CSU Chess Club seeks to foster a community around chess

Cory Bertelsen spends his Tuesday evenings playing games of chess with his friends. People play chess for many reasons. Some people are attracted to the intellect of the game, others for the competition, but for Bertelsen, he is motivated by a different reason.

“I play chess because I want to be one of those old guys playing chess in the city and everyone else is kinda hanging out,” the CSU student said. “It’s a pretty day, and everyone’s just enjoying themselves and having a good time just playing the good old game of chess.”

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Bertelsen is a member of the CSU chess club. The club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. outside of the Lory Student Center food court. Chess boards and pieces are provided, and friendly games between players of all ability levels are encouraged.

Max Dillon is the current president of the club. The chess club has been at CSU for a long time, but it was unofficial he said. Dillon revamped the club last semester. Before Dillon, the club was essentially dormant.

“The club existed, but no one was getting together,” the CSU senior studying political science said. He asked the former president of the club, “Can we get this ramped up?”

Since Dillon took the reins, the club has grown from about 12 members on Ramlink to now 34 members in the first six weeks of being an official club, according to Dillon.

“It was really encouraging,” Dillon said. “At first, it was just myself here playing chess. The next week we had four people, and the next we had six.”

The LSC meeting location is a “pre-ordained place” for the club Dillon said. When Dillon took over the club, he tried to schedule a private room for club meetings, but the members thought they should stay in the LSC because it brought “free exposure.”

Dillon started the club to build community and to promote the game of chess.

“I felt like I could do some good and get people together, and there was a need,” Dillon said. “All that it took was some organization. I do it for my club.”

Club member Max Fischer has attended the club three times. His interest in the chess club at CSU was sparked by his involvement with another chess club.

“I started going to Denver chess club, and I thought it would be fun to keep going at school now that I can’t go to Denver every Tuesday,” Fischer said. “It’s still good practice, and it’s a fun way to spend time.”

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Fischer has gained experience while playing at the CSU chess club.

“I’ve been beaten several times,” Fischer said. “I’ve won a few, but it’s still good to sharpen your skills.”

Fischer knows when to use strategy in his games and when to use more of a chance approach.

“It depends on who I’m playing usually,” Fischer said. “But, if they’re really good, I’ll try to think several moves ahead. The main thing is if you don’t do anything stupid. I was playing someone who beat a grand master, and he missed a really, really good move.”

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Students participate at CSU’s Chess Club (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

 

Dillon hopes to create a chess team at CSU that could compete around the state and possibly hold competitions at CSU.

“The direction I would like to take the club is actually having a team from CSU that we would take to tournaments,” Dillon said. “I think it would help foster learning the game of chess. Especially, using the skills that we learn with each other and taking that to the competitive field.”

Dillon and the club are looking into club grants that are offered by ASCSU, Coca Cola grant and a travel grant to help pay for club expenses. They are also looking into donations from the community.

“I haven’t had to chance to go to any competitions yet, but if you are pretty good, you can get some money,” Fischer said.

Fischer and Dillon encourage people to consider joining the club.

“The strategy is good,” Fischer said. “It gets you thinking. It’s fun to outsmart people, I guess. People should join.”

“People should join the club because it is an intellectually challenging game, and it’s a thinking person’s game,” Dillon said.

Playing for different reasons, ranging from wishing to grow their intelligence to wishing to grow up to be the quintessential chess-playing old man, members of the CSU chess club congregate in the LSC to engage in friendly comradery and competition around the game of chess.