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The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

CLUB CORNER: Chess videos on social media drawing more students to play classic game — online and in person

Sophomore+Anthony+Mitri+plays+chess+with+another+student+on+Wednesday%2C+March+1%2C+in+Room+52+during+lunch+to+hone+his+skills.
Noah Lee
Sophomore Anthony Mitri plays chess with another student on Wednesday, March 1, in Room 52 during lunch to hone his skills.

Chess.com has been around for 15 years, according to their website.

But only this school year has student interest in the website taken off — similar to how Wordle became a fad for a while in the 2021-2022 school year.

Since January, students have started to play chess all over school, with chess.com being the most popular choice.

“Chess.com is a really good website and has good tools to analyze your games afterward,” Chess Club president sophomore Ayden Nagabayashi said. “So, I feel it’s the best [online chess website.]”

After registering as a user, chess.com offers not only the classic games but other variations of it asa well. Players can either play against a randomized opponent online or play with their friends.

“While I enjoy both online and in person, I like playing online chess in school,” sophomore Anthony Mitri said. “You don’t need to set up, and a game can quickly be closed if I need to focus on other things.”

Upon opening up the website, players will see a board of green and ivory-colored squares with the 32 pieces already laid out. 

To start the game, users choose between options to play against an artificial intelligence bot that tailors to the player’s level or online, either with a friend or with someone. 

The website also has lessons for amateurs as well as sections for articles about tips on creating an effective strategy and forums. 

“I first got into chess after I saw friends playing and also saw some videos about it,” sophomore Noah Kim said. “ 

However, he said he likely will not play competitively.

“I think chess isn’t the biggest part of my life,” he said. “It’s fun, but not something I would take seriously.”

Some girls are proving that chess isn’t just a man’s game.

“Even though I knew of chess, I never had much interest in the game,” junior Katrice Yee said,  who first saw her friends playing in February at school on their phones. “But after I saw my friends playing, I decided to try it out.”

Besides renewed interest in chess.com, which as of Thursday, March 9 has 122 million users, Sunny Hills’ Chess Club has also seen an increase in membership.

“We gained over 10 members recently,” Nagabayashi said. “More people have started to regularly come to our chess meetings since last year because of chess.com.”

Though Yee hasn’t joined the Chess Club, sophomore Zayne Shah said chess.com prompted him to become a member to play a match with other chess lovers.

“I became more interested in online chess after everyone started to play in school,” said Shah, who started playing this year. “Going to the club lets me play the actual game while playing online is more convenient.”

The Chess Club welcomes members and newcomers alike, with its purpose of creating a friendly environment with students playing chess, and they occasionally hold tournaments within the school.

Chess Club adviser Hera Kwon showed excitement when she first saw chess becoming popular because she noticed a larger amount of people staying in the Chess Club compared to other years, but also acknowledged it disrupts students in class.

“I’ve noticed so many students started playing chess in my class and in the club this semester,” Kwon said. “It’s been very distracting to them in class, but I was happy to see students continue to stay in the Chess Club.”

Some teachers don’t mind the presence of the game in class, with the caveat that they do not let it overtake their studying.

“As of right now, it hasn’t been disrupting my class too much,” English teacher Thomas Butler said. “As long as they’re still participating and paying attention, then I have no problem with that.”

Despite the potential for the school district to block access to chess.com on students’ Chromebooks, students have not worried too much about if it will be restricted or not.

“I’ve noticed that chess.com was a game that everyone with a Chromebook or personal laptop could play,” Mitri said. “If it does eventually get banned, someone will always find a way around anyways.”

Just like other popular internet games that also caused large turmoil, such as Wordle, Mitri thinks this trend will likely stay for a few months before losing its novelty.

“While I know people will stop playing, I still plan to play chess,” he said. “It’s just a game that I can’t get bored of.”

Though interest in online games come and go, the club president said he hopes new Chess Club members will stick around for the long haul.

“I think the recent trend of chess has been really beneficial to the club,” Nagabayashi said. “It’s an active club now, and many people come to our meetings every Wednesday.”

The Chess Club meets Wednesdays at lunch in Room 52. For more information, contact Nagabayashi at [email protected].

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Chris Lee, Staff Reporter
Junior Chris Lee returns to The Accolade this year as a staff reporter. He hopes to meet deadlines diligently and looks forward to participating in writing competitions as means to improve his writing skills  Outside of The Accolade, Lee enjoys playing tennis and sleeping.
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