By Miguel Dominguez
The Chess Club had its first meetings last Friday at both East Los Angeles College and the South Gate campus.
According to Club President Hugo Maldonado, playing chess makes a person “think outside of the box” and forces them to get creative with their strategy.
“Playing chess exercises both sides of the brain. It improves thinking and problem solving skills, and builds self confidence,” Maldonado said. “By playing chess, it can help increase the IQ level.”
Maldonado was introduced to the board game by a cousin of his ten years ago.
Since then, he said he learned how to play at a higher level by researching Bobby Fischer, who is considered to be the greatest chess player of all time.
“I was hoping that I could find a club because I like the idea of practicing and playing with other people,” Maldonado said.
After the Associated Student Union told him there hasn’t been a chess club for almost four years, Maldonado took it upon himself to start a new club.
“The idea to do it at the South Gate campus is to involve the community to think differently while playing chess,” Maldonado said.
He plans to meet up at the South Gate campus first, every Friday, before heading to ELAC.
Thea Guan, a member of the club, was bored when she was looking around student center and saw the chess flyer.
“I learned the game in fourth grade and never played again,” Guan said.
Despite this, she was always interested in the strategy game. “Anything about chess, I find very excited whether I play or not,” said Guan.
Another member of the club, Huan Zhang, is new to the game. Just like Guan, she had an interest in chess when she was younger.
“My father played the traditional Chinese chess. I would just observe when he played but I always wanted to [learn],” Zhang said. She hopes to gain strategy skills from the game and apply them outside of chess she said.
Maldonado hopes he can spread his love of chess by showing club members videos and documentaries of Bobby Fischer. Through this, he wants them to be inspired as he was.
Throughout the year, Maldonado wants his club to compete with other schools or other clubs at ELAC.
The Chess Club will meet every Friday with a lecture in the first hour and for the second hour play chess.
The club meets at the South Gate campus at 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Rm 117, and at the ELAC campus from noon to 2 p.m in F-5 213.