Chess Club plans charitable statewide tournament

At the second budget increase meeting on Oct. 23, the Student Association approved Chess Club for an increase of $987 to alleviate part of the tournament costs. According to President of Chess Club senior James Hiltunen, the majority of the increased funds will be delegated toward deterring the cost of $1,300 worth of prizes for tournament winners.

These prizes are an attempt to attract students from other schools, including the University of Buffalo, University of Rochester, Cornell University and Columbia University, as well as nine additional colleges the Chess Club invited.

According to Hiltunen, the Chess Club hopes to attract more than just experienced players.

“With this tournament, what we really want to do is expand the Chess Club by bringing in beginners and seeing if they really like chess,” Hiltunen said.

In order to accommodate these introductory level players, the Chess Club will host a “Learn to Play Chess in 30 Minutes or Less” class at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 in South Hall 241.

In order to receive Student Association approval for the budget increase, Chess Club had to present a written rationale outlining the significance of its request.

According to Hiltunen, this tournament provides opportunities for “leadership for members of Chess Club as well as education in the areas of analytical thinking and spatial reasoning” for players throughout the state. Additionally, this tournament offers a way for students to reach out to the community.

Organized as an opportunity for philanthropy, 50 percent of proceeds from the 2013 Geneseo Open Chess Tournament will be dedicated to the Salvation Army's efforts to provide gifts to children throughout the holiday season.

“We wanted to give monetary funds thorough the Salvation Army, but also we thought it would be great for children to get chess boards for Christmas,” Hiltunen said. “It is a lot easier for people who are poor to pay for chess boards, which are $7, instead of music.” According to Hiltunen, chess and music work a similar part of the brain.

“If you get the kids sitting down and playing, they tend to forget about the stress in their [lives],” Hiltunen said. “Sometimes it's hard to get kids to work on math problems. With chess, you can get them to work their brains in a fun way. It's a fun kind of learning.”

The Geneseo Open Chess Tournament will take place on Nov. 16 in South Hall 235, 237 and 241. Professional and experienced players start their matches at 10 a.m., and novice players begin at noon. The admission cost for Geneseo students is $5, while non-Geneseo students pay $15 to participate.