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Stuewer reflects on years as Chess coach

There are so many games created to entertain or even test the mind, making the players think hard in order to succeed. The idea of chess has been around for more than 1000 years, with rules changing over the years. Chess was originally created for strategic battle practice in the early 6th century. However, head of the Chess team at Shawano Community High school Mr. Dave Stuewer started a little later than that.

“I can remember when I was a little kid hearing a lot about chess because there was this American guy named Bobby Fischer who became the world champion,” Mr. Stuewer explained. “This was after the Russians had been champions for years and years and years. I think that is when I probably became interested in chess.”

Whether it is the competition that is enjoyed, or the thinking that is required, no matter what, when playing the game, there will always be a challenge.

“Some games it’s fun to have things controlled by dice, or spinning a spinner, but in chess there is no element of chance, just your skills against the other players’ skills,” Mr. Stuewer stated. “Some people say that if the other person screws up then you get lucky, and I do not believe that. I think it just shows that you bettered them. They made a mistake. That is how it goes.”

The game of chess is among the more difficult games to understand and be successful at, having to plan several moves ahead of your opponent. 

“I think the most difficult thing about chess is part of what makes it such a great tool for challenging yourself and growing stronger, and that is the ability to see ahead,” explained Mr. Stuewer. “I am honestly not a real strong player. I have trouble planning out three, four, five, moves, and the best players can reach far beyond that.”

Even though Mr. Stuewer does not think he is the best at chess, he still loves to be involved with chess because he loves watching his students grow.

“Seeing how the kids develop, some as early as middle school, through to the time they are graduating high school. They are not only better chess players, but better adults,” Mr. Stuewer stated.

Head of the Chess team was not something that Mr. Stuewer had planned on being, but when he was asked to do it, he took the opportunity.

“I think it was near the end of my first year of teaching, my principal approached me, the guy who was currently the chess coach. He had to give it up. He had other commitments, and I told him I would take it over,” Mr. Stuewer explained. “So my first experience with coaching chess was way back. I think it would have been the 94 or 95 school year. I really only did it for that one year. The club laid dormant for a while after that. Mr. Croschere actually revived it probably about 12 years ago. There were many kids interested in joining a chess club, and so it was back.”

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