The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Maroon and White clobber Bucknell in virtual chess competition

After+defeating+Bucknell%2C+the+Lafayette+Chess+Club+team+may+play+Rutgers+and+the+University+of+Pennsylvania+later+in+the+semester.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Wikimedia+Commons%29
After defeating Bucknell, the Lafayette Chess Club team may play Rutgers and the University of Pennsylvania later in the semester. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

This past Sunday, 12 members of the Lafayette chess club got on their laptops to play against Bucknell’s club team on chess.com. The final score was 4.5-1.5 in favor of Lafayette, with the Leopards winning four, tying one and losing one match.

Junior club president Sam Anthony explained that players were paired equally with those on Bucknell based on rating. Since Lafayette had double the participants that Bucknell had, the members who weren’t paired teamed up for a match against the president of Bucknell’s club.

“All the games, with the exception of the one against that president, were pretty close,” Anthony said.

Sophomore Eve Bertoni explained in an email that the team played a best-of-three format.

“My match started with a tense game that ended in a rather peaceful draw, something that is very common for equal-rated players who are both fully focused,” Bertoni wrote. “With my first game jitters out of the way, I proceeded to play game two. That game was a difficult game as I was constantly on the defensive. I played my best, but after thinking hard for approximately 75 moves between the two games, I made my first massive error.”

Bertoni, who before this point had never played chess competitively, ultimately lost game two and was therefore losing the overall match 0.5-1.5. She explained that chess is scored with one point for a win, zero for a loss, and 0.5 points for a draw. This meant she needed to win game three to force a tie-breaker game.

“Not only did I quickly turn things around and win game three, I kept the momentum going as I made quick work of my opponent in the tiebreaker game. My last game was going on as everyone else’s matches had already finished, meaning I knew I needed to win or draw the tiebreaker to secure the win overall for Lafayette,” Bertoni wrote. “This made my final game even more stressful and the victory that much more special.”

During club meetings, held on Friday afternoons in Pardee 104A, members usually play on boards. Anthony said, however, that he prefers to play virtually. 

“I like online, but you lose some of the chess experience that way. I played [Bucknell’s] president online, and we made it a point to have a call during.”

Anthony said that both online chess games and Lafayette chess club membership skyrocketed after the pandemic.

“I got involved with the club last year as a first-year,” Bertoni wrote. “I had played chess against my dad and brother when I was young; however, my joy for the game was rekindled over quarantine after watching the Queen’s Gambit.”

Anthony appreciates that the club brought him closer to people on campus he may not have met otherwise. He added that he met his best friend through the club’s activities.

As one of the few women in the club, Bertoni hopes that this year there will be a more diverse group.

“Despite being a club consisting of kind and welcoming members, it is very male-dominated. This is not necessarily a specific problem with the club itself. Chess as a whole is dominated by men, with women only making up 10.1% of players according to FIDE (The International Chess Federation or World Chess Federation) registration,” Bertoni wrote.

“I know plenty of women who play chess; however, due to rampant misogyny within the game, many are discouraged from playing competitively. I hope that with time the club’s demographic begins to reflect the overall campus we are a part of,” she wrote.

The club doesn’t have any more competitions set yet, but they have been in contact with Rutgers and the University of Pennsylvania to potentially plan something later in the semester.

“The competition was an incredible experience that I will keep with me for the rest of my life,” Bertoni wrote. “I can’t wait to compete in the next competition.”

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Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

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