10. Qxd3ch Kc7
If that looks like Greek to you, then perhaps you should spend some time with the Salt Lake Community College Chess Club. The mysterious and cryptic skill of understanding chess notation is just one of many abilities you’ll have the opportunity to hone to perfection while playing the “royal game” of warring kings.
First formed in 2001, the chess club has grown steadily over the years. But why chess? According to founder and club advisor Grant Hodson, “[Chess is] a fun way to learn sequential thinking, which is not taught directly in school. That is, in chess you need to consider the consequences of each move, and something that first looks attractive may be quite bad,” says Hodson, “It is generally accepted that as chess playing skills increase so do cognitive skills in math and science.”
However, perhaps the most important reason to play chess, according to Hodson, is simply the fact that it’s enjoyable and can help bring people together from different cultures. In fact, because playing the game is not dependent upon language, chess transcends conventional barriers to interaction between those from different backgrounds and gives all people-regardless of age, gender, race, or nationality-the ability to participate together.
As the semester draws to a close, club members have switched into overdrive.
On Saturday, April 10, members of the SLCC chess team traveled to Brigham Young University for the Cougar Invitational Intercollegiate Tournament with their sights set on checkmating competition from BYU, the University of Utah, and Utah State University. After the last clock had been stopped and the last king captured, SLCC took second place, ahead of both the University of Utah and Utah State. Only BYU, which took first place, finished ahead of the SLCC team, a significant achievement for a community college, noted Hodson. “Frankly, I believe that if all of our best players could have participated that we would have taken first instead of second,” he says.
Meanwhile, as the Cougar Invitational was in progress, a contingent of SLCC players along with Hodson himself were busy rallying for a good cause one hour north on the University of Utah campus. The Utah Chess Association (UCA), of which Hodson is the president, hosted an open charity tournament with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. Neva Baker of the Red Cross, the charity event raised $810.
Divided into three sections, the tournament included both open and under 1200 sections for players rated by the United States Chess Federation (USCF), and also a section for those un-rated by the USCF. Jason Seow, 20-year-old SLCC student, chess club member, and Electrical Engineering major, took second place in the un-rated section, falling behind first place finisher Sean Robbins. “I’m just helping out the team,” he said, in regard to participating in the tournament. When asked about his thoughts on the UCA stepping forward to raise funds for the Red Cross, Seow said, “I’m really stoked about it,” adding that he feels it’s important to participate in community service activities and to do what you can to help others.
First place went to Steve Gordon in the open section and Justin Covington in the under 1200 section.
As a chess player for the majority of his life, Hodson stresses the benefits of chess-both intellectual and social-and extends an invitation to all SLCC students to stop by a chess club meeting and try their hand at a game.