By Ada Lim (17S03B), Vice-President
World chess champion Magnus Carlsen once said, “[The moment] you’re a chess player, you spend a lot of time thinking about the game and you can’t get it completely out of your head.” And he is right. Chess is addictive, regardless of whether you choose to pursue its International or Chinese variant. To most people, chess may appear to be an archaic game, but those who dare to fall in love with the euphoria that comes with an intense battle of wits stay in love forever.
A typical Wednesday with the Chess Club sees our members pondering hard over 64 black and white squares and 楚河汉界 for I- and C-Chess trainees respectively.
I-Chess trainees warm up by solving chess puzzles set by the coach, and running through variations of openings, before putting their theoretical knowledge to the test with friendly sparring matches. Time controls range between 1 minute per side bullet games to leisurely 25 minutes per side standard games.
C-Chess trainees go through peer sparring under the observation of our resident jiao lian (coach), who then points out any errors made during gameplay. Jiao lian also plays the occasional game with C-Chess trainees, thereby providing a more on-the-go style of instruction, which focuses on experiential learning.
The Chess Club has a track record of excellence. We participate in many tournaments per year, with our pinnacle competitions being the National Schools Individual Chess Championships and National Inter-School Team Chess Championships held annually in March and September respectively. We also host the annual Raffles Cup, where we invite chess teams from other schools to compete at the mind sport so as to promote the spirit of Chess in Singapore.
If you have experience playing chess, we welcome you to join us in our efforts to bring Chess in Raffles to greater heights. If you don’t, fret not! Since chess does not hold any selection trials, we do take in a fair number of inexperienced players every year, and work to inculcate in them not just excellence in gameplay but also a strong love for the sport. As long as you are passionate and willing to learn, you will definitely be able to pick up the game fairly quickly and have fun at it.
Chess meets officially every Wednesday from 2.30 to 4.30pm. That being said, most of our members do take time to practice outside of CCA, and it is not uncommon to find us sparring against one another after school or during breaks at Raja block to train up our mental prowess. Chess provides a unique experience in that it combines the best of different types of CCAs: it is a mind sport that teaches the art of critical analysis and planning that one can never get tired of.
If you are looking for a CCA that challenges you mentally and teaches you some of the best lessons in life, then take a leap of faith and join chess.