Friday, November 6, 2009


By Ifeanyi Onwumah

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the chess ladder tournament that was held by the SXU Chess Club to determine those most qualified to play for the SXU Chess team and to also determine everyone’s level of play. If you read that blog, you would know that I did not rank so well in the tournament, which disqualified me from making the top 6 boards. Or, in sports terminology, I didn’t play well enough during the tryouts to become a starter on the team. Nevertheless, due to scheduling conflicts and other personal inconveniences, I have been able to fill in for other players in both matches played so far this season.

Saint Xavier plays in the Chicago Industrial Chess League (CICL), which includes Northwestern, DePaul, and University Of Chicago, but we are the only college team in the Southwest Division. In our first two matches of the season, we have only played much older and moree-advanced players, some of whom have played longer than we’ve been alive. This gives you an idea of the sort of competition that we are up against whenever we play.

Our first match was the most embarrassing but also a very eye-opening match. We not only lost disgracefully but it also taught us that we had a very long and difficult season and we needed to practice harder and step our game up if we wanted to win (and they said chess wasn’t a sport!). I lost my match primarily because of the mistakes I made early on in the match but in the words of my boss, Ms. Phyllis Streeter, the more mistakes you make, the more chances you get to learn as long as they are not the same exact mistakes. We lost the match as a team and we also had no individual wins but that didn’t derail us. We left with a certain excitement because we knew we had something to aspire to. We knew we could be better and we wanted to be better. That match lit a fire in us (especially me), and we all vowed to work harder.

On the surface, the second match was the same story overall with slight but very important differences. As you might have guessed, we didn’t win as a team but there was an individual draw (sorry, wasn’t me!) and the matches all lasted longer than the first time around. This meant that there was an improvement in our performances and that we were a step closer to achieving some individual wins and ultimately, a team win.

Chess is a unique team sport. Unlike most team sports that put emphasis on the team’s success over that of the individual, chess flips things around. It requires that there be individual wins before there is any hope for the team to win. I am desperately looking forward to my first win and the team’s first win that would be a reassurance that our efforts and hard work were fruitful.

Ifeanyi Onwumah is a sophomore philosophy major from South Holland. He participates in several campus clubs. Consideration for the student bloggers is provided by Saint Xavier University.


  1. I am not really fond of the game Chess but my little bother is a wiz at the game. I like your thoughts and opnions put into this writing. I look forward to reading for of your blogs:-)


  2. I really enjoyed your blog,its like a metaphor for everyday challenges.Chess is a very hard sport...well at least to me it with your hardwork and dedication, I know you can do it.I look forward to hearing about your first win. I understand whats its like to be passionate about something...and I know it's hard to accept let down, after let down, but the more challenging the obstacle, the more glorifying your success would be. Good Luck!!!


  3. thanks Charielle, I bet if you gave chess a chance you would be good at it. All you have to do is be patient and careful.

  4. I loved the blog on chess. It was very organized and insightful. I already love chess, but reading about it is my least favorite thing to do. After reading this i might have a change of heart. I also think your perspective is great for non-chess players.


  5. Good Stuff. The Chess Club at SXU is currently the fastest growing club around. !!!

    Mr. President


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