Indiana Soldier competes in NATO chess tourney
December 2, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS (Army News Service, Dec. 2, 2010) -- In the U.S. Army, infantry is known as the "Queen of Battle," and artillery is known as the "King of Battle." Recently, one Soldier was able to command all the pieces and was not just a pawn in the game.
Chess player Spc. Nathaniel Rockhill earned a unique opportunity to test his playing skills against military members from 14 other countries during the 21st NATO Chess Championship in Koege, Denmark in October.
An estimated 84 chess players competed in the event. Rockhill, part of the 38th Infantry Division, Indiana National Guard, was among them.
Rockhill an instrumentalist for the 38th Division Band, said he earned his seat after he competed at the 2010 All-Army Chess Championship in May. He was one of six top Army players to advance to the NATO tournament.
"I had never competed at an international level, so I wasn't sure how I would do," said Rockhill, who placed 51st overall in the NATO event. He was slightly disappointed at his performance, but said he did place higher than the tournament rated him to place.
"It was a great honor to represent the United States and the Army at such an event," he said. "Very few people get that chance, and I'm proud to have had this opportunity."
Rockhill spoke about his enthusiasm for chess and said he spends a lot of time bettering his skills.
"I'd say I have a passion for chess," he said. "It's something I love to do and devote much of my time to."
Rockhill went on to speak about the endurance of the sport and how it relates to his service as a military member.
"It requires extreme patience to succeed in chess," said Rockhill, noting that it is not uncommon to see a single chess game last five to six hours. "It also requires a fighting spirit, and dedication. These attributes directly relate to my experience with the military. You don't get far in the Army if you're impatient and don't have dedication to what you do."
(Sgt. William E. Henry writes for Indiana National Guard Public Affairs)