Lucas Lepejian is looking for a match on campus

The Monarch shares his experience in chess, in hopes of finding other chess players.

By Natalie Metcalf, Special to the Star

Lucas Lepejian (L) and fellow chess club co-founder Ivan Cabreras (R) shake hands after a match on campus. (Luis Flores/The Valley Star)

Check with your mates because Lucas Lepejian started a new chess club on campus and is looking for a few matches.

The second year business major started playing chess at 7-years old, honing his skills at school and home - now he hopes to bring chess to Valley. Lepejian began moving the pieces around the board with his late grandfather, Isgo Lepejian, and with his father Baret Lepejian. The Valley College student describes the matches as friendly, family-affairs but still competitive, something that helped him win his first chess competition in middle school.

“There were about thirty of us and I went one-on-one,” said Lepejian, referring to the chess competition. “I won my first game and moved onto the next.”

Lepejian says the hardest part of chess is understanding the game and applying strategies to become better. He added that skilled chess players maintain a certain level of focus and plan the entire game in their heads anticipating the next move their opponent will play.

Chess originated in India around the eighth century and has since been played in various cultures. The game gained popularity when it arrived in Southern Europe in the 9th century. Last year Netflix released “The Queen’s Gambit,” which tells the story of the chess prodigy and competitive player, Beth Harmon. The show received an Emmy award for outstanding limited or anthology series. The period drama was watched by 62 million household viewers in its first 28 days, according to business insider.

As stated in Towards Data Science, “The Queen’s Gambit has motivated existing users to play more online chess.” Since the release of the series last October, online chess games have seen an increase in players.

“[Chess is] kinda like a culture,” said Lepejian. “People that play chess are very smart intellectuals and [have] distinct taste in their spare time. For those who know and play chess.”

However, online and in-person chess are two different experiences. Online chess players are pitted against a computer serving an Artificial Intelligence challenge for players.

“In-person chess is better in my opinion,” said Lepejian, whose favorite part of the game is meeting people. “[There are] less distractions and [players are] able to focus more with [their] opponent in front of [them].”

Lepejian wants to share the joys of chess by creating a new campus club. As of now, he is working on forming the group. There is no set meeting time or place yet, as he looks to spread the word and see if anyone is interested.

On the club’s flyer, “No experience necessary” is printed on the front with the newfound club leader searching for different types of members.

“One step at a time,” said Lepejian in regards to the beginning of his club. “[I am] just trying to form it and see how good we all are.”

For more information on joining, contact Lucas Lepejian at (818) 521-4385.