‘Today’ Show Comes to CCHS to Feature Chess Club


NBC News Correspondent Jacob Soboroff and CCHS Chess Club President Ian Fogel play a game of chess for the segment, which was broadcasted Thursday morning on May 18.

Jonathan Kim, Vice President

Culver City High School’s chess club was nationally featured on NBC’s Today Show Thursday morning

The segment at CCHS was filmed on Apr. 24 as part of a broadcast to highlight the surging popularity of chess witnessed globally around the beginning of the year, but particularly among youth as chess has become one of the hottest trends that may be here to stay for Generation Z and CCHS students. 

“It’s really great to see others starting to find interest in chess and having the determination to get better,” said Ian Fogel, the President of CCHS’s Chess Club. “With it appearing on the Today Show, it seems like a great source to get even more people to see the value of chess and spark an interest for them to start playing as well.”

Fogel has been playing chess since Kindergarten, playing chess tournaments competitively since elementary school. He possesses an Elo rating of 2000, a chess rating that would classify a player as an expert according to the United States Chess Federation.

After filming B-Roll footage throughout the lunch period of students playing chess with each other, the highlight moment of the segment for many of the students was filmed — a game of chess between Fogel and the host of the show, NBC News Correspondent Jacob Soboroff.  

“It was cool to be able to play such a recognizable host and know that the game would be seen across the country,” Fogel said. 

Although Fogel said that he certainly felt the nerves of being watched by millions nationwide and potentially making a “blunder” and losing, he soon settled in even despite many of the students watching the game helping Soboroff with each move. 

“It was actually pretty nice because they knew the trap I was playing and helped Jacob prevent it, which made the game last longer with higher quality,” Fogel said when asked whether he felt added pressure from other students helping the host. 

Fogel hopes that the broadcast segment and continued conversations about chess will continue to help grow the sport nationwide and at CCHS. 

“I hope students who watch it gain an interest in learning chess by attending chess club and joining future tournaments,” he said. 

CCHS Chess Club’s next school tournament will be held from May 22-26 in the ceramics room, the club’s usual location. The tournament will have two sections; one is free to play while the other has a $5 entry fee where all deposits will contribute to the prize pool. Students can sign up using the form below.