Face of Defense: Soldier Makes the Right Moves

By Army Sgt. William E. Henry
Indiana National Guard

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 30, 2010 – In the Army, infantry is known as the “Queen of Battle,” and artillery is known as the “King of Battle.” An Indiana National Guard soldier recently was able to command all the pieces and was not just a pawn in the game.

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Army Spc. Nathaniel Rockhill of the Indiana Army National Guard’s 38th Infantry Division prepares to compete during the 21st NATO Chess Championship in Koege, Denmark, Oct. 18, 2010. Rockhill placed 51st among more than 80 military members from around the world. Courtesy photo
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Army Spc. Nathaniel Rockhill, a Hope, Ind., native assigned to the 38th Infantry Division, tested his chess-playing skills against military members from 14 other countries during the 21st NATO Chess Championship in Koege, Denmark, in October. More than 80 chess players competed in the event.

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. Though he was slightly disappointed at his performance, he said, he did place higher than the tournament staff projected he would.

“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 said the endurance and dedication required in chess relate to his service as a military member.

“It requires extreme patience to succeed in chess,” he said, noting that a single chess game can 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.”