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February 17, 2005 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-17

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_ _. T a F R

12B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 17, 2005
Chess Club offers (k)nights of smart fun

By Jenny Mahn
For the Daily

Armed with a love for the strategy
involved in countering his opponents and
unsatisfied with the absence of a chess
club on campus, Engineering alum Nirav
Doshi revived the University's Chess Club
in the winter of 2002. The founding mem-
bers had graduated, but after sending out a
few e-mails and garnering interest, Doshi
and a group of other students began form-
ing their own team, meeting on Tuesday
evenings to pursue their common interest
- playing chess.
At the group meetings, which are
open to everyone, members play
matches against each other on travel
boards - vinyl, portable chess board
mats. Meeting sessions usually last
about two hours, but members typical-
ly stay as long as their schedules allow
them to.
Starting at the age of two when his
father first taught him how to play chess,
Ali Thompson began playing with his
brother everyday until it became part

of his routine. "Playing chess became
a habit," explained Thompson. An avid
player, Thompson started a chess club at
his high school and came across the Uni-
versity Chess Club after meeting group
members advertising on campus one day.
According to Thompson, the charac-
teristics of chess that make it interesting
and enjoyable are the same aspects that
make it challenging. "Besides winning,
tactic is involved. (You're) trying to out-
wit your opponent through strategically
manipulating the rules to your own ben-
efit," Thompson said. Additionally, he
adds that the hardest part of chess is see-
ing ahead of your opponent, which often
depends on their experience. "Sometimes
a single mistake can easily undo the game
for you," Thompson cautioned.
Last November, the club held a tour-
nament with prizes for the top competi-
tors sponsored by Chess Express, a chess
specialty store located at 220 S. Main St.
About 16 members participated in the
tournament, and, provided there is inter-
est, another tournament may be held
sometime in the future.

Engineering sophomore All Thomson, a member of the University's
Chess Club, makes his move against an opponent in the Tap Room in the
Michigan Union.

Members of the Chess Club are cur-
rently looking into expanding their
range of opponents by competing in
online tournaments. Online ratings
are used to identify a player's skill
level. Competitors usually begin with a
baseline score of 1200, and from there
scores increase or decrease in response
and proportion to wins or losses and
the rating of one's opponent. For exam-
ple, if a competitor with a score of 900
beat an opponent with an online rating
of 2000, the competitor's score would
increase much more dramatically than
if he or she had defeated an opponent
with a score of 1100.
Plans for later this semester include a
chess workshop dedicated to chess varia-
tions sometime in March. Possible topics
to be covered at the workshop include
global chess, (a game that simulates chess
being played on a giant globe), incremen-
tal chess, in which a player gets to make
one move, his or her opponent gets to
make two, the original player gets to make
three etc., and also Knightmare chess, a
card-game variation.
Although Doshi first revived the club
with recreational intentions, his vision is
to have a University team that competes
in tournaments throughout the Midwest.
The major barrier to this goal is funding
and solid membership. "Unless we get
good membership and regular players,
nothing will materialize," Doshi said.
Still, the group plays just for the
thrill of competition and the feeling
of accomplishment that comes with
defeating a worthy opponent. "My
favorite part of chess is ending games,"
Doshi said.
"What I love most about the club is
everyone's willingness to play with you
and teach you regardless of their skill
level," Jeffrey Zheng, an LSA junior,
The club currently consists of about 25
official members with three group leaders
- Engineering sophomore Ali Thomson,
LSA freshman David Kalita and LSA
sophomore Henry Lu. Starting next week,
the Club will meet Sunday afternoons and
Thursday evenings in the Tap Room of the
Michigan Union at a time yet to be set.

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