Archive for the ‘Chess Club’ Category

Photo by Stella deVargas

Photo by Stella deVargas

By Jersiah Wrobleski
Cougar News Blog

     On March 22 Cactus Canyon Junior High held a chess tournament.
     Seventh and eighth graders in the chess club competed against players from Apache Junction High School. The chess tournament was taking place because coaches Jayson Angell of AJHS and Joseph Gerber of CCJH wanted to teach the students valuable life lessons through chess. It was a friendly event that encouraged students to meet and interact with new players.
     “Most of the students who take part in this match have probably never experienced playing in a chess match before,” Gerber said.
     The chess tournament will help teach kids self discipline. The supplies don’t cost much and it helps the children improve problem solving skills by analyzing their opponent’s moves and positions.
     Gerber said, “Another thing I want to teach them is to use their time wisely. Sometimes a player using a clock for the first time might think that they have to move faster. This would be a grave mistake. Instead, a person should think carefully about their next move before making it.”
     In preparation for the tournament, Gerber said the CCJH players had less time than their their opponents.
     Gerber said, “The biggest roadblock I have with preparing my players is the lack of time. The high school team meets each week after school for at least one hour if not more. I can only meet with my players for about 25 minutes once a week.”

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Weston Workman practices his game outside the library.

Weston Workman practices his game outside the library.

By Damian Lopez
Cougar News Blog

     CCJH’s chess club is starting fresh this semester, with the addition of some new seventh graders and some new eighth graders.
     The club is open to all students who are interested the game of chess and want to learn how to play on a higher level. Many students have also gone on to play at Apache Junction High School.
     “I find that everything you do can impact your game greatly, but if you don’t do a specific move it could easily break your game,” said eighth grade player Kaleb Schroeder.
     The club originally started in December of 2012 at four AJUSD elementary schools, and in December of 2014 adviser Joe Gerber asked if he could start a club at CCJH. Since then the club has gained a total mass of around 15 players, who are preparing themselves for possible future tournaments.
     “Last year CCJH played a match against the AJHS and it ended in a tie,” Gerber said. “This year we hope to again play against AJHS so the students that keep coming will have a chance to play in that match.”
     This upcoming season the club plans to have many special guests such as city policeman, city firefighters, in fact policeman have actually gone and played with the club. The club is also very fortunate to have volunteers that come to help and play.
     “I have felt the support that I have received from many of the staff members that work at the three schools currently in the Chess program,” said Gerber. “Their help has been definitely noticed by me and again I am grateful for their support.”
     The chess club meets in the CCJH Library every Tuesday during each grade’s lunch period. The club’s last meeting will be on April 19. Gerber plans to start the club up again next January and hopes to gain funds to put toward more equipment.
     Students in the club said they are not concerned about winning and losing as much as having a chance to play and get better.
      “Every game to me is a chance to improve my thought processes,” Schroeder said. “For example, if you’re thinking two moves ahead and your opponent is three moves ahead, you need to be watching what they are doing or play defensive until you have a chance to get ahead and take turn the game around.”

Mr. Gerber works with players during a chess club meeting. (Photo by Kaileah Goucher)

Mr. Gerber works with players during a chess club meeting. (Photo by Kaileah Goucher)

By Elisabeth H.
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon Junior High has started a chess club that meets in the CCJH library every Tuesday during lunch. Being in the chess club can help students enhance their creativity, improve their power of concentration, develop and expand critical thinking skills, boost memory and retention, and achieve superior academic performance.
     Mr. Gerber, the chess club adviser, felt the need to do something positive in the community, so he contacted four elementary schools and asked if they would be interested in starting a Chess Club in their school.
     “I know from my life experience thus far that chess has greatly enriched my life and now I have a chance again to show some young students how to play chess and enrich their life over time,” said Mr. Gerber.
     Gerber, who has been playing chess around the world for over 40 years, started the club at CCJH in December and plans to have one or more practice matches with the chess team at Apache Junction High School.
     No prior knowledge about how to play chess is required to join the club. No invite is needed and the last meeting will be on April 21.
     Two or three dedicated volunteers are needed to help with the program at CCJH.
     “Cactus Canyon has a lot of students interested in playing chess and the program could run more smoothly if other volunteers would jump in,” said Mr. Gerber.
     Mr. Gerber said that playing a lot is the best way to get better at chess.
     “If you want to get better at playing chess, play practice games against a family member, a relative, a friend, or a neighbor,” he said. “Each time you play, record the game and seek out a strong player to review the game with you so that ways to improve can be pointed out.”