Knight Life - Page 6

Kings, Queens & Knights

Notre Dame Chess Club Provides Fun and Challenge for All Ages

This year is a year of rapid growth for Notre Dame extracurricular activities. One of which is the chess club sponsored by Mr. Omar Montemayor, who himself is learning and sharpening his own chess skills along with his pupils. Although he didn't start playing chess until he was in college, when his own son was in kindergarten he began teaching him how to play and in just four short years his son became the 4th grade state champion.

Over 20 students have embarked this year on the journey of self enrichment through chess. This group practices every Thursday from 2:30-3:20. They always begin with a new lesson in chess and then play a skittles (practice) game. Although many of the students began with very little experience this year, they are always improving and learning new skills. According to Mr. Montemayor, if a person wants to be a good chess player they must:

a. have a passion for the game.

b. be a good sport, EVERYBODY loses in chess.

c. be willing to learn the fundamental principles of the game and apply them.

d. be willing to study at least 20-30 minutes a day.

Along with these qualities one must also acquire a strong patience, quick wit, and develop a serious game face! Without these skills any chess player would be limited to second rate no matter how talented they are.

No chess club would be complete without their fair share of tournaments! On October 29 the Notre Dame chess club hosted a small tournament with the Barwise chess team. Mr. Montemayor also mentioned that all the students were extremely energetic to compete. In this tournament trophies were handed out to the top 5 competitors, a couple of which Mr Montemayor saw from Notre Dame.

Also, they are planning to attend one more practice tournament in Wichita Falls in either late November or early December. In February our chess team is going to Lewisville for the regional tournament and the winners of this meet will then advance on to the Texas State Tournament in early March! On behalf of the rest of the school, we wish our chess players infinite luck and quick wits!

To prepare for all these strategic battles of intellect, the athletes need to rest, relax, and go over the principles of their game. If they are playing for the top boards or championships, then they need to look over their opening moves, defenses, and be acquainted with most all the tactics (forks, pins, skewers, back rank, deflection, healthy pawn structure, opposition, discovered checks, double checks, en passant, overloading pieces, etc). Wow! There are so many aspects to chess! These athletes have a lot on their plates but through their determination there is no doubt that they will achieve many accolades throughout the course of this year.

Mr. Montemayor sees a lot of potential in the group he has this year and expects many great things to come from them. "My favorite part of sponsoring the Notre Dame chess club is imparting the love of playing competitive chess to the students. It is a true life-long game that enriches life."