Jake Lams joined the chess team as a freshman because he had free time and ended up using it as a social platform.
“It’s a great thing to do. Even if you’re not good at it, you’ll make a whole bunch of friends,” Lams said.
The chess club meets Tuesday and Wednesday after school in Monti’s room.
“Anybody that wants to come, we’re definitely looking for new people,” Monti said.