Profile: Mr Billy Willson and the Chess Club

By Jeremy Burks ’20

Chess Club is actually one of the oldest clubs at Regis Jesuit. It all started in the 1990’s with Mr. Harold Martin as the Chess Club Moderator. There were only a few members in the beginning, but the number of members increased throughout the years.

Ten years later, Mr. Billy Willson was hired to replace Mr. Martin as the new Chess Club Moderator. Mr. Willson decided to run the Chess Club because chess was always his passion and it seemed like a natural fit for him. Since Fall of 2000, he had been running the chess club and still is today.

Throughout the years of moderating the Chess Club, Mr. Willson has tried using different methods and lessons to the members of the Chess Club each year. Some of them are working through a chess book, playing other competitors from different countries, or solving tactics problems. He
uses these methods and lessons in order to keep the interest in chess alive and to attract more people to join the club.

A picture of some fellow chess club members playing a friendly game of chess
By: Jeremy Burks ’20

There are multiple benefits of learning and playing chess, like improvements to one’s visual and spatial abilities, implementing a plan, and solving any number of real-life parallels.

“Out of all the pieces in chess,” Mr. Willson says, “the most important piece is the king, because it’s the only piece who’s survival determines the outcome of the game.” There are various strategies to use in playing chess. One of them is the opening gambit. It is where you sacrifice material in the opening for mobility/activity. This type of play style leads to dynamic and exciting games.

At the end of the year, Mr. Willson wants his members “To have fun while at the same time improving their skills. In the end I hope this will translate to how they approach solving problems in the real world.”


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