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Chess in Your World


The sport of chess is renowned throughout the world. Chess is an intellectual sport played through strategy with forward thinking. Players must develop discipline in the mind to concentrate on ways to outwit opponents. Many colleges and universities around the world have chess teams, and chess clubs are common among several elementary and high schools. There are even famous matches between computers and well-known chess players. The United States Chess Federation and FIDE oversee chess as a sport. 

Chess may be intimidating to those that see a board set up without having beginning knowledge of how to play. In chess, a strategy developed through expertise from each chess player determines piece openings that make the game interesting. The courtly checkered board shows each piece played through purposeful wit until the time clock is pushed per turn. Some may think the King is the strongest piece on the board; however, the Queen is the most maneuverable. Other pieces, each with their pattern of movement per player, include two bishops, two knights, two rooks and eight pawns. The strategy in this game is to protect the King from a move that delivers a “Checkmate!” Like all sports, chess allows the most skillfully practiced to gain victory over the opponent. 

Upon inquiry, the Stetson University Chess Team was introduced through a brief history. The chess team advisor, Dr. Rasp, provided distinct information about the university team. According to Dr. Rasp, “Stetson had a chess team back in the nineties that won the Small-College National Championship twice. Stetson University also hosted the Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Tournament in 1993 which is the main college chess tournament. This event draws teams from throughout the Western Hemisphere.” This was a historically noted successful time for the university chess team. The chess team underwent team composition changes after the players graduated– schedules changed and interests were reconfigured. The university chess team has been reestablished by a group of dedicated chess players that are part of the current student body at Stetson.

The current re-registered chess team at Stetson University includes this sport as an official student organization. According to Stetson international student Eric Ufomadu, the President of the Chess Club at Stetson University, “The Stetson Chess Club boasts an impressive roster of 24 dedicated members, not including other non-registered players who also join our sessions.” Ufomadu mentioned that the chess team is trying to organize coaching while utilizing the expertise of strong players through knowledge. This is a collaborative group effort towards improvement. 

Ufomadu explains, “In our chess club, leadership is often determined by the highest-rated or strongest player. Many of our members have FIDE ratings earned through participation in numerous chess tournaments.”  Although Ufomadu stated that while he is currently unrated, he would like to gain a rating for his ability to represent Stetson University in future competitions. During these tournaments Ufomadu could play a few of his favorite openings: “Caro-Kann” and “London System” as these are indicators of strategic practice. Historically, other famous players have been known for openings, and maybe members of this chess team will be known for openings in the future as well. Ufomadu presents as a supportive leader that encourages growth among all chess players in this chess organization here at Stetson University.

When asked about the team’s future goals, the chess president was eager to share aspirations. Ufomadu stated, “The ultimate aspiration of the Stetson Chess Team is to nurture each member’s abilities to a level where they can strive for the prestigious title of Grandmaster in chess, the highest accolade achievable in the game.” The team has ambitious goals that require further support for success. Ufomadu communicated that the chess team “Don’t have official statistics although they believe in team potential to reach this goal.” The goal of this chess team is to regain a significant advancement in competitive chess as university representatives of the game. Recently, Ufomadu acknowledged that the Stetson University SGA allocated some funds to support the chess student organization.

 If you are interested in the chess team or club at Stetson University, there are ways to support the growth of this re-established presence in chess. Ufomadu said, “Students interested in submitting a membership request to the club’s president can do so through Engage on My Stetson. Afterwards, your chess skills will be evaluated to determine how you can become an official team member.” Chess spectators can show their support by viewing a match or two. Ufomadu noted, “Currently, anyone is welcome to observe our matches in the Lynn Business Centre lobby every Tuesday and Friday from 2:30 pm until our players decide to conclude their games.” However, Ufomadu mentioned that the chess team would like to gain an online gaming representation in the future. However, this is not currently possible due to funding requirements. Ufomadu and these dedicated students are determined to maintain commitment to further these and future goals. 

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