Kings of the chessboard: Academy team wins again

* The Columbus Academy fifth-graders win a state title for the third time in four years; their classmates also claimed several individual awards.


Published: Monday, January 30, 2012 9:58 AM EST

Daily hours of practice and strategy study paid off for Columbus Academy’s fifth-grade chess team as it captured the state title at the Ohio Grade Level Chess Championships.

Thomas Jones, Sam Massick, Jacob Sardo and Nicholas Welch are no strangers to winning; they took home the top team trophy in their grade level for the third time in four years at the tournament, held last month in Akron.

The students won team trophies as second-graders in 2008 and as a fourth-grade team in 2010.

Sardo and Massick are New Albany residents; Jones is a Powell resident and Welch lives in Blacklick.

Columbus Academy students also won individual trophies at the Dec. 10 tournament: Massick was named co-state champion in his grade level; sophomore Rahul Ramaswamy, from Powell, claimed co-state champion for 10th grade; his brother, Abhi Ramaswamy, was state runner-up in sixth grade; first-grader Laine Massick tied for fifth place at her grade level; and sophomore Garrett Levine, from Columbus, tied for fourth at his level.

Last year, Levine and Rahul Ramaswamy, with teammate John Hughes of Worthington, captured the ninth-grade team title at the tournament, winning their fourth consecutive team title at the yearly tournament.

Look up “chess strategy” online or in books, where odd strategies are mentioned such as, “Place the board so that the sun is in your opponent’s eyes.” That tactic was penned by Ruy Lopez de Segura, who supposedly played chess in the 1550s.

Sam Massick has better advice: “Play a lot and practice.”

He started playing chess in kindergarten and said he’s never stopped.

“I like chess because it forces you to think a lot and use your brain,” he said.

Massick plays chess for two hours a day and attends Columbus Chess Lessons classes three times a week.

“I play games online and read books about chess,” he said. “At Columbus Chess Lessons, I play five people in my grade.”

His advice to students who think chess is “too hard” is to “find friends that play chess.”

“It helps to play games with your friends and chat over chess,” he said.

Massick’s chess coach, Alan Casden from Columbus Chess Lessons, said more than 400 students participated in the Ohio Grade Level Championship last month.

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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