Chess Club slides its way into Taft High

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Chess is an acquired art; one must possess a certain measure of patience, practicality, and foresight to master it. That may be the reason why the Chess Club has melted away from the culture of Taft High in the past.

This year is different.

Mr. Eric Newton, a science teacher at Taft High, has opted to start a chess club in his own classroom, every Thursday at lunch. After the Club Rush at the beginning of the year, people began showing up to Mr. Newton’s classroom, and now they have over the minimum people required to start a club.

Nathaniel Morris
Kenneth Caballero plans to move a pawn.

“I’ve always liked chess,” Jonathan Hopkins said. “They used to have a chess club when Mr. Greer was here, and since he left, I wanted to start it again.”

Mr. Newton said, “I was asked by some students if I’d be interested in being the advisor for the chess club because there seemed to be a lot of students on campus that liked playing and wanted to start it back up. We held a brief meeting in which 30 people showed up, which I thought was impressive number to start a club. So that was how we got it started.”

You don’t have to know how to play chess to be a part of the club. “I do know how to play chess,” Mr. Newton said. “I don’t really have time to play the students, but I am available to help players learn how to play if they’ve never played before.”

The numbers, according to the club advisor, seem to be rising. “The amount of people at our meetings every Thursday seems to keep growing every week, which is awesome. We have a nice balance of students who know how to play, but I also have many beginning students.”

Of course, having a Chess Club calls for a chess tournament, after asking Mr. Newton, the teacher said, “Right now the goal is to reach out to some neighboring schools, maybe in Bakersfield, that would be interested in participating in a tournament. For now we will just stick to having fun and, if we do participate in the tournament, it will probably be one that we host on campus.”