Bankston introduces new Chess club to students


Junior Cole Catalano ponders his first move.

Emmie Stevens, Staff Writer

As the year continues, more clubs are starting up, including Oxford High’s first official Chess Club sponsored by English teacher Ryne Bankston. The club is open to novices, experts and anyone else that is remotely interested in playing Chess.

“There’s this kind of surprising pocket of Chess talent in a place that most people would not expect it,” Bankston said. “I saw how good of an opportunity it might be for students to get involved in something. Between my own Chess interests and the absence of a Chess club, I really wanted to get it started.”

Bankston is hoping for Chess club to be able to do more than just meet during school hours, but also make it to a few tournaments throughout the year as well.

“I would really like to press it early and get into a situation where we are going to tournaments and representing Oxford High School in individual tournaments or as an Oxford High School team,” Bankston said. “Mississippi has a surprisingly well set-up system of Chess tournaments for juniors and for scholastic Chess players.

The meetings are held during Power Hour so that students who participate in sports, band, or any other extracurricular activities will be able to attend.

“At Oxford High School, we have the opportunity to have so many clubs,” Bankston said. “I think that [Chess club] got kind of pushed aside previously because of band or sports or some other clubs, but now, fingers crossed, with Power Hour being the way that it is, you have time after school for clubs, and you have time during Power Hour for clubs so Chess will be able to kind of take a bigger priority for some kids, and they’ll be able to attend.”

Many students are excited to have the opportunity to learn about Chess and compete in their first tournaments as Chess players.

“I think it would have been fun to have [Chess club] last year,” sophomore Sophie Quinn said. “I hope I get to go to at least a couple of tournaments.”

Other students are not only interested in the opportunity to compete but also in the opportunity to put their Chess skills to the test while meeting like-minded people.

“I am actually serious about [Chess],” said sophomore Mohamed Marzouk. “I would want to go to tournaments. At the last meeting, there were a lot of people interested in Chess.”

Chess club meetings will be Tuesdays after school and every Friday during Power Hour for anyone that would like to join the club.