I sit across from McNulty for a game while we talk. There are about six games going on at once, with a couple of people watching some of the more interesting matches. Some are regulars, others are brand new to the club or are just sitting down for the love of the game.
A player asks me if I’m doing a Vienna Game opening move. I quickly reassure them that there is absolutely no strategy involved in my gameplay.
“I was in chess club when I was in elementary school,” said McNulty. “Once I met Sami (Noun), he asked if I played, and we started playing online. Chess is a lot of study and memorization, but also it’s intuition and speed. It’s a matter of sensing what’s going to happen.”
The long table where all the games are being played is extremely social. Players swap opening move strategies, laugh at a viral video of World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen beating a player in five moves, compare Lichess scores, and discuss their favourite online chess personalities like Eric Rosen and Chessbrah.
“If we win one game at the championship, that would be pretty nice,” said Douglas. “It’s not about winning so much, it’s more about us just being there. Hopefully in the future we’ll go to more tournaments that are maybe a bit closer.”
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