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MATC knights make pawns of their competition

By Jim Nance, Times Editor-in-Chief
On December 4, 2012

Persistence has gotten the Chess Club everything they worked for this semester.  The club makes a strong impact challenging students in a game of chess for free popcorn, engaging members to join during club recruitment week.Working together as an organization to bring home the trophy from the Marquette University Chess Tournament, they went head- to-head with four-year colleges at Marquette University on Nov. 3.
Alvin Atkins, Electrician program student and president of the Chess Club, makes known the hard efforts contributed by members of the Chess Club.
"Even though I was not able to attend the tournament, our team was well represented. We were able to win back our trophy from Marquette," said Atkins in regards to his absence during the competition due to schooling.
The team's captain was club vice president, Volodymyr Opryshchenko,  Business Managament student; taking several of their members to compete and victoriously win against UW-Oshkosh and Marquette.
The tournament came about a year ago when the Chess Club hosted the Marquette team and unfortunately lost the trophy in their backyard. This year, it was the role of the Marquette team to open and promote the tournament as an inter-collegiate tournament with numerous schools participating, but due to unforeseen circumstances only three schools competed this year.
Opryshchenko grew up playing the game of chess as a kid.  Taught to him by his father, like others in Ukraine, Opryshchenko saw the game of chess as more than a simple pastime event.
"When I play chess it gives me great excitement and passion beyond anything, for me it is better than making love," stated Opryshchenko on why he is so fanatical on playing.  
Advisor Brian Speath gives a stimulating approach to those interested in learning chess. Speath said, "The game of chess is an intellectual game, it makes you think.  Royalty and noblemen have been playing this game for centuries; it can also make for better students in many classes."  
Speath's statement does prove to have some validity through research studies.  Kids today who play chess develop analytical, synthetic and decision-making skills, which they can transfer to real life. In addition, it can give them competitive skills, and engages them to do deep research while building them to be more cognitive thinkers.
The Chess Club plans to branch out into the community through mentoring kids and showing them the importance of each piece on the board and how they move. The Club members also have plans to participate in larger scaled tournaments including the infamous Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship.
"We found a sponsor who would match us with half the funding we need to enter the competition. Due to short notice we were not able to compete this year, but we'll be looking forward to going next year," said Atkins.
Congratulations to the Chess Club for bringing back the trophy.  They had a final score of 83 points for their varsity first-place win thanks to Opryshchenko.  
Junior varsity players placed as well: Antonio Washington won first place, Joe Ebel won second place, Omer Austin won third place, and Aric Whelihan took fourth place.

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