College Readiness instructor Jim Bellware first started playing chess after he learned the game from his father. He continued to play chess in college with his roommates and coached a chess club in Battle Creek for 10 years. Now, Bellware hosts the club here at Norrix and has issued a challenge to all students: the student that can beat him in the game will receive a custom chess board from Bellware.
Bellware said, “Wood burning and making chess boards is a hobby of mine and helps students that don’t have a chess board play at home, so it gives motivation to students to play on their own time and get better.”
The chess club was founded by senior Joseph Gonzalez when he realized there wasn’t one at LN.
“I started it because I wanted people to play chess with because it’s boring to just play with the same person every single day. It really helps to have different people to play against so you can kind of gauge what you’re level is at. Plus, you just have a lot more fun.” Gonzalez continued, “My grandfather taught me when I was very young, and I got pretty good, but I didn’t play much after he passed. I started playing again with my cousin. When I saw Mr. Bellware’s class have a chess board sitting there, I just played when I was done with work and got back into playing”
Bellware hosts the chess club in his classroom, D10 by the lunch room. The room is set up with two tables and four chess boards for students to play on. Students play against each other and Bellware if they feel they can beat him for the opportunity to win a custom board.
The history of chess goes back almost 1500 years. The game originated in Northern India in the sixth century A.D. and spread to Persia. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently, through the Moorish conquest of Spain, spread to Southern Europe. Nowadays, chess is played in the parks of New York and is even an Olympic sport.
Playing chess isn’t for everyone. Junior Kamaria Tilley gives the game credit for being “[…] a good logical game, but it can be difficult at times” even though she doesn’t play often.
Sophomore Emerson Cooper, who is in Chess Club said, “I don’t know why I like chess, it’s just fun. It’s not for geniuses at all, it’s just a board game. I just joined Chess Club to have fun with friends.”
Chess has many benefits like helping memory and strategic skills as well as well as raising your IQ overall by using both sides of your brain. This is one leading cause as to why students and others enjoy chess.
Gonzalez said, “ I know Chess Club will still be here for a couple years once I’m gone because many people come of all different grades, but the way society is going, I don’t know where it will end up.”