SIUC Chess Club hosts first Championship

March 31, 2023

Student chess enthusiasts gathered in the student center on Sunday to compete in a Chess Championship hosted by the SIUC Chess Club. According to the club, the group’s first public competition proved a success.

“We had about 20-plus people show up for the tournament,” said club member Sepehr Gashti. “It’s really cool to see the growing community of chess.”

The 20 students included novices who had played chess for as little as a few weeks, amateurs who played as a regular hobby and others with a lifetime of experience and professional aspirations.


Matches were timed so each player had 10 minutes of play, with two seconds added for each move. This means players did need to mind the clock, but that play could continue at length if it remained quick. When combined with a 6-Round Swiss format, a non-elimination format which allocates points to the winners and matches them accordingly, this created an increasing (though quiet) intensity as the tournament progressed.

Through the six rounds, more experienced players gradually began to face each other, leading to longer games, narrower victories and circles of spectators.

“I had a lot of fun,” said Jake Anderson, a student who was introduced to the game by friends in the Chess Club. “I played the guy that got first in the whole tournament. Just to be able to do that, it’s pretty cool.”

Other competitors stressed that the community of chess players on campus is very welcoming and encouraged anyone interested in learning the sport to come out to competitions and Chess Club meetings.

“Even if you don’t think you’ll do well, or if you’re new to chess, just come have a good time anyway,” said Austin Oganovich, a newer club member. “There’s a lot of people here willing to teach, so if you’re willing to learn, then it’s a good opportunity.”

The tournament games were played using new chess kits, 20 sets of boards and pieces along with eight timing systems, purchased for the Chess Club through the support of Undergraduate Student Government funding. Obtaining this permanent equipment was essential for ensuring that a newer group like the Chess Club could offer the game to interested students.

“The moment I stepped here [at SIUC], I started looking for the chess club, and then unfortunately due to the COVID pandemic, there was no functional club,” said Mosharrof Hossain, President and founder of the club. “The first couple of months we had to bring our own boards, clocks, everything. Now we are not short on anything.”


Hossain said that roughly 12-13 students have been attending their meetings, meaning that the newly purchased sets would also ensure that those visiting are less likely to need to wait to play the game. Anyone interested was invited to come to these regular meetings to play, with the club meeting every Friday from 5-7 p.m., typically in the Mississippi room of the student center.

For those interested in competing beyond the level of the Chess Championship, the club also hopes to compete in more professional events. Hossain cited a recent friendly team match against SIU Edwardsville and pointed to another inter-university event being tentatively planned for October in Indiana. The club plans to send a team if able.

As for the Chess Championship itself, experience proved to win the day. After six rounds, Mosharrof (who has been playing actively since 2017) emerged as the champion through several highly-focused games, winning the prize of a themed ball.

The club is hopeful that events like this championship and other tournaments will help the group to grow and offer more events, including the idea of possibly adding more meetings per week if interest continues to grow.

“I believe that promoting this event and all this stuff will definitely bring more players,” Mosharrof said. “I see so many new faces today.”


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