Eliot K. Raman Jones | Sports Editor
Jonas Erbe was re-elected as President of Royal Holloway Chess Club in May 2020. As part of a new segment interviewing presidents and captains of RHUL sports clubs, Sports Editor Eliot Raman Jones spoke to him about what Chess Club is all about, his history with the game, and his plans for the future.
Good morning, Jonas. How did you first get into Chess?
Jonas Erbe: It was my father that taught me when I was four or five years old. We had a family tradition that whoever beat my dad would be rewarded with 500 krone, which was at the time worth about £50. It was a lot of money, you could buy a new video game for that. So, I started playing and started getting competitive and had a lot of fun with it.
Do you see yourself as more of a casual player, or do you play at a particularly high level?
JE: I play at a 1600 rating on Chess.com, which is nothing close to master level, but I could’ve done better if I’d started playing in clubs earlier, and stuck with it. But I did not. Part of the reason for that might have been because my father stopped playing against me anymore after I beat him ten times in a row (he laughs). But once I got to Royal Holloway it was like, “It’s a university, it has a chess club, I’ve got to be in the chess club.”
Tell me a little bit about what Chess Club is.
JE: Royal Holloway Chess Club is more of a friendly drinking gang most of the time. We meet up in Crossland’s, have a couple of drinks, shoot the breeze and play chess. We’re breaking down stereotypes that we’ve all got glasses and have squeaky voices and can’t socialise (he laughs). We’re a social gang who like to play chess, drop by for a game.
Has the club seen much success at competitive level?
JE: We have definitely participated. We won our Varsity event last year, and we participated in Chess 2020. That was a very tough tournament, but we managed to do decently well, and won half our games. I hope we can do better this time!
How have the society been doing in quarantine? Do you keep in touch often?
JE: Well, we have a discord server. We can talk on the server and play chess on Chess.com.
What are your plans for the club now that you’ve been re-elected president?
JE: We have one new committee member, so we’re kind of showing him the ropes. We’re planning to do mostly the same things we did last year, so not much is changing really. I was president last year, but I’m looking for some cool ways to spend the money we have. We can do some more tournaments, and maybe get some better training sessions.
What is the best reason to join Chess Club? If you’re a fresher and you’ve just seen it on the list of sports teams, what’s the reason that puts it above the rest?
JE: Honestly, if you’re interested in chess and want to learn in a nice, relaxed environment, go for it. if you think chess is fun, go for it. We have an amazing community. It’s more of a group of people that love chess and want to hang out and chill together.
Finally, how would you sum up chess society in a sentence?
JE: Come down to Crossland’s, get a drink, and play chess!