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Chess, checkers come together in CheSSkerS Club

Middle school students take part in the school’s CheSSkerS club after school on Monday, Oct. 20. Pictured are (front table, from left) Jimmy Ritter, Megan Anderson, Leandra Salsbury and Jacob Medchill; (back table, from left) Evan Meskill (back to camera), Reese Atzmiller, Jaxon Green, Sam LaPean and Ben Wacker (back to camera).1 / 2
The members of the CheSSkerS club enjoy spending time after school playing each other in chess or checkers. Pictured are (front, from left) Megan Anderson, Jaxon Green and Jimmy Ritter; (middle, from left) Leandra Salsbury, Ryan Affeldt and Jacob Medchill; Sam LaPean, Evan Meskill, Ben Wacker, Peter Auvin and Reese Atzmiller. (Photos by Jordan Willi)2 / 2

When students at New Richmond Middle School began to get interested in playing chess and checkers with their friends after school three or four years ago, they came together and created the CheSSkerS Club.

“Students generated the interest in the club and asked to get one started,” said K-8 Gifted and Talented Coordinator Jodi Markowski. “We had a wonderful parentvolunteer who agreed to help get it off and running. We are currently looking for a coach with chess skills to help the kids develop strategy.”

The CheSSkerS Club meets once a week for 10-12 weeks for 40 minutes, usually on Mondays, and the NRMS Tiger Quest Program supplies the games, so the students only need to bring themselves and the occasional snack to meetings.

“Having the chance to spend time with students who love the game, love talking about the game and the support that comes with friendly competitiveness,” Markowski said. “They are just a fun group of kids to work with in a club setting.”

At most meetings, there are eight to 14 students who take part in games of chess and checkers, but Markowski said there have been times the group has grown to over 20 participants.

“Kids are attracted to the friendly competitiveness of the group and want the opportunity to improve their skills,” Markowski said. “Word spreads as the group gets underway, so we always pick up some additional kids. The kids also enjoy discussing strategies when the club meets every week.”

When it comes to the question of which game the students prefer to play, Markowski said that there is a pretty clear winner.

“Students prefer chess over checkers, although every year some students create a game which combines both chess and checkers … hence the creation of the group name ‘Chesskers,’” Markowski said.

Although it is not a requirement for the students to know how to play either chess or checkers, most of the students have at least had some exposure to one of the two games.

“Most of the participants have some skill in chess; a few have stronger skills, which really inspires the rest to improve,” Markowski said. “They learn a number of strategies from each other as well as from some chess videos. We are looking for an adult volunteer to help them learn more in-depth strategies.”

For more information on the club, contact Jodi Markowski at 715-243-7416 or .

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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