Chess is a thinker’s game so it’s only right that a tournament be hosted on a college campus. About two to three times a semester, Valencia chess club president Justin Bonila, 24, hosts these events in building 11 on the West Campus.
“We would love to have a bigger turn out, but many people don’t know even about this,” said Bonila when asked about the number of people who attend. According to Bonila, about five to fifteen people usually attend, with some representatives from both East Campus and UCF. Those five to fifteen people include the 10 members of the chess club.
The event usually starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. “There’s really no end time” said Nick Chau, 21. “It’s just whenever all the games are done and there’s one player left that it ends.” They have different winners every time they have this event and because it’s an open event, they sometimes have winners who aren’t a part of the school.
“A couple of semesters ago, we had a nine year-old come in and beat everyone,” said Bonila when asked about the various winners.
During the event there are five rounds with 10-minute matches during each round.
They provide free snacks for all players and people who want to join. There’s a one-hour break for lunch where the chess club of Valencia provides everyone with pizza. Then they resume till the end where a champion is crowned and presented with a prize.
This semester’s prize is a chess club t-shirt.
The chess club provides a warm feeling to anybody who wants to come in and participate, developing friendships with everyone who enters the threshold of the door. Kaitlyn Rader, a 17-year-old chess teacher, attended Saturday‘s match for the first time. “It’s a fun competition where my friends and I can enjoy doing what we love, playing chess,” she said.
To learn more about the chess club and their activities, you can search “Valencia chess club” on Facebook to find out. “Most people don’t know that we have a Facebook page but we do,” Bonila said, adding “We are eager for new members.”