HALIBURTON – Almost 300 hungry young chess players squared off at the Trillium Lakelands District School Board chess championships in Haliburton Friday, March 27. It turned out to be the most exciting district championship ever with only a few points deciding the winner of the coveted team trophy.
Teams from Pontypool to Bracebridge sent top performers seeking the right to attend the provincial finals in Toronto.
In Grade 1 the newcomers played off as Haliburton’s Miki Bukta of Stuart Baker Elementary (SBES) in Haliburton cruised through the competition undefeated, while Nathan Cameron of King Albert in Lindsay was second, with Haydon Pounder of Langton Elementary coming third. All three received invitations to the provincial championships. With 27 players, this was the largest-ever turnout of Grade 1 players.
On the Grade 2 tables, Liam McAlister playing for Archie Stouffer Elementary School in Minden staged some key upsets against the more highly ranked players and kept a perfect record. He was followed by a trio of Stuart Baker players: Bo Stevenson, Liam McCracken and Jocelyn Bretzlaff also earned berths at the provincial finals.
A huge pack of 45 players chased the Grade 3 trophy, with Sam Longo of Stuart Baker taking the crown in a dramatic final-round victory against David Moore of Muskoka Falls. Emily Klose, also of SBES, picked up third place.
Cameron Morrison of Langton P.S. in Bobcaygeon staged a three-peat championship victory in the Grade 4 division by check-mating Eugene Cho of Archie Stouffer in the last round. Eugene will be joined by teammate Chris Thompson at the provincials. Cameron’s team-mate Owen Pounder also qualified.
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