Check(mate)ing out chess club
Sophia Guerrier, A&E Editor
You certainly don’t have to be Magnus Carlsen to join the Chess Club. Who’s Magnus Carlsen? currently the highest ranked chess player in the world. But another cool thing is that you don’t have to be interested in playing chess to join the club either- but there’s a possibility you might after you get familiar with the members.
“We’re very much a social group, we do obviously encourage that our members play chess … it’s very chill and if you’re stressed and want to come talk about your problems, come to us. We will listen,” said sophomore Vice President Slade Alves, who is also the Country Top 40 director at WXIN.
Aside from lending an ear, the club teaches rookie members the game of chess, taught by Alves and club President Peter Iwamoto. It all got started with their “grandmaster” (incredibly skilled) general member and former president David Morris Finstein. Two years ago, the chess club officially started from Finstein’s enthusiasm for the board game which led him to approach a few Rhode Island College students playing chess in the student union café.
Finstein eventually took the reigns of the organization without an E-board. After meeting Finstein at student activities day, Iwamoto and Alves decided to participate where they would eventually become board members and Finstein anointing Iwamoto as president.
“He’s [Finstein] a gamer guy at heart, He can do the governmental stuff but at heart, a gamer. For a few months before the club ended (for the semester), he was desperately looking for anyone to become president but being the president of a club is a lot of responsibility, and being the irresponsible person that I am I did not know how much responsibility that went into it so I said yes. But I’m glad I said yes,” chuckled Iwamoto.
Iwamoto started playing chess in elementary school and went on to compete in a chess tournament in middle school. He followed his interest into high school where he met Finstein during that period. The chess club is now up to 12 regular members that meet in the student union at room 434 on Wednesdays from 12-2.
“Anyone who wants to learn chess is welcome … we set up a bunch of chess boards, see who shows up, we challenge anyone who wants to be challenged. David still shows up as a general member. He knows a lot of strategies so if anyone is looking for more intensive chess theory they can very easily learn that from him,” said Alves.
The majority of the new members have been interested in learning the game of chess which isn’t too hard to understand according to Iwamoto. In a collaboration with the G.A.M.E.R club, last year the chess club installed a giant chess board on the quad to encourage passing students to play. The club has hopes in entering tournaments in the near future and will hold a grand tournament of their own at the end of the year. Alves is also planning to team up with WXIN to host a radio and chess event as well.
“It’s important for RIC to have chess club because it’s a creative outlet. It’s a nice way to refine strategic skills and it’s a way for me to critically think. Critically thinking is a very important skill and chess is a fun way in refining it,” said Alves.