2012-03-08 / Front Page

Kids find they like chess competition

By Mark Anderson
News Editor

Noah Han makes a move while playing Cade Bestland in a practice game of chess. Hunter Carlson and Griffin Rochat watch the action as Scout Strickland, right, plays a chess game on a computer. (Staples World photo by Mark Anderson) Noah Han started playing chess during school two years ago in fifth grade, and immediately felt like it was a game for him. “I liked the quietness of it, and how to play the game,” he said.

He took his love of the game home, but couldn’t find a family member who had time to play against him. So he turned to his younger sister Rose, who was just a pre- schooler at the time. “He said ‘I’m going to teach you the rules so you can play agaisnt me,’” said their mother, Kathryn Edwards.

As Rose got better and both of them began to learn strategies, Noah decided to play in a chess tournament. “You get nervous sometimes,” Noah said about tournaments, “but it’s great to see how you do.”

Since then Noah has recruited several classmates and other friends to play in tournaments, and they are part of the “Check

Mates”, the Staples Motley chess club that will host a tournament on March 17, at Staples Motley High School.

The friends have taken to chess as well has Noah did, and recently a large group of them gathered at the Stomping Grounds coffee shop in Staples to practice and talk about chess.

“Every person you play looks tough,” said Cade Bestland, “ but then you start playing and you can figure them out: ‘I see what they’re doing.’”

Bestland said his own strategy is to “keep them guessing.” However, “ sometimes that doesn’t work out,” he admitted.

Blayne Dumpprope also is just learning how to beat other players. “I only know one strategy,” he said, “I’m better with defense.”

Hunter Carlson said “It’s a fun game, and better than being bored.”

Scout Strickland said chess is very different than video games. “In chess you have to think,” he said, “ video games are much faster.”

Blayne said “Chess is one of my favorite board games, it is one of the few things I can beat my dad at.” He said his dad taught him the rules and made it interesting. “He said the king is fat and lazy, so he only moves one space,” said Blayne.

Megan Han, the older sister of Noah and Rose, also was nudged into playing in one of the tournaments. “I did better than I thought,” she said, “I lost a couple but I did win one.” She said they are trying to get more girls into the tournaments, as most of the competitors are boys.

The chess movement is currently on an upswing in Staples. Edwards is teaching chess at some elementary school classes to get more kids interested in the game.

Edwards believes the benefits of chess tournaments go well beyond the critical thinking skills used by the players. “ Sportsmanship is a big part of it,” she said, “they shake hands before and after every match.”

Friendship also plays a role, as competitors are often seen talking between matches. Edwards said sometimes pick-up games break out in the hallways as they wait for their next rounds. “They make such good friends at the tournaments,” she said.

Edwards said they hope more adults will sign up for the chess tournament. She said the competition is five rounds, with players being ranked by a computer after reporting the result of each round. Then they are paired up again based on those rankings.

Check Mates tournament

Saturday, March 17

SM High School

Pre-register at Staples

Motley Community Education, 218-894-2497 or register on day of tournament

9 a.m. registration

9:30 a.m. play begins

Bring chess boards.

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