CHECKMATE: Chess tournament brings out best of military

Friday, June 15, 2007
By MC2 Tim Wightman

Twenty-one of the best chess players from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force gathered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar June 11-15 for the 2007 U.S. Interservice Chess Championship.

The players were competing for the opportunity to play in the 18th NATO Chess Championship, where they would compete as the U.S. national team against military teams from other countries.

The top player from each service based on the end of the week point standings would be selected for the NATO team. The remaining two slots would go to the two players with the next highest point totals – regardless of service.

Both the Army and Air Force have tournaments that determine their interservice tournament participants; the Navy and Marine Corps use recruiting tactics to make up their squads.

All six of this year’s Navy competitors are stationed in the San Diego area. Navy Service Representative Julie Smith said the close proximity of the players went a long way in establishing team camaraderie.

“They were real excited when they found out that everybody was from San Diego; they were trying to get together before the tournament so they could play,” said Smith, who also manages the Navy’s Single Sailor Liberty Program.

“It’s a team event, so the guys cheer each other on and they share matches,” Smith continues. “There’s only one trophy for most points, and then there’s a team trophy. So it’s not like you go back with first, second and third place that you won; you want your team to get the most points.

“It’s great watching them when they go through and play their games and then afterwards it’s, ‘Oh, I shouldn’t have moved here and this is what I should’ve done.'”

Here is the full article.

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