Middle-schoolers find fun in chess tournament
By AMY MARCHIANO For the Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated: 03/03/2011 06:02:01 PM EST

York, PA – Few pieces remained on the green-and-white chess board.

Six belonged to one player, and the other three — a pawn, a bishop and a king — belonged to his opponent.

“You can’t move there,” said seventh-grader Richard Walton, 13, of Lititz Christian School. “That’s beside my king. You’d be moving in check.”

Richard was playing against Manheim Township Middle School student Akansh Hans, 12, also a seventh-grader. Their game ended in a stalemate, followed by a sudden-death match. Akansh won.

The students were among 40 from Harrisburg, Lancaster and York who competed in the Friendship Chess League Tournament held Wednesday in the Central Middle School library.

Six Central students — all seventh- or eighth-graders — competed in the event for the fourth year, said Mark Werner, social studies teacher and chess coach. Central was the only York County team represented.

Between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., students played in three rounds. Players had 30 minutes each to finish, with an hour total for each game. If a player let his time expire, he lost the match — even if he had been winning so far, Werner said.

“Playing the clock is as important as playing the board in tournament chess,” Werner said.

Students were eager to play. Central York eighth-grader John Hinchcliff came dressed to impress in a gray pinstriped suit, with black dress shoes and a tie. He said he thought it’d be fun.

Mike Koplitz, a volunteer and certified chess coach, said life skills learned in chess are important. As in life, adjustments sometimes need to be made when things don’t turn out the way you expect, he said.

Students said the game makes them think critically — and have fun.

“It’s a fun hobby. It makes you think,” said Central eighth-grader Justin Hartman, 13.

DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS — BIL BOWDEN Tristan Stevens, 12, of Central York, concentrates on his next moves during a regional chess tournament Wednesday at Central York Middle School. The school hosted about 40 students from the Harrisburg, Lancaster and York areas, who competed in matches throughout the day.

Source: http://www.ydr.com

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