Strategic moves win the game
Students scrambled to take their seats in the Jacks Valley Elementary School auditorium, and with a “On your mark, get set, go” the games began for about 30 pairs of players.
The chess tournament at Jacks Valley is in its fifth year, and each year special education teacher Steven Rosenbloom has been there to organize it.
“This year there are about 62 kids, about the same as last year,” Rosenbloom whispered so as not to disturb the players.
The tournament has increased in size from about 12 to 14 students the first year.
“There’s a lot of support for this,” he said. “Students get better scores, better grades from playing chess. It’s good for academics.”
Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Derrick Lopez, who has been helping Rosenbloom organize the event for three years, said the game’s being played more and more in other areas too.
“Actually, nationwide it’s gaining in popularity,” said Lopez, hurrying over to help a student with his hand up.
One of the volunteers during the five hours of games Friday night was Kevin Kendrick, 13, who played in the first two years of the event.
“I won the first two chess tournaments here at this school.” said Kevin.
The Carson Valley Middle School eighth-grader said “it’s fun” helping out the younger students.
Players were eliminated from competition when they lost two games until the sole remaining player becomes champion of his or her division. The last player to be eliminated receives second-place honors and the second to last player to be eliminated receives third place.
Games lasted 25 minutes maximum, with the player with the highest points in the end pronounced the winner.
The majority of the players were boys, with only a few girls participating.
“I don’t know why that is,” said Lopez.
There were three winners who took home trophies in both divisions.
Senior Division, grades fourth-sixth: First place, Daniel Flanagan, fourth grade; second place, Caymen Hoshizaki, sixth grade; third place, Dillon Lopez, fourth grade.
Junior Division, grades kindergarten-third: First place, Tanner Williams, second grade; second place, Liam Shaffer, second grade; third place, Kayla Wingerd, second grade.
Every player that was there was eligible for a raffle, with prizes like movie passes, gift certificates for pizza, chess books, games and a drafting set. Door prizes were also handed out.