Published Online: December 3, 2007

Passionate students face off during chess competition

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

The game is on. It’s black vs. white, mano a mano. But don’t whip out those pompoms or start the cheers.

This game is a quiet one. It’s a battle of the mind, and noise is an enemy to everyone. After all, the kids who are playing have a lot at stake. One false move, and it’s checkmate.

On a recent Saturday, 160 Albuquerque-area kids furrowed their brows and whipped out their chess boards. They put on their thinking caps and spent a day strategizing against other students at Chess Fest.

Sponsored by a local private school, the event was open to any student who loves to play the game. It’s also one of the many United States Chess Federation-sanctioned events that take place each year in New Mexico.

Participating in the Chess Fest were children who range in age from kindergarten to high school. And they all share a passion for this cerebral sport.

Many of the kids were not strangers to each other. They also participate in Albuquerque Schools Chess League events throughout the year and know each other — if not by name, then by the win-loss-draw history they share.

The Albuquerque schools league is made up of 48 teams comprising public, private, parochial and home-school students in elementary, middle and high school. It got its start in the 1961-62 school year with four participating high schools.

In the Albuquerque chess league, five-member teams (a school can have more than one team) participate in six meets throughout the school year. The team that wins the most games wins the round. Tournaments like Chess Fest are optional and don’t count toward the ASCL team ratings. But they do count toward the individual student’s chess ranking in the United States Chess Federation, if the student is a member.

Here is the full story.

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