Arts & Culture / Mosaic / May 2, 2013

Chess Club takes game to the next level

Sophomore Marvin Marshall plays chess against senior Lucas Shaw, while sophomore Erik Gustafson plays against freshman Srichandra Masabathula in the Taylor Lounge Tuesday, April 23. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

Sophomore Marvin Marshall plays chess against senior Lucas Shaw, while sophomore Erik Gustafson plays against freshman Srichandra Masabathula in the Taylor Lounge Tuesday, April 23. (Casey Mendoza/TKS)

Inspired by the many casual games of chess enjoyed around campus, the recently founded Chess Club plans on taking the popular “sport” to a more advanced level.

Though few in numbers,  club members meets every week to practice their skills in the Taylor Lounge.

Freshman and club president Srichandra Masabathula started the club fall term after noticing students playing the game casually in places such as the Gizmo.

“Chess is a very popular sport on campus,” Masabathula said. “We just want to take it to a much more professional level. So, we started to get together as a club and take this sport ahead.”

The club plans on holding tournaments in the near future for students of all skill levels to participate in. One event in particular is the soon-to-be annual “Game in Fifteen” or “G15” Tournament, where games have a time limit of 15 minutes.

During a meeting, Masabathula played a similar variant of speed, or “Blitz,” chess with sophomore and club secretary Erik Gustafson. The match carried on like any normal chess game, but upon closer inspection, the two showed hints of intense concentration and nervousness. The pair played not only for strategy, but for speed as well.

Positioned at the end of the chessboard was a timer with five minutes for each player to start with. During a turn, the timer would count down until the player makes their move. The countdown resumes at the start of the player’s next turn. Similar to G15 games, Blitz matches are characterized by the use of a time limit to add more pressure to the players.

Masabathula plans on holding Blitz tournaments next year. He hopes these events will increase awareness of the club.

“On a regular basis, we get about six people, but we hope to increase our attendance pretty soon,” he said. According to Gustafson, the club’s numbers have been dwindling ever since the first meeting, but he hopes that increased advertising will help.

Apart from tournaments for students to compete in, the club plans on holding regular coaching sessions for students who want to learn the basics or hone their skills to more advanced levels.

Treasurer and sophomore Payton Rose, whose father coaches chess, is often at meetings lending advice to those who need it.

According to Masabathula, “It’s not a club just for people who already know how to play chess. It’s even for beginners or people who want to learn. It’s a club for all skill levels.”

Casey Mendoza
Casey Mendoza is a senior majoring in political science and double minoring in philosophy and Chinese. This is her fourth year working at The Knox Student, previously as a photographer and photo editor. Casey is the recipient of two awards from the Illinois College Press Association for photo essays. During the summer of 2014, Casey also worked as a photography intern for the Galesburg Register-Mail, covering local community events and working alongside award-winning reporters and photojournalists. During the winter and spring of 2015, Casey studied journalism and new media in Washington DC, learning more about the world's political arena, networking and gaining a greater understanding of the field. There, she worked as a Production Assistant at a documentary film company, The Biscuit Factory. During the summer of 2015, Casey will help produce a documentary on airline reservation technology for the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC).

Tags:  Chess Chess club club Erik Gustafson payton rose srichandra masabathula

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