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Published: Sunday, 3/24/2013

Great Lakes Chess Association Scholastic Open

Students check their skills in chess Bowling Green chess tournament

BY MIKE SIGOV
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Timothy Atkinson, 6, of Bowling Green, left, and Calvin Mlcek, 7, of Monclova play in the K-2 section during the 2013 Great Lakes Chess Association Scholastic Open chess tournament. Timothy Atkinson, 6, of Bowling Green, left, and Calvin Mlcek, 7, of Monclova play in the K-2 section during the 2013 Great Lakes Chess Association Scholastic Open chess tournament.
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BOWLING GREEN — Zach Amonett of Ottawa Hills touched a figure on a chess desk, about to make a move, then appeared to have changed his mind. But it was too late.

Brison Woods, a freshman at St. John’s Jesuit, prepares to move against Eli Barber, a Bowling Green home schooler. Brison Woods, a freshman at St. John’s Jesuit, prepares to move against Eli Barber, a Bowling Green home schooler.
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Because of the touch-move rule, the 5-year-old had to proceed with the move, which cost him the game and possibly a tournament trophy, according to Jim Van Vorhis of Bowling Green, the organizer of the fifth annual 2013 Great Lakes Chess Association Scholastic Open chess tournament.

Players and parents check the standings during the 2013 GLCA Scholastic Open chess tournament at Bowling Green Middle School. Players and parents check the standings during the 2013 GLCA Scholastic Open chess tournament at Bowling Green Middle School.
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“I will win the next game!” declared the Ottawa Hills Elementary School kindergartner, who appeared unperturbed by the loss.

Bowling Green High School student Nick Van Vorhis, left, and Perrysburg High School student Ben Hirt battle in the open section. Chess clocks and notation were required in open section matches. Bowling Green High School student Nick Van Vorhis, left, and Perrysburg High School student Ben Hirt battle in the open section. Chess clocks and notation were required in open section matches.
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He was one of 130 children ages 5 to 18 who entered the tournament held Saturday at Bowling Green Middle School, with about 20 adult volunteers assisting.

Tournament players came from more than 27 schools, mostly from the greater Toledo and Bowling Green area, but some of the young chess players were from as far as Lima, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind., and Cleveland.

And Zach did win that next game. Overall, he won three games, drew one, and lost one in the tournament.

Mr. Van Vorhis said Zach was one of the event’s 10 best players, across all age groups.

PHOTO GALLERY: Scholastic Open Chess Tournament

More experienced players, like Zach, played five games in the tournament, the less experienced four, he said.

“He [Zach] has fun, and he is learning some good life lessons in chess: There are consequences for your actions and you have to keep a positive attitude even if you lose,” John Amonett, 42, of Ottawa Hills, a general manager at Owens Corning Corp., said about his son’s experience at the tournament.

The tournament was “unrated,” meaning that its results did not affect participants’ official rankings, said Mr. Van Vorhis, a northwest Ohio chess coach.

Brison Woods, 15, of Toledo, a freshman at St. John’s Jesuit High School, said he liked the tournament because it was “a competitive tournament, but it didn’t affect your ratings.”

“It’s a tournament for fun,” Brison said. “But it’s also a tournament to prepare to play the supernational tournament [next month] in Tennessee.”

Some players nevertheless grabbed their heads and jittered as they played, though between games they relaxed and enjoyed themselves while discussing their games or snacking in the company of parents, friends, or siblings.

“I like the critical thinking part, the deep thinking,” Ben Hirt, 17, a junior at Perrysburg High School, said as he explained why he plays chess and entered the tournament. “It’s challenging and it’s very rewarding when you find the key move or the winning idea.”

Trophies were awarded to the top individual players in four three-year age brackets and an “open section,” and to the top eight teams from 27 participating schools.

United States Chess Federation rules were followed.

Chess clocks and notation were not required, except for the top age group and the open section.

The tournament, Mr. Van Vorhis said, will be held in Toledo next year.

Contact Mike Sigov at: sigov@theblade.com or 419-724-6989 or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.



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