Chess Club begins preparing for new season, hopes to continue succeeding in competition

Raine Andrews, Photo Editor

Blue Valley’s chess club is starting up their season and the players are anything but amateurs. The team, founded by sponsor Richard Gill in 2000, has brought BV numerous titles and trophies.
“It was our second or third year when we had our first win,” Gill said. “The first year, we didn’t do very much competing. The second year we started going to some tournaments, and by the third year we started actually winning.”
One of Chess Club’s most recent accomplishments happened during the 2011-12 school year, when the team brought home the state title.
“We had won state at the 5A and 6A level,” Gill said. “They also give an overall trophy, [which includes] all levels together, and we had never won that before, until last year.”
The BV chess team was declared the best team in the state of Kansas, and Gill says he hopes to repeat the feat this year.
“We had an incredible run at the state tournament last year,” Gill said. “We are going to be against a lot of the same teams, so there is no guarantee that we can just go back and do this again.”
With the same goal in mind, Gill says the team is working extra hard to exceed standards to meet the criteria.
“We talk a lot about controlling the middle of the board,” Gill said. “We talk a lot about just taking time to make sure you make the best move. Each player has kind of their own strategies as to how they want to do things, but it just some basic things we all try to concentrate on doing.”
Like any other activity, Gill said there are basics that everybody needs to learn and follow.
“If you do those, then it is just the question of what kind of talent you have.” he said.
Chess Club meets once a week, and members practice by competing against one another. Gill said the team has only lost a few graduating seniors, and has three returning players who were last year’s top scorers.
As well as returning players, the Chess Club is also encouraging new players to join.
“It isn’t as nerdy as it sounds,” new member, junior Will Cook said. “I was going to join it last year, but I wasn’t really aware of it.”
Cook said that he has been playing since he was five or six. “I played chess for a long time with my dad,” Cook said. “At first, I wasn’t really good at it. It is diffidently a mental sport.”
The club meets every Tuesday in room 217. Gill said mental preparation and practice impact chess matches more than anything else.
“There are little things like luck,” he said. “But it is just mostly if you’re working, and how much you play.”