Chess Club

Hammonton High School has a wide range of clubs and extracurricular activities for students to interact with. Many of them are unknown to the vast majority of students. One of these niche clubs include the Chess Club. Its name perfectly suggests its purpose: to compete in chess matches against other club members and to overall improve at the game. While chess is considered a sport, most of the members we interviewed indulge in recreational matches. Players Michael Parker, Hayden Seiberlich, Gilberto Flores, and David Warburton are members of the club who got an interview.

For Warburton, chess has been a part of his life since elementary school.

“When I was young, I was in the latchkey program. So I would play chess against whoever was there, usually with my brother or an older kid who wanted to play against me and that got me kind of interested in it. I knew how to play because a staff member at the latchkey program taught me how to,” he said.

Seiberlich began playing a little later in middle school, with a little encouragement from HMS teacher Mr. Massara.

“I got into chess probably relatively young. The first time I remember actually getting involved in chess was in middle school when one of our classes held a mini tournament. It was Mr. Massara’s class. Both years I ended up actually winning”, he said. “Come 9th grade, I realized there was a chess club and just decided to join it. Sometimes I play seriously but most of the time I do fun stuff.”

Playing chess is a family affair for Flores, who only learned to play a few years ago when his older brother got a new set of glass pieces, but it was the HHS Chess Club that got him playing more regularly.

“We didn’t play much until we came to Hammonton and joined the club,” he said. “We really started playing when we moved to this school. My sister Sam taught me how to play but she graduated.”

The club meets each Monday after school and practices with each other.

“I take it absolutely not seriously at all but I mainly play with my friends and do stupid stuff on purpose. We just try to have fun with it to be honest,” he explains.

Members start talking about the nuances of Chess and what people who don’t play never knew about the game.

Michael explains the thought process.

“It’s all a mind game. You have to set up your board before the game starts and if not done correctly you’ll just lose badly.”

Hayden continues that thought.

“It’s not method, not so much as approach, one strategy is something called the castle method. I don’t personally know the castle method because that’s more complex when it comes to chess. I may be a nerd but I like chess.”


The members plan to compete at a tournament on April 11th.