UIC Chess Club wins first place in division finals

Challenging more than 50 universities across the nation, UIC’s Chess Club has won first place in their division in the Collegiate Chess League tournament.

UIC student Sarah Asif established the chess club in 2019.

“This is a team effort, and win or lose, we are all in this together and we all represent UIC. No individual is representing themselves because we, as a collective, are UIC,” said Asif, president of the group.

Putting in hours of work and competing in a match every weekend since December 2020, these players have developed strategies, studied their competition and mastered the true meaning of teamwork.

“Reaching finals was a huge deal — more than 50 universities, not even aware that we exist — then suddenly facing Purdue in the finals. Every small win for this team has contributed to us getting here,” said Rajan Bhawnani, Ph.D. student chemical engineering and captain of the UIC Collegiate Chess League team.

Participating in a national competition just two years after becoming the first official chess club at UIC — and winning first place in 4th division finals during a pandemic — is nothing short of impressive.

“Our common goal is to promote the game of chess and foster a fun and inclusive environment for UIC’s chess-playing community. Every week, I see our members work hard to make that goal come true,” said Ryan Zomorrodi, vice president of the chess club and vice captain of the UIC Collegiate Chess League team.

The group is a tight-knit community and they are just getting started and looking to expand. Those interested in participating in future national or local chess events should contact Zomorrodi at rzomor2@uic.edu.


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