Game of royalty popular with area kids
By Mike Baird
February 5, 2007

All of the king’s horses and all of the king’s men are challenging the youth of South Texas again.

“Chess is something children carry through life,” said Robstown native Jayne Creasy, 73, who at age 13 was the youngest competitor in at the 1947 annual U.S. Chess Open held in Corpus Christi at the White Plaza Hotel. “I don’t know what’s stirring it up again, but educators support the brain-enriching game because it keeps our wits sharp.”

The second annual Susan Polgar National Open Championships for Girls is being held Feb. 16-18 in Corpus Christi in tandem with the first Susan Polgar National Chess Challenge for Boys. Texas A&M University-Kingsville announced last week it will award two four-year scholarships to the top senior winners, who meet the university’s enrollment requirements for the next school year, of each Polgar national championship.

Local youngsters already dominate this region, which reaches to Laredo, and state level competitions in younger categories, DeLeon said.

His wife, Chris DeLeon, chess coach for Corpus Christi’s Central Catholic Elementary, leads the area’s largest elementary school chess club, which has 95 participating members and a team of 54 students who compete. It’s one of seven elementary schools in the diocese with chess clubs, but the only school where all students take a chess class. The school placed 13th in December at a national competition in Florida against more than 2,000 competitors, Chris DeLeon said.

“Central Catholic school is famous for chess,” said Bishop Edmond Carmody. “It is a great blessing for youngsters to think and make decisions fast.

“Chess is a great process for serious thinking,” Carmody said. “And our commitment is to the total person – mind, soul and body. We have to challenge all talents more to develop better servants for our community.”

The Central Catholic Elementary club has doubled in size the past three years.

Here is the full article.

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