A New Obsession: Chess


Not everyone knows how to play chess, but everyone knows what it is, especially recently. Chess has exploded in popularity across the nation, including in Westminster. The game has taken over people’s pastimes, and whether it’s on a board or on a phone, people want to play.


“I have noticed chess becoming more popular recently… I only started getting more serious just about a year ago,” says Chase Borage, Sophomore.


Chess is a game with simple rules. Each player has the same pieces which can move in the same direction, and the goal is to put the opponent’s king in a position where it can no longer escape.  It is so basic, yet it is still incredibly complex in practice.


 After just four moves, “there are 71,852 distinct chess positions,” according to chess.com. 


Such intricate gameplay challenges players to strategize several moves ahead of time, weighing the worth of each piece. A player can sacrifice a piece in the hopes that it will put them at an advantage, but their opponent will be trying to outsmart them at the same time.


“I enjoy the fact that it makes you think about the move your opponent is going to make,” says Borage.


Chess requires a lot of patience, time and effort. Much thought has to be put into every single move. You can even study chess outside of playing it. All these characteristics are shared with schoolwork. 


The difference is that chess allows you to exercise your logical mind without the stresses of a deadline or a grade. You can push your mind to its logical limits, thinking many steps into the future, while realizing that the game has no long term consequences, unlike a test or presentation. 


You don’t have to be a genius to enjoy chess, though. You can simply play for fun.


“I like chess because I suck at it. It gives me a place to go,” says Jack St. John, Junior. “Also, It’s a great time killer,” he says.


Playing chess affects more than just the pieces on the board, though. The constant competition and mindset required for chess can have beneficial results in real life as well, intellectually and socially.


“It is almost a metaphor for life. You have to make your best move, even when the position is lost,” says Borage.


“It’s a two player game, so you have fun with an opponent,” says St. John.


Chess doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.