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A game of logic

Chess Club sponsor looks to build membership

Casey Stavenhagen

Casey Stavenhagen

Casey Stavenhagen, Staff Writer

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What appears to most as an average science classroom lined with glassware and lab tables is, to some, the home of Randall High’s Chess Club, sponsored and coached by Derek West, Randall’s  Pre-AP and AP Chemistry teacher. 

Every Tuesday, after school, this science classroom in room 307 West is transformed into a place for students from many different groups of people to socialize and compete in games of chess. Chess Club is comprised of students with a focus more on athletics and students with a focus more on academics alike, and works to expose all students to chess and its benefits.

“I think that kids who play chess generally start to do better in school,” West said.

“You become more logical. If you’re a more creative person it will help you become more logical, and if you’re more logical it will help you become more creative.”

West said he believes that in becoming a better chess player, simultaneously people become more logical and creative thinkers because the game requires them to think more abstractly about the board to play better. West has noticed this, not just in others, but in himself too since learning the game from his dad at a young age.

“I was four or five years old, I think, when my dad taught me (chess),” West said. “I was very logical already, so I had to be more creative.”

Having personally felt the benefits from playing chess, West said he wanted to expose more students to the positive gain to be had from the game. Because of this, West took it upon himself to create Chess Club for students when he realized there is an interest for it.

“I just really like playing chess,” West said. “I think some kids do too. I think a lot of people would play if they had the time.”

West would like to provide Chess Club to as many students as would like to join. Although the attendance at Chess Club can be relatively low, with about six to seven students present at an average meeting, he plans to take these students to compete against other schools and students.

“We’re going to try to do a tournament here,” West said. “Then we’re going to go to Texas Tech in the spring, and maybe even the fall.”

In order to participate in competitions, members will pay a $10 fee. 

“We use that ($10) to help pay for travel, to host our own tournament, and to buy new boards,” West said. 

In May, West plans to give his graduating Chess Club members their own chess board so that they may continue playing after high school. Among the students in Chess Club is senior Marcos Bribiesca, a competing weightlifter that is better known around Randall as “Biscuit.” Bribiesca has traveled the globe for weightlifting competitions, and one thing that always unites him with foreign competing weightlifters is chess.

“There is one language that most foreign countries speak,” Bribiesca said. “That is chess. Chess Club, if anything has helped me with my weightlifting. I like to sit in the lobby or sit in the main area with my chess board out, and have a game of creativity and of logic with other countries.”

Bribiesca said that chess can be beneficial in all areas of life from allowing better social interactions and improving strategies in any competition. He modifies techniques learned through chess and the strategy behind it to allow him to compete better as a weightlifter.

“Through weightlifting, I realized that there is certain strategies I can take in order to either psych out my opponent, or allow me to think further ahead into the game or in the classroom,” Bribiesca said. “Chess Club is a comfortable place for me. Everybody of every type is welcome in Chess Club. It’s definitely worth coming out.”

 

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A game of logic