Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kitt Returns

The elective class, Integrating Chess and Critical Thinking, is a fun and challenging course for students at WRHS.  Many are surprised that there is actually work and learning involved.  As Cody was explaining to his father, "We are actually learning stuff and it's hard!"  I believe students' initial assumption was that this will be like a gym class and we would just play games all the time.  In a sense, that is partially true!  But we have also looked into the math of the board, openings, schools of chess, tactics, problems, grand masters, rules and etiquette, and began learning about brain anatomy and memory this week.  
Megan, Xavier, and Nash Consider some moves to win back some pawns
Last week brought an exciting treat and surprise for chess students.  Kitt Connor, 08-09 WRHS Chess Club President and 08-09 WRHS Bughouse Champion, visited and was encouraged to perform his first simul with my chess class.  Kitt is a long time friend and is currently finishing his double engineering and mathematics degree at the College of Idaho, Caldwell, Idaho.  I am proud that he is also active in chess and is the founder and current president of the College of Idaho Chess Club.
Kitt Conner at the Ogden Scholastics, 2008
The College of Idaho used to be called Albertson's College and their students are not necessarily new to chess:  


2006. 03. 10.           CALDWELL (Idaho)- Albertson College of Idaho students Bobby Powers and Rich Hatch outmaneuvered their opponents and earned titles at the recent Idaho Adult State Chess Championships at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho.
Powers placed third place overall in the state, finishing ahead of tournament veterans who had won the state title ten and fifteen times. Hatch made an impressive showing at his first state tournament, winning a trophy for second place in his class.
Both Powers and Hatch are members of the Coyote Chess Club. The recent success at this tournament was an excellent showing for the college, and plans to create an intercollegiate team are in the works.
Wesley, Andre, Guillermo, Ryan, Carter, and Yuri lined up like pawns.
Thirteen of the chess students sauntered into class wondering what little tidbit I was going to share with them and they were more than a little surprised when they observed Kitt towering over me at the front of the room when class started.  I introduced Kitt and then introduced the concept of a simul to the students.  We then immediately began after I reminded them to record their games.  Kitt looked like a professional chess player as he moved from student to student, and I was very pleased to see how serious the players considered their moves.  Maybe my students thought he was?  


Kitt was always one of my best blitz players and I could tell that he really enjoyed moving from game to game, moving immediately after his opponent's reply to his last visit.  It was indeed blitz since it was a normal day's schedule and we only had an hour!  I noticed that Kitt played each game like I probably would - varying each board's opening to experiment and find what might work best.  Or, is it to maintain interest?  I saw some e4 and some d4 openings.
Lily, Keegan, Wyatt, and Victor are staying relatively equal.

Nash records his game, but plans his surrender against Kitt's army.


Andre records his game while Wesley wonders what Andre is going to do about Kitt's Queen.

Megan stays to the end, but wonders about resigning.
In the end, Kitt wins all thirteen of the games as most of the students scurry out at the buzzer after shaking hands and obtaining signatures for their assignments (2 pts. for every game record, +10 extra credit points for participating).  Megan, Nash, Keegen, and Andre are the only stragglers and stay to finish their games.  The others resign gracefully with appreciation for their exposure to a simul.

Next week Tuesday, Nov. 13:  Our class will take a field trip to Barnes & Noble, Twin Falls to meet, play, and learn from the Magic Valley Chess Club.  To participate, contact me.

Guillermo, Ryan, Carter, and Yuri are trying to maintain their position.

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