CLEVELAND (WJW) – When you’re playing any game, there comes a point in time where you know that you blew it.
On Wednesday, the Guardians hosted students from Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s John Marshall High School Chess Team for an afternoon of chess games between players and students.
Guardian’s outfielder Steven Kwan even got a ‘do over’ on a bad move and still lost to one of the district’s best chess players, Nouh Shaikh.
But to his credit, Kwan did go down swinging and said any loss that teaches you something is a great opportunity to grow.
“It’s extremely humbling. First off I’ve always wanted to learn more about chess,” said Kwan.
You may not know that a lot of the Guardians play chess against their teammates on long flights or in the clubhouse before a game. It builds concentration and knocks down stress levels before players hit the field.
Oftentimes, Kwan and catcher Austin Hedges go head-to-head on the chess board. But even with practice and a little trash talk, Austin lost to his teenage chess opponent on Wednesday, too.
Back in April, the John Marshall High School chess team ranked in the top 20 in the nation at the High School Chess Championship.
The team is made up of a lot of international students and represents seven different countries. They’ve played together for years and have beaten a lot of folks older than them.
And like the big leaguers, for these students, chess helps free your mind.
“Once I start playing, I’m just in the world. You know in life you’ve got to find something that takes you out of your shoes, keeps you in a void space to ponder upon. I don’t know how to say it, but it relieves you from all your stress and all your problems in life,” said Senior Nouh Shaikh.
It’s also not every day a teenager can say they went toe-to-toe with a big leaguer — and won.