Checkmate! CHS launches new chess club

Cherokee High School has launched their newest club, the CHS Chess Club. The club meetings are held on Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00 in the Media Center.

Chess club advisor and media specialist, Ms. Nechvatal stated they would be assessing skill and experience and pairing players who are equally matched for practice to start out. Students will then get rankings and try to move up as they learn.

They will also be teaching the basics for those who are new to the game. They will also be teaching certain moves.

Currently they have about ten 9th grade boys who make up the club, but it is open to everyone and Ms. Nechvatal said she would love to have some girls join the team!

Coach Shak practices with club members.

Ms. Nechvatal herself plays chess infrequently. She learned to play as a child, but she didn’t have a strong passion for it. She knows how to play as far as how the pieces move and the object of the game, but she has never played on a team, been ranked, or attended a tournament.

“I never really knew anyone else who played, but I love all kinds of other board games like checkers, cribbage, and backgammon. Maybe I will learn to love it playing with the students,” said Ms. Nechvatal.

CHS teacher and football coach, Coach Shak Bryant, as an experienced and talented chess player, volunteers his time to teach and play with the members in the club.

“I’m glad to be a part, because we have young minds that are very gifted, very intelligent young men that like to work hard. And not only do I get to show them stuff, but they teach me stuff. I love working with them. They’re a great group of guys, very smart and very hardworking.

Coach Shak Bryant

Ms. Nechvatal had the idea of starting to offer a chess club after watching The Queen’s Gambit, the popular American drama series. The Queen’s Gambit is based on a Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel of the same name. The Queen’s Gambit earns its name from the name of an opening move in chess. In the show, a young girl reveals an astonishing talent for chess at a 1950s orphanage, and begins an unlikely journey to stardom while grappling with addiction to medication. This show has caused a rise in the popularity of chess over all. Since the release of The Queen’s Gambit, sales of chess sets have grown 125%.

Did you know about chess scholarships?

If you needed another reason to join, you can apply to scholarships for 371 colleges that offer scholarships that can reach amounts up to $10,000 for each year in chess club, not including extra scholarships for leadership positions. Even if you do not plan to pursue chess while in college, you can begin to earn scholarships for participating in your high school chess club as early as freshman year.

“I have not investigated chess scholarships, but I imagine there are some out there. They have college scholarships for literally everything!” said Ms. Nechvatal.

Please join Ms. Nechvatal and the CHS chess club for any tips or tricks at their meetings, and see Ms. Nechvatal in the media center if you would like more information.

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