By Gene Chong (22S06A), Exco Member, Soham Khatavkar (22S06S), Captain
As International Chess Grandmaster Anish Giri said, “Chess is going to be as popular as toilet paper.” Over the past year and a half, the game of Chess has experienced a large boost in popularity that it has long deserved. Events like the Pogchamps Tournament where many popular content creators picked up Chess for the first time and the biggest Netflix show of 2020, The Queen’s Gambit, made Chess a great source of entertainment during the pandemic and brought in many new players. In line with this, our Raffles Chess Club training sessions have become more fun and exciting than ever.
At Raffles Chess Club, enjoying the game is our utmost priority. For some, enjoying Chess comes from playing serious and intense games, analysing moves and learning to become a better player. For others, enjoyment comes from friendly games with friends or exploring new ideas and ways to play the game.
We believe in creating an environment that everyone can be a part of, regardless of your skill level. Unlike many other competitive CCAs, the Chess Club welcomes beginners with open arms.
Our training sessions are held on Wednesdays from 08.30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. Some sessions are conducted by a coach who teaches us a lot about the game and helps us improve our playing strength. However, there are also sessions where we are free to play chess however we like. During training, it is common to see our members analysing and discussing their games and how they could have played better, allowing us to improve together through each others’ unique insights and thought processes.
Training is also a place to forge friendships through our common interest in chess. Many of us have fun with friendly games and even chess variants. For example, suicide chess, a game where the first player to lose all their pieces wins, or 4-player chess, a 2-versus-2 game played on a larger, cross-chaped board. Although our training is separated into International Chess and Chinese Chess groups, all members are free to try out either kind of chess if they wish.
Our members participate in various competitions throughout the year, the most notable being the National Schools Individual Chess Championships and the National Schools Teams Chess Championships. A few of our achievements in 2021 include our members Alfred Chua and Lee Jo-Yang clinching the 2nd and 6th places respectively in the NSI Chess Championships and one of our Chess teams coming in 3rd in the SP Battle of Wits tournament.
In addition, we organise the annual Raffles Cup for Chinese Chess and Raffles Chess Championships for International Chess, where many other secondary and tertiary institutions are invited to participate, though the 2021 tournament could not be held due to the pandemic. We also participate in tournaments organised by other schools. Our members thus have many opportunities to test out their skills against competition from all over Singapore.
Have you always been interested in Chess, or picked up Chess during its recent boom in popularity? If so, then come join the Raffles Chess Club on Wednesdays from 8.30 to 10.30am, where you can enjoy playing chess and improve your ability, all in the company of a community of chess lovers!
*Cover image taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.