Chess club president discusses the strategies to his sport

Chess club president discusses the strategies to his sport

Avni Prasad

There were 10 chess boards laid out on desks. But, ten minutes into lunch on Monday, Oct. 31, only four boys occupied room E201.

“There’s usually more people,” senior and Chess club president Kesav Viswanadha said. “This is the least number of people we have had this year [at club meetings].”

It’s Halloween, they considered. Disappointed, Viswanadha and the others start to place chess pieces back in the bag as they laugh at the “deficiency of black bishops” in their chess sets.

Five minutes later, a couple more members trickled in. Then, track and field teammates arrived. As more members came, the noise level increased exponentially. More groups piled into the room until the room was filled with over 25 people and all the chess sets were occupied.

“This is more like what the meeting usually looks like,” Viswanadha said with a relieved look. He turned back to address the crowded room, “Everybody, take candy.”

MVHS Chess club has members ranging from international masters who have competed across the world to inexperienced students who don’t know how to set up the board. Yet, with their wide range of expertise, MVHS chess students have talent that’s hard to challenge. For the past three years, the team has played in the National High School Chess Championship tournament. Two years ago, they won first place.

For some students, chess may be a way to relax the mind and enjoy a small game, but for the professionals at MVHS, the game is more intense than what it is perceived as.

“People think chess is just a fun game,” Viswanadha said. “But it’s really a sport. It’s head to head competition, a game that requires mental and physical stamina.”

Viswanadha’s longest game was 192 moves, and his games typically last six to seven hours at a time. After three performances at tournaments in New York, Washington D.C. and North Carolina and ranking as one of the top 2400 players in the world, Viswanadha earned the title “international master.”

And this is his game strategy:

chess strategies

Story reported by Bill Cheng and Avni Prasad