SUNBURY — Seth Tluchowski, along with his family and friends, worked on installing two outdoor chess boards at Big Walnut Intermediate School on Saturday as part of his Eagle Scout project.
“When I attended Big Walnut Middle School, I loved learning how to play chess in chess club,” Seth said on his GoFundMe page. “I still enjoy playing chess with my family and friends. I want to give back to the school and students by building two outdoor chess sets and if I raise enough money, a 9 Square in the Air for the students to enjoy.”
As those in the Big Walnut Local School District know, BWMS is now BWI at 777 Cheshire Road. While the school has athletic fields, it doesn’t have a playground. Seth, a senior patrol leader and freshman at Big Walnut High School, is helping to change that.
A relatively new game, 9 Square in the Air uses PVC pipes to construct a large square containing nine separate squares. It’s a bit like volleyball, but with nine people competing against each other inside each of the squares using a larger, softer ball. When The Gazette visited BWI, that structure was already built.
The outdoor chess sets have concrete pavers, which Seth and others painted red and yellow, the Big Walnut colors, instead of the traditional black and white. The group was lining up the pavers, so they were perfectly straight, when The Gazette stopped by. Local Waste Services donated trash bins for the large plastic chess pieces that were purchased, Rental Stop let Seth use its sod cutter, and local hardware stores helped provide some of the materials such as pavers and pipe.
Students, whether they are in the chess club or not, will now be able to play on a large scale. Chess is enjoying a resurgence due to the recent award-winning miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit.”
Seth said he had planned to do the project in the spring, but staff at BWI asked if he could complete it sooner due to student demand. BWI’s principal is Sarah Sandrock.
Teacher Mike Wion leads the chess club, Seth said. He added his strategy in chess is to quickly protect the king using his rooks.
Seth said he would like to become an adult scout leader, but first, he hopes to follow in his brother’s footsteps by getting a degree in civil engineering from the University of Cincinnati.
Seth’s mother, Tracy Adkins Tluchowski, organized the fundraiser, and among those helping him was his father, John. She said Seth has been in scouting since first grade.
Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County. He may be reached at the above email address or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.