Chess Team Looking for Checkmate

After winning the Chess College of the Year Award in August, the St. John’s University chess team hopes to finish the school year off with the 2003 league championship.

Although there is no intercollegiate chess league, University members compete against the Bankers’ Athletic League, the captain and moderator of the St. John’s Chess Team, Frank Brady, said.

The team is currently ranked number two behind the League champions of Goldman Sachs. Both teams competed during the Championship round in June but the game ended in a draw.

“They ended up winning the championship because they had a better record during the regular season,” Glen Statile, a philosophy professor and advisor to the team, said.

Statile said that Tatiana Ratcu, an exchange student from Brazil, played a crucial part in the team placing second because she was the women’s chess champion in her home country He also added that Jerold Times, a graduate from St. John’s, is one of the best players on the team.

“He is a strong chess master and one of the strongest African American players in the country.”

Currently, there are 12 members on the roster. Anyone from St. John’s University is eligible to play on the team.

“You don’t have to be a student in order to be on the team,” Brady said. “It could be anyone that’s connected to the school.”

“For example, we have a member that is the daughter of one of the professors,” Statile added. “We also have members that used to be students or have some type of affiliation with the school.”

The team’s schedule began in early October and ends in the beginning of June. The playoffs after the regular season takes place between mid May and early June. The schedule consists of about 15 or 16 games in total. There is a tournament every two weeks and St. John’s hosts its games on the Manhattan campus. At the moment, the team has completed one third of it’s regular season. “We have not lost yet,” Statile said.

The league also has participated in a number of other events held on campus.

During the summer of 2001, St. John’s hosted the International Chess Tournament. The event took place over a two week period and participants came from nations of Canada, Russia, Hungary and Indonesia.

The school is looking to host the event again in the future.

A couple of members, including Bobby Kurniawan, of the chess team instructed children, who participated in the Inner City Games, a recreational and athletic program for disadvantaged youths, on how to play chess. The program is held on campus every summer.