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Chess in the Library: A New Ward Melville Pastime

Janet Song, Staff Writer

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“Checkmate!”

A king is seized by fingers and swept off the black and white battlefield with a quick and brisk swish, then knocked violently off the table along with its queen and fellow army, the knights, the pawns, the bishops, and the rooks. The hand slides them into a plastic bag, and the kingdom of white is sealed off, losing again to the kingdom of black in an ominous battle of chess.

Students at Ward Melville are enjoying a new pastime; the addition of chess games in the school library has surged in popularity and brings many players, skilled and new, to the tables. Before school hours, during free periods, and after school, only in Ward Melville can chess become so engaging and just as enjoyable for enthusiastic fans of any sort of spectator game.

In fact, the librarians recently taped on signs to the table that read: “MAXIMUM OF THREE PEOPLE PER TABLE” because the swarming number of students that crowd around the chess tables to play or cheer on the game has become a bit of a nuisance. You might laugh at the thought of it, but yelling has been a problem with these chess games. A simple move made by one party drives students berserk. Suggestions on what move to make next are shouted across tables. Fanatics scream in victory or in defeat. It’s a bit maddening how Ward Melville has become so fascinated with this two player game of strategy.

Maybe this is just an indicator that shows that the students of Ward Melville are all just a bunch of nerds.

Who exactly brought these chess games to the library? “Actually, it was Dr. Baum,” Helen, the school librarian, explains. “He got all the tables and chess pieces, which was a nice surprise.” Despite its hecticness and excited fervor, Helen admits, “I do enjoy it. The students think it’s fun. I like to watch it too.”

This heightened craze for chess has died down within the weeks since it first arrived, but the popularity of it among Ward Melville continues to stay. Students are often found occupied around the tables any time in the library, and they are having lots of fun playing against each other; it’s a very moving game. If you haven’t already, check out the chess games that are offered to the library!

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Chess in the Library: A New Ward Melville Pastime