First-Year Student Defeats International
by Anne C. Paine
September 28 was a day Jonathan Hirsch may never forget.
With music from the weekly T.G.I.F. celebration
wafting out of Wilder Hall, the sunshine on Wilder Bowl was
warm, and the chess was hot.
Hirsch was one
of more than 30 students challenging International Master
Calvin Blocker in a simultaneous chess match that day. Blocker,
a Cleveland resident, lectures regularly for the Oberlin Chess
Club. A row of tables set up with chess boards was arranged
on the Bowl; student challengers sat on one side, while on
the other side Blocker dashed from board to board making his
Chess Club President Jeff Scheur
'02 organized the event as a way to promote awareness of chess
on campus. To add some drama, the club put up $1,000 in prize
money to anyone who could beat Blocker.
Blocker beat 30 opponents, but
Hirsch proved the exception. He was modest about his success,
"There's no honor about winning,"
he told The Oberlin Review. "Blocker would beat
me any time. I played better than I'm supposed to and he made
a lot of mistakes. I don't say I beat a master; I say I won
Paying the prize money was unexpected,
Scheur said, but having a winner gave the event a higher profile.
"From a publicity standpoint,
it was a very successful event," he said. "We added
25 people to our mailing list that day, and we've had new
people coming to club meetings. There were articles in The
Oberlin Review and on Oberlin Online. We wanted to create
public awareness of chess as a fun game, and we did."
He's already making plans for next fall's event.
As for his prize-money plans, Hirsch
"I haven't thought a lick
about it," he told The Review.