Chess Club at PHS Gives Students a Place to Learn Chess and Have Fun.


Chess Board

After the original chess club was discontinued no-one knew if it would come back.  However, PHS sophomore Anuj Shirodkar who grew up playing chess wanted to have a place where he could play in school, so he invited back the former chess club advisor, Mrs. Yeselson, to help him. Now the chess club meets every Friday from 2-3 after school in D242 where members can hang out and play chess at any level.

When talking to club president and founder Anuj he said that the best thing about chess club is the fact that it is one of the more lenient clubs, there is no pressure to show up every week or put forth much effort. You simply show up, play chess, and hang out with your friends.

“The club is kinda chill, everyone just comes to…hang out with their friends and play chess, it’s overall a very relaxing environment.”

Furthermore during the interview with Anuj, he explained how chess is a game for everyone since it’s a simple game that also has a lot of strategy and is suited for all types of players and age groups.  He goes on to say, though, that chess is even more fun, when the competitiveness builds as you get better.

“It’s like a simple game which has a lot of depth, it can become very deep the more you learn about it. [and] You can beat your friends! Like what’s more to ask?”

When asked about the future of the club, Anuj says that he sees multiple tournaments and competitions in the club’s future. He wishes for the club to one day become a notable club in the school with plenty of members even after he leaves Piscataway High School.

“I want to, at some point maintain the casual side of the club and also get into a competitive side as well, with having a school team that can compete at a regional and national level, and I think that would be really cool and great to have P-way representation in big tournaments”

I also interviewed club advisor Mrs. Yeselson who talked about her love of games. Specifically talking about the 3 big logic games she very much enjoys: Bridge, Go, and Chess.

Going on to say how games create relationships and do not discriminate, they are simply fun. “I’m not chess advisor because I like chess, I like games…I like the relationship that games create between people because it’s a very pure world and you’re just playing the game. Doesn’t matter that you are a young person, doesn’t matter what your religion is, it doesn’t matter what your age is, gender is… the game moves on.”

Mrs. Yeselson described that she believes chess is a popular game known by many due to the fact it’s different from many other games. It values visualizations and strategy, and also, unlike many other games, it is just as fun or even more fun when you’re not as good of a player.

“Chess is a game that rewards visual processing, which most of academia doesn’t. But it’s fun to try and do things you’re not good at, like I think it’s more fun to play chess when you’re not that good then it is when you’re really good because it’s just fun to be always learning something and, you know, having fun.”

When asked more about the club, Mrs. Yeselson talked about how the club helps foster friendship and gameship among its members as they practice playing fairly and graciously even in an competitive environment at times.

“That was always our rule you know, play fairly, win graciously, lose graciously, and come back another day.”

Lastly, we interviewed a club member, Devak Patel, a sophomore who joined the club this year.  He discussed the mental challenges that the game offered him and how as a player continues to play the game they increase in skill level.

“I really like that you have to put your brain into this game and it’s actually pretty interesting once you get the hang of it.”

Moreover Devak says that he had a passion for chess since he learned about it when he was younger and the club has offered him a chance to be able to show his skill and passion.

“Well the club makes me happy because I get to show my passion, and that’s pretty much the reason I joined because I can show my passion…It’s just a place that I have fun and I’m really good at chess.”

Finally Devak said that the club is different from the many other clubs offered at PHS because you’re not really doing the club to get something – it’s more so something you do for fun instead of doing it for a reward.

“Other clubs like they focus on academics but this is like a extracurricular…and its not like it’s giving volunteer hours like other clubs its just expressing your passion, having fun, and doing something you enjoy.”

All in all it can be seen that throughout the chess club, from advisor to member, everyone shares a unique love and interest for chess, a game enjoyed by many.