The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Checkmate: WIS Seniors Can’t Escape Chess

Seniors Kevin Galdamez and Fede Opertti play chess in the Senior Lounge. Many students have turned to chess as a stress reliever during the 2021-2022 school year. (Philip He/International Dateline)

Walking into the Senior Lounge (Slounge), a group of seniors crowd around a broken chessboard, watching closely as a white pawn is pushed forward to start another game.

Over the past two years, new outlets for stress have become increasingly prominent at WIS because of COVID-19. One activity has continued to dominate the school, especially among the seniors. 

The sudden surge of chess popularity was partly due to the spare time students had during the pandemic. Additionally, seniors Kevin Galdamez and Mila Martin stocked the Slounge with chess sets, which has provided students with easy access to the game. 

While more experienced chess players such as senior Aurel Ersek were quick to pick up the game, this increased accessibility to chess boards has also caused students who have never played chess before to try it out. 

Story continues below advertisement

“I started playing the second half of junior year,” senior Lucas Bazoberry said. “Some people played chess before and introduced it to me.”

In addition to the increased accessibility, Bazoberry points to the competitive nature of WIS students that pushed chess into such a prominent choice in senior’s free time.

“We are all somewhat competitive and like challenges,” Bazoberry said. “[Chess] is just intriguing and we all want to test our skills against each other.”

Senior Rufus Leeth shares a similar opinion, as he wants to prove his skills amongst his peers. 

“I was deemed really bad at chess, especially by [Bazoberry] and Quinn [Conway] and a few other people,” he said. “Then there was this one Friday when I had a free with and played [Bazoberry] and [Conway] in succession. I beat both of them.”

This competitive spirit is not hard to find with students often challenging each other to games. 

“Chess is a difficult game to understand,” Leeth said. “So if you can play chess really well and you win, it makes you feel good.”

However, Ersek believes that there is a more important reason as to why chess became so popular. 

“I think the reason people enjoy chess is because it’s about knowing your opponent,” Ersek said. “When we play, we talk [it] over and have fun. We make memories and connections.”

Despite chess being a two player game, seniors crowd around a chessboard during lunch. People discuss different chess moves, compliment each other or jokingly criticize each other. 

“Sometimes we talk about the game. Sometimes we talk about other things,” Ersek said. “It is about connecting with other people while playing chess.”

By Philip He

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *