ROCKLAND COUNTY (March 26, 2024) – The Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” ignited a lot of intrigue for the game of chess, but students at Rockland Community College (RCC) have had a passion for this board game for over three decades. To honor this fervor for the game, RCC will host the 34th Annual Chess Event and Exhibition in the Faculty Staff Dining Room (Cultural Arts Center) on the main campus in Suffern, NY on Thursday, April 18 at 12:30 PM. The Chess Event is open to all RCC students, employees, and community members, and each school district in Rockland County was invited to send three students to the event.

“Over the past thirty-three years, playing chess has become more than a game at RCC.  The Annual Chess Event has given students the opportunity to express their love and passion for chess,” said Peter Arvanites, Faculty Advisor for the Chess Club and Professor of Math at RCC. “We are thrilled to welcome International Grandmaster Gennady Sagalchik on April 18th and offer an event that champions our students’ development and love for the sport in the community.”

The Chess Event is the highlight of the year for RCC’s Chess Club. It will give students and members of the community the opportunity to interact with International Grandmaster Gennadij Sagalchik and play a game of chess with him. Grandmaster Sagalchik, originally from Belarus, is a renowned chess player and leading US chess coach. Three-time Pan-American Intercollegiate Champion, he led the teams of Manhattan Community College and Brooklyn College. He is a 2002 US Championship participant and the top prize winner of numerous international tournaments. Currently living in Brooklyn, Grandmaster Sagalchik is working with over 350 students and serving as the head coach for Chess Mates, a rapidly growing scholastic chess organization on Long Island, New York.

“Chess is a perfect metaphor for my educational journey. I will strategize, attempt to see several moves ahead, and advance. Much like in life, I will calculate my moves with care and composure; not wasting a single move,” Jorge David Leon-Lopez, RCC Chess Club Co-President. “My advisor reminds me and my peers that even a grandmaster, started as a beginner.”

Please contact Peter Arvanites, Professor of Mathematics, at 845-574-4767 or [email protected] for more information.

About Rockland Community College, State University of New York
Rockland Community College (RCC), located in Suffern New York, provides purpose driven educational opportunities in a supportive, affordable, and accessible environment, empowering individuals to positively transform themselves and their communities. RCC welcomes students from diverse backgrounds who appreciate small class sizes and personal attention from a distinguished, award-winning faculty that includes Fulbright scholars and SUNY Distinguished Professors. Many graduates go on to top universities to further their education on their own or through RCC’s institutional collaborations. RCC fosters an environment that attracts, recruits, supports, and retains faculty, staff, and students who value diversity. The College promotes a collegial and inclusive environment by recognizing, promoting, embracing, respecting, and celebrating the expansive range and dimensions of cultures, attitudes, ideas, and viewpoints contained within our campus community.

RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through a variety of programs and educational opportunities including workforce training, certifications, and micro credentials. Many of the programs are developed with employers in the community in high demand industry areas to enable graduates to move into a new career upon graduation. More information can be found at