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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Good knight for chess: Tulane hosts tournament

“A ten-year-old was one of the best players and beat one of our strong club members,” Tulane Chess Club’s co-president, junior Carter Williams said. “That’s how chess goes; chess is known as the great equalizer. You could be a homeless person versus a king and it’s a completely equal playing field.”
Courtesy Caroline Kurzweil
“A ten-year-old was one of the best players and beat one of our strong club members,” Tulane Chess Club’s co-president, junior Carter Williams said. “That’s how chess goes; chess is known as the great equalizer. You could be a homeless person versus a king and it’s a completely equal playing field.”

A hush fell over Kendall Cram Lecture Hall on National Chess Day last Saturday morning, Oct. 14. Kings and queens shuffling across boards replaced the sounds of idle chatter as the 1st Annual Tulane Quick Chess Tournament commenced. 

Tulane Chess Club and Downriver Chess Club of New Orleans teamed up to organize their first annual tournament. According to Downriver Chess Club’s co-owner Richard Campbell, this tournament represented 20% of Louisiana’s top contenders in the United States Chess Federation, with participants from as far as Mobile, Alabama. Tulane Chess Club’s co-president, junior Carter Williams, echoed this success with the 100 participants and additional spectators.

Tulane University Provost Robin Forman observed the tournament. Forman has been playing chess for decades and became a U.S. chess master in 1996.

“My time spent at the Tulane chess club has reminded me of the joyful chaos and comradery of in-person chess, with the laughter and the sounds of pieces crashing, the boisterous congratulations and celebrations of victory, the consolations and lessons learned from defeat, all of which is missing from the online games,” Forman said in a statement to Tulane Chess Club. 

This five-round, USCF-verified tournament welcomed many notable players of different skill levels. Ten-year-old Leo Le-Tran battled against national master senior Nicholas Matta. Matta won second in the tournament behind Tulane Law School student Dexter Webster.

“A ten-year-old was one of the best players and beat one of our strong club members,” Williams said. “That’s how chess goes; chess is known as the great equalizer. You could be a homeless person versus a king and it’s a completely equal playing field.”

The Tulane Chess Club was formed nearly three years ago, following the spike in chess’s popularity during quarantine and the subsequent release of the hit show “The Queen’s Gambit.” 

“In my perspective, chess is an art form,” director of growth and marketing junior Trevor Johnson said. “People look at the game in different ways. Everybody has their own style. People create their own vision and they create a plan and they execute it. That’s what I really love about chess.”

The Tulane Chess Club had about 10 members playing in the tournament, all striving to live up to the legacy of Paul Morphy, a Tulane Law alum and unofficial world chess champion, who is still regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. 

“We feel honored and obligated to live up to his legacy,” Johnson said. “He revolutionized the game in two years, immediately after graduating from Tulane. While he was here, he worked hard and studied both law and chess and he went on to change the world. I really like that as a metaphor for the overall Tulane spirit. That’s who we’re here to represent today.”

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