Sunday, April 15, 2012

WRESCC Results

I just get busier and busier.  This week we ended a quarter (grades due) and began a new one (new classes).  We also had two days of Parent-Teacher Conferences, soccer started for Darwin, and I was told last week to have 5 minute video reports on the uses of the technology grants submitted by Friday! I made 3 videos.  Our school won $110,000 in technology grant money, and I wrote 6 grants to earn $60,000 of it.  I also prepared an elementary championship for our valley.  Here is what happened:


It was a first grade day!  The top players were 1st graders and they all seemed to dominate all the other grades.  This special tournament was first offered last year as a Senior Project for WRHS graduate, Nick Bruck.  We wanted to keep it going and build some competitive spirit between our area elementary schools. Last year, the Bellevue Bears won this championship.  Who would it be this year?
Owen Stouffer - Perfect 5.0

The elementary schools in the area include:  Bellevue, Woodside, Hailey, Hemingway, Sage, and Community School.  The two private schools did not have any participants this year, however.  There were twenty students in all ranging from Kindergarten to fifth grade.  Unfortunately, there were no third graders from any school participating.  Teams consisted of the top four players from each school and only Hemingway happened to have a partial team of three players.

I tried to encourage longer and more patient games, so G/30 was selected and only two games the entire day reached a time pressure mark.  As players began arriving, I was personally feeling very ready, but players continued to arrive and register after the tournament was supposed to start.  We have a laid-back valley, but as the numbers grew and the tournament start delayed even more, I was preparing for a long day.  Would the new tournament folk be ready?  Or, would they think, "what have I gotten myself into?"  I always try to keep things moving so players and parents will want to come back.

Desmond was a Champ, too.
With this being the last weekend to ski in the valley, I knew we would be a little light on numbers, but was very happy with the 20 kids that arrived, eager to play and representing all the area public schools.  Tournaments in our valley are also educational so I not only TDed but also taught.  So did my excellent assistant (and son!), Desmond.  He showed some kids how to avoid Scholar's Mate and how to mate with a rook and king, and even how to avoid some stalemates.  After seven hours of helping me out, he exclaimed, "man, I'm tired.  I didn't know that this would be so tiring . . ."  Each round challenged Desmond, me, and our knowledge of the rules.

Round one began nearly 30 minutes late and I started experiencing computer glitches immediately.  I struggled to delete one player that did not show and wintd kept inactivating another player.  For the first round, I had to re-pair three times!

Instead of printing pairings or posting them on the screen, as I have in the past,  I would use the PRNTSCR function to copy a window, post it in Word, Crop it, and Save it in Dropbox.  Then my assistant would open the file on another laptop for the kids to see.  It worked well, but not as well as displaying it on the big screen; the projector was not available to us today.

Round 2 and 3 produced some nice upsets where 1st graders beat 5th graders. And brother, Owen Stouffer put his older brother, Garrett Stouffer down!  Owen went on to win the rest of his games and complete the tournament with a perfect 5.0!  There were some reasonable stalemates and the longest games were only 30 minutes.
"Is this a stalemate?"

Otto shows his trophy off!
I had three door prizes for players that I drew for in between rounds to keep the excitement up, an "eagle" rollup board, a backpack, and a magnetic travel board.  Food and sustenance also became a factor as I was only planning on playing until about noon.  Noon was fast approaching and their were two rounds left!  Kathy Baker, a chess mom, began helping Des and me as well and she had many bags of popcorn from a left over cub scout event from the night before to offer hungry players.  I should remind people to bring food to tournament.

I posted the team scores on the dryboard in between rounds.  Bellevue Elementary School was always in the lead, but after round 4, Hailey Elementary School surprised the tournament with a half point lead.  Bellevue would have to pull out some strong games in the 5th round in order to win the tournament.  Ms. Turco has run a lunchtime elementary school chess club at three of the four schools for fifteen years and secretly wanted the under dogs to win this year.  Bellevue has always had strong players.

Bellevue was pitted against Hailey in the top boards for the fifth round - the money round.  On the top board, the game only went for about five minutes with a quick version of Fried Liver taking care of business between Owen Stouffer and Alex Baker.  Bellevue player, Quentin Van Law played another Hailey player, Collin Young and decisively won that game.   On another board - Bellevue vs. Hemingway, Darwin beat Jake Simon with a version of Scholar's Mate.

The last round and the day belonged to Bellevue and the first grade. It was neat to see Owen Stouffer get a perfect tournament and nobody got shut-out.  Trophies were presented to first place and second places.  Medals were awarded to third place.  Sportsmanship awards went to Quentin Van Law, Otto Olson, and Rigoberto Montes.  I am sure that next year, Hemingway and Woodside will be better represented with more players, and maybe Sage and Community Schools will want to participate.  Congratulations to our valley chess champions and the Bellevue Bears!

The Bellevue Bears -  Top Elementary School!

Kindergarten     Emmitt Stouffer
1st Grade        Owen Stouffer
2nd Grade           Quentin Van Law
3rd Grade              None
4th Grade       Alex Baker
5th Grade       Garrett Stouffer
Next weekend brings the Idaho Open in Pocatello, and the next local tournament will be a WRHS Championship.  Don't forget Power Chess tomorrow!


  1. Chess is good to be taught as a subject as it would be helpful in improving the mental skills of the students.

  2. Whole-heartedly agree. I tried for nearly four years to get a chess class in the high school. This year we just added one for credit and it has over 20 kids per quarter taking it. I even have several students with free periods that come and play.


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