Chess Forks the Heart of Woodgrove Students

Many people are enraptured with the current popularity of an ancient game made back in the 1600s. Students of Woodgrove have also been affected by this nationwide trend, and many can be seen playing the game of chess on their computers or on portable chess sets.

This game has always held the interest of a number of logic minded individuals who seek to understand the simple, yet complex puzzle that is chess. Over the past few years, the popularity of this game has skyrocketed due to the COVID lockdowns, influencers, and increased media coverage such as the Netflix show, The Queen’s Gambit, which centers around a woman’s rise to fame in the world of chess.

The spike in 2020-2021 did not die after lockdowns were lifted,  and the chess community is experiencing yet another rapid series of growth., a popular app, is experiencing record breaking numbers of active players on the site. January 20, 2023 showed 10 million players. A new branch of the game called Chessboxing has also emerged, combining chess and boxing in an epic battle of mind and body. The rounds alternate between the two activities.  A player may win by either a checkmate or a knockout. With streamers becoming involved in the game, its popularity in recent months has grown exponentially.

This enthusiastic response to the game has not just infiltrated the web, It has also spread through the halls of Woodgrove, as many people can be seen playing chess on  phones, chromebook, and in the library.

WHS librarian aid Ms. Huma Sheik says the chess board in the library is used “all of the time, it is always busy. It is one of the most popular things here.” The librarians aren’t the only ones who have noticed this chess uprising.

“It’s fun to socialize while playing the game,” said Sophomore Jonah Jimeno. Sophomore Joey Harar agrees. “It’s easy to start out and play with your friends.” Chess Club often has a packed room when they meet on Green club days.

Old and new players alike are constantly finding new ways to hone their skills and find new entertainment within this ancient game. Whether it is Chessboxing or just a simple game with a friend, it is clear that chess will continue to enrapture a new generation for decades to come.

Sophomore Jonah Jimeno locked in an intense games of chess with Junior Riley Murphy. Photo provided by Sam Douglas.