First, the entrance to the Quest Lab was embellished with pink foam hearts no doubt a bashful sign of affection for our lovely students and faculty. Then, there was a period where our abode was graced with the name of a 1985 hip hop group (stop me if you’ve heard their hit single Can I kick it?). Now, we’re in the age of the Chess-Lab. Aditya Sridhar (Q19), with a single surreptitious move, welcomed the latest craze that’s swept our Quest community. By introducing a simple wooden chess set to the lab, he’s punctuated the relaxed study and lounging atmosphere with brief bouts of competition.
I was propositioned as soon as I walked in.
“DJ, how about a game?” There’s a pause as we size each other up. I take a look at the impromptu score board that is now as much a focal point as the board in his hands. Mark’s record is impressive. “Looks like you’re pretty good, Mark,” I say. He offers a ready smile, “I get better with every game” – a quality riposte. It’s a common trend among Quest students, they are modest in words and instead choose to display their bravado on the battlefield. I watch later as Cohort 20 students Pavan Rangachar and Nicole Blahut wage war. The vibe is intense, yet amiable. It’s clear that they’re both enjoying themselves: Pavan caps each move with a smile.
A chat with Cohort 20 junior Yoni reveals that he once had his chess experience on his college resume. “It was my very first leadership position, the Chess club.” For more than a week this simple game has started friendly rivalries, spurred animated chats over strategy, and drawn together many in an already close knit community. It’s amazing how so many members from a group as diverse a Quest can share such a unique interest. All we need now is some prize money.