Major to Master

Thaddeus Bergschneider, Staff Writer

Greg Moses was a major in chemical warfare in the Army. “I worked with chemical weapons…I actually wrote the book ‘Chemical Target Analysis and Chemical Weapons Employment,’ which how they use it in the Army is if they want to know how many rounds to fire on a target, they go to that book.” Stationed in Germany, Hawaii, Korea (twice), Alabama, and Thailand, Mr. Moses had an exceptionally brilliant military career. 

Mr. Moses thought teaching seemed like the obvious choice as his career out of the military. “I was just going to teach. I mean, I taught in the military. I was, for a while, a full-time instructor. It was just like being a teacher almost.” He looked for a teaching job around St. Louis and ultimately came to North Greene. After a short stint there, he applied to Franklin and got the job in “two minutes.”

With more time on his hands, Mr. Moses found time to enjoy a hobby the military had spoiled: chess. “I started playing chess when I was a kid. I learned how to play chess [but] I kinda drifted around for a while. When I got to Franklin some kids wanted to start a chess club. The very first year we would just play chess in homeroom with $1 chess sets–the little old chess sets you buy at Walmart with just the red black boards and the little tiny plastic pieces.” Across this time, Mr. Moses played in 60-70 tournaments across a ten-year span. 

Eventually, playing chess in homeroom expanded when IESA started a chess tournament in 2011. “For 3-4 years we did okay, didn’t do great, did reasonably well. And then 3 years ago, we broke out. We started doing well and we’ve been doing good ever since.” A dynasty had been born. This unlikely burst of chess talent in a school, capturing three consecutive trophies at state where the opponents range from 2-20 times bigger than Franklin, seems almost too good to be true. Isaac Carter, a member of the chess team that won 2nd and 3rd in his first two years, and a bronze medalist at state, got a first-hand look into the odds. “We’re a small school. Everyone knows each other, and how they play. That helps a lot.” Mr. Moses agrees with him, “Because it’s fun. We don’t focus too much on teaching. It’s a chess party.” The leader of the party, though, is the key to a lot of success as well, according to Carter. “He helped us learn everything we’ve done.” However accomplished, none of the chess success would’ve been attainable without the unlikely arrival of a US Army Major turned Chess Master.