-by Christine Chen
Last month, the Penn Chess Club secured its third straight Ivy League Championship. In an email interview, Penn Chess Club President and Captain Zack Weiner explained some inner workings of the game and the tournaments.
How did you get into chess? Did you ever take lessons?
Weiner: I got into chess like most kids, playing against my dad. Once I realized I was pretty good, I wanted to get better, so I started taking lessons in elementary school and my parents hired a coach for me in middle school. By the time I got to high school it was basically all self-motivated studying that got me to where I am.
What do you guys do in a typical meeting? Is it more going over strategies or playing chess itself? How frequently do you guys meet?
Weiner: We meet every Sunday in Houston Hall at 2pm. Anyone is welcome to come. Most players come just to shake off the rust and play some games for fun. A lot of times we end up getting real into it and analyzing our games afterwards though.
How do competitions usually work? Is there a ranking system?
Weiner: The way that team tournaments like The Ivy League Chess Championship work, is that you compete in teams of 4 and you are paired up by rating (In chess, the higher the rating the better. For example, I am about 2150, the best player in the world is over 2800.) So our highest rated player plays against their highest rated, our second highest against their second highest, etc. If out of the four games you have a score of 2.5 or better (a win counts as 1, a draw as .5), you win the match. The team with the best match results after 4 rounds wins the tournament.