Monday, March 3, 2008

75th ACTA Scholastic Chess Tournament

Richie played in the 75th ACTA Scholastic Chess Tournament last weekend while Alyssa opted out. We were a little unsure if it was wise to enter him since we were told that there were no kindergarteners in it (let alone Pre-K) which meant that he would have to play with 1st graders. The organizer let us know that Richie would be eligible for the kindergarten trophy regardless (i.e. guaranteed 1st) so when Richie heard that he decided he wanted to play. Our reservations proved unnecessary, however, as Richie actually ended up scoring 3.0/4.0 points which was good enough for 2nd place. He lost his final match against the event winner. I heard from an observer that the final game was back and forth and that at one point Richie was up a Queen after his opponent blundered, but he eventually returned the material. Apparently his opponent was a fast player and Richie was matching his pace which may have contributed to the blunders on both sides. The only thing I stress to him before games is the he should take his time and think before he moves. It's very difficult, though, for a 4 year old to avoid getting swept up in the heat of the moment. Richie ended up resigning when it was apparent that his opponent would be promoting a pawn to a queen. I'm not sure whether this is something I should address now, but it's probably better for him to fight out even seemingly hopeless situations for the chance of a blunder or stalemate. Richie was a little disappointed by the final round loss but he actually handled it quite well. I commended him on his good sportsmanship.
Afterwards told me that he wanted to practice more. But not before getting some well earned rest. I doubt he'll play much more chess before the upcoming state championship. I expect he'll run into some trouble at the state's if he plays Julian who I believe is probably the favorite to win K-1. I observed some of Julian's games at a recent chess club meeting and he continues to improve. I am not sure what he has been doing to improve but I've noticed, for instance, that he seems to know the basic opening moves for several variations that are not typically played at his level (Sicilian, Queen's Gambit, King's Gambit, Scotch Opening, Scotch Gambit, Spanish Game to name a few). Of course there are undoubtedly some players from outside this area that are also strong.

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