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Chess tournament unifies students

Club allows those with an interest to learn and compete against each other

From a few students trickling into B-2 during lunch to play chess to those few students turning into a group, the school will soon have an official Chess Club. Since about two years ago, playing chess has become more and more popular at Stagg.
When Guidance Chairperson Josie Lepe came to Stagg, she knew she wanted to bring the game of chess with her. Lepe was involved in chess programs at previous schools she worked at and grew to love the game herself.
She heard about how students playing chess in English teacher Martin Bagnasco’s room, but there were only a small number of students. She wanted more people to come and play or learn how to from staff members and other students.
She noticed that that Bagnasco’s room was far from where everyone seems to gather, so she decided to have chess players play right in front of the Career Center in an attempt to gain more exposure and popularity. She also noticed that teachers walked by, and some of them didn’t even know how to play and wanted to learn how. Once it started to rain, they moved to the library. After a while, both students and Lepe wanted to make that the designated chess spot due to the nice quiet environment.
The chess players and Lepe planned for the tournament to be held in the library in early to mid April, but SBAC testing caused it to be postponed several times. Eventually, they were able to figure out a date that would fit well around everyone’s schedule. They came to a conclusion to hold it on May 9, since it was a minimum day and there was no testing
Junior Dylan Grace is self-taught when it comes to the game of chess. He has won the first chess tournament held at Stagg last semester.
“I can’t wait until the tournament starts,” Grace said. “I love attending tournaments and I want to try and win first again.”
Grace considers himself to be a good chess player, and he took first place at his first tournament. He tries his best to attend different tournaments outside of the ones that the school provides. He finds chess to be really fun and is really excited for the chess club to start next year. Grace wants to pursue his passion for the game and become the president of Chess Club next year.
“I used to be a president for a club at my old school,” Grace said, “I like being in a leadership position and having the opportunity to help my fellow members.”
Sophomore Jacob Stillwell finds himself enjoying himself everytime he plays chess. He has been playing since last year, when the activity was held in Bagnasco’s room. “Chess is a game of the mind,” Stillwell said. “When I play, I know I’m surrounded by other smart individuals such as myself.” He glad for the chess club to become official next year, and plans on playing chess for the rest of his time at high school.
Almost all of Lepe’s “regulars” participated in this tournament and the final two contestants were going to play on the large chess board with the large pieces, but there were too little who showed up. Sophomore Stephen Muthart won first place and Jacob Stillwell took second.
Next year the soon to be Chess Club will be established. Lepe hopes to have a large group of Stagg students participate in it, and eventually hold multiple tournaments a year. Lepe and other chess players find every opportunity they can to promote chess. But for now, Lepe is happy that she was able to hold one this year and get students to participate.

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Chess tournament unifies students