The Student News Site of Mililani High School

Trojan Times

The Student News Site of Mililani High School

Trojan Times

The Student News Site of Mililani High School

Trojan Times

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Checkmate! Tabletop Gaming Club Hosts Chess Tournament

Senior Marcus Morifuji faces off against senior Ava Mayfield in a game of chess. The Tabletop Gaming Club hosted its first chess tournament on Nov. 30, any student was welcome to participate.

On Nov. 30, Mililani High School’s Tabletop Gaming Club successfully organized its first chess tournament, bringing together faculty and students for a day of strategic matches and community engagement. The tournament provided a platform for participants to showcase their skills and foster a sense of shared enthusiasm for the game.

“Hopefully [this tournament] introduced more students to each other and brought more awareness to chess or board games in general,” said senior Eduard Garcia, president of the Tabletop Gaming Club.

The tournament took place in room N103 from 3p.m. – 5p.m. and featured a “double-elimination” bracket format. In this chess format, participants have the opportunity to continue competing even after losing one match. Each participant must lose twice before being eliminated from the tournament. This format provides players with a second chance and a longer tournament experience. The tourney also had minimal rules which included no time limit when it came to how long a player could make a move and no coaching by other students. The event prioritized accessibility with on-screen instructions for beginners and the room was accompanied by melodic lo-fi music.

“The atmosphere is pretty calm, it just feels like a nice place to be,” said senior Ava Mayfield. “There’s good music and nice people, it feels safe.”

The tournament had an attendance of 11 students, for a total of 15 games. Notable matches included junior Theodore “Teddy” Hoff’s performance against junior Josue “Malachi” Soto in the first round, where Hoff defeated Soto, as well as freshman Zen Patterson’s match against freshman Mila James Yamashita in the second round, where Patterson won the match.

“The tournament was fun. I had a lot of fun playing it, I think everyone else did too. I met a lot of interesting people,” said Hoff. “I learned the value of preparation, it helped a lot for some of my games.”

Common strategies seen throughout both rounds was a move called the “gambit” and the “knight’s opening.” In chess, a gambit is a strategic move where a player sacrifices material, often a pawn, to gain a tactical or positional advantage. The knight’s opening in chess typically refers to a variety of openings where one or both knights are moved early in the game. One common example is the “knight’s opening” proper, where white begins with F3, developing the knight to attack the center while keeping flexibility for future pawn moves.

“I always start with the knight move,” said junior Jack Tang. “I’ve grown with using that move, there’s a lot of tournaments with it.”

On Dec. 1, the finals of the chess tournament began, featuring a showdown between Tang, having secured a 3-0 record, and Hoff, who held a 2-1 record. After an hour-long match, Tang executed a strategic rushing move, capturing Hoff’s queen and checkmating his king, ultimately claiming 1st place. Tang’s victory marked a milestone for the Tabletop Gaming Club as he received the 1st plaque in the club’s history, personally signed with his name.

“It felt quite entertaining to win,” said Tang. “The tournament was pretty intense and I met some interesting players.”

The tournament was launched with a two-fold purpose: to draw more students into the world of tabletop games and to foster better mental health among MHS students. Beyond just being about gaming, the event aimed to create an enjoyable space for students while also contributing to their overall well-being. The hope was that by engaging in tabletop games, students could find a fun outlet that positively impacted their mental health, creating a more vibrant and supportive community at MHS.

“Playing board games is a social thing, it’s not just a program,” said Kainoa Cambra, advisor of the Tabletop Gaming Club. “I think that tabletop games improve people’s sociability and can be a place for alleviating stresses when you’re with other people.”

For more information on the chess tournament or any upcoming Tabletop Gaming Club events, you can contact club advisor Cambra in N103.

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