Chess Club has recently reorganized and is working on rebuilding its collegiate chess program.
The club has been around for approximately 20 years but after being inactive for a time, recently reformed three years ago and has been building up their program ever since.
“I had some students say they were wanting to restart a chess club, and I’ve been organizing scholastic chess in Abilene for a long time, and I love the game, so I said I was absolutely willing to be the faculty sponsor,” said Dr. Vic McCracken, associate professor in the College of Biblical Studies and chess club sponsor. “I’ve been a faculty sponsor for the last three years, since it’s really been reorganized, and I’ve got some students that are really excited about playing chess more collegiately.”
Chess Club has been a part of the collegiate chess circuit in Texas and has connections with other universities, such as Texas Tech, that allow them to play competitively outside of ACU’s student body.
“Not only are we looking at organizing some regular opportunities to play among ACU students, we actually have a partnership with Texas Tech and our students are welcome to play in their Monday online club meetings,” McCracken said. “We have some of the tournaments that we have played in with clubs from UTA Dallas and Utah Rio Grande Valley which both have some very active chess programs, but I would say our primary contact right now with other universities would be with Texas Tech.”
Chess Club is normally community-based, but COVID-19 has presented its own challenges when it comes to actually playing chess as a group.
“Last semester, we would meet on Fridays during lunch in the Bean; You would eat lunch and you would play different games with different people whoever showed up that week,” said club officer and sophomore music education major from Seymour Emma Habert. “This year that’s going to look quite a bit different because we can’t play face to face so we have an online platform on chess.com that is completely free for anybody to sign up for and then we have an ACU League within Chess.com.”
Chess Club is open to anybody who wants to join and is looking for more people to join.
“We’re hoping to get a bigger club started. I know it’s going to be a lot harder to get more people involved being online this semester, but they’re more than welcome to email any of the officers or Dr. McCracken, and we can give them even more information about it,” Habert said. “Just don’t be afraid to reach out. We’d love to invite you whether you’ve never looked at a chessboard in your entire life or you’re an international master. Everyone’s welcome.”