As Magnus Carlsen, the reigning champion of International Chess once said: “Without the element of enjoyment, it is not worth trying to excel at anything.”
At Raffles Chess Club, we embrace the philosophy of appreciating and enjoying the game. We all want to win, but what good is the trophy if none of us enjoy it? Unlike most other competitive CCAs, we are open to both beginners as well as seasoned veterans who are looking for an environment to challenge themselves.
For some, enjoyment means an intense game with high stakes, while for others, it means a leisurely game where both sides advise each other on the moves. Despite the differences, we all look forward to training sessions, be it to relax and have a friendly spar with friends, or to push ourselves to be better players.
Our training sessions are held every Wednesday from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. We usually have coaches for both International Chess and Chinese Chess, who provide invaluable guidance in honing our skills. Although sessions are short, we learn a lot, both from the coaches and from our friends. That being said, most of our members do take time to practice outside of CCA and it is not uncommon to find us staying back after training hours.
Despite chess being a single-player game, we still focus heavily on teamwork. During our training sessions, we discuss various positions and tactics with one another. Members also frequently observe each other’s games to give advice and support. As a team, we openly contribute without judgement so that everyone is able to learn and enjoy the process. Members are also free to rotate between Chinese Chess and International Chess. As a testament to our closeness, you can see our happy faces in the picture above! :D
While we may be considered rather laid back, we also leave plenty of room for competitiveness and ambitious goals. Chess Club takes part in many tournaments every year; March and September are especially exciting and the most thrilling, during which we participate in the National Schools Individual Chess Championships and the National Schools Team Chess Championships, the two largest chess tournaments in Singapore.
We also hold our very own annual Raffles Cup for Chinese Chess with over 30 years of history, as well as the Raffles Chess Championships for International Chess. They are both held concurrently in early May and we invite many other secondary and tertiary institutions to pit their wits against one another. In 2019, we achieved 1st place in the tertiary section of International Chess and 3rd place in the tertiary section for Chinese Chess.
Members of Chess Club are also given various opportunities to represent RI in many other tournaments, in addition to the National Championships mentioned above. You are completely free to choose which tournaments you wish to participate in; the only requirement is that you compete in at least two competitions before graduation, ensuring that all members have some level of exposure to what it is like to play Chess seriously at a high level and are given opportunities to represent our school. Moreover, all competition fees are fully paid for. All tournaments that you participate in, including self-sourced competitions, are given due recognition under your Raffles Diploma for representing the school.
Are you an experienced player looking for a challenge? You’ll certainly meet other competitive players and be challenged in Chess Club. Or are you new to chess? As long as you are interested and willing to learn, you will definitely be able to pick up the game quickly with the support of your peers, and more importantly, have fun.
If all these sounds like something you want in your JC life, come and join us, and be a part of the photograph below!
"CCA Previews ’20: Chess",