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Hays man finds teaching a strategic move

1/12/2014

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Randy Brull has been sharing his love of chess for many years now.

Brull, the chess coach at Thomas More Prep-Marian High School for the last 17 years, also has been donating his time teaching chess to youngsters at the Hays Public Library for about the last 10 years.

On Friday afternoons -- come summer, fall or winter -- Brull patiently explains the game of chess, and what it takes to become a good chess player.

After explaining each piece and setting them up on the chess board Friday, Brull delved into the game of chess with four beginners, some as young as 5 years old.

"What I want to tell you now is not the rules of chess, but how to play good chess, how to play strong chess," Brull told his pupils.

"When you start a game of chess, three basic rules -- you don't have to follow them -- (but) good strategy, good planning.

"One of the things you don't want to do first is move out your queen, or move out your rooks, because they're powerful pieces. At the beginning, here's how to start -- get strong: Get a pawn to the center -- king's pawn is a good one to do it -- move him two squares out into the center. The first move, the pawn can move two squares. Get out your knights and bishops, and then castle -- that'll take you four or five moves."

Brull fell in love with chess when he was approximately 10 years old. Brull and his younger brother found a checkers game his father brought back after being in the service. On the other side of the checkers were symbols for chess pieces.

"We came to the library, checked out some books, learned how to play chess," Brull said.

Brull, who has taught science at TMP since 1983, was approached by some students many years ago to start a chess team.

Brull told the students to practice for a year, and if they did a good job, the next year they would go to tournaments. A year later, a chess team was born.

Brull gets enjoyment out of teaching chess.

"It's just tremendous to watch kids figure things out," he said. "Things kids need to develop; what they need to develop is patience. One of the really, really, really important things to get, you have to see things from your opponent's point of view."

Jaxon Fleenor, 9, was playing against Brull on Friday at the same time the teacher was instructing beginners about the game. Fleenor enjoys coming to the library to play chess.

"It's pretty fun, and you can learn from it, too," he said. "Makes you think a lot, and the pieces (are) pretty fun to know about."

Fleenor used to play chess at home, too.

"Not anymore, because my chess board broke," he said. "Fridays, I come here."

Friday was the second session of the winter program at the library.

"By the time we get to the end of January, they will all know how to play," Brull said. "In February, we'll have a tournament."

Brull gave a brief lesson Friday about the game of chess. Love for the game can last a lifetime, he said.

"Once you start playing the game, there's a lot of stuff to think about," he told the beginners. "Learning the moves, we did that in about 30 minutes. Learning to play good chess -- a lifetime is not enough."