Chess: a game of blunders and brilliance

Jonas Padilha, News Editor

Entering the lunchroom after slugging through three hours of academics is a magical experience. You order some food, find your table, and sit down so you can talk to your friends about…chess?

The start of 2023 has been a momentous occasion as people have reflected on the glorious highs and devastating lows of 2022. But with a new year comes new trends. Despite not having much popularity before this year, one game has seemingly come out of nowhere and taken us all by storm: chess.

Before now, it was viewed as a game which required its participants to have only the sharpest minds. Like many people, it confused me how much chess was taking over. Why has this 8-by-8, 16-piece board game suddenly become the talk of the town? servers have been crashing wherever you look as more people are becoming invested in chess than ever before.

The recent explosion of chess in popularity can mainly be attributed to the release of Mittens, a new chess bot on Despite its innocent appearance, it has been programmed to do one thing: win at all costs.

The inclusion of Mittens is a hilarious joke because of the twist that comes with its rating, being only 1 elo. When you see a chess rating of below 500, you’re basically guaranteed a win (unless you yourself are below 500, in which case you might have to put in a little more work).

Many brilliant chess players at Liberty have faced Mittens, but none have won. This chess bot was great for chess to become more widespread because it makes players think that they’re playing against a loveable cat only for them to realize what they’re playing against is an opponent with no soul.

Chess becoming as popular as it is has brought about many strange changes to student lives. At lunch, instead of arguing over who gets the last fry or putting oranges in each other’s water bottles, people are sitting down, calmly enjoying a game of chess. It’s clear that we are enjoying the game for all of its memorable moments, as well as becoming academic weapons. In other words, chess has brought a new sense of peace to Liberty.

“It’s strange seeing my lunch table discuss all of the strategies that they use when they’re playing chess,” sophomore Isaac Roberts said while sipping his orange-infused water. “My table is also way smarter than usual…weird…”

Chess players during this time have used the Scholar’s Mate to its full advantage bringing great joy to their once sad lives, as now they are free to flex their superior strategic intellect. For example, people actually know what the en passant is, and the fact that people actually care about each others’ chess ratings simply boggles my mind.

With the help of artificial intelligence and the memes that came with it, chess is slowly but surely usurping the internet. Its positive influence on the minds of Liberty youth has contributed to our success. Without it, we would return to our savage ways, Lord of the Flies style.

So the next time you play chess, think about your next move. Is sacrificing the rook really worth it?