LS Chess Team Aims for Victory

By Josh Fernandes

The Oak Hall Lower School Chess Team is one of the more successful teams at Oak Hall, having won multiple chess championships. One of the reasons for the success is because of Coach Tim Tusing and his years of experience. Tusing works with all of the students and helps them become better chess players. Part of the success comes from how hard the students work. Tusing said that other chess teams practice one day a week for one hour, but his chess team practices Monday through Friday for two and a half hours each day.

Tusing used to play chess when he was little and would like to pass on his skills and love of the game to the next generation. He started to teach chess when his son came home from school one day and told his mom there was a chess team at his school. Tusing’s wife told him that he should go and help the chess team because he knew how to play chess. When he got there, the teacher that taught chess at the time told him, “You know how to play, you can do this,” Tusing said. 

As time passed, Tusing’s program became more competitive. Tusing asserted, “Chess is a battle to the death in the mind…There is nothing more satisfying than winning a chess game, and there is nothing more devastating than losing it.” Tusing loves not only the game of chess, but the competition it brings. So much so, that he has gone to 12 chess competitions every year since 1997, and has been to roughly 276 chess competitions overall, bringing home 18 national titles. 

Students from junior kindergarten to 5th grade can join the team. Tusing encourages others to join the chess team if they want to “expand their ability to think”. Chess helps cognitive processes and strategic thinking. Chess also gives the added benefit of planning ahead, not just in chess, but in life. Members of Tusing’s team are taught to plan up to 10 moves ahead. He helps his team not merely to plan for the next move of the game, but to go for the win. Because of the hours of dedication, hard work, and the ability to constantly learn the game, Tusing’s chess team is incredibly successful, and one of Oak Hall’s most decorated programs. 

Photos provided by Corinna French