By Jennifer Macler ’23
On Sunday, February 12, FGS held its first-ever chess tournament. Across campus, chess has surged in popularity and thanks to Joe Shaker ’24, Chess Club has organized a tournament to decide once and for all, who is the reigning FGS chess champion.
Students have been playing chess every chance they get, whether that be online or in person. As you walk through the dining hall or work in the library, students everywhere are playing chess on their laptops, phones, or on real chess boards. Seeing this general enthusiasm, Mr. Rathkey and Joe put together a chess tournament open for participation to all students and faculty.
The tournament consisted of six five-minute games, with a two-second delay between turns. Each game won was equivalent to one point. Each draw was a half point, and lost games were zero points. For each round of games, players were paired with competitors who had a similar level of points, meaning as people scored more points, their competition got better as well. Before the games began, Joe Shaker, the founder of Chess Club, commented, “If there was one person I would put my money on for this tournament, it would be Rocky Tian ‘25. In Chess Club, he’s our champ, he has never lost a game. People have come close… but he has never lost”. Many people were anticipating close competition between Rocky and Fritz Wuelfing ‘23.
On the day of the tournament, 18 people showed up, but the final winner was Fritz, winning 6-0. Second place was Rocky, winning five games and losing only one to Fritz. Third place ended in a draw between Max Lockett ‘25 and Peter Cui ‘25, both 4-2. In a final game to determine third place, Peter won and broke the tie.
The tournament was held in good spirits and friendly competition. People were there to have a fun time and test their chess level. Joe Shaker, when he founded Chess Club said, “I’m actually really bad at chess and I wanted to get better.” It was with this mindset that many people entered the competition, hoping to improve their skills and learn from the more experienced players. Zach Peng ‘23, moments before the first game, said, “ I’m here to have fun. I don’t think I’m gonna score on anyone, but it’s a good experience”. At the end of the day, everyone wanted to have a good time and learn more about a great game of skill and strategy.
Photo Credits: Mr. Rathkey