Chess RSO returns, seeks new members


Ashanti Thomas

Members of chess club, Fox Woods, a freshman computer science major, Jules Barbieri, a junior interpersonal major, and Remi Mumford, a junior neuroscience major, make jokes and have fun while playing a friendly game of chess Thursday evening.

Cam'ron Hardy, Campus Events Junior Editor

After a five year span of being inactive, the Chess Club was reformed in February by Jules Barbieri, a fifth-year interpersonal communication major, and president of the Chess Club at Eastern.  

Barbieri took it upon themself to start it up again. Before this, the members would unofficially meet and play games. 

The Student Senate voted unanimously to officially title the Chess Club as an active Registered Student Organization on Feb. 9.  

To start the club, Barbieri needed to gather ten other individuals that were interested in playing, who were some of their friends 

Barbieri said they had been playing chess off and on again for most of their life but was not very good until they joined the chess club at their high school during their senior year.  

Currently, there are around 35 to 40 people that are in a group message for the RSO, but only four to six people attend the meetings. 

Barbieri said that the environment is pretty relaxed, and the attending members usually just talk and play a few games.  

Remi Mumford, a junior neuroscience major takes his next move against Fox Woods, a freshman computer science major, in a friendly game of chess Monday evening in Old Main. (Ashanti Thomas)

The club is actively trying to recruit new members at other events on campus, Barbieri said. 

“I’ve been doing some tabling at university events [like] Pantherpalooza,” Barbieri said. “I reached out to someone about doing some other tabling [at] basketball games, and I’m going to be running a table then. I’ve been doing my best to publicize the clubs since I’ve started it about a year and a half ago.”

Barbieri said that one of the most difficult parts about getting the club to start was finding a professor to sign up as the advisor for the club.  

“I definitely sent out a lot of emails looking for [them],” Barbieri said. “We eventually found someone. After that, it was filling out the form online, writing a Constitution for how the club would be run, [and recruiting] all of the members.” 

After signing the Constitution, Barbieri and other members were allowed to have a reserved room in Old Main Room 3110 for the entire semester.  

They are open to new members and teach members who are interested, but do not know how to play the game. 

Barbieri said they became the president of the club by starting the club. In high school they were not the president, but were a part of the top three best players in their club.  

Fox Woods, a freshman computer science major, Jules Barbieri, a junior interpersonal major, and Remi Mumford, a junior neuroscience major enjoy a game of chess during their last meeting of the semester Monday evening in Old Main. (Ashanti Thomas)

They recalled a certain point during their high school career. They were against their opponent, and it came down to a tight game, with each player having the same amount of pieces. 

Barbieri’s opponent offered a draw, but shortly after the game, Barbieri’s coach told them about a plan that would have won them the game. Barbieri said that they still think about that game to this day, and it still bothers them.

Fox Woods, a freshman computer science major, takes his turn and moves his next chess piece during the chess club meeting Thursday evening in Old Main. (Ashanti Thomas)

Barbieri said they plan on playing chess after college.  

“I’m considering moving to St. Louis because of the chess team,” Barbieri said.  

Barbieri said that there is a St. Louis Chess Club and that there is the Sinquefield Cup. The Sinquenfield is a competition amongst the top ten best players in the world and is an invite-only event. This year the prize fund was $350,000, and the first place winner would receive $100,000 

The best chess player in the world, grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, recently played at this event this past September.  

Barbieri said they play outside of the Chess Club meetings. They sometimes set up outside in the Library Quad and anyone who happens to walk by is welcome to play.  

The Chess Club meets every Monday from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. For more information, contact [email protected].


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].