CC Chess Club: A Break From Block-Plan Stress

For many students, Monday evening represents the beginning of another strenuous week on the Block Plan, usually consisting of homework, studying, and other obligations. For Georgie Nahass ’20, Lili Uchida ’20, and the rest of Colorado College’s chess club, however, Monday nights are a relaxed, low-stress time to spend with their community and share a game that they love.  

Nahass, the founder of the club, started playing chess in kindergarten and continued through high school, where he decided to start his own club. When he came to CC, he ended up doing the same thing. He and his friends in high school “were watching ‘March Madness,’ and thought ‘it would be so sick to have a March Madness for chess,’” Nahass said. “So we started the ‘April Anarchy’ chess tournament.”  

Uchida, the club’s current vice president, “was in Orgo with Georgie and a few other people, and we all just got really into chess,” she said. “I started playing because all my friends were doing it and it’s just really fun. It’s a game you can play with anyone — you can play it with any age, any language, any skill level.”  The club ranges in experience and is completely open to people who’ve never played before, in addition to those with more expertise. Uchida emphasized the welcoming nature of the club, saying that her favorite part of it is the community. “It’s a really fun group of people but we’re also super welcoming, and it’s not exclusive at all,” Uchida said. “Everyone’s just there to have fun, and they’ll teach you if you don’t know how to play chess.”

“It’s nice just to be able to take a break for an hour on Monday,” Nahass added.  “It’s low stress and everybody’s happy.” “You’d think it’d be mentally draining because it’s chess,” Uchida said.  

Nahass reported that he’s been very happy with the success of the club so far. “I think it’s pretty cool that 14 or 15 people show up every week, especially on the Block Plan when it’s so easy to get really busy and push things aside,” Uchida added. 

Going forward, Nahass and Uchida are toying with the idea of incorporating community service and outreach into the group, potentially reaching out to nursing homes and starting a beginner lecture series here at CC, complete with food and lectures by chess masters from the Colorado Springs Chess Club. “Once we get funding we want to buy a bunch of chess boards and a proper room,” Nahass said. 

Students interested in chess club can email either of the leaders at g_nahass@coloradocollege.edu or l_uchida@coloradocollege.edu, or just show up to a meeting at 6 p.m. on Mondays in the upstairs Worner common space. Uchida insists that skill level doesn’t matter — she actually learned how to play chess through the club. 

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