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Netflix show inspires East Tenn. students to create chess club

The Netflix show ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ is about an orphan who rose to chess fame has inspired high school students in East Tennessee to get in the game.
Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 6:31 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Chess is a game that teaches strategy and patience. The Netflix show ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ is about an orphan who rose to chess fame and has inspired high school students in East Tennessee to get in the game.

“I was worried about coming to virtual school because this was my first year,” said Collin Crisp.

The ninth-grader moved his studies to Tennessee Connections Academy this fall.

Crisp explained, “One of my biggest worries was chess. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to stick with it.”

But he’s gotten to stick with the intellectual sport. The virtual homeschool has created an online chess club inspired by the Netflix show.

“I’m super excited about it,” said David Leventhal who teaches history and will be the club’s adviser.

Leventhal knew how the game can translate into many life lessons.

“You can play with anybody across the world and you’ll find it’s a very humbling experience when you get out there and you’re playing against some really good players,” said Leventhal.

“When you sit down at a computer or a chessboard suddenly what all is around you doesn’t matter anymore. You’re in your own little war there, but it’s a fun one,” explained Crisp.

He’ll teach them lessons students can’t learn in the classroom.

“I think it’s very beneficial for kids to learn how to think, strategically, like you said, it helps develop problem-solving skills,” said Leventhal, “It teaches patience, teaches kids how to lose gracefully.”

“Make sure that you make the right decision and consider all the future options and not just the moment. You have to think ahead,” said Crisp.

There are more than 400 positions after each player makes just one move. After that, there are 72,000, then it becomes millions and even billions of positions.

Leventhal said, “When you play a lot of games, I feel like I’ve never played the same game twice.”

It has become more than a hobby, but a way of life.

“It’s not stressful, but it’s still exciting,” explained Crisp.

The club hopes to begin playing in the spring semester.

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