Every Wednesday afternoon at Jamestown High School from 3 to 4 p.m., you can hear the hum of “check” and “checkmate” in room 103; 24 students from grades nine through twelve are playing chess.
Henry Malarkey, a senior who has spent the last six years trying to beat his father at the game, and his brother Ryan, a freshman, thought that other students might be interested in the game and revived the defunct club. They gathered up five chessboards, asked English teacher Barbi Price to be the advisor, made an announcement, and waited. They were met with overwhelming enthusiasm from the JHS student body. Each week, more and more students have come to play, and the club has had to find more boards to accommodate the players.
The focus of the JHS Chess Club is to promote the game of chess and provide both an environment for experienced chess players to gather to improve their abilities and an opportunity for inexperienced players and newcomers to learn the game.
“Chess teaches you to anticipate potential threats and use problem-solving skills to deal with them strategically,” stated Henry. “The club has grown significantly since we started it.”
Ryan added, “There’s an App called ‘Chess.com’ that teaches you how to play regardless of your level. It has lessons and videos and you can play against other people. It’s helped me improve my game.”
“The notion of promoting chess fits in well with Jamestown High School’s mission of promoting general intellectual capability,” remarked Mrs. Price. “Furthermore, the Chess Club places special emphasis on helping others learn how to play, inclusiveness and good sportsmanship.”
Players will compete each semester in a school chess tournament with the first competition to begin in January. The winner will receive a gift certificate.