Lane Putas checks his way to victory

By Connor Devereux | Sports Editor

The stoic battles of brave knights and fearless kings fighting together against their evil foes is not something that one experiences every day, but senior Lane Putas engages in this medieval combat quite often. Putas participates in the epic battle of chess almost every day after school and is now the one of the best chess players at Marshfield.

Putas started playing chess as a freshman when his friend Shawn Hutchinson, a 2011 Marshfield graduate, asked him to practice with the chess club at lunch.

“My friend invited me to come to chess club at lunch so I went and played, and I really liked it,” Putas said.

Putas kept coming to lunch practice each week and although Hutchinson beat him every time, Putas did not get down on himself. Instead he became inspired by Hutchinson’s chess playing abilities.

“Having Shawn as a friend has really inspired me to get better at chess,” Putas said.

“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be nearly as good as I am today.”

Hutchinson started teaching Putas all the aspects of chess and how the game is played and Putas continued to improve.

“I like to help the newer kids get better,” Hutchinson said. “I’ve taught Lane everything he knows now.”

Hutchinson was a state champion all four years of high school and is now the assistant coach of the chess team.

By his junior year Putas was a strong enough player to attend the state meet, placing first individually. Earlier this year, he placed second individually. The Pirates finished third and fifth in team competition respectively during his sophomore and junior years. This year’s team competition will take place in the spring. Putas’ overall record is approximately 20 wins and just four losses over his high school career.

Health and PE teacher Cindy Olvera, the lunch time advisor of the chess club, is very happy with Putas’ performance and success.

“Lane has been an excellent student who does well in chess,” Olvera said. “He’s one of the top chess players in 5A now.”

Putas attributes his success to Hutchinson, the support of his parents and many hours of practice. He said he practices often and sometimes stays up late with friends playing into the night, which he enjoys.

“We sometimes stay up until like one in the morning playing chess. It’s one of my favorite hobbies now,” Putas said.

In addition to playing chess for fun and for the Pirates, Putas is involved in the Bay Area Chess Club. He believes he will attend college and continue to play on a chess team.

“I’ll have to get a lot better, but I know I can do it,” Putas said. “It’s such a rewarding game and I’ve learned so much from it.”