Fourteen sleepy teens and children began arriving at 8:30 this morning for the 2009 Winter Tournament. This is always a fun tournament, with door prizes, candy canes, hardware for all participants, and a visit from Santa (Erwin!!). Despite the low turnout and the relaxed start, it soon whipped into a frenzy of games where anything could happen. The message of the tournament: in order to win, you must decide to play. The kids that came certainly did that.
The sections were re-combined into a K-6 grade section and a 7th-12th grade section, however, the kids played for their grade prizes. Desmond (2.0 pts.) agreed to play tougher games in the older group. Darwin made his first chess debut and decidely won the K-3 trophy (being the only one in that group certainly didn't matter to him when he saw the trophy he won!). Dylan (3.5 pts.) and Josh (1.0 pt.) battled for 1st and 2nd place in the 4-5th grade section. Jake (4.0 pts.) and Wesley (2.5 pts.) took 1st and 2nd place, respectively. I am very impressed with the improvement in Jake's games and it is apparent that attending the chess club nights at WRHS and being exposed to high school level play is certainly paying off.
Most of the excitement was in the older kids section. There was a 3-way tie for 1st place that required a second level tie-break. In the end, Andrew (1st place), Tyler (2nd place), and Curly (3rd place). In round 5, Tyler (4.0 pts.) was set up to have a perfect tournament score and his buddy Nick was rooting for him. Andrew (4.0 pts.) was heckling Curly (4.0 pts.) and threatened to end their friendship if Curly didn't beat Tyler in that round! Earlier, Andrew beat Curly in round 1, and Tyler beat Andrew in round 3, and Andrew needed to beat Desmond and needed Curly to win against Tyler to place in the top 3. Sweet Mother! The players were agonizing over all the possible scenarios and I was having a hoot trying to follow each of their logics.
Miles (3.0 pts.) was a surprise newcomer to the tournament and also was banking on round 5 upsets to move up in the ranks. He could have made 2nd place if Andrew and Curly lost. So, he was rooting for Tyler and Desmond, as well. He ended in 4th place. Two other newcomers, Rebecca (1.0) and Jason (2.0), just began playing chess three weeks ago. They spent most of the tournament with slack jaws and crinkled foreheads at the intensity by which the games were played because it certainly was different from club nights.
The fun continued . . .Jason, Rebecca, Tyler Walton, and I ran the girls basketball concessions and earned over $100 for our club. This was very fortunate as we went into the red over $100 to run the tournament! With the three unused trophies, we don't even have to charge for the Christmas Blitzkrieg and the Santa's Bughouse tournament in a few weeks. Isn't it interesting how it all works out in the end? If you, or anyone you know would like to sponsor ($) a tournament or a chess player, you should contact me.
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Curly shows Josh some opening moves. This is why I like having the mixed age-levels in clubs and chess events. The older kids really do take on leadership roles and pass on knowlege of the game.