Great News for Eager Students! Return of Chess Clubs and Tournaments

Great News for Eager Students! Return of Chess Clubs and Tournaments



If you are a chess player or regular reader of this column, you know the pandemic has had a crushing impact on school sponsored chess clubs and tournaments. Fortunately, we are emerging from these shutdowns and getting back into the fun and learning that chess can offer.

I’m grateful for principals like Ashley Sheridan at Holy Trinity Catholic School, who recognizes the value chess brings to her school and was eager to restart a club after the shutdown. Mrs. Sheridan contacted me, a professional chess coach, and we got right to work putting 20 students together into a chess club. They ranged from 3rd to 8th grade and from experienced players to complete beginners.

For two months, the kids worked hard at learning and improving their chess games in a weekly after-school class. There was a scholastic chess tournament scheduled at the end of October and Mrs. Sheridan and I thought it would be a good test for the chess club members. Most players were reluctant as it would be their first chess tournament and they didn’t think they were ready. I told them, “You don’t get better sitting on the bench.” (This is actually a quote from an Ohio State wrestling coach Gable and It has nothing to do with chess, I have no idea why I know it, but it’s a pretty great quote.) I knew my students had to just get out there and try it. They might not do well, but they’d get some important experience, and it would be easier the next time. Twelve of our members ended up playing in the tournament. As a team they won the third-place team trophy for beginners. It’s an outstanding start!

Joseph Ayoub, who didn’t want to play, won his first four games. He was a big reason they won a trophy. Henry Mai had a plus score and the other players, Mac Richardson, Roman Perez and Vianna Mai also contributed to winning the trophy. Pretty impressive for their first tournament.

Of course, chess isn’t just about winning chess games and tournaments. Mrs. Sheridan and I believe that chess teaches students life lessons; how to think and solve problems; how to support your ideas and present them in a logical way and how to accept winning and losing as part of life. how to take responsibility for your mistakes.

Like any other sport there are also the benefits of friendships that develop between the players both at the club and at tournaments. There is even a group of girls, CHESS4GIRLS, that meet up at tournaments and support each other.

If you go to a scholastic chess tournament, you’ll find the kids playing quietly, but between rounds they’ll talk and share their games, laugh and point out blunders. A scholastic chess tournament is a diverse group of players from a dozen schools. It’s a great chance to learn from each other, not just from coaches.

Mrs. Sheridan believes in competition and community like this, and Holy Trinity will be holding a scholastic chess tournament on Saturday December 17. It’ll be a great chance for experienced players to get back into tournament play – or for beginners to try it out for the first time.


If you would like more information or a flyer, please contact Coach Larry (

Chess lessons make a great Christmas gift. If you have a child or grandchild interested in chess and would like one-on-one private lessons, please contact Coach Larry (