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”).

Local acts to get star treatment playing Towsley

Local acts to get star treatment playing Towsley


Staff Writer

Ann Arbor DJs Jaws That Bite and Stevie Tee will kick off a two-month-long concert series featuring up-and-coming local talent when they take the stage Thursday night at Towsley Auditorium. The series is a production of Student Activities that has come to fruition after a suggestion by Washtenaw Community College President Larry Whitworth, who thought it would be a good way to promote local talent and at the same time give WCC students several evenings of great — and free — entertainment. Rachel Barsch, events coordinator for Studen Development and Activities, is organizing the series, which already is playing to rave reviews by local talent. For Canton natives Mike Sabatini (Jaws That Bite) and Steven Tomlinson (Stevie Tee), the gig is a generous help in hard musical times. “Playing any gig is great, especially one that is offering money,” Tomlinson, 24, said with a laugh. “I’m really thrilled that it’s through the school.” Although both artists are fairly well-known throughout the Washtenaw community, Sabatini and Tomlinson said that the ability to broaden their fan bases is always a beautiful thing. “It’s an honor to be able to play in front of a group of people and a school that have never heard my music before,” said Sabatini, 24. And Tomlinson agreed, explaining that no other college in the area has been as generous. “I played at Eastern Michigan University’s Amplify the Arts (Amp) Festival for the past two years,” he said. “Both times I didn’t get paid, did not receive ample time to set up my equipment, and the school’s attention to the local acts was basically non-existent.” Recalling last year’s Amp Festival, Tomlinson explained that the college hired a band from Northern Michigan and gave them what he called “the juiciest spot.” “They got paid a lot of money, and no one really got into them,” Tomlinson said. “Now we’re going to play a school that is supposed to be smaller and they are offering us very generous set lengths. “Even decent local artists that play large gigs don’t get that kind of treatment, and here we’re getting it better from a community college.” Which is exactly what Whitworth had in mind, Barsch said. “Part of our mission is to engage our students with a well-rounded series of activities and cultural events, and we’re thrilled to be able to showcase young area artists to what we know will be an appreciative WCC audience,” Barsch said. “This is the first of what we hope will be an annual series of concert and entertainment events for our students and employees.” For more information about upcoming concert events, contact Student Development and Activities at 973-3500.