Area chess fans gather for play, points in tournament

Published: Sunday, March 23, 2008 12:27 AM CDT
Laura Thompson
Staff Reporter

Some were seasoned players with years of experience in the game. Others were out for their first competition. But they all were brought to the boards Saturday morning for a test of poise, patience and prestige.

The quarterly Mayberry Chess Tournament brought fans of the game from around the region to Moby’s Coffee for a crack at the local competition. And as one of a handful of “rated” tournaments in the area, the Mount Airy event offered players more than just a crack at some prize money.

“Mostly the players are here for the competition and the points,” said event organizer John Claxton.

The United States Chess Federation tracks ratings for all competitive players in the country, Claxton said. Players can add points to their rating – which can range from about 100 to about 2800 – by going up against higher-rated players in tournaments.

On Saturday, the field of 10 competitors represented a range of experience. Two players sported ratings of more than 1900 points, while four others were competing in their first rated tournament.

The three rounds of competition pitted players with decades of experience against teenagers just starting out in the game. But as seasoned player Randy Lovelace said, “It’s not how long you’ve been playing.”

The Taylorsville resident got his start in chess in the 1970s. He remembers one of his teachers talking about Bobby Fischer, who competed for the chess world championship in 1972 and died earlier this year.

“I just thought, ‘gosh, that’s something I’d like to do,’” he said.

As he learned the game, Lovelace collected stacks of famous games copied out move-by-move on notebook paper from the local library.

Now, he says, all those games are available online, and a computer a key tool for people new to chess.“You need a computer,” he said. “That’s really changed a whole lot.”

Here is the full article.

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