Checkmate! Chess Captures Attention of Chelsea Students


Junior Jake Stephens finishes a game in Mr Scheese’s class.

Kings. Queens. Knights. While it may sound like the plot of a fairy tale, the intricacies of chess are much more than a walk in the enchanted woods. Since its invention thousands of years ago, chess has been played and loved by millions of people, and each of them have their own unique perspective on the game. Even within Chelsea High School, opinions of the game vary greatly.  While the recent surge in popularity has convinced some students to give it a try, other students have played their whole lives, and although it’s a common sight to see a whole class playing chess on their iPads, some believe that time could be spent more wisely.  

While many students love the game, for senior Aiden Collins, it’s a last resort.  After numerous gaming websites were blocked on school iPads, chess was Collins’ only option. Although he is constantly playing the game, his heart isn’t really in it.

“I don’t even enjoy playing chess,” he laughed, “I don’t even like it. It’s just something to do.”

Why would anyone spend so much time doing something they don’t like?

“Because all of the other games are blocked,” Collins explained. “I’d like to play Papa’s Pizzeria, Papa’s Cupcakeria, or Papa’s Milkshakeria.”

Out of necessity, he has turned to chess, but has little interest in perfecting his skills.

“All I do is try to take their pieces,” Collins explained.  

That seems simple enough, but to devoted players like senior Liam Juergens, they believe that the skill required to succeed at chess.

“Chess is one of the rare board games where there’s just no luck,” Juergens explained. “It’s just all skill and thinking, which I really like about it. It’s not actual talent, it’s just hard work.”

Liam Juergens shows his devotion to the game through the amount of time he spends practicing outside of the Chess Club.

“I wake up and I do chess puzzles,” Juergens explained. “I do the daily puzzle and then I max out on puzzles. I usually play an hour of chess per day.”

Juergens is such a huge fan of chess that he founded a club for Chelsea students.

As the president of the Chess Club, he is very happy with how it’s been running.

“I enjoy the rivalries,” Juergens explained. “If somebody beats you there’s always going to be a rematch and there’s always going to be a week of trash talk leading up to it.”

Although many devoted chess players regularly attend the club to touch up on their skills, other students choose to practice during school.

These impromptu games are an unwelcome sight in teacher Matthew Pedlow’s Econ and History classes. 

“Even though I would rather see students playing chess than being on social media, they really shouldn’t be playing any games in class,” he reasoned.

Despite differing opinions, it is obvious that chess is a game that is here to stay, whether it’s a quick game that takes place on iPads during Bulldog Block or a competitive match during Chess Club students at CHS seem to really enjoy the game.

“I like the mindset that chess promotes,” Juergens explained. “If you make a mistake, that’s on you. You can’t really blame luck on a skill based game. If you make a mistake, you have to take accountability for it.”

Fun, and valuable life lessons? That’s a win-win.