Chess: Calvert’s Forgotten Sport


While there is much debate about whether chess is a sport, it was recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee in the year 2000 on the basis that it abides by rules administered on an international level, is promoted to prospective spectators and fans, develops prospective players, can name undisputed World Champions, and has continental and world championships tournaments and matches (Chess Sport).  

While not as physically demanding as soccer or football, the mental exertion needed to complete a nine-hour game of chess takes a toll on your body. Concentration for an extended period often leads to an increase of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the blood stream. As stress builds, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rates all increase, causing prospective players for the world championships to need nutritionists and fitness coaches (London Chess Conference). 

When the pandemic hit, Calvert’s Chess Club was in the middle of their club tournament. Chess Club was started in 2018 by several students who wanted a space to play chess during lunch. In 2018, interest in the club had waned and the number of active members began to dwindle like it had during last school year when it was difficult to safely meet in person. 

Like many clubs, Calvert’s Chess Club hopes that the opportunity to be in-person for the 2021-2022 school year will help boost membership and interest in the club. The club strives to teach players, experienced or newcomers, the rules and joys of chess, encouraging anyone to learn the game of chess.  

“Playing the game of chess is a great exercise for the mind, so chess club is a whole club about exercising your mind,” said active member, senior Andrew Humphreys. “It has served as an extremely important mental outlet for me for a few years now and is a great warmup for taking any tests later in the day. I recommend both the game and the club for a bit of brain training.” 

During every meeting, players are prompted with “Two Move Checkmate” challenges that promote problem-solving and strategic development, allowing players of all backgrounds and abilities to improve their skills before they play against one another.  

Senior Tyler Seawell, member of Calvert’s Chess Club, believes that the club accomplishes their goal of sharpening critical thinking while still providing students with a place to relax and play a game with friends. “It is so exciting to learn new strategies and to spend time with friends,” said Seawell.  

Sophomore Charlie Zegalia also agrees that the club goes out of their way to make all members comfortable enough to compete against other organizations during chess tournaments, citing that they have recently acquired books that teach members about classic openings and tips on how to play well. 

Chess Club meets every Tuesday during both lunches in Mr. King’s room. In those meetings, players compete in match play and challenge matches to provide every member with an equal chance to improve their skills and get ready for competitions. Prospective Chess Club members aim to create a critically proficient culture of our school and value learning to tackle challenges head-on while being accepting of both experienced members and newcomers.