Elizabeth A. Boudreaux
Most students on campus have heard of the board game club, but could it be possible to have a board game community focused solely on the beloved traditional game of chess? A club that improves one’s skills at the game, and if that’s not good enough, also has free pizza? Francis Lafatta, a junior transfer student and an accounting major, asked these very questions and brought his ideas to life at Franciscan University of Steubenville this semester when founding the chess club.
“The inspiration came one day,” Lafatta said, “while (my friends and I), my janitor friends, were taking out the trash.”
Many of us get these off-hand ideas while going through our day-to-day busy work, and often throw them out, ceasing to ponder them once the work shift or other task is finished. However, Lafatta’s friend and coworker, junior Andrew Orozco, gave him the necessary friendly support to share his passion for chess with the campus.
After several discussions, Lafatta put his plan into action, and it easily passed all university protocols. It was a consolation to know that a chess club had already been established on campus, even though it had limited years of success, Lafatta said. Lafatta thought free pizza should be enough to solve that problem. With the help of a few friends and fliers to advertise, Lafatta has a growing community of chess enthusiasts supporting the club.
One aspect of the club Lafatta and his community are excited for are the tournaments. This distinctly sets them apart from the board game club, which Lafatta was already a part of, and allows players to develop their skills in healthy competition. The chess club has monthly tournaments, which started Sunday, April 25.
These elimination-style tournaments have fellowship, food and prizes, and are currently played on campus with a variety of friendly Franciscan students. It is Lafatta’s dream, however, to contact other chess enthusiasts in the surrounding Steubenville areas so that the chess tournaments can grow and make more connections.
“It’s going to be a nice social event and a chess event,” Lafatta said in reference to his upcoming tournament. “And even if you don’t win a game or win a prize, you win some pizza and you get to make a new friend!”
The chess club caters to a variety of players, from advanced to beginner, so anyone can join.
Other dreams Lafatta has for his club include high quality chess boards, an increase in members and the improvement of skills through practice.
“Chill and chess,” Lafatta said, summarizing his vision. “It is a healthy competition.”
Through his execution of this simple idea, Lafatta reveals to all students a small example of following one’s dreams and the benefits of doing so. He is determined to follow through on his ideas, giving students of all interests and skill sets a place of fellowship, fun and food.