Chess club to host annual tournament

Club hopes casual environment will attract new members

Emily Simon, Reporter

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The chess club will be hosting its third annual tournament this January. The tournament will go on for four weeks every Wednesday in history teacher Thomas Casey’s classroom.

“Each round, people with the same number of points play each other, so the first round is completely random,” said senior Nolan Fitzsimmons, president and founder of the chess club. “After that, the winners play winners, losers play losers, and then people with two wins and one loss all play each other, so people with the same records always play each other in every round.”

Although the competitive aspect of the tournament may deter potential players, Fitzsimmons doesn’t want it to.

“It’s not an elimination tournament,” Fitzsimmons said.

The casual environment of the tournament is a reflection of the club’s overall atmosphere.

“It’s pretty relaxed. People just come, just play chess. It’s a great environment for people who are really good at the game and people who are just beginning,” Fitzsimmons said. “There’s room for everybody.”

This tournament is schoolwide and the club’s only tournament of the year, since the club does not participate in tournaments against other schools.

“A lot of the chess clubs in the area are small, underdeveloped. There used to be, years ago, a big chess league, but that eventually dissolved,” Fitzsimmons said.

Fitzsimmons started the club in the middle of his freshman year.

“I thought that starting a chess club would be really helpful for the school,” he said. “There wasn’t a chess club here when I started at McLean”.

Fitzsimmons’ interest in chess was not a new one when he started the club.

“I’ve been playing chess for a long time, ever since I was in second grade, when I joined my chess club at my elementary school, Kent Gardens,” Fitzsimmons said. “After joining it, [I] just fell in love with the game.”