Columbia Secondary School’s Middle School Chess Club

Mia Mikki, Reporter

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Hey middle school, interested in chess? Well rook no further! At the start of the new semester, the first-ever middle school Chess Club has made it’s debut at the Columbia Secondary School (CSS). The members encompass all middle school grades and the club holds a place for every skill level.

Meeting every Wednesday and Friday, the Chess Club is led by Professor Hammond, the sixth grade English and Philosophy teacher, and hosts 20 students in room 406.

When asked about a typical day in the elective, Michael Tesfaye, seventh grade, replied, “Professor Hammond would have a tutorial for beginners and people who just want to learn a new tactic and the rest of the people would compete in matches. ”  

Another member, Alan Espinal, seventh grade, echoed similar sentiments as Tesfaye.

“If someone doesn’t know how to play chess,” said Espinal. “Then Professor Hammond would teach them how to play, and also you would see people challenging each other, playing against each other, and then they would start playing. You would maybe see a little frustration if somebody captures an important piece.”

Many of the members of the Chess Club joined for various reasons. Corey Vickel, seventh grade, explained he wanted to join because he wished to improve his skill level and be able to win a game against one of the top players in the elective.

Others like Christian Moore, sixth grade, joined for the competitive atmosphere.

“The thing I’m most excited about in here is sometimes beating people,” said Moore. “Sometimes losing to people, cause, you know, you get better after losing. Yeah, It’s really just fun when you get to play someone.”

According to Hammond, the team has already played in two tournaments in the city, placing in second and third place respectively. Espinal, who did not get to attend either tournament, hopes to accomplish his dream of competing in a tournament and winning a personal medal.

When the other members were asked about any of their personal goals in the Chess Club, many replied by saying they wished for their skills to grow stronger and to learn new tactics that could help them win more games. Tesfaye elaborated further saying, “I want to get better, but my main goal right now is to get rated by the USCF, The United States Chess Federation.”

If you are a middle schooler interested in joining an engaging elective which can help with problem-solving, all the members recommend joining the Chess Club.

“Remember,” said Moore, “Even if you don’t think you’d be good at chess, you should still try it out. Chess is really just another sport for me, and it’s really fun!”

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