Jesse Orlowski

Jesse Orlowski, 2012 Scholar-Chessplayer Award Recipient

2012 Scholar-Chessplayer Award Recipient

I can say without hesitation that chess has made a positive impact on my life in two ways. The first is something I am sure that many players can relate to, but I firmly believe that the second is unique to only a select and fortunate group of players I count myself blessed to be among.

The first, and definitely more common, impact chess has made on my life revolves around the area of concentration. As a young child, I was diagnosed with ADHD and frequently reached my limits after sitting still for five minutes. However, to turn my absentmindedness into intense focus, all I ended up needing was an complex, constantly shifting, interesting avenue that could channel my abundant physical energy into mental concentration. Chess fit the bill perfectly. After playing for about a year, I noticed my physical energy, which had first worked against me, was now allowing me to think creatively and formulate active attacks over the board. To this day, I am an attacking player as it an outlet for my energy. As I began to play longer and longer tournaments and started to think about chess seriously, my concentration and channeling abilities grew to the point where to I could see a drastic improvement in other areas besides chess, such as school and music. Today, while still active and energetic, I am a collected and focused individual, largely due to chess.

The second, and more unusual, impact chess has made on my life comes in the realm of leadership. I am amazingly fortunate to be on a team with three other driven young players, but I realize that the experience I have gained as team captain is invaluable. It may come as a surprise, then, that I lead from an untraditional position. Despite my expert rating and passionate love for the game, I am the worst player on the team. I play our fourth and lowest board during matches and often watch as my teammates draw the attention of passersby with their elegant, drawn-out, “high-profile“ games. Even though my board is looked down upon, I am looked up to for leadership when plotting match strategies, and all draw offers are subject to my evaluation before they are offered or accepted. It is from the bottom that I have guided my team two years in a row to the title of Junior Champions at the Amateur Team West Chess Championships. The experiences I have had have translated well into other facets of my life. Relying on some ideas I’ve learned from leading over the chessboard, I have assumed leadership positions in music, sports, and relationally with other people.

Truly chess has taught me so much. So much more than a game, it is a representation of an entire mindset that has changed forever the way I see the world and interact with it.

Chess Achievements

Chess’ strategic nature drew my attention at age eight and has kept it ever since. I moved on from playing scholastic tournaments at age eleven and have competed against adults ever since. Chess gave me the ability to channel my previously unchecked energy into a single focused stream. This has served me well in all walks of life.

  • Nationally ranked 40th for 17 year olds, US Chess Federation (October 2011)
  • Selected as one of 24 young players in California invited to play in Sean Reader Master-Junior Simul Chess Tournament, Valencia, California + Member, 2nd Place team (2011)
  • 1st Place, Junior section, team division, US Amateur West Chess Tournament, Woodland Hills, CA; Team Captain (2011)
  • Chess mentorship with grand master, Ronen Har-zvi (2010)
  • Selected as one of 24 young players in California invited to play in Sean Reader Master-Junior Simul Chess Tournament, Valencia, California + Member, 1st Place team (Team Sevillano) (2010)
  • Individual Best Game winner against International Master Ambartsoumian (2010)
  • Published Chess game against International Master Ambartsoumian, United States Chess Federation (USCF) website (2010)
  • 1st Place, Junior section, team division, US Amateur West Chess Tournament, Woodland Hills, CA; Team Captain (2010)
  • Player of the Month, San Diego Chess Club (2009)

Music

While I thrive in the world of physics and math, I am very passionate about music. I began playing the violin when I was 6 years old and, over the years, have expanded my classical repertoire to include a number of major concertos. My love of music is by no means limited to the classical realm. I enjoy both playing and songwriting for pop and rock music, and have contributed on these fronts for two different bands and their debut EPs. Other musical hobbies of mine include busking (playing as a street musician), teaching, and improvisation. I’ve also taught myself four instruments.