Photo: Lauren Malyk

Check and mate

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By: Lauren Malyk 

Ryerson University’s chess team fell short of defending their title at the 2015 Canadian University Chess Championships, on Jan. 10 and Jan. 11.

Last year, Ryerson’s club attended the chess championships for the first time and won. However, competition at this year’s tournament at the University of Toronto was fierce and Ryerson came in 6th and 10th in the consolation bracket.

“Out of the eight people on Ryerson’s team, six have no previous experience, at least in playing in University Championships,” said Kabeer Sethi, a fourth-year journalism student and the President of Ryerson’s Chess Club. As for the final rankings, McGill University took first place, Western University came in second and the University of Waterloo was third.

“It’s a new experience for all of them and they played really well actually. I’m very impressed, even though they were nervous and made a few mistakes, everyone played close games, for the most part,” said Sethi, who was one of the returning members from last year’s winning team.

Ryerson’s players were divided into two teams of four players each.

Each match at the tournament consisted of Ryerson playing four simultaneous individual games against another school. In order to successfully win, the four players needed to earn two and a half points each, with one point being handed out for a win, a half point being handed out for a draw and no points being granted for a loss. Each team needed two wins and one draw minimum to win a match.

“I feel like chess at its heart has always been a really complicated game. You’re always playing against somebody [and] it’s tough [when] you hit these tournaments,” said first-year journalism student Ryan Tuchow. “A lot of it is really a competition against yourself to see if you can get over the stress, like I did in the first game. So I’d say it’s a game of competition. These tournaments are fun, you get to meet people and play them for fun.”

“Even though chess is primarily an individual sport it does add some team. For instance in strategizing, should I go for the draw for the better of the team, just to get that half point so they can win for sure. And you bond, you check each other’s game,” said Sethi.

The team prepared themselves by having a timed-turn tournament last semester, playing online games and practicing during their weekly meetings.

“The best thing about [chess] is that it’s not like other games or sports. Sometimes height, weight, gender, other factors vary in how well you can do it. But, in chess it honestly does not matter. It’s a great equalizer. It all comes down to your skill level,” said Sethi.

Ryerson’s Chess Club has practice on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in room 315 of the Student Campus Centre.

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