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LBCC’s Chess Club History Paves The Way For Promising Beginnings

Rabecka Moffit ponders her next move while enjoying a tasty beverage handcrafted at the Roast Runners Cafe.

Business Management Instructor Keith Tierney began playing chess in the chess club at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He remembers walking into the room where the club was meeting that day and saw several members trying to keep a tally on the most recent developments in the Spassky versus Fischer chess game.

The American Bobby Fischer and Russian Boris Spassky chess match in 1972 sparked excitement unparalleled by any other chess match during the time for several reasons. Each player was considered the best in their respective regions and before this European chess players had always dominated the international chess scene, that is, until then.

Additionally, the match took place near the height of the Cold War, so each nation had a lot of reputation riding on their player emerging victorious.

“During that time,” Tierney recalled, “you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing Fischer.”

Forty-eight years later, Tierney is still participating in chess by serving as an adviser to the Chess Club at LBCC that has just been revived by LBCC student Rabecka Moffit in the last two weeks. Moffit describes the revival of the Chess Club as a spur-of-the-moment decision. She signed some papers, got some student signatures, and she was a club president. Once Moffit established an interested group, she reserved a room and set a regular time for the meetings. It was that simple.

The Chess Club started with eight members, the required amount of signatures to have a group qualify as an official club. Four weeks after the Chess Club started and the club now has 12 members already. If the Chess Club continues to experience similar growth, the Chess Club could be well on it’s way to becoming one of the largest clubs on campus.

It’s worth noting that club leaders don’t need experience or skill, they just need to be interested about the club. For instance, Moffit has only been playing chess for two months. Several other members of the club are still learning as well, so now is a great time to join in and start learning a little bit about chess. The Chess Club has regular meetings every week and are welcoming players of all skill levels.

Historically, the LBCC Chess Club used to compete in chess competitions across the Willamette Valley. The LBCC Chess Club often competed over at OSU against the Chess Club their college campus had. Moffit has considered having the Chess Club compete in competitions, but there are currently no plans for the club to compete.

Although it has not been very long, Moffit said her time as a club leader so far hasn’t offered too many challenges. Occasionally, she feels a little stressed trying to balance club responsibilities with her school courses and work, but her club responsibilities always get completed. Moffit also expressed that if there’s a club leader passionate about an activity, there should always be some kind of student interest in the club.

Moffit said it was “definitely worth it” to form the club and that if other students are interested in forming clubs “others would be interested.”

Club and Engagement Director Mark Wiebe, Program Assistant Eric Slyter, and other faculty members are more than willing to help club leaders succeed, Moffit noted. Moffit recalled having plenty of support from the college staff, but having minor problems staying organized or being in the know about club procedures. Moffit expressed only one complaint when asked about her experience, “I wish there was more structure.”

Story by Logan Helm-Williams

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