I started playing chess when I was in 6th grade but I wasn’t really good. My friends played chess really well, so when we played I felt left out. I started to practice at home and watched videos to learn more. As time progressed, I got better and decided to challenge one of my friends. I beat him, and I felt good that my practice had paid off. I then started to challenge other friends and continued to learn more along the way. At the end of 6th grade, I stopped playing chess because my instructor left. This made me feel a bit upset because I did not have someone to guide me. 

Chess and soccer have many similarities. One thing they have in common is that you need to be aware of what’s going in the entire field or board. The more you see, the more you know. The chess pieces represent a team that has to work together to checkmate the king. You move them around the board with the goal of winning the game.  In soccer, it’s impossible for a player to win the entire game without his/her teammates. Like soccer, you should move around with a purpose to create spaces that create opportunities for your team to score. 

My experience in the SBU Chess tournament was enjoyable because I got to play with my teammates. During this pandemic, I’ve been stressed with classes, and when I participated in the tournament, all of that stress went away. When I made it to the quarter-finals, I thought I would lose, but was surprised when I made it to the semi-finals. I was nervous going into the final game but was confident in my head. It was a tough game, but I managed to win with three pieces left. It was fun to play in an online chess tournament. In the future, I might play in a tournament in person.   

View the image above of Matthew’s board one move before putting his opponent in checkmate. Can you guess what his final move was?