Chess club provides unique experience for MHS students

Kris Long, Staff Writer

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The Manhattan High Chess Club has been providing a chance for students to “…compete, hang out and have fun…” for almost three years, according to Chess Club sponsor Darren McCoy.

Chess club members meet every Tuesday directly after school in C-206 where they discuss strategies, tutor less experienced players and practice to better their games.

According to McCoy, chess isn’t just a game played for fun, it’s helpful academically also.

“I think [chess] helps with anybody’s [academics]. McCoy said. it’s a game of problem solving and it’s a game of persistence”

While there are a few competitive chess players in the club, most members just play chess because they enjoy doing so. Many enjoy chess because it is unique in its complexity and the skill it takes to play.

Each game is like a piece of art in itself ”

— Senior Jared Zhang

“[Chess] is one of the only games in the world that has no existing known perfect strategy, and that’s what makes it so popular for…professional game players,” senior Greg Chikan, chess club president, said. “In checkers, a perfect strategy actually exists so once you get to a certain level…your just going to be playing that same game over and over again… in chess, there are so many possible combinations because of all the tiles and the pieces on the board… it’s almost impossible to know what the perfect strategy is, even for a computer.” 

Members who are more competitive players can qualify to go to the State Chess Tournament and play for the MHS team. To qualify, they must go to two of the Kansas Scholastic Chess Association tournaments held in schools all over Kansas and win at least two of those games.

Last year the club took second place at state, coming in just behind Lawrence Free State. Last year’s team included senior Jack Easton, who is also Chess Club’s vice president, senior Prijiat Mondal, juniors Matthew Pickering and Jacob Grace as well as sophomore Austin Bender.

“We hope to be able to win [state] this year,” Easton said.

Easton himself is currently placed at 13th in the U.S. Chess Federation National Rankings for 17 year olds, and fifth in Kansas for all age groups.

“Overall, chess is just a really fun game to play,” senior Jered Zhang, Chess Club treasurer, said. “Each game is like a piece of art in itself.”

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