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Locals do well in chess competitions

by SERENA GRACE / Fourth Grade chess player
| March 28, 2024 1:06 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — The Idaho Chess Association's 2024 State Scholastics Chess Tournament at the Riverside Hotel in Boise was a success where players from kindergarten to 12th grade competed. 

The kids were excited and ready, as they had been preparing for this tournament since October. Parents, families and coaches were on the sidelines, supporting the kids and encouraging them. The tournament directors and volunteers, led by ICA President Adam Porth, worked tirelessly to make sure the events ran smoothly.

The ICA has had a once-a-month Scholastics Chess Tournament since October and held regional tournaments, which served as qualifiers for state. 

March 16 was the first day of the event and 46 kids from K-fifth grades, 44 kids from sixth-eighth grades and 24 kids from ninth-12th grades traveled from all over Idaho to compete.

The top three winners from each section were invited to play at the Tournament of Champions held on the second day, March 17. The overall winner of K-fifth grade will represent Idaho in the Rockefeller Tournament. 

For sixth to eighth grade, it will be the Barber Tournament; and for the ninth to 12th grade, it will be the Denker Tournament, which is all happening in the 2024 U.S Open in Norfolk, Va.

North Idaho had representatives from kindergarten to sixth-grade and some grades in high school. Kids and families traveled to Boise with excitement and high hopes of bringing home some awards to give pride to their community. 

North Idaho brought home the first place for kindergarten by Leo Grace, first place for first grade by Milo Davis, first place for second grade by Sophia Grace, first place for third grade by Lucy Bell, second place for fifth grade by Ryan Bell and third place for 12th grade by Owen Karlinsey. Leo Grace, 6, was the youngest ever to be invited to play at the Tournament of Champions, competing with seasoned players in fourth grade through high school. 

But these kids came to state not just to win trophies as they have learned in their journey that chess is not all about winning. 

As Logan Davis, a third grade player, said, "Chess makes me smarter while making friends and having a lot of fun." 

Spectators can feel the sense of community and camaraderie from the North Idaho kids and families.

The players have lots of support from local chess clubs, such as the CDA Chess Club, organized by Steve Dahlstrom with the help of Deon Goodwin, a teacher at Lakeland Middle School. Parent volunteers such as Nathan Davis assist with the beginner club meetings every Thursday.

They believe in empowering children with life skills that can be learned through chess. We encourage kids of North Idaho to participate in their local chess clubs and tournaments run by the Idaho Chess Association. Why? Because chess is more than just a board game. It helps kids improve academically while teaching patience and good sportsmanship. We hope to see you for a game or two.

    Leo Grace and Logan Davis compete in an Idaho chess tournament in March.