Last king standing

The Wichitan

Photo by Kassie Bruton

By Mollie Collins

Nick La Mere scrutinizes the chessboard in front of him as he ponders his next move.

His hand hovers above one piece, almost drawing down on it. Not so fast – he thinks again.

A grin begins to emerge on his face. Now he has the perfect move.

Knight to a6.


La Mere is president of MSU’s Chess Club, which was revived almost two years ago. The club was started by La Mere and Tin Phan, who is the club’s vice president.

La Mere said he became interested in chess at a young age. He continued to learn the game and its competitive side.

“The way the pieces can move and work together to create beautiful combinations makes it a creative and artistic game,” said La Mere. “The science comes in all the stats, theories, and openings that have been tested and retested over centuries of playing.”

Linh Vo, club secretary, and Phan said they both enjoy meeting people who are new to the game and teaching them the basics of chess.

Midwestern’s Chess Club has been restarted multiple times, but struggled to survive because there were not enough members regularly attending.

La Mere said that this time it’s going to be different.

“We have a great group of core members with an average attendance of around 10 to 14 weekly,” he said.

Professor Richard Simpson of computer science is the club’s adviser. He generously provided the chess club with several tournament chess sets and some books about the game.

La Mere said that there are currently no plans of the club playing at a collegiate level because they are more focused on teaching chess instead of competing.

Freshman nursing major Kim Sims joined the chess club this semester.

“I learned about the club from OrgSync,” said Sims. “It was something new to learn and is different from what I do every day.”

Sophomore mathematics major Natalie Nduku brings a lot of experience to the club.

Nduku was chess captain at her high school and even travelled to Turkey for an international chess tournament.

“Chess is not just a game,” Nduku said. “The game comes to life for me and I feel good when I play.”

The MSU chess club meets Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Sundance Food Court.

Whether you’re a pro at the game or have never seen a chessboard before, La Mere encourages everyone to join the club.

“It provides a fun and open environment to learn the game and play against others of similar skill level. People should look to join the chess club if they play chess, have fun playing chess, or even if they just want to learn the game.”