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Chess Club

By: Dan Dankert

Historians believe chess is one of the oldest strategy games in existence. It dates back to 6th century A.D. and was created in northern India. Though it’s been around for well over a thousand years, chess is still rather prominent today. Here at WIU-QC we have a newly formed chess club that is bringing the ancient game to our modern campus.

I have been attending the meetings as often as I can for the past couple months. The club meets every other week on Thursday at 5 p.m. in QCC 1418. In the few short visits I have learned so much about the game and developed a serious interest into this international pastime.

Before joining the club, I had a well below average skill at the game. I knew the way the pieces moved, and how to set up the board. But I knew very little about strategy. As you can imagine there is a lot of strategy that goes into a game of chess, but once you get the hang of some of the basic principles, most strategic elements are intuitive and you can improve rather quickly.

The meetings that I have attended saw quite a few people in attendance and the attendees have a wide range of experience. Luis Peralta, a first year student here at WIU-QC, is in charge of the group and has been playing for most of his life. He is also a member of the main chess club in the Quad Cities and brings a wealth of competitive experience having competed in tournaments for years.

There are also students who attend who have little to no prior knowledge of the game. If you don’t have any experience with chess but want to attend a chess club meeting that’s perfectly okay. I was able to interview Peralta for this article and when asked about students with little game knowledge Peralta responded that they can come to the meetings, learn the rules, and find a friendly environment to pick up the game and develop their skills.

One of the things that struck me as I started going to chess club is how I have developed skills that have translated to other areas in my life. When playing chess, I have increased my ability to think multiple turns ahead. As I have done this more and more in chess club, I find myself naturally applying this skill in other games and in other areas of my life. Having such a skill is a nice addition and all I had to do was play a game to develop it!

When all is said and done I highly encourage students here at WIU-QC to try out chess club and to give chess a chance. The more I have delved into the game the more graceful I find it to be. It’s highly complex but the complexity is based on certain principles that are easily understood, but take so much finesse to execute perfectly. When watching a good match between experienced players, the game looks less like a game and more like a fencing duel, with each player making calculated plays to try and score pieces and gain the positional upper hand.

With the club quickly growing in popularity, the group is already starting to plan for a tournament to take place on the WIU-QC campus this Fall. If you are free on Thursday evenings and are looking for a way to have fun and get involved with a group on campus give chess club a try!

If you would like to learn more email me at dm-dankert@wiu.edu and I will connect you with the club.

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