What to Expect from an Extracurricular Chess Club
From the perspective of a London school student, joining a chess club can be a daunting decision. at its essence chess is a solitary game, unlike a sports team in which you can join with your friends and share victory as well as loss. This in itself is a big reason many students shy away from joining a club. However true this might be for competitive chess on a high level, this is not true of extracurricular chess clubs.
Building a Community
Building a communal love of the game is the number one goal of most extracurricular chess clubs around London. To achieve this goal, chess clubs must be a combination of educational and social activities. A chess club is a place to participate collectively with your old friends, and make new friends as time goes on. The rigor of a tournament setting is not something that is present in day-to-day school chess clubs. In fact, students are encouraged to discuss the game, and play together as a budding community.
Extracurricular Chess Clubs Include All Skill Levels
Extracurricular chess clubs are designed to improve chess skill, and there is no requirement or even any expectation to be at a certain skill level! Many students that walk through the doors of their school clubs do not even know names of pieces, or even basic movement. Without the courage and curiosity of these students, school chess clubs all around London wouldn’t function, and the future of chess would be bleak. So, if you’re hesitant on joining a chess club because of your skill level, let that worry wash away.
Chess at it’s heart is a competitive game, but this does not mean that chess club has to be a competitive environment. Many clubs hold weekend tournaments, or tournaments that span multiple lunch periods. Of course, this can be a big step for a new chess player to take. If you are considering joining a chess club, know that these tournaments are often completely optional. Many students are very happy participating in recreational chess with their friends, and ignoring the tournaments altogether. Some opt to watch tournament games as spectators, or play their own games with friends as a tournament is being held. These are all acceptable practices, so no one should fear being forced into a competitive tournament!
Extracurricular chess clubs can be a scary first step, as any new club or sports team can be. But jumping in head first will dispel all your fears, and open you up to a world of fun! Take the leap and join us in this wonderful game.