UCLA hopes a fondness for chess will help checkmate the competition


Joshua Kelley anticipated his move as he studied the game footage. The linebackers plugged the openings created by the offensive line, producing a conundrum for the running back. Should he cut outside? Crash into the middle of the line? Charge toward a hole that hadn’t materialized? Kelley, UCLA’s star tailback, felt as if he knew what to […]

Long snapper’s unique role requires careful technique and a strong mentality

Junior long snapper Johnny Den Bleyker

Aggressive traps and a stifling attack – that’s how Johnny Den Bleyker said he likes to play chess. Set to graduate a year early and pursue a master’s degree, the junior long snapper for UCLA football has been playing chess since elementary school. He took it up again this offseason when coach Chip Kelly brought in […]

Tanner Magnum’s QB Mindset

“It’s been cool to see how applicable the lessons in chess are to football. It exposes personality traits.” —Tanner Magnum on Poison Pawn’s chess training

The QB Podcast’s Quincy Avery and Brian Fitch sat down with Brigham Young University’s quarterback, Tanner Mangum. Mangum was recently a part of training for NFL’s Pro Day, led by Avery. Poison Pawn was part of this training day, integrating chess into speed training drills and showing players how to improve their decision-making process.