Marine moves pawns for Corps
Submitted by: MCAS Iwakuni
Story Identification #: 2004832446
Story by Lance Cpl. Ruben D. Calderon

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan (July 30, 2004) -- The sounds of the EA-6B Prowler engines blare through the airstrip and echo in the hangars. Depending on the weather, the open hangar could be considered an igloo in the winter or an oven in the summer.

Through it all, Sgt. Sema Sebwe, Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1 ground support equipment representative, sits in a corner with his chess board and contemplates the next move of a chess piece.

"The game of chess is like the game of life. One must think of strategies and the consequences of their next move," said Sebwe, member of the Marine Corps chess team.

The Staten Island, N.Y., native has been thinking of his next move since 1997. That was the year the Liberia born Marine first played the game of chess.

"I got into the game while I was in college. When I was first introduced to it, I was like 'Wow! I love this,'" said Sebwe.

What drew Sebwe into the game was the fact that the game made him think deep and hard, and concentrate on the next move.

The allure for his beloved game grew and six years after he moved his first pawn, Sebwe made the Marine Corps Chess Team.

"We played at Kiesler Air Force Base, Miss., said Sebwe. "There were six of us in total that made the team. We played against the Army, the Air Force and the Navy.

"It was highly competitive but a very good experience," said Sebwe.

This is not the first time that Sebwe has played competitively. According to Sebwe, being in the Marine Corps Chess Team mean that one must also be a member of the United States Chess Federation.

"I've been a member for quite some time. Being part of that organization, it allows me the chance to compete against other chess players," Sebwe said. "I've had some really good competition."

Through wins and losses, Sebwe continues to strive to be a better chess player.

"It's more than just a hobby to me; it's a love. I constantly read books and magazines to improve my game. I think of new strategies when I play against opponents or even myself," said Sebwe. "I haven't quite mastered the game ... yet. But I know I will."

Sebwe said, whenever he has the chance, he is always perfecting his game.

"He's been in the squadron for about two years and we always see him play chess. That's all the man does. He loves the game. He even plays against himself," said Sgt. Asdrubal A. Atehortua, VMAQ-1 power line technician.

"During deployments, it's difficult to focus on a game. Whenever I get back to (Marine Corps Air Station) Cherry Point (N.C.), I spend most of my free time playing," said Sebwe.

"It's a part of me and so is being in the Marine Corps," Sebwe said.
"People don't always picture a Marine being a chess player. I like the fact that I can be a Marine and play chess for the Marines."

More information on chess and playing for the Marine Corps Chess Team can be found at

Sgt. Sema Sebwe, VMAQ-1 ground support equipment representative, spends his free time at his work space playing the game of chess. Sebwe recently returned from Kiesler Air Force Base, Miss., as team player of the Marine Corps Chess Team. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Ruben D. Calderon