University of Mississippi

At Ole Miss

UM Chess Club Members Master Moves, Share Love of Game

By Ally Langston


The Chess Club organizes a tournament for members to practice the chess skills and strategies they’ve learned at meetings.

The University of Mississippi Chess Club welcomes all students who have the desire to learn more about chess, play the game for fun and compete in tournaments.

The club, established in November 2017, offers the university community a chance to enjoy a shared hobby and teaches its members chess strategies and tactics.

Cordell Sanders, president of the Chess Club, hopes the organization can offer students the opportunity to learn, improve and compete in chess.

“Our organization is for the students,” Sanders said. “Our goal is to help members become better chess players and offer them the opportunity to be active on campus and obtain leadership roles.”

The club has 40 members who are of different nationalities and majors including engineering, journalism, public policy, physics and pharmacy; however, the club is looking to grow and include anyone who is interested in the game.

“So far, our club has been very diverse,” Sanders said. “Chess is a global game that many people enjoy or would like to learn.”

Marvin King, faculty adviser for the UM Chess Club and associate professor of political science, collaborated with Sanders to create the club out of a need for chess they saw in the community.

“For beginners, this is a great way to learn chess in a stress-free, noncompetitive environment,” King said. “For intermediate players, this is a great way to improve your skills and work on particular facets of play, such as endgame scenarios. For advanced players, this is a great way to connect with other advanced players.”

King has been faculty adviser since the creation of the year-old club. He helps facilitate each meeting and get the word out about the club to his students. He hopes the club can grow big enough to be active in the community and have a traveling club team play at other universities and to tutor students at local K-12 schools.

“For everybody, it’s a new club that needs a lot of help getting off the ground,” King said.

Members of the 2018-19 UM Chess Club

Tharangi Fernando, secretary and member of the Chess Club, enjoys being a part of the organization because she has made new friends who share similar interests, and she has increased her skills in the game, which she remembers playing as a child.

“Prospective students should join too because it is a fun and easy way to make new friends, learn a new skill or further their abilities in chess, and they may even have the chance to travel and go to tournaments,” Fernando said.

For those who are interested and live in Mississippi, an annual Ole Miss Chess Invitational Tournament is coming up at Ole Miss in February 2019. The event is sponsored by the UM Office of Pre-College Programs in the Division of Outreach and the Mississippi Scholastic Chess Association. It will take place at the Jackson Avenue Center, which is part of the UM campus.

Tournament pre-registration is available at ($15 fee), or participants can register on site for $20. The tournament will be divided into three divisions, K-5, K-8 and K-12, based on the experience level as set by the U.S. Chess Federation. USCF membership is required for those wanting to participate in the K-8 or K-12 division. The link for USCF membership is

Also, students are welcome to test out the UM Chess Club before joining by attending a meeting at Residential College South, Room 133, on the Ole Miss campus on Sundays at 3 p.m.

For more information on the UM Chess Club, email

Ally Langston is a journalism major and intern in University Communications at the University of Mississippi.

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