Chess Club gains support


Photo/ Sam Capece

The Chess Club gathers around seniors Nick Lewis, Devin Hunt, Nick Byrnes and Peter Andrews.

Sam Capece, News Editor

Sam Capece
News Editor

Orono High School has plenty of clubs to enjoy during Spartan Hour including Chess Club. This club focuses on Chess, but leaders Nick Lewis, Brendan Kanwischer and Nick Byrnes have created a wonderful environment for those looking for new friends and a fun hobby. Hosted at the cafetería with plenty of boards and room, everyone has an opportunity to play, watch, or talk with friends.

“There are people from every group in the school playing chess at any given meeting. I also believe it gives some people a place to be exceptional for something and be recognized for that. We have some really good chess players in the club that I had never met before and I enjoy seeing them take pride in being really good at something,” senior Nick Byrnes said.

People from all grades and skill levels are encouraged to participate in games and the club has found success in getting many different people to show off their skills and have some fun. Improving at Chess is important to the club, but something interesting happens every time two players are face to face playing a close game. It’s an amazing opportunity to talk with someone you’ve never met before and it erases anxiety for people looking to make a new friend.

“Chess club consists of anybody and everybody. Anyone can come. We have people intensely devoted to the game and others who come more for the conversation, making it an all-around great time. Even if you are not interested in the game of chess, Chess Club could still be for you. It almost would be more aptly named Chess & Conversations Club because of the great dialogue that goes on between our members,” senior Brendan Kanweischer said.

Chess is a simple game played with a variety of pieces on a checkerboard. The goal of the game is to take the opponent’s king out of the game by moving one of your pieces into it. Each piece can move in different directions and numbers of tiles allowing a wide variety of strategies and playing styles.

“The part of Chess Club that I like the most is the fact that we are able to gather a relatively large group of people who are willing to engage in chess and learn an excellent game of skill, strategy, and critical thinking. We are able to have around eight or nine games running at once. Depending on how fast people play each person can crank out about two to three games per meeting,” senior Nick Lewis said.

The game only requires that you know how each piece moves in order to start playing, but after a match with one of the more seasoned players, you’ll quickly realize the complexity of the game. Players who want to improve and win against their friends can practice online against human or computer opponents. There are many resources out there to get started.

“I would like people to know that Chess Club is not just for nerds or experts at the game but for everyone. It is very enjoyable and fun to be around others that are learning the great game of chess,” junior David Wilfort said.

Close games can get interesting quickly with fast exchanges and unique strategies. Crowds draw around the table and cheer on their fellow players and it isn’t uncommon to see a large group gathered around a lingering game during snack break. With everyone developing their skills and learning new things intense games happen at every meeting.

“Chess as a game connects with real life, you have to sacrifice things now for later. I think there’s a lot of good life skills that can be learned through the game of chess, and it’s also super fun. Anyone can come, you don’t have to play but we’ll teach you,” club advisor and teacher Mr. Troy said.