2012 Wood River Elementary School Championship
by Adam Porth
It was a first grade day! It was a Bellevue Bear day. The top players were 1st graders and they all seemed to dominate all the other grades. This special tournament was first offered last year as a Senior Project for WRHS graduate, Nick Bruck. We wanted to keep it going and build some competitive spirit between our area elementary schools. Last year, the Bellevue Bears won this championship. Who would it be this year?
Teams consisted of the top four players from each school and only Hemingway happened to have a partial team of three players. The largest team was from Bellevue with nine players.
With this being the last weekend to ski in the valley, we would be a little light on numbers, but there were 20 kids that arrived, eager to play and representing all the area public schools. Tournaments in our valley are also educational so I not only TDed but also taught. The WRHS Chess Club President, Desmond Porth showed some kids how to avoid Scholar's Mate and how to mate with a rook and king, and even how to avoid some stalemates.
Round 2 and 3 produced some sweet upsets where 1st graders beat 5th graders. Brother, Owen Stouffer put his older brother, Garrett Stouffer down for the count and it appeared to be a 1st grade day! Owen went on to win the rest of his games and complete the tournament with a perfect 5.0! There were some reasonable stalemates and the longest games were only 30 minutes.
After round 4, Hailey Elementary School surprised the tournament with a half point lead. Bellevue would have to pull out some strong games in the 5th round in order to win the tournament. Ms. Turco has run a lunchtime elementary school chess club at three of the four schools for fifteen years and exclaimed, "I don't know who to rout for."
Bellevue was pitted against Hailey on the top boards for the fifth round - the "money" round. On the top board, the game only went for about five minutes with a quick version of Fried Liver taking care of business between Owen Stouffer and Alex Baker. Bellevue player, Quentin Van Law played another Hailey player, Collin Young and decisively won that game. On another board - Bellevue vs. Hemingway, Darwin beat Jake Simon with a version of Scholar's Mate and scored the quickest victory.
The last round and the day belonged to Bellevue and the first grade. It was an amazing feat to see Owen Stouffer get a perfect tournament against older and more experienced players. And nobody got shut-out; everyone scored a point. Trophies were presented to first place and second places during the awards ceremony and medals were awarded to third place. Sportsmanship awards went to Quentin Van Law, Otto Olson, and Rigoberto Montes. I am sure that next year, Hemingway and Woodside will be better represented with more players, and maybe Sage and Community Schools will want to participate. Congratulations to our valley chess champions and the Bellevue Bears!
Wood River Valley Chess Champions:
Kindergarten - Emmitt Stouffer
On April 21 - 22, the Idaho Open will be in Pocatello, and on April 28, a chess tournament will be offered in Mountain Home. For chess and tournament information, contact Adam Porth at 450-9048.