by Karim Salahie ('26)
Chess is one of the most iconic board games, having been popular for over a thousand years; though a simple game, it is often associated with intellect.
Over the past few months, the popularity of chess has been substantially increasing and has reached an all time high through more interest being shown—especially here at SBHS. With this spike in interest, junior Om Janamanchi, along with his friends Ishaan Sinha and Aryan Kashyap, has plans to start a chess club in the 2023-24 school year with science teacher Mr. Michael Poot and math teacher Mr. Stephen Trainor as advisors.
Janamanchi wants to create more interest in chess and expand its audience, as the game encourages partnership and entertainment for everyone.
His plan to “enrich students in finding an enjoyable pastime” have become widespread in SBHS, with over 130 students mentioning their interest in his Google form. As an activity that brings many together, more students will meet and interact with each other.
The last time a chess club ran in SBHS was over ten years ago with running competitive tournaments and learning opportunities. The plans to bring back the club have been ongoing, with Sinha mentioning that “the efforts have been six years of filling out forms to have the club approved.”
With today’s easy accessibility in playing through online means and inexpensive chess boards, it will be much easier for all people to learn or expand their knowledge of chess in this club. If needed, English teacher Mr. James Noebels volunteered to donate boards to help the club save money, as he mentioned there is a small supply of chess boards at hand.
Having survived more than one thousand years, chess is an important part of history, and continuing the tradition of playing at SBHS will allow the game to be passed on. Over the course of chess history, humans have significantly improved. Today more than ever, people have been able to learn more and learn faster through easy accessibility to guides and computer engines.
Not only is chess an enjoyable pastime, but studies have proven that it decreases chances of brain diseases and helps people recover from brain damage. Through a fun game, players stimulate many cognitive skills and subconsciously improve their memory, reaction time, and ability to solve problems.
Chess also brings competition, not only through club games, but also with state and nationwide tournaments, possibly allowing members at SBHS to compete.
Janamanchi says he has “hopes to be able to get students who enjoy the competition at the SBHS chess club to participate in such tournaments, while also allowing low-pressure tournaments to go on within the club.”
Mr. Poot says “If all is approved, the chess club will run in the 2023-2024 school year. Anyone interested in playing or learning chess with peers is welcome to join.”