St. Casimir’s School completing its inaugural year of new chess club

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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As the academic year comes to an end at St. Casimir’s School, so does the inaugural campaign of its chess club. Beginning with a simple introduction to the game where the students learned the strengths and weaknesses of each piece’s movement, the curtains now close upon the students learning basic tactics and opening strategies.

Over the past year, the children have gained more than simply an understanding of the game — they have learned patience, fairness, strength and foresight. It is no coincidence that these terms are synonymous with the four cardinal virtues the students have learned in school. Each match begins with a handshake and a wish of “good luck” and leads to congratulations of “good game.” The students are mentored to encourage each other, always play their best, think before they act and take a loss with grace and an eye to learn. As shared by José Raúl Capablanca, chess prodigy and Third World Chess champion, “You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win.”

Throughout the year, the students have learned to work together to solve puzzles and figure out difficult positions. The yelps of victory as the previously hidden solution became obvious were a thrill to observe. The kids have adopted the age-old principles of classical chess to understand that the counterpart seated across the chessboard is more than just an adversary but are part of the team and community — all working together to make themselves the best versions of themselves. In addition, the entire team has made it very clear that their favorite game is “Bughouse,” a four-player variation played at high speed where pieces are passed back and forth at a chaotic rate.

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In looking forward to building the club next year by welcoming more students at any level of play, the aim is to not only facilitate an appreciation and understanding of the game itself but to also encourage a sense of how principles and faith can be a valuable gift in the secular part of the world.