By Cassidy Crites
Staff writer

Six years ago, Hutchinson Community College’s Duane Schmidt first introduced chess in one of his work ethics classes.

“Chess teaches things like like decisions and consequences, and planning your strategy, thinking ahead, and it’s good for your brain,” Schmidt said. “And work ethics is a lot like that. It’s making good decisions and keeping track of stuff.”

For three semesters, it stayed in the classroom until a student suggested they make it a club. The club worked well, gaining support from the administration. From there, the club filtered into five local schools, starting with Hutchinson High School, then Allen Elementary, Holy Cross Elementary, Hutchinson Middle School 7 and Nickerson High School.

On Saturday, the Hutchinson Community College Chess in the Schools program and the Hutchinson Community Foundation hosted a chess tournament provided by a Make It Greater Grant from the Fund for Hutchinson of the Hutchinson Community Foundation.

The tournament was open to kids from all over ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade.

While no members from the college chess team competed, some helped out.

The club features 20 members, which is a lower number, for this year. However, on the chess club is Gabe Purdy. Purdy has been named Kansas Champion five times, but his talents don’t stop there. Purdy can play the game blindfolded and has once played 33 different people at one time, winning 28 of those games.

For now, the chess club has not competed in any tournaments. However, there is an upcoming tournament for any HutchCC students. The date has not been set yet, but chess sets and money will be awarded to the winners.

The club meets Monday’s from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday’s from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is always looking for new members to join.
“Anyone is welcome to join, regardless of the amount of knowledge towards the game. We teach people how to play all the time,” Schmidt said.

While the main focus of the club is chess, Schmidt said he felt there is more to it than the game.

“It’s not just chess. The least important thing about chess club is chess. It’s about friendships,” Schmidt said.

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