Meet the club: Chess Club

chess game

Jacob Dougles of Saline, left, and Tyler Strauss of Ypsilanti, both 17, prepare their next strategic moves. Erin Fedeson | Washtenaw Voice

By Erin Fedeson
Staff Writer

Two kings gaze down on the black and white battlefield. They ponder their next move and future possibilities. One king snaps the silence with a chuckle.

“It’s a game of pawns,” Jacob Dougles, 17, of Saline said.

Dougles faced off with Tyler Strauss, 17, of South Lyon at the Chess Club’s Wednesday meeting in TI 129.

Strauss founded the club last September. It meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. each week. After the meetings, the club supplies are returned to the Student Activities office.

“They’re available to be checked out by anyone,” Strauss explained. He added there were Chess Clubs in the past, but it has been a while since WCC had one.

The club welcomes different levels of chess players. It occasionally has other types of games there such as ‘Go,’ a Chinese version of chess.

Someone might show a video game on a laptop, explained Michela Malfifano, 16, of Ypsilanti. She described the club as “a family-union type of event,” where no one is judged.

They hosted pizza parties on Mondays last semester where anyone could get a slice if they signed the club’s attendance sheet and played a game of chess.

Keeping people in the club is a challenge, Strauss said. He needed five people to sign the club form to start it. Student Activities requires the attendance sheet to be sent to them every week. If the club has less than five people for a period of time, the club risks being shut down.

The minimal the club has seen is seven while the maximum is between 10 to 15 people each day, Strauss said.

His interest in chess started when he was a Boy Scout earning his Chess Merit Badge. He taught himself how to play.

Now, Strauss oversees the Chess Club where kings and novices alike, battle to the death (or “checkmate”).