Pawns, kings take shot at chess title

One king will rule them all. Chess, the game of strategy and patience, will take over the Large Ballroom in the Curris Center beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Murray State Chess Club is hosting its 32nd annual chess tournament. The tournament begins at 9 a.m., but Chess Club officers suggest that participants be there by 8 a.m. to register for the tournament.

Registration is open to the public, but a U.S.  Chess Federation ID is required to play.

The USCF ID is obtainable online at uschess.org. The ID costs approximately $20 a year and gives members access to special content through the federation and chess tournaments all over the country.

Murray State Chess Club Secretary Austin Clark, senior from Mayfield, Ky., said the ID has an important role in the matching of opponents.

“You can play any rated tournament with these IDs,” Clark said. “That is how they determine the official rating of various players. You play someone near your rating and then the winner plays someone who won a different match. And the loser plays another loser. They keep going until there’s only a handful of people left.”

Chess Club President Cannon Ferguson, sophomore from South Columbus, Ky., said the tournament lasts from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Chess Club will not provide food. Players are allotted two hours for lunch and dinner.

Each participant plays around four matches. The winner of the tournament will receive a $500 prize. The runner ups will win smaller cash prizes.

The club also puts on a spring tournament for Murray State students only.

The spring tournament is smaller than the fall tournament and it involves double elimination.

Clark said the tournament is not only important for Murray State’s Chess Club, but also for Calloway County.

“The money raised goes toward the county chess club,” Clark said. “We are trying to focus on getting chess into the elementary schools. We will pay for USCF memberships and chess sets. And it goes toward advertising for the club here on campus. We also offer free lessons for whoever is interested,” said Clark.

The Murray State Chess Club meets every Monday from 5-8 p.m. in the Mississippi Room of the Curris Center. The club invites anyone who is interested in chess to drop by.

Playing chess strikes a special chord with some students and members of the Chess Club. Some work to develop new skills or play with a certain style.

“It’s just fun because it’s never the same,” Ferguson said. “No chess game is ever the same unless you have a predetermined sequence. It’s always different, it’s always unique,” said Ferguson.  “You can tell a lot about another person by how they play a game.”

Story by Taylor InmanStaff writer