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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Chess tournament brings Milwaukee chess community together

Photo by Katie Craig
Marquette chess club hosted first annual chess tournament in Alumni Memorial Union Nov. 11.

The Marquette chess club hosted its first annual chess tournament on the morning of Nov. 11 on the first floor of the Alumni Memorial Union, with 13 participants partaking in the tournament across both divisions.

“It’s great to be able to put on these events again, especially since [the pandemic] paused these events in recent years, and that we’re able to host a fun and competitive environment,” Quinn Barrington, a sophomore chess club member in the College of Engineering, said.

The tournament was a round robin format rather than elimination, meaning it spanned five rounds with two separate brackets. The Marquette Open bracket is sanctioned by the United States Chess Federation (USCF) and was open to anyone registered with USCF and required a registration fee.

The MU1000 bracket was free to enter and designed for players that are newer to the game, but still looking for a competitive and fun experience.

Daniel Phipps, a senior in high school from Appleton, Wisconsin, won the Marquette Open USCF division, winning all five of his matches. 

“It was a great way to play some chess and explore campus,” Phipps said.

In the MU1000 division, sophomore Michael Nicholas and Marquette alum Andrew Depkon both won four matches, but Nicholas took home the first-place trophy due to a strength of schedule tiebreaker. Because Depkon lost a match to a lower-ranked opponent, while Nicholas only lost to Depkon, who then finished in second place, Nicholas got the trophy. Seven participants were in this bracket, so everyone would play each other except for one player in the MU1000 division. 

The idea for the tournament blossomed from a CORE 1929 honors class project, where students needed to pitch an event that would benefit the campus community, which both chess club members; Barrington and Ross Dziallo, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, were in last spring. They brought up the idea of a tournament to help grow the game of chess on campus to chess club president Devin Johnson. 

Dziallo said he initially thought of an intercollegiate tournament with other Wisconsin schools but realized that the tournament would be better served to promote the game locally.

“I wanted to make it so people wouldn’t get dissatisfied and not play again,” Dziallo said. “I wanted to have both the competitive nature and more people to try chess club in the Marquette community.”

To bring the tournament to life, Dziallo, Barrington and Johnson pitched the concept to MUSG for financial support, marketing efforts and to find an event space. 

In attendance was Chess Grandmaster Timur Gareyev, who is nicknamed “Blindfold King” for his prowess at blindfold chess. He has played 48 blindfold chess games simultaneously — a Guinness World Record — and won the 2022 American Continental Chess Championship. 

Also in attendance was Edgar Talayko, the director of Milwaukee Chess. Both men said they are very passionate about growing the game in local communities.

Gareyev offered his tips, tricks and general strategy to participants in between match play, and Talayko spread the message about community bonding through chess in Milwaukee. 

“People play a lot of online chess now, there’s something different about having someone across the chessboard to interact with in-person rather than through a screen,” Talayko said.

Marquette chess club looks to make the tournament an annual event, with the future goal of competing more frequently and against other schools. 

“It’s an empowering experience knowing that we can put on this event with the resources we have,” Dziallo said.

This article was written by Mikey Severson. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @MikeySeversonMU.

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About the Contributors
Mikey Severson
Mikey Severson, Sports Reporter
Mikey Severson is a first year from Saint Charles, Illinois studying journalism and minoring in sports management. He is a Sports Reporter for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. At St. Charles East High School, he played football, tennis and managed the boys' basketball team. Outside of the Wire, he enjoys professional football, playing tennis, trying new foods and meeting new people. He is excited to cover Marquette athletics, go to games and interview players & coaches post-game.
Katie Craig
Katie Craig, Staff Photographer
Katie is a Staff Photographer at the Wire. She is a first-year from Lakeville, MN studying digital media and minoring in advertising. In her free time, Katie enjoys photography and hanging out with her friends. This year Katie is looking forward to getting to know more people and improving her photography skills.

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