Dennis Monokroussos – The Ashland Univesity Chess Club

Dennis Monokroussos advises Ashland University chess club

Dennis Monokroussos showing certain chess moves to his club members in the source room of the student center.

For Dennis Monokroussos, his passion for chess goes back to the 1970s when American phenomen Bobby Fischer took the chess world by storm, ending Soviet dominance of the game.

Monokroussos now is the adviser to the Ashland University’s chess club, which meets e occurs every Thursday from 2:30 p.m to 4 p.m. in the Nest in Hawkins-Conard Student Center. and is advised by Dennis Monokroussos.

Monokroussos is the special projects coordinator under the Provost at AU and teaches philosophy classes, coaches the chess club, and most recently, co-hosts Watchers of the Sky, a podcast with AU President Dr. Carlos Campo.

Monokroussos ended up at AU due to two main reasons. One being, he has undergraduate and graduate degrees in philosophy and a strong interest in Christian apologetics, and that he had a 40-year long friendship with Campo’s cousin.

“President Campo and I had been out of touch for quite a few years, but one day one of us reached out to the other, and the next thing I knew, I had moved to this delightful little town,” Monokroussos said.

Monokroussos was introduced to chess when it became increasingly popular in the US.

“From 1948 to 1972, players from the U.S.S.R. held the world chess championship and dominated the game. Despite this, somehow, the American Bobby Fischer managed to win the world championship in 1972 – and he didn’t just win the title, he absolutely crushed everyone else. He was the best player in the world, and by a huge margin,” he said.
“After that, there was a big chess boom in the United States,” he said, , “and over the next several years kids were taught the game in school. I was one of those kids – and it ‘took’.”

After this, Monokroussos became one of the top juniors in the United States and won many state championships.

Monokroussos has been involved with the club since the year 2017. While speaking on the activity, he says, “Iit’s not just a game. In many ways it is a sport, too, and there are elements of art and science as well,” he said. “In serious competitions, the sporting aspect takes priority, but if it weren’t for the beauty of chess there wouldn’t be tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people playing it around the world.”

Zack Van Farowe, a general member of the chess club, joined because he wondered if anyone else had the same interest as him, and they did., “I heard about it through the fair held in upper Cconvo, and I saw Anthony (Pacini), the president, there with a sign. I decided to sign up.”

“I joined chess club in the second semester of my sophomore year in 2021,” said Chess Club pPresident Anthony Pacini.

“I joined because I recently, in the last couple months, got into chess mostly online through YouTube. I started playing online on and other sites and I got really into it, so I wanted to get involved” stated Pacini.

Pacini has been the club president since his junior year at AU. He recruits students to join, runs the club fair chess table, and organizes the students’ collegiate league which makes it possible for AU Chess Club to play internationally against other schools.

“There is no ‘solution’ to chess. Computers have been trying for years and years to find a perfect game, but they haven’t found one. It’s completely a fair game whenever you enter the board, which I find to be very interesting,” said claimed Pacini.

Van Farowe said, “The advisor, Dennis, is a titled FM master, (t[Third highest title a player can achieve)] who has beat players in the upper skill levels. He’s taught chess for many years, and even runs a few podcasts. None of us have ever gotten close to beating him.”
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Monokruossos continues to coach AU’s chess club and can be found overseeing it every Thursday from 2:30 p.m to 4 p.m. in the student center, specifically in The Nest.