The Wareham High School Chess Club may not bring in the gate receipts that football and basketball do, but for the students who love the game, it’s priceless.
Wareham High School math teacher Jeff Dunn formed the club in 1984, and since then, the team has competed in the Southeastern Conference Interscholastic Chess League.
This year, with no money for transportation, it was looking like the team wouldn’t have a competitive season for the first time in almost 30 years.
But Dunn’s cousin, David Dunn, who is president of Wareham-based G.H. Dunn Insurance, decided to help.
“When we were together, I said, ‘It’s getting really tough,” Dunn explained.
David Dunn offered $250, which the students matched through fundraising. Then, he secured a $250 grant from Quincy-based Arbella Insurance.
“He said, ‘You know what, we’re a local company and we’d like to help out,” said Dunn. “Without the funding, we never would have had a chess team this year.”
The $750 covered the costs, and the team just wrapped up its season.
Chess Club member Nicole Torraco gave the game a shot last year at Dunn’s urging. Torraco is also a soccer player and says she really enjoys playing chess.
“It’s something different. It works out your brain,” said Torraco.
“It’s like a puzzle,” added Rachel Avila. “I enjoy it. It’s quiet. I’m not really active. I’m a math person.”
Avila also wanted to dispel a particular misconception: “They say it’s a nerd thing to do,” she said of the game, “but it’s not!”
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– GM Susan Polgar