The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

For 35 years, U-High’s elegant caretaker
First impact of budget cuts felt; Sutherland Awards placed on hiatus

Virtual checkmate: Students engage and make friends through online chess

Playing+against+each+other+and+with+strangers+across+the+world%2C+the+students+strategize+and+bond+over+online+chess%2C+a+game+they+all+enjoy.%C2%A0
Peyton Palmer
Playing against each other and with strangers across the world, the students strategize and bond over online chess, a game they all enjoy. 

In groups, students can be seen on their computers deeply engaged. Playing against each other and with strangers across the world, the students strategize and bond over online chess, a game they all enjoy. 

“There is a lot of camaraderie when playing chess,” said Sam Pastor, the president of U-High’s chess club. “It’s just a fun way to spend time together and hang out. Having a game that is convenient and can bond us all together has created some pretty strong friendships.”

According to the New York Times, chess boomed in popularity due to the Netflix show “The Queen’s Gambit” and the pandemic. 

U-High students make up some of the 100 million users on the No. 1 online chess platform, chess.com. They enjoy playing online chess as an easy and engaging way to spend time with friends.

Sophomore James Hubbard played chess for one to two hours daily over the summer. During the school year, he plays one to two games during lunch and a few games when he gets home before starting homework. 

James, who is not part of the chess club, plays the game with his friend in the cafeteria. An avid online chess player, James said he and his friends enjoy the game because of the community it has created.

“Sometimes we play mini chess tournaments during lunch,” he said, “or we have a team account where we play against other players as a team.”

He said online chess allows for a fun game with flexibility for him and his friends. 

“If you’re playing over the board, I have to go to Harold Washington Park or out to 53rd Street. If you’re playing online, you get to stay in your own house,” James said. “You can put on some music and play with people all around the world.”

James said he also enjoys playing online chess because platforms like chess.com track his progress and skill level. Chess.com uses an Elo rating system that calculates players’ skill levels depending on how many games they win or lose. Users are matched with similarly ranked players. 

While chess club member William Zhang prefers playing with a board, he said online chess offers a number of advantages.

“With online chess, you can play wherever you want, and you don’t constantly have to have someone next to you, which is not possible all the time,” William said.

Sam said there are not enough physical chess boards for the 10- to 15-member club to use, and online chess accommodates the entire club with a fun game they all enjoy. 

Sam said, “When you get that many people in a room focusing on one thing, there is a whole lot to learn from everyone, and online chess allows for that.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Audrey Park
Audrey Park, Editor-in-Chief
Audrey Park is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as an editor-in-chief. She began writing for the Midway in the 2020-21 school year when she was in ninth grade. Her favorite story she has written is about University of Chicago nurses seeking solutions for the uninsured. She loves journalism because of its ability to represent and reflect multiple perspectives. Audrey also enjoys reading, traveling and playing card games. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, special coverage: (with Clare McRoberts and Sahana Unni) superior 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, general feature Story: excellent 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, sidebar writing, “Affirmative Apprehension — Expert input: Law professor explains case” 2023 Illinois All-State Journalism Team 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, online package 2023 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, news story: excellent 2022 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, St. Louis convention: Honorable mention, editorial writing 2022 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, sidebar writing, “Misinformation solutions rely on regulation, media literacy”
Peyton Palmer
Peyton Palmer, Photographer
Peyton Palmer is a beginning photojournalist and is a member of the Class of 2026. Her favorite parts of photojournalism are learning how to shoot significant photos and taking pictures for others to enjoy. Outside of photojournalism, Peyton enjoys music and hanging out with family and/or friends. She also participates in U-High tennis. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, first-year photo

Comments (0)

All U-High Midway Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *